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July 25, 2014

Also in the news this week – 25 July 2014

Modern manager or old-fashioned boss?

Research from HR organisation Investors in People (IIP) suggests that one in eight employees "could not name one quality they liked about their boss", while three quarters talked about their boss's management or work style behind their back. Paul Devoy, head of IIP, said: "While there are many good managers out there, for the 3.7m workers who can't name a single quality they admire in their boss, there is clearly work to be done. It's not something that companies should just accept; bad bosses result in unhappy, unproductive staff who leave." The 24% of respondents who said they "got on with their boss" believed it made them work harder, while 23% would stay with the firm longer. Qualities employees associate with being a "modern manager" include being approachable (32%), having respect for colleagues' opinions (29%) and working for the good of the team rather than personal ego (29%). Almost a third associated being hierarchical and separate from staff with "old-fashioned" leadership.

Retail sales rebound in July

According to the latest CBI Monthly Distributive Trades Survey, retail sales volumes "grew solidly" in the year to July, "rebounding from a disappointing performance a month earlier". According to the CBI, UK retailers expect sales volumes to grow at a stronger pace in August. Barry Williams, chair of the survey panel and Asda chief merchandising officer for food, said: "As the temperature rose, so did sales. Almost all sectors saw growth, with grocers and clothing stores telling us they performed particularly well. Retailers expect an even faster rise in sales volumes next month, and are stocking up in anticipation."

Vodafone brings 3G to rural "not-spots"

Vodafone has launched a government-backed programme to give businesses in 100 rural communities the opportunity to apply for mobile access for the first time. Vodafone's innovative Rural Open Sure Signal technology will grant 3G coverage in rural locations where installing a traditional mast is not always possible. An initial trial saw 12 rural communities connected to the technology, providing almost 10,000 people with reliable mobile connection. The communities were chosen from more than 170 with mobile "not-spots" in the UK. Vodafone has produced a film (viewable on YouTube) that provides more information, including how to apply before the October closing date.

Cable issues independence warning

Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned that independence would hit Scottish businesses with a "double whammy" of increased regulation and an exit from the UK single market. He said: "One of the many positive things about a shared system of tax and regulation is that large and small businesses benefit from a single set of regulation across the UK family of nations. It doesn't matter where you are in the UK, the same rules apply." East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson MP added: "The rest of the UK is Scotland's biggest market. Making it more difficult for our businesses to sell goods south of the border by doubling regulations would not be in the best interests of Scottish companies." However, according to the SNP, a far bigger threat to Scottish business is posed by the prospect of the UK leaving the European Union, should a referendum taking place in 2017 go that way.

Two thirds of firms plan staff pay increase

Great news for austerity-weary employees, as an Institute of Directors (IoD) survey has found that two thirds of company directors plan staff pay increases in the next 12 months. More than a third (36%) say they will be increasing pay at least in line with inflation, while 29% intend to increase wages ahead of inflation. James Sproule, IoD chief economist, said: "For many people, the recovery is something they hear a lot about but, as yet, they have not really felt in their wallets. For those employed in the private sector questioning when they will start to feel the benefits of growth, the answer is very, very soon."