Category: HR
Scent, Sound And a Bit of Digital: Creating a Memorable Customer Experience

When marketers speak about customer experience, they’re typically referencing a streamlined journey through a website; we tend to forget that sales don’t only happen online, but the question is how can a customer experience be applied to a brick and mortar store? It’s not as tricky as you may think, but it does need to be implemented strategically. So, for this article, let’s use a physical retail chain store.

 

How do businesses get customers to visit their store?

We know that the eCommerce space has grown exponentially over the last decade. People find it far more convenient to browse retail stores’ websites when it suits them best. The days of having to sacrifice hours on the weekend to buy a few items of clothing may have lessened, but that doesn’t mean the concept of a physical store is dead. It does have advantages over online shopping, e.g.

  • At a store, you can try on the clothes before purchasing to make sure they fit.
  • Talk to sales staff face-to-face if you have any queries.
  • Stores are more accessible to the public because the majority of South Africans don’t have access to the internet.

So, the benefits exist, but getting the same amount of foot traffic through the door is becoming increasingly difficult. The answer: offer a customer journey that cannot be experienced online.

 

Tap into the customers’ senses

 

There’s one sense that the digital world can’t tap into, and that’s smell. Did you know that smell is one of the best invigorators of memory? Think about your grandmother’s perfume or grandfather’s cologne; what’s rushing through your head right now? Most likely loving, fun-filled memories of times spent with them, right? A store with a distinctive atmosphere and smell could hypothetically hit the same areas of the brain and evoke a memory of a pleasant shopping experience.

 Smell

So, why not liven up your retail space by ac(scent)uating it with welcoming fragrances dispersed by scent diffusers. Scent marketing creates an environment that has an emphasis on creating positive emotions. You can incorporate it in your holistic marketing strategy to provide an optimal shopping experience that will bring the consumer back again…and again.

Audio

We have all seen the evolution of music-on-demand unveil before our eyes. However, it’s primarily being marketed to individuals, not retail stores. Obviously, you do have the choice of running a playlist off YouTube, but unless you subscribe to the premium version, ads will break the atmosphere you’re trying to create. So, yes, digital can give us music, but how it’s applied to suit the essence of a brand within a physical retail store is vital.

The answer to this problem: full access to custom music solutions.

The ability to access the world’s most extensive catalogue of licensed music to complement your scent marketing solutions is a sure-fire customer influx driver. Custom music solutions give you the opportunity to select songs and genres that will resonate with potential customers. For example, if your store specialises in a particular clothing style, you can play the music that amplifies the culture associated with that style. You can essentially be your own DJ!

 

The benefits of creating a custom soundtrack

Customise your soundtrack by selecting your sounds, genres, and energy levels quickly.

  • It lets you get creative about the music you play in a time-efficient way.
  • It gives you a more personalised soundtrack.
  • It lets you create different energy levels for your soundtracks to daypart your music.
  • It allows you to edit and tweak soundtracks as you go.
 

Set up your store’s place accordingly

A fantastic customer experience expands further than the auditory and sensory elements. You also need to ensure that all your products are displayed correctly, so they take prominence.

According to Science Direct, “everything from a store’s condition to the information rate to the layout plays a role in customer satisfaction. However, the atmosphere in your retail store should perform on a more subconscious level, allowing your products to take centre stage without disrupting the customer’s experience. Customers in the pleasant store spontaneously spent more money on articles they simply liked. This effect was only due to customers’ mood.”

Furthermore, ensure that all employees are correctly trained to provide the customer with all the information they need. Please take a look at our article about How to hire ideal employees. It all starts with your store’s online visibility. Here’s a short excerpt from the article.

“If job seekers can’t find your business online, it’s a massive red flag. Brand reputation is a significant attribute for any potential employee. So, before you even think about hiring someone, ensure that your website is fully functional and optimised to be search engine friendly. If you’re having trouble in these departments, consult a marketing firm that specialises in search engine optimisation (SEO) as well as website development.”

So, if you want to create a customer experience that consumers can relate to and remember, tap into their auditory and sensory senses; create an atmosphere that cannot be copied.

Finally, throw in a little bit of digital ‘prep work’ to get your ideal employees who can enhance the atmosphere, and you’ll find the right combination to offer a custom customer experience that will prove physical stores still have the potential to thrive.


