What is #M50BizHub

#M50BizHub is a well known hashtag on Twitter.  It is well established that business is all about relationship building and using your network of contacts to seek out new relationships.  Social Media has reduced the 6 degrees of separation to virtually 3 degrees or less and Twitter brings excellent opportunities to approach almost anyone in the world making it easier to build lasting relationships.

The #M50BizHub was set up in February 2012 to meet up off-line but quickly found a home on Twitter to bring Business to Business and help foster relationships within the Irish Business community.  Today, #M50BizHub is hosted by @CathyFi (it’s founder and MD of http://www.freshthinking.ie) every Monday night from 9-11pm and if that’s too late then perhaps Tuesday or Friday morning from 7:30am till 9am makes perfect timing for you.  The hashtag regularly trends in Ireland on Twitter boosting exposure for those who attend the virtual network on a regular basis.

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The Question of Corporate Social Responsibility

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The recent collapse of the eight story Rana Plaza factory near Dhaka in Bangladesh where an unknown no of workers were trapped and killed when the building collapsed after cracks were reportedly witnessed in the days before.  The Rana Plaza housed a number of clothing factories which manufactured cheap clothing for export to western retailers such as Pennys and Primark.  

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Bangladesh is the second largest garment supplier next to China and employs a lot of women in the manufacturing process.  The industry has grown rapidly over the last few decades (see chart below) and provides employment in a poverty stricken country.  The wages and poor working standards are well noted by the developed countries that are sourcing the goods for supply at low prices but what is ultimate cost of life?

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The practices and poignant events of recent weeks raise the question of accountability and indeed who should be responsible?  Much of the blame lies with the Bangladesh government but in some shape or form, we all have to share some responsibility since as consumers we buy the clothes from the retailers and so the cycle continues.  But I ask you, is it that simple to suggest that we pass on the opportunity to buy cheap clothes as a mark of respect to the folk that died so tragically?  If we did do that then we are taking employment away from people who really need it and that is a tragedy in itself not too mention the other benefits that women employed in the trade harness from their employment. 

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The question of CSR lingers on creating more dilemmas as we as stakeholders understand the ethics and morals involved, the key stakeholders involved and the impact on the community and environment at large.  What I would expect is that the western stakeholders and their government groups will look at the issues and take some measurable action in ensuring that safer working conditions and better standards are applied and enforced NOW to ensure that this does not happen in the future.

 

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Are you compliant with your bullying and harrasment policy?

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Over the last decade there has been a greater awareness of bullying in the workplace and in the recent economic climate there has been a surge in the claims made in respect of bullying and harassment in the workplace.  So as an employer, it is imperative that you not only have steps in place to facilitate employees in making a grievance claim.  The most important factor here is that the employer be aware of the policy and act on it accordingly in the event of a case arising.  The issue here is that if a line manager or supervisor is not giving appropriate training or guidance in relation to such claims arising there may be serious issues ahead. 

As mentioned in my “Employers Beware” article in April, there is even more to be lost by employers as “mental health” and the danger of an employee completing suicide as a consequence of stress, is something that should be taken very seriously by employers as they can be held responsible if they are deemed to be not exercising their duty of care to an employee. 

In short, if you are unlucky enough to have a bullying claim made by an employee who has followed your well-crafted policy and procedure in reporting the issue and the complaint is not handled or put on the long finger without any explanation then a court will not look favourably at your case but may rule against you as in the case of a worker who has made a bullying and harassment claim against her line manager to her employer: Fingal Leader Partnership back in 2012.  The court found on the side of the woman accepting that the lack of progress in dealing with her claim over a protracted period of time had a profound impact on her and led to her untimely resignation hence she was awarded €12,500.

What is Bullying?

Bullying is described as a repeated inappropriate behaviour that undermines your right to dignity at work.  It can be done by one or more persons and it is aimed at an individual or a group to make them feel inferior to other people.  Bullying can be verbal, physical, or cyber related which is carried out online on the internet, or through mobile phones or social networking sites, emails or texts.  It can take many forms such as:

  • Social exclusion or isolation
  • Aggressive or obscene language
  • Damaging a person’s reputation by spreading rumours
  • Content that someone may find offensive
  • Any other attempt to control, embarrass, or intimidate a person
  • Social Media forums can be lethal and should be included in your policies

Fresh Thinking offers employers management training and support in relation to good human resource practices including a mediation service as an alternative dispute resolution process.  To chat in confidence, please contact me or visit www.freshthinking.ie

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How long should you retain employee records?

