FE News Archive

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When the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says that there is a skills shortfall amongst school leavers in the areas that British industry requires, all the attention immediately focuses upon the education system and the supposed failings of "A" Levels to prepare the young people for the workplace in the way that their future employers would like.

But how far dos this go? What other, deeper failings does the superficial focus on rising exam achievement and "gold standard" education obscure? The suggestion to be drawn from the report from Investors in People, the national Standard that seeks to guarantee best practice in training and development of people to achieve business goals, is that there is a deeper, more insidious malaise spreading through the workforce that is being encountered every day by both colleagues and bosses. Its name? Deadwood.

Knock on Wood"¦

But what exactly is "deadwood"? According to the report, "deadwood" is the term for those employees / colleagues who are failing to pull their weight in the workplace. It appears that no size of organisation is immune from this problem, with fully 46 percent of all employees polled stating that they work in close contact or directly with a colleague who does not do their share of the work.

It is not simply on the level of the worker that this is observed. Almost 40 percent of the bosses surveyed also complain that they know of colleagues or employees who are no doing their work properly. However, it seems that there is a certain complacency on this mater as well, with a similar proportion of employees complaining that their bosses have turned a blind eye to the problem. This in turn can easily lead to a demoralised workforce as the more able and reliable staff struggle to fill in for the incompetent, leading to complaints of stress, longer hours, and feeling under "“ valued. In these cases, a company can easily find itself haemorrhaging the very staff it needs to keep as they look for more fulfilling and rewarding jobs, leaving the bosses with only the "deadwood" remaining.

Lazy and Irresponsible

The report has a quite stark verdict on the character of those believed to be "deadwood". The most common reason given by the employers and the employees for their colleague's idleness is "sheer laziness"; hardly a bona fide excuse, certainly. Whilst all sizes of organisation are at risk, those working in a compny employing more than 1,000 staff should expect to encounter this phenomenon with greater frequency, a whopping 84 percent responded that deadwood was a matter of concern, compared with the 60 percent in companies with fewer than 50 staff.

The respondents also highlighted some of the main telltale signs of a "deadwood" colleague in their midst. These include the prioritising of their personal life over their work; the refusal and avoiding of any extra responsibility and / or duty; and, speaking volumes for the moral fibre of those "deadwooders" encountered, the passing of of the work of another as their own.

Garden Clippers at the Ready!

The report also has some suggestions regarding ways in which this can be combated in the workplace and even in the recruitment process. These include the creation of clear goals and objectives; leading by example, as if the boss is not motivated, how can the team be; the admittedly obvious sounding "get the right person for the right role", sadly often neglected; and keep in constant contact with the staff to make sure that feedback is gathered as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Ruth Spellman, the Chief Executive of Investors in People, commented: "This survey lifts the lid on an issue that bosses have shied away from traditionally. Its clear from the findings that UK managers are aware that deadwood is a problem that can damage their organisation - but are failing to do anything about it. However, left unchecked, staff who dont pull their weight can breed resentment amongst colleagues and cripple an organisations productivity. Its vital that managers are equipped with the skills and confidence to tackle the issue before it becomes a problem."

And whilst it must be admitted that this is an excellent set of suggestions from the report, and which should all be put into action to guarantee a strong and happy organisation moving steadily forward, possibly the most important idea is this; providing a personal career development plan with appropriate training where needed. And whilst the onus is obviously going to be on the business to put this into place, should there not be some attention paid to this at an earlier stage?

Wouldn"t getting rid of the "deadwood" before it even starts be the best way of ensuring it is never a problem?

Jethro Marsh

Prune the deadwood, weed the workplace, in the FE Blog

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Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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