Insights From Our CEO: Hiring And Firing Staff: What You Need To Know

Welcome to our exclusive series of personal – and business – wealth management insights from Ajay Wasserman, Founder and CEO of the Fio Group. He is an expert business and wealth consultant to business owners and entrepreneurs to create long-term sustainable wealth.

“As a business owner, I would like to talk to you about hiring and firing staff; remember that employing staff members for your business is a critical task for the business to grow,” comments Ajay.

 

Are you hiring your employees correctly?

Last year, we published an article called How To (Properly) Interview a Job Candidate. Employers need to understand that hiring staff is an art; it requires a lot of experience, skill, and the correct approach. Please read the following excerpt.

“[A call] to all potential employers out there, an interview process shouldn’t mirror a courtroom cross-examination; when you’re looking to hire a new staff member, it’s vital to be cognisant that you’re investing in the person. There is no way that a litany of ‘Yes’/’No’ questions and direct, side-by-side comparisons of their answers against their CV is going to provide you with the necessary insight into the candidate’s personality to make the correct decision of whether or not they are a good fit for the job role and company as a whole. This misguided ‘cold-call approach needs to be scrapped from your recruitment policies and procedures.”

Please read the full article here to find out the correct approach to hiring top-talent employees.

 

Your employees are your most valuable asset

Your overarching goal is to grow your business – this includes revenue, brand reputation and client acquisition – all of which culminates in receiving a lucrative return on investment (ROI). To achieve this goal, you need a workforce to perform the required tasks. However, a realistic employee to finance ratio needs to be taken into consideration at the same time for business sustainability purposes.

Imagine this scenario

Your business is seeing impressive growth, and you feel you’ve reached a point where you can expand your client base and service offerings; that’s fantastic, but it means hiring more staff. Your vision is blinkered; the prospect of making millions is all you can see. You hire 20 new staff members based on unrealistic forecasts. Your accountant sends you the latest financial statements a month down the line: cash flow is almost non-existent, and your balance sheet is a mess. What’s your next move?

Many business owners create distrust in their organisations by hiring people. Whenever the figures don’t balance, and you’re accumulating on the wrong side of the spreadsheet, mass layoffs tend to follow. This is not how you run a successful business.

The problem you’ve created

“You’ve broken a fundamental rule: you’ve treated your employees like disposable assets. Unlike bonds or property, human assets have emotion and, in many cases, a family and other dependants. The result: anger, despair and anxiety for employees, not to mention the ripple effect of a bad business reputation. Furthermore, the employees that remain will never be able to work at optimal capacity and feel free to work and follow through on their experience and be themselves because they can’t be sure if another mass layoff may occur,” comments Ajay.

 

Effective employee management is required

Business ownership and management are a position of leadership that requires employers to find a balance between interpersonal (emotional) skills and objectively assess employees’ contribution to the business’s goals. If you’re inexperienced with handling this type of management task and are feeling overwhelmed, take a breath…in…and…out. We wrote a previous article called Your Guide to Effective Employee Management. Here’s a snippet to help you. “Start off by watching this video presented by acclaimed author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek,  entitled, ‘How great leaders inspire action. After watching this 18-minute masterpiece, you’ll have a refreshed mindset and know exactly why your business exists.”

 

Do you know how to fire an employee legally?

It’s a topic that needs to be looked at from a holistic perspective. “Do not just lay off people because of little mistakes they made. It’s your responsibility as a business owner to make sure they are passionate about their jobs and want to help the company succeed,” comments Ajay.

It’s also vital for employers to remember a legal process needs to be followed if you wish to terminate a contract, or as a last resort, retrench permanent staff. All of the processes and procedures need to be explained in the official employment contract given to the employee when they were hired. If an employee is unfairly dismissed, you may find yourself embroiled in a court battle. Do you need more information and/or check whether your employment contracts are up to par? Speak to an HR professional.

Remember, how you choose to hire, and fire staff can have a splashback effect on your business trust and culture within the organisation. Furthermore, the power of social media can disperse a negative brand reputation to the public quickly. Once your audience finds out, you’ll likely lose the majority’s trust and loyalty; you will alienate them. This can severely impact the sustainability of your business. So, please, ensure that you know the hiring and firing processes comprehensively. It cannot be reiterated enough that investment in employees plays a significant role in a business’s sustainability.

