The Federation of International Employers – FedEE https://www.fedee.com The organisation for major global employers. Providing information, advice and support to international human resource departments Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:10:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Comment: When things fall apart https://www.fedee.com/comment-things-fall-apart/ Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:42:27 +0000 https://www.fedee.com/?p=19470 Although many employers give time off for employees to get married or form a civil partnership few have in place policies to deal with the often emotionally devastating experience when marriages and partnerships fall apart.

The collapse of relationships can

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Although many employers give time off for employees to get married or form a civil partnership few have in place policies to deal with the often emotionally devastating experience when marriages and partnerships fall apart.

The collapse of relationships can result from the stress arising from long working hours and/or commutes, especially when a couple both work full-time. The warning signs for employers are often detected too late when employees call in sick for weeks on end or emotions fray at work.

It is therefore wise to have in place an early warning system providing counseling when overtime (especially unrecorded overtime) begins to exceed ten hours a week on a regular basis. It is also good practice to have a facility for special discretionary “family crisis” leave so that the neither the standard compassionate leave nor sickpay systems bear the load because employees have to deal with childcare, finding alternative housing, unscrambling joint accounts and other problems resulting from separation or divorce.

An example of such a leave policy can be found here

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EU: Legislators exceed powers https://www.fedee.com/eu-legislators-exceed-powers/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 09:40:07 +0000 https://www.fedee.com/?p=19444 The EU Council of Ministers and MEPs are knowingly exceeding their powers by seeking to approve a measure which the EU Treaty clearly gives them no power to introduce. The revised EU Posting of Workers Directive will require employers to

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The EU Council of Ministers and MEPs are knowingly exceeding their powers by seeking to approve a measure which the EU Treaty clearly gives them no power to introduce. The revised EU Posting of Workers Directive will require employers to pay anyone posted from another EU state the full market rate in the host state – even though the workers continue to be domiciled in a state where the pay market is much lower.  S153(5) of the EU Treaty denies any right of EU legislators to place controls on pay, but they continue to flout the Treaty. We have striven over 20 years to underline this constraint concerning similar EU measures, but each time the challenge is sidestepped.

 

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China/UK: NDA to build trust https://www.fedee.com/chinauk-nda-build-trust/ Mon, 06 Nov 2017 06:39:46 +0000 https://www.fedee.com/?p=19332 A China-UK research and innovation non-disclosure agreement (NDA) has been mutually drawn up by officials in each government. This is designed to encourage collaboration and is fully compliant with laws in both countries.

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A China-UK research and innovation non-disclosure agreement (NDA) has been mutually drawn up by officials in each government. This is designed to encourage collaboration and is fully compliant with laws in both countries.

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USA :: Multinational tax penalty https://www.fedee.com/usa-call-song-rehqize/ Thu, 02 Nov 2017 20:30:20 +0000 https://www.fedee.com/?p=19304 A radical tax reform package has been revealed by the Republican administration that would reduce personal tax brackets from seven to four (12%, 25%, 35% and 39.6%) – with a tax-free allowance of $24,000. Corporation tax would also maybe tumble

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A radical tax reform package has been revealed by the Republican administration that would reduce personal tax brackets from seven to four (12%, 25%, 35% and 39.6%) – with a tax-free allowance of $24,000. Corporation tax would also maybe tumble from 35% to 20%. However, there would be a 10% global tax on US multinationals to stop them shifting profits abroad, plus a one-time tax of 12% on foreign assets. Looks like a good time to abandon ship for US corporations – with 0-12.5% rates easily obtainable in Europe and elsewhere.

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United Kingdom: Price fixing https://www.fedee.com/united-kingdom-price-fixing/ Tue, 17 Oct 2017 10:02:29 +0000 http://www.fedee.com/?p=19066 Although the true annual rate of consumer price inflation (including owner-occupied housing) had been predicted to hit 3.1% in September, it officially rose by 2.8%. Curious difference? Our statistical analysis of the weights used for calculating the index indicates fabrication.

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Although the true annual rate of consumer price inflation (including owner-occupied housing) had been predicted to hit 3.1% in September, it officially rose by 2.8%. Curious difference? Our statistical analysis of the weights used for calculating the index indicates fabrication. “Lies, damned lies and government statistics”- so take them with a big pinch of salt!

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Germany: A deal at last https://www.fedee.com/germany-deal-last/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:50:22 +0000 http://www.fedee.com/?p=19050 An agreement has finally been reached between the airline Lufthansa and its 5,400 pilots. The deal will run until 2022, reduce pension costs, delay retirement ages, increase salaries by up to 10.3%, add a one-off bonus and open the way

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An agreement has finally been reached between the airline Lufthansa and its 5,400 pilots. The deal will run until 2022, reduce pension costs, delay retirement ages, increase salaries by up to 10.3%, add a one-off bonus and open the way to recruit 700 new junior pilots.