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In recent years there have been various incidents involving the storage and disposal of personal data relating to clients in the health sector that raise questions for business owners about the practice of retaining and storing medical records of their employees.

Under the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003, personal data which includes sensitive information should only be retained for as long as the information may be required and will generally be on a case by case scenario.  In the event that the information will be used for any employment equality claim, the statute of limitations will be 6 months; though this can be extended to 12 months in exceptional circumstances.  Where an employer is defending a personal injury claim, the statute of limitations is 2 years therefore a period of 6 years should be a reasonable length to retain information post termination of employment.  It goes without saying that employers must exercise appropriate precautions in protecting information from unauthorised access and once old employee information is no longer required, all data should be disposed of in a safe and secure manner e.g. shredding all data.

At Fresh Thinking, we offer training, support and advice to employers; we also offer a mediation service as an alternative dispute resolution in employment matters, call or email us for a no obligation chat in strict confidence.

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Time for a plan Workshop

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Workshop Description

This workshop provides the time starved entrepreneur and other business people with key strategies, advice and tips on getting the balance right.  Time is one of those resources that is limited and can be the opportunity cost for many executives who find time management issues elude them. 

What will be covered?

  • Identification of key barriers to effective time management.
  • Introducing the TIME management model.
  • The seven Ps of great time management.
  • Dealing with the time wasters.
  • Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
  • Planning and Prioritising.
  • Personal Action Plan (PAC).

Who should attend?

This workshop is suitable for participants who want to raise their time management skills to maximise results.

Dates for your Diary:

Dublin:  Tuesday 13th August, 2013

Time:

2pm – 5pm

Investment

€40

Terms & Conditions:

  • Workshop places are limited to ensure maximum attention to individuals.
  • Workshop will go ahead subject to sufficient interest and bookings for same.
  • Refunds will be made should the workshop be cancelled.
  • All fees must be paid in advance in order to confirm place on the workshop.
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Sales & Social Media Strategy Workshop

Workshop Description

This workshop guides participants in understanding the main social media platforms, their functions and how to use them effectively to maximise their business results.  The objective of the day is for each individual to achieve a clear communications plan with a social media strategy for their business.  There will be time for participants to discuss, learn, and understand the importance of clear guidelines and policy for their use of social media in business.

What will be covered?

  • Understanding the top social media channels and their functions to business.
  • Developing a clear communications and social media plan for your individual business.
  • Examine the key metrics and measurement of your social media platforms.
  • Learn which platforms are more relevant for your business.
  • How to listen and respond effectively online.
  • Why you should have a social media policy and what should be included.

Who should attend?

  • Business owners, who have or want a social media presence.
  • Social Media Managers, who manage pages on behalf of businesses.
  • Marketing professionals and everyone else who:
  • run at least 1 social media page.
  • would like to start one or more for their business.

Dates for your Diary:

Dublin:  Tuesday 11th and 25th June, 2013

Kildare:  Wednesday 12th and 26th June, 2013

Time:

9:30am – 5pm

Investment

€60

Terms & Conditions:

  • Workshop places are limited to ensure maximum attention to individuals.
  • Workshop will go ahead subject to sufficient interest and bookings for same.
  • Refunds will be made should the workshop be cancelled.
  • All fees must be paid in advance in order to confirm place on the workshop.
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Fresh Thinking Upcoming Workshops in Dublin & Kildare

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Fresh Thinking Training & Development Upcoming Workshops

Name

Dates

Locations

Price

Social Media Workshop

11th & 25th June

Dublin

€60

Marketing on a Shoestring

14th & 28th June

Dublin

€60

Marketing on Twitter

12th & 26th June

Kildare

€60

Sales & Social Media

10th & 24th July

Kildare

€60

Idea Generation Workshop

11th & 25th July

Kildare

€60

Start Your Own Business

2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th  June & 6th July

Dublin

€150

Time for a Plan

13th August, 2013

Dublin

€40

All Dublin workshop are held in the Plaza Hotel and Kildare workshops in Keadeen or Osprey
Workshops will go ahead depending on interest – all fees will be refunded if cancelled.
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