 

Connect with Ajay

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Insights From Our CEO: Remuneration Structures For Sales Staff

Welcome to our exclusive series of personal – and business – wealth management insights from Ajay Wasserman, Founder and CEO of the Fio Group. He is an expert business and wealth consultant to business owners and entrepreneurs helping them to create long-term sustainable wealth.

In this article, I would like to talk to you about commission (also known as remuneration) structures for sales staff.

Are you meeting sales’ staff expectations?

Sales can be a cutthroat industry. You’ll likely have months when you struggle to turn a profit and purple-patch months when you exceed income expectations. In an industry known for being volatile, your sales staff are the ones who are there for you. They need to believe and be motivated to sell your product. However, if the company is struggling, and they have expectations that you cannot meet, naturally, they will be demotivated. A feasible way to tackle this problem is to re-evaluate remuneration structures.

 

Different types of remuneration structures you should consider

Commission-only structure

If you do not have a lot of capital available in your business, one of the easiest ways to get your product and service out into the market is by hiring commission-only sales staff. This structure means that you won’t need to spend much capital to run the sales team, except for perhaps a business card and a company profile. You don’t have to reimburse fuel, vehicle, cell phone or any other expenses.

You will only need to pay the sales team member the commission on the product or service sale. It helps with cash flow because payment occurs after you have already received payment from the client; the money is already in your bank account. This is the easiest way to create a considerable sales force with zero capital expenditure. The difficulty with this structure is that people with a lot of experience and high-profile networks in the industry are rarely going to work on a commission-only basis.

Salespersons take on risk by opting for a commission-only structure; they don’t have a base salary to fall back on should they fall on financially challenging times. So, the reality is companies that offer 100% commission may experience higher staff turnover. To mitigate a high turnover rate, it may be worth investing in training programmes for junior employees to reassure them they will learn new skills and become well versed in the industry.

 

Base salary + commission

Employees receive a base salary as well as earn a certain percentage of commission on all their sales. The main reason businesses use this structure is that it motivates employees to make more lucrative sales because their commission will be significantly higher. This is a perfect example of a rewards performance incentive.

While this is far more motivating than a commission-only remuneration structure, there are cons that some businesses may want to avoid. E.g. It is pretty complex to administer this type of structure because payroll must manage the salary and commission aspects of payment. According to Chron, “Salesmen can become confused about how their pay is calculated, especially if more than one type of commission is offered. Some companies offer multiple commission percentages for multiple product and service categories instead of one commission rate across the board.” 

 

Net revenue commission

This is easy to calculate and understand the remuneration structure. It’s commonly used at life insurance companies. The salesperson receives a percentage of the premium of every policy that they sell. The premium offered for any policy is usually non-negotiable, and so the salesperson knows precisely how much they will be paid.

 

Gross margin commission

This is generally a favoured remuneration structure for companies dealing with items and/or services with negotiable prices.

Gross margin is a percentage; it is total sales less the cost of goods divided by revenues. E.g. If your salesperson generates R100,000 in sales but R60,000 spent on the cost of goods that they sold, the gross margin is calculated as follows: (R100,000 – R60,000) ÷ R100,000 = 40%.

The gross margin is 40%, and the commission will be calculated on this margin. The commission percentage will change should the gross margin adjust.

 

Tiered commission

A tiered commission structure is used to motivate employees to reach specific sales targets. In a nutshell, tiered commissions pay a flat commission rate until a salesperson hits a certain Rand amount in sales. Once the target is met, the rate increases to encourage them to maintain and aim to exceed his/her performance level. This is definitely an appealing structure, but it does put a lot of pressure on the salesperson to perform. They fail to perform, or there is a drop in the market, preventing them from reaching the necessary milestones; they won’t benefit from this remuneration structure.

The above mentioned are five common remuneration structures for sales staff, but there are many more. So, how do you know which structure is the best fit for your business?  The best sales remuneration structure is the one that will drive your salespeople to perform optimally. 