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USA : Complex negotiations begin https://www.fedee.com/usa-complex-negotiations-begin/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:47:03 +0000 http://www.fedee.com/?p=19048 The private carrier UPS has started negotiations with the IBT (Teamsters) union over changes due next July for 250,000 US employees. There are 30 supplemental agreements and top of the list for the union will be improvements to health care

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The private carrier UPS has started negotiations with the IBT (Teamsters) union over changes due next July for 250,000 US employees. There are 30 supplemental agreements and top of the list for the union will be improvements to health care and pension benefits.

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Comment: Lost certainties https://www.fedee.com/comment-lost-certainties/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:44:32 +0000 http://www.fedee.com/?p=19046 This year’s Fortune Global 500 features a whole tranche of new entries. Companies like Chubb and Medtronic that have gone over the US$20bn threshold to become a truly major multinational corporation (MNC). The top 500 companies turnover $27.7 trillion and

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This year’s Fortune Global 500 features a whole tranche of new entries. Companies like Chubb and Medtronic that have gone over the US$20bn threshold to become a truly major multinational corporation (MNC). The top 500 companies turnover $27.7 trillion and employ 67 million people in 34 countries – but they are just a drop in the growing ocean of multinational enterprises.

Back in 1600 the world had just one multinational – the East India Company. Even by 1967 the total was just 7,000. However, by 2007 the total reached 80,000 and today it has grown to an estimated 447,000. So what has been happening to businesses that so many are now multinational?

The East India Company earned its wealth by trade. It operated independently from the British empire, but its actions helped to break into territories the British could then more easily conquer and its continuing influence helped to cement British rule. Multinationals have always been inextricably connected to colonialism and when empires waned they took over when military rule ended.

As Ennst Dichter of Exxon once explained “The idea of a global corporate village entailed the management and reconstitution of parochial attachments to one’s nation. It involved not a denial of the naturalness of national attachments, but an internationalization of the way a nation defines itself.”

Through a process of branding that goes well beyond product identity a corporation transmits a whole world view to everything and everyone it touches. To do this a company just has to attach its pervasive symbols to those transmitted through a target country’s culture – like putting fermented bean paste into a Big Mac to sell to the Chinese or replacing toast with a crêpe to satisfy the French breakfast market. Whatever the item, it will be the twist given to the cultural icon that takes it somewhere else and eventually to the corporate branding homeland of ultimate acceptance for what everyone else in the world is consuming.

But this is where everything is also changing. The old hegemonies are dying. The new multinationals are primarily not in manufacturing or international trade, but in sectors such as professional services. These companies can be as small as 15 people or as big as 2,000 – but they have one approach in common. They are international not because of economies of scale, the opportunity to take advantage of cheap labour in developing countries or low tax regimes. They are not peddling major global brands – but simply being international because the world has gone that way and because the key skills necessary to do complex software or business operations are scattered geographically around the globe.

We are entering an era of “post globalization” where being global is the norm and being local an abnormal state. This has been reached right down to the unit of the individual and mainly all thanks to the Internet. The next phase has not even yet a name, but it will emerge out of block chain concepts and embrace far more than bitcoin. All that may eventually be left are brands – and even these may be replaced by “standards”, then fizzle and die. MCN’s will no doubt ride this storm, but end up very differently from today. The big question will be how MCN’s will interact with politics and if the power of the nation state will decline to be replaced by MCN dominated trading blocks.

In this new era the way that companies – and especially multinationals – exploit human resources has changed too. Many in the service sector now have only a small core of employees. Companies pay retainers, and minimize salary payments, securing skills from the freelance market as they need them. Supply chains are also digitized, so complexity is no longer the barrier it once represented. Monetary rewards remain important, but they have lost the old status trappings. The kind of car a contractor turns up in no longer defines them. Qualifications also matter less than what someone knows and if they can be trusted and are easy to work with. Individuals accumulating strings of credentials after their name reduce, not improve their career chances outside academia – betraying their lack of security and marking them out as the unutilizable “perpetual student”.

But what has not disappeared in the face of these changes is uncertainty. With 2.5 million court precedents and around 365,000 new laws or substantial legal amendments happening around the world it is no longer possible to be sure that a company’s policies are legally compliant. Documents are often invalid the moment they are drafted and in no jurisdiction is ignorance of the law a valid defence.

As we found in our recent survey of HR legal compliance it is not only litigation that MNC’s HR departments fear – but loss of public reputation, the ability to maintain good employee relations and even a “moral duty to all stakeholders”. But however big the organization it would be impossible to maintain “real time” compliance. Faced with this, many clearly take a “head in the sand” approach. But inaction is, of course, the worst form of action. FedEE was founded 29 years ago to help reduce all such grey areas and that is why we are starting in this issue to change the whole way we report news. This will eventually lead to a new alert service and a number of HR self-assessment compliance tools.

