The Design Business Association has pinpointed five human resource issues which need to be addressed to bring the design industry into line with other professional sectors.
The key issues are maternity and paternity rights and benefits; dismissal and redundancy; staff appraisal and motivation; working hours and conditions and management/employee relations.
These findings come from a DBA-commissioned report on human resources provision in the industry, conducted by market research group Eureka! which unveiled its results last week.
The report comprises interviews with staff from 15 design groups of all sizes. Employers and employees were asked to outline their concerns regarding the handling of human resources.
“Of the issues [pinpointed], maternity and paternity benefits are perhaps the hottest topics, but all the areas are of similar importance,” says DBA director Clare Anderson.
“We also found [from the research] that people don’t like the term human resources. They say they don’t know what it means. One of our first tasks is to find a more consumer-friendly term.” Anderson chairs the taskforce set up to look into the issue.
The taskforce is to meet shortly to look at ways of translating these preliminary findings into strategies to help groups improve their human resource offering.
“We want to act as a broker or facilitator of expertise and information. We need to set up some industry standards, although at this stage we don’t know what they will be or what form our service might take,” says Anderson.
“Any service we do come up with will have to benefit both employer and employee and take into account the vast differences between consultancies in the industry. Broadly speaking, the bigger groups have much better, more formal provision than the smaller- and medium-sized ones.”
DBA chairman Colin Porter, DBA chief executive Ian Rowland-Hill, Light & Coley creative director Martin Seymour and Carter Wong & Partners business development director Georgia Shields are also on the association’s taskforce.
Anderson says the board may take on more people when its remit becomes more defined. She hopes to come up with initial concepts within the next month.