There is a myriad of aspects that need to be considered. Your industry plays a significant role in the rates. It would be best to consider your sales cycle and your existing employees’ strengths and weaknesses. It’s not a simple decision, so it’s recommended that you speak to a wealth management professional who will advise you once they’ve examined your business holistically.


Salary Scales: How to Find the Right Balance

When was the last time you searched for a job vacancy online? Yesterday, a week ago, a year ago? It doesn’t matter. What we’re discussing in this article isn’t a time-sensitive piece; instead, it’s an in-depth look at salary scales in South Africa.

How do you determine how much an employee – or potential employee – should be paid? It isn’t easy because it walks the line between emotion and financial fact: what the company can afford, the candidates’ expectations and the industry’s economic reality.

Having said this, employees should ideally be remunerated for the value they provide to your business. A salary that’s far below market value could affect employee motivation and, in turn, impact your business’s sustainability and growth. When searching through the job sites, it’s likely that next to ‘remuneration’, it said, ‘market-related. There are numerous factors underly this phrase. We’ll unpack this now, but essentially a tool called a salary scale is used to determine the market value of the job position being offered.

What is a salary scale?

This is very important for both employers and employees to understand fully.

Salary scales guide the range of wages/salaries you pay to hire an employee to perform a job role.

The lower end of the salary scale displays how much you would pay someone who meets the minimum requirements for the role – these are usually listed on the job post. The high end is how much you may pay someone who not only meets all the job specifications but exceeds them.

Salary bands

One of the primary elements that influence salary scales is pay bands. They are groups of positions that are paid within the same salary range. Salary scales are usually calculated through a combination of the average salary for a job vacancy, the location and the pay band into which the position fits.

Jobs are often grouped based on how much education, experience and responsibility employees will be expected to undertake. Pay bands generally have a minimum and maximum salary range to show the starting salary for the category and the maximum that someone with the specified duties should earn.

For potential employees: Don’t base your decision solely on the salary, have a holistic perspective.

While salary may be one of your application’s primary influencers, don’t let it become the ‘be-all-end-all’ factor. Consider the other benefits that the company offers, which may include isn’t necessarily limited to 

  • Flexible hours
  • Work remotely
  • Medical aid and provident fund
  • Enjoyable company culture
  • Performance bonus
 

We all want to make a decent living for ourselves; that’s not in dispute, but don’t let money cloud your judgement. However, if you feel that the remuneration seems too low for the position, you can speak to a reputable human resources company. They can determine whether you’re being offered less than comparable companies using a salary scale.

For new employers: Craft a salary competitive salary structure

Yes, we are living in economically challenging times, but employers should also have a holistic perspective. Offering below-market remuneration won’t attract the calibre of employees you need to help your business grow by creating a valuable team.

Therefore, you must present a reliable, competitive salary structure that will pique the attention of top talent. Whether you’re a fresh or seasoned employer, make sure that you consult HR specialists. They will provide you with sage advice that can be implemented into an effective HR strategy.

In conclusion, it can be deduced that employees’ worth should be based on all of the information mentioned above, working in synergy to obtain a result based on emotional and logical reasoning.

*Bonus content

As mentioned above, if you, as an employer, aren’t willing to pay market-related compensation, you’re not going to attract top talent. It’s that simple.

However, once you’ve decided on the appropriate salary band, have compiled all the necessary information for the job post, you’re going to start interviewing candidates. What if you’re offering an above-market salary but aren’t finding the right person for the job. It’s most likely the way you’re interviewing prospective candidates.

Once the applicant is sitting in front of you, they can’t be seen as the embodiment of the digital ‘job post’. You may have the best benefits and the top salary a company can offer. Still, if the candidate doesn’t believe you see the inherent value they could bring to the company, a sound salary structure based on a thorough salary scale analysis will not be enough.

I bring this to your attention because HR specialists can help you conduct candidate interviews as well.

Here’s a short excerpt from a previous article that discusses how to interview a job candidate properly.

“Consult a professional human resources company that is dedicated to drawing out the character, traits, and overall personality of the candidates sit in front of you. After speaking to Fio’s Head of Human Resources, Rory Theron, I was able to glean valuable insight about the RIGHT way to interview a potential staff member. The discussion is based on initially asking one simple question, ‘How should a potential employee interview be conducted?’

