The 12 months of 2018: August

It's been an eventful year for HR-related issues hitting the headlines. Our 12 Days of Christmas countdown revisits each month's most notable happenings

Pensions scams cost victims £91,000 each

Victims of pension scams lost an average of £91,000 each in 2017, it was revealed this month, with 253 victims reporting a total loss of £23 million to national reporting centre ActionFraud. Separate research from the Money Advice Service found that there could be as many as eight scam calls every second – equivalent to 250 million calls per year.

These findings came as UK regulators the Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator launched a television campaign to warn people about the problem, particularly targeting those in their forties, fifties and sixties. They called for people to ensure the pension firm they deal with is regulated.

House of Fraser sale sparks workers' rights concerns

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct agreed to buy buy House of Fraser for £90 million, prompting concerns around the future treatment of workers at the department store chain. Scott Lennon, a Unite regional officer with responsibility for Sports Direct, said that the company had not made improvements to its working conditions despite the negative media attention received.

“Sports Direct is a leopard that has not changed its spots and we hope that its poor record on pay and employment practices is not transferred to House of Fraser,” he said. “Sports Direct’s record at the Shirebrook warehouse operation in the East Midlands has been dreadful. Despite the recent terrible publicity wages remain at the minimum legally payable, and the terms and employment conditions are threadbare.”

The best bits of HR magazine in August...

Putting the HR in higher education

Though HR in higher education has unique challenges and opportunities there are some approaches that the public, private and third sectors can learn from, as our cover piece explored.

Breaking out of the sycophant cycle

As the stakes are raised it naturally becomes more difficult to hear or acknowledge negative feedback, but there are ways of processing it for even the most sensitive leaders, says executive and performance coach Amy Iversen.

Getting to the heart of employee wellbeing

When it comes to holistic wellbeing the British Heart Foundation practises exactly what it preaches. Find out how in our case study.