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Positively reforming the system - could it be done?

One of the frustrating things to us, as employers, is the "benefit / poverty trap". That's where someone who's currently supported by the state wishes to work, but is prevented from doing so "because it will cost me - I will loose more in benefit than I gain in salary". And that has been said - on several occasions - by people who we were considering hiring, part time, at a rate that's above the minimum wage. The statement has been followed, variously, by "can you pay a better rate?", "can you pay me in cash so it doesn't go through the books?" and "can you employ me full time?".

Well - we certainly can't pay in cash, "under the table"; it's not legal to employ people in that way in the UK and we - and the person employed - could get into serious trouble (quite apart from us worrying about it). If we had been looking for full-time we would have offered full time in the first place. And we like to offer a good rate up front, so - no - we can't go higher; indeed - if someone is pushing for a rise from a rate that's already above the industry norm, before they even join us, it doesn't auger well for the future.

---OOO---


Not a potential employee ... but I was listening to pub talk from the table across when we were out at lunch recently, and hearing how the folks on that table were being sent by the Job Centre for interviews, with the threat that if they didn't actively apply they would loose some funding. And they were discussing amongst themselves how they go along, put on a convincing show to appear as serious as possible ... but then find a reason that they're not suitable for the job if it's offered to them.

A larger business - a site when dozens or hundreds of people work in similar roles - have the capacity to handle this sort of thing. People will always be going after several alternative jobs at the same time (they would be unwise not to), so all recruitment needs to consider "what if my offer is not taken up" and "will this person move on quickly" scenarios, but the extra load of people who are applying for reasons other than to gain employment can have a serious effect on the small business - especially people in an only-employee situation. Again - that's not our story but one I've heard recently in my other roles - and it's a real problem for the tiny employer that can have a majorly detrimantal effect on his / her activities. By the time the "chosen one" has chosen to reject the job (never having intended to take it if offered) several weeks may have passed and the whole process may need to be restarted, and one thing businesses do not have is weeks to waste!

---OOO---


I read in the papers ... I see on the TV ... that the government is going to get tough on some categories of benefit claimants. I'm not enough of an expert on that to give an overall view on that, but I can say that I hope that their new plans will put their own house and system in order. A change in the system is needed so that people who want to work aren't going to be penalised for doing so. And a change in the system is needed so that people who have no intention of taking a job don't waste hours of potential employer's time and money, sometimes with very significant consequential damages - aren't encouraged to "play" the system - with applications that aren't serious.

I really hope that the future system won't squeeze the already-tough times for those who cannot work in a conventional way for a wide variety of reasons, and that it will consider the much higher costs that are incurred by those who are 'disabled' in the widest sense (I hate that term!). And I hope that it won't simply adjust the existing system so that people are not forced into inappropriate jobs, transferring any problems they may have to employers who are often overstretched, and certainly overlegislated!




Let me look on a brighter side. The number of applicants we got in September was just about perfect, and everyone who completed a form before the deadline / came along had a chance to learn a bit about us, and we learn about them. Several took the decisions that we weren't the place for them (and I would tend to agree with their verdicts) or got fixed elsewhere. Some weren't suitable for the roles we had (though they might have been rather good for other jobs), and some others could have done the job satisfactorily, but wouldn't have gone much beyond that. But about a third were good / potentially excellent / excellent - and we made our selections from that group.

I suppose it says something to the credit of our selection process (we did not use the Job Centre!) that all of the offers I made were accepted. We're now more than halfway through the short term / part time initial period for which we recruited, and a couple of the folks have found more permanent roles elsewhere - good for them; we've moved another member of the team up to full time, and we've been able to extend that role right through to next summer. And Lisa and I have been talking today and looking further ahead; reminded of people who've joined us for a couple of weeks and stayed for years.

What inspired this subject today? An letter of application - for a job we don't have on offer. And I celebrate people wanting the role. "But I don't have any experience" ... not necessarily a bad thing; we can offer training, and we some things differently, so an already-trained person may need to unlearn and that can be tough after 20 years in another company. "And I'm only [quoted age]" ... again not necessarily a problem (though work hours may need to be legally limited), as I'm proud that past experience has shown. Alas - the particular applicant is his/her brief emails indicated merely that they would be able to do a job - didn't excite me to want to look at him/her as a potential person to be trained up for serious weekend work from next Easter, when we'll be full of wedding parties and tourists again!

With our growth, with our higher profile, I've added a "Jobs with Well House" page to our web site. It's another 'coming of age' thing, I guess. It's [here] and I've tried to make it a bit more friendly than "We have no vacancies at present" ... which is the situation unless an exceptional person should appear.
(written 2010-11-14, updated 2010-11-18)

 
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  [4189] Who are we - Lisa, Graham, Gypsy and Billy - (2013-10-07)
  [3961] Well House Staff Party - (2012-12-22)
  [3586] Emergency First Aid Provision at Well House Manor - part of the service - (2012-01-19)
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  [2009] The Royal Mail Receipt - (2009-01-26)
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  [1083] Behind the scenes - (2007-02-17)
  [1065] Graham Ellis - an Introduction - (2007-02-05)
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  [972] Both one team and two - (2006-12-08)
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  [168] Welcoming Leah Davies to our team - (2005-01-04)
  [88] Getting the right level of trainer - (2004-10-14)
  [41] A Thousand and four words - (2004-09-07)
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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