From the outset, forget about the ‘the glove either fits or it doesn’t’ mentality. In fact, start with a metaphorical blank canvas so that you can have a well-rounded idea of the big picture by the end of the interview; based on that outcome, you should have enough evidence to make an informed decision.

The point of the interview is to get to know the person behind the CV. Conducting an interview is an art; questions should be designed to directly, indirectly and subtly elicit responses that uncover whether the candidate has all the correct attributes to fulfil the job role successfully.”  Read the full article.

Fio’s HR team can assist you. We have decades of experience helping companies create and implement an objective salary scale that considers market-related compensation as well as the skills to ensure you hire the best talent available for the job.


How Do I Value My Employees’ Worth?

Employees’ worth (or value) is a complicated question to answer; it’s a real dichotomy due to the concurrent subjectivity and objectivity to the parties concerned. In this article, we’ll analyse, interpret the quantitative data points and qualitative emotions to try and find a mutually satisfying method. 

Differentiating between qualitative and quantitative data

Before we go any further, it should be understood that a business’s employees are their primary asset. You’re investing in people, first. The skills they bring to the table should be seen as secondary. Employees need to be viewed from a holistic perspective. However, this opens a dichotomy: on the one hand, employees are hired to perform a job for which they will receive compensation, but they’re also red-blooded human beings and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. These two aspects are not mutually exclusive. So, firstly, let’s differentiate between employees’ quantitative and qualitative facets.

Qualitative

Qualitative data describes the qualities or characteristics of the employee. It generally appears in narrative form (such as notes taken from a discussion in an interview.) While this data may be challenging to analyse, as an experienced employer, you should have the ability to glean the qualitative data you require to know whether the employee will be a good fit for the role and the business as a whole. In a previous article, we explained How to (properly) interview a job candidate, it provides insight into how to build qualitative candidate-interviewing strategies. Here’s an excerpt:

“From the outset, forget about ‘the glove either fits, or it doesn’t’ mentality. In fact, start with a metaphorical blank canvas so that you can have a well-rounded idea of the big picture by the end of the interview; based on that outcome, you should have enough evidence to make an informed decision. The point of the interview is to get to know the person behind the CV. Conducting an interview is an art; questions should be designed to directly, indirectly and subtly elicit responses that uncover whether the candidate has all the correct attributes to fulfil the job role successfully.”

Quantitative 

This is the data that can be measured, analysed and interpreted to satisfy objective criteria such as key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine whether the employee fulfils the requirements for the job role. There are numerous ways through which you can extract this data. One of the most widely used methods is to ask the employee to complete a carefully designed task that will test his/her abilities to understand and perform the job. The method of measurement is up to you but make sure it reflects the criteria accurately. As mentioned above, qualitative and quantitative factors should have a symbiotic relationship, meaning that both sides benefit from the interaction. In this case, correct interpretation will provide the employer with an in-depth view of the total value an employee brings to a business.

At this point, you may be thinking ‘okay, I understand that amalgamating qualitative and quantitative data to form a balanced perspective of an employee is best in an ideal situation but, at the same time, I’m running a business that has finite costs to the company. How can I utilise the above information pragmatically?’ You are 100% correct. The extraction of employee value through qualitative and quantitative data is only part of the puzzle; now, it needs to be ‘inserted’ into a business’s balance sheet to determine an employee’s cost to company (CTC) value.

According to an article published on Baseline, author Paul A. Strassmann says, “Economists have long viewed compensation as an employee’s worth. I argue that one must turn to the competitive marketplace to determine the true worth of an employee. And chief information officers should understand how to calculate the worth of their employees before they move to cut information-technology costs.” This is a subjective statement which, for many, would be right on the money. Any business-savvy employer knows that compensation should align with the industry’s market value for a particular job role. He/she has to use relevant metrics to calculate a ‘real world’ salary for the employee.

It’s worthwhile consulting a reputable HR company that offers tools to assist you in making this decision. Numerous aspects need to be taken into consideration when evaluating compensation; this is where a salary scale comes into the equation. It takes into account that salaries will vary depending on the potential employee’s experience, mandatory job requirements, geographical location, the company’s internal hiring structure, as well as the methods of negotiation utilised.

Scaling salaries can be a complex process depending on the type of job role being evaluated. That’s why it’s vital to speak to an HR company that’s experienced in this area.