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HRM compliance survey https://www.fedee.com/hrm-compliance-survey/ Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:37:19 +0000 http://www.fedee.com/?p=18906 We received a very good response to our recent survey of HRM legal and quality standards compliance. Access to the resulting report is limited to participants. However, it threw up a great deal of data – with often unexpected and

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We received a very good response to our recent survey of HRM legal and quality standards compliance. Access to the resulting report is limited to participants. However, it threw up a great deal of data – with often unexpected and surprising outcomes. There are clearly a number of critical action points for many HR departments and FedEE will be working on a range of tools, guidelines and practical approaches during the coming year to help members reduce the risks they currently face.

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Comment: Fishing with click bait https://www.fedee.com/comment-fishing-click-bait/ Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:41:11 +0000 http://www.fedee.com/?p=18837 There is an interesting contrast between the methods used in the two ‘cousin’ fields of public relations (PR) and employee relations (ER). Whilst PR has become increasingly sophisticated in its use of technology, ER remains largely back in an era

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There is an interesting contrast between the methods used in the two ‘cousin’ fields of public relations (PR) and employee relations (ER). Whilst PR has become increasingly sophisticated in its use of technology, ER remains largely back in an era when digital technology meant using emails and offering ‘helpful facilities’ on the intranet

There has been no greater advance in PR’s use of digital technology than in politics. Obama’s second election heralded a radical turning point. It was then that the social media began to be utilized in a totally new way to get through to the electorate. With the aid of access to Facebook’s 2bn users Trump’s presidential campaign took this a stage further to exploit the repository of deep insights that can be used by those trying to influence social and political as well as economic behavior. When Facebook data is combined with purchasing choices gained by Amazon, searches on YouTube and social survey data it can not only allow Facebook to pinpoint messages that will be well received by its individual members, attract them to look at the messages through “click bait” – but then also precisely predict outcomes from PR/political campaigns.

The turning point for Facebook came when a US Professor of social psychology pointed out to them that the world was divided into what came to be called “Type 1” and “Type 2” people. Although its own internal technically sophisticated world (Type 2) was dominated by ‘logic’, ‘analysis’ and ‘probability’ around 85% of the population (Type 1) largely operate through gut feel, hunches, guesswork, prejudices and instinctive “just knowing”. The Type 1 population is also highly vulnerable to positive vs negative messages and emotional behaviours. People are generally stirred by powerful and energetic eloquence and take it as evidence of deeply held views, rather than often the insincere, contrived performance it often is. They are also taken in by false news – as long as it seems to be part of a contagion, replicated by several sources they know or respect – even if it has been orchestrated to appear so.

We may, as HR professionals, flinch at such a dichotomy – but it has proven to exist. That said, can we learn from such a finding when dealing with employees?

The usual value of social media for many HR professionals is to network with other business people via Linkedin, to search for potential candidates or to search for job applicant’s Facebook pages to see if they “check-out”. But what about using the social media to know more about employees and job applicants? During the Trump election Oxford Analytica was enlisted to work for the campaign as part of what was called Project Alimo. They found a way to use available data to predict many aspects of a voter’s personality, values and background. Systems would use data such as Facebook “Likes”, music preferences, expressions used, syntax and even spelling errors to predict Facebook personas – right down to a person’s religion and what subject they studied at University.

Data matching of this kind is almost certainly unlawful under data protection legislation in Europe, but the question remains – does data concerning, for instance, a person’s politics, religion or sexual orientation actually constitute “sensitive data” if it is not directly derived, and only predicted from other behaviours? Moreover, if the processing is conducted where it is lawful and users just ring in for information then no data protection infringement will have surely taken place?

Another huge advance made by analysts during the Trump campaign was in “sociometrics” – the evolution of groups and positions of individuals within them. Such an understanding is essential for the corporate world. To date it has only been possible to achieve reciprocated and unreciprocated bonding data by giving members of a group individual personality tests, or asking them to rate others in their group on a number of criteria. Many people object to such a rating exercise and personality tests can produce misleading results when it comes to converging their outcomes as they measure crude dispositions to bond in certain ways, not even the probability that bonds exist.

However, the kind of covert sociometrics that can be obtained from – say – Facebook browsing data and the interaction of Facebook friends can be remarkably accurate. For instance, the proportion of work colleagues that are in a person’s network and frequency of interaction with them can reveal a great deal – even if the actual contents of their communications is not known. Their likes and dislikes can also say a great deal about “value bonds”.

It is a matter of individual choice how far such insights are – or should be – sought and how they are used. Many people (like me) will reject them outright, others will fear their legality, but those who successfully exploit this brave new world of cyber-psychological possibilities will find themselves able to influence employee attitudes and behaviors in a way that is frighteningly effective.

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