Scratch Post ARCHIVE


Managing Email Overload

This piece follows on from our last issue, which looked at prioritisation. In this issue we offer a few tips on dealing with email overload.

Director Pay back in the Spot-light  


HSBC is the latest company to invoke the ire of shareholders, on their recommendations for executive director remuneration. The Remuneration Committee proposal offered generous annual bonus and LTIP provisions, which could reward executives up to £100m over 3 years (with individual awards equating to approximately 250% of salary). Some shareholders were seeking a rejection of the proposals, despite assurances from the CEO that this level of compensation is entirely necessary to compete for and retain top talent. The proposals were, however, approved at the recent AGM, although 18% of shareholders witheld support.

Wildcat View:  HSBC is just the latest in a line of FTSE 350 companies, who have been challenged at the AGM on director pay (including GSK, Shell and M&S). Certainly average director pay increases have doubled over the last 5 years and findings of a recent FT opinion poll suggested that government should set a cap for director level pay. However, pay levels should be seen in context against the need to operate in increasingly complex and competitive business environments, where attracting and retaining the best executive talent is often a global challenge. The very talent required to achieve continued levels of business success is what drives sustainable shareholder value. However shareholders are justified in questioning the size of some rewards, especially those that appear to reward business failure and poor judgement.

Ex-Employee Ordered to Disclose ‘Linked-In’ Contacts


An ex-employee of recruitment company Hays, was ordered by a court to disclose details of his profile and business contacts on the professional networking site ‘Linked-In’, on the basis that he had used this to poach clients when he left to establish his own business. It is alleged that he copied confidential client information and invited them to join his on line network for the benefit of his new business. The ex-employee was ordered to disclose his ‘Linked In’ business contacts, along with details of all emails to/from the Linked In account, through the Hays network.

Wildcat One View: Linked In is known to be used extensively in recruitment, although this doesn’t stop it becoming a sensitive issue when key people walk out the door, having been ‘courted’ on line. Perhaps a bigger issue is that of email security, with recent research suggesting that ¼ of leaked information is down to postings on social network sites, blogs and message boards. There needs to be clear policies in place, so employees know the boundaries of what is/is not acceptable, with regards to confidentiality and protecting sensitive information.

The Right to Learn?


Under new government proposals, employees are to be given the right to request time off to attend training. It is envisaged that this ‘right’ will work in much the same way as the current provisions for requesting flexible working arrangements. Employers are obliged to consider all such requests carefully and will need to justify any refusal with sound business reasons.

Wildcat View:  On the whole this concept has been broadly welcomed and with good reason. However, it will be important to continue finding that balance between the desire to train/learn and the needs of the business – whilst also being able to reject requests that are not sufficiently relevant to the skills/knowledge required by the business. It is sometimes all too easy, though, to forget certain groups of staff when it comes to training and development. This proposal will hopefully make it more difficult to do so, without being burdensome.

Employment Tribunal cases are certainly becoming more interesting - last year we had ‘gingerism’, now its baldness discrimination.


A former teacher in Falkirk took his Local Authority to Tribunal on the basis that he’d been discriminated against because he was bald and had been the butt of jokes and taunts from pupils. He argued that his baldness had a ‘long term adverse effect’ on his ability to do his job and was an ‘impairment’ under the Disability Discrimination Act.

The court, however, disagreed, stipulating that baldness was not an ‘impairment’ under the legislation any more than a ‘big nose, or big ears or [being] of less than average height’ would be.

Wildcat View: I’m sorry, but who allows this sort of thing to end up in court? What next – support groups for follicularly challenged? Just get a grip