In conclusion, it can be deduced that employees’ worth should be based on ALL of the above-mentioned information working together to form a result based on emotional and logical reasoning that gives you an all-rounded perspective of their value to you and your business.


How To (Properly) Interview a Job Candidate

All businesses want to attract top talent; the perfect-edged puzzle piece that fits the company like a glove. I’ve heard many interviewers complain that they can’t find the ‘right person’ for the job. In truth, you might have, but unfortunately didn’t ask the correct questions or even more importantly, listen properly to the candidates’ answers. In this article, we’re going to analyse why ‘traditional’ interview methods may not reveal the true forte of the person sitting on the other side of the table. To remedy the problem, we’ll introduce techniques that will draw out revelations that will ensure you view candidates from a different perspective.

Traditional methods 

We’ve all experienced the following scenario: you’ve received a call to come in for an interview. Soon, you find yourself sitting in a room being asked blanket questions by the interviewer from a piece of paper that simply require a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. A few of the questions may provide you with a chance to subtly scrape the veneer of your character…and then it’s over.

 To all potential employers out there, an interview process shouldn’t mirror a courtroom cross-examination; when you’re looking to hire a new staff member, it’s vital to be cognisant that you’re investing in the person. There is no way that a litany of ‘Yes’/’No’ questions and direct, side-by-side comparisons of their answers against their CV is going to provide you with the necessary insight into the candidate’s personality to make the correct decision of whether or not they are a good fit for the job role and company as a whole. This misguided ‘cold-call’ approach needs to be scrapped from your recruitment policies and procedures

What you should do… 

Consult a professional human resources company that is dedicated to drawing out the character, traits and overall personality of the candidates sit in front of you.

After speaking to Fio’s Head of Human Resources, Rory Theron, I was able to glean valuable insight about the RIGHT way to interview a potential staff member. The proceeding summary of the discussion is based on initially asking one simple question, ‘How should a potential employee interview be conducted?’

From the outset, forget about ‘the glove either fits, or it doesn’t’ mentality. In fact, start with a metaphorical blank canvas so that you can have a well-rounded idea of the big picture by the end of the interview; based on that outcome, you should have enough evidence to make an informed decision.

 The point of the interview is to get to know the person behind the CV. Conducting an interview is an art; questions should be designed to directly, indirectly and subtly elicit responses that uncover whether the candidate has all the correct attributes to fulfil the job role successfully.

An example of a veiled question that is asked to determine a trait without the candidate even realising they’re telling it to you could be, ‘What does your house look like?’ Clearly this question is way out from left field, but that’s it’s beauty. If they say that everything is always neat, clean and all items have a designated spot for a specific reason, the interviewer can gather that the individual is meticulous, ensuring that no item is overlooked. This is a fantastic trait for a job role largely based on research. It can further be confirmed by asking him/her to explain a random topic in 30 seconds; if he/she becomes flustered, finding it difficult to articulate a coherent explanation, it’s an indication that they are not the type of person that likes to be put on the spot and talk to an audience, entrenching the notion that he/she is a strong candidate for a research position. If this is what’s being offered, he/she should be considered seriously. 

The questions should cover a spectrum that allows an interviewer to determine the candidates’ comfort zones all the way to aspects that may be stressors for them. As mentioned above, questions shouldn’t require a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ response, but rather be leading questions, guided by the candidates’ responses to the previous questions. This essentially continues a drill- down deeper into understanding the attributes of the individual.

Understanding body language

A skilled interviewer also needs to be a master of deducing answers based on body language (also known as non-verbal communication.) There are three main branches that should be monitored. In an article from the Maiberger Institute, published on Medium, they define the following non-verbal communication cues

Proxemics

Proxemics describes an individual’s perception of and use of space, both personal (how much space do they take up) and social (distance from another).

Kinesics

Kinesics describes an individual’s use of body language including the study of postures, gestures, facial expression, and eye contact.

Paralanguage

Paralanguage refers to non-linguistic components of speech that are related to verbal communication. Paralanguage includes voice volume, tempo, pitch, intensity, emphasis, timing, and use of pauses in speech.

Each of these cues ought to be built into the questions. For example, a candidate may have a CV containing all the preferred education and experience but if he/she continually looks at his/her watch, seldomly makes eye contact and is hunched over during the interview, it can indicate they he/she isn’t really interested in the questions and/or he/she is extremely uncomfortable – these are strong signals that the individual is not suited for the position.

Conversely, an individual may not have a CV that ticks all the perceived ‘perfect’ boxes, but they are eager, demonstrate in-depth knowledge, as well as convey positive body language, then he/she is a much better candidate for the job. This is a classic example of interview techniques working well to peel back the layers and see the person beneath.

It cannot be reiterated enough that employers need to understand that investment in the person is a critical step; revenue generated from his/her job performance is a result based on aptitudes identified in the interview. If you need assistance and/or education about how to conduct effective, professional interviews, speak to Fio’s Human Resources division.


Give Your Employees The Benefits They Deserve

It’s vital that all employers know that there are certain benefits to which your employees are legally entitled; they include but are not limited to paid annual, parental, family responsibility and sick leave. An employer has the choice to provide voluntary benefits such as a provident and/or pension fund as well as membership of a medical aid scheme. In this article, we’ll discuss the multifaceted, mutually beneficial reasons why employers should invest in their employees.

From an employee’s perspective, a benefits package increases the value they receive by working for a business; appreciation leads to all-important trust and loyalty. From an employer’s viewpoint, it’s a reciprocal relationship because it promotes happiness as well as a commitment which will reflect in productivity and the quality of work produced.

‘Customers come second, employees first’

Richard Branson put it best: ‘Customers come second, employees first.’ It’s a philosophy that generates an emotional ‘profit’ to both the company and by extension, its clients. In addition to the required legal and voluntary benefits mentioned above, allowing your staff to take training courses is an investment that yields high returns in the form of employee development. Think of it as a ripple effect: the initial drop is the catalyst for widening concentric circles that represent potential revenue growth of your business.

The sentiment is reiterated, in an article published by Entrepreneur South Africa. It says ‘A study revealed that employees who do not feel they are developing in a company are 12 times more likely to leave. Many times companies see staff training as an expense rather than an investment and end up paying dearly in terms of low productivity and high turnover.’

A survey conducted by global analytics and advice firm, Gallup, found that the overall engagement among the employed population in 142 countries worldwide was only 13%; even more disturbingly, 24% were classified as ‘actively disengaged’. These are concerning statistics that reinforce the need to go beyond the call of duty and conduct intensive research about what this generation’s potential employees are looking for when considering business opportunities.

One of the issues that contribute to the abovementioned statistics is that employers don’t always realise that investing in employees has a profound effect on the business’s current – and future – objectives. Let’s use a financial investment analogy to illustrate this point: A short-sighted investor is likely to be looking for funds that, on paper, seem to be ideal for quick, lucrative returns. This may work for a bit, but funds that claim to offer high returns in a short amount of time are high-risk as well as more susceptible to market volatility. Read this paragraph again but now replace the word ‘funds’ with ‘employees’.

It can be argued that this is an unstable, unsustainable investment that Is likely to result in a toxic working environment and possibly cause a high employee turnover rate. The lesson that needs to be learned here is that if staff members are seen as disposable assets, and have no long-term investment aspirations, it may cost your business everything. 

Implement bespoke benefits packages for your staff

The reality is that we live in the age of digital disruption. Job candidates are more tech-savvy than ever. Due to the advancement of technology, they have many ways by which they can find out information about your business. It’s in this light that HR managers and employers need to find innovative ideas that grab job seekers’ attention – this can be achieved by offering benefits tailored to best suit your employees.

Pension and provident funds offer the following specific benefits
  • It attracts and retains valuable employees, stabilising the workforce.
  • Employees are forced to make tax-efficient retirement savings contributions monthly which assist them in securing financial freedom at retirement.
  • Tax benefits – contributions are tax-deductible up to 27.5% of the annual salary or R350 000.
  • ‘Group insurance costs’ are usually significantly less expensive than individuals can obtain in their personal capacity.
Group health benefits can also be considered
  • Group benefits are paid on death, disability, and any other insured benefit.
  • Medical underwriting on group schemes is far less onerous than individual policies with a free cover limit available to all employer groups.
  • Death and disability benefits will cover all employees up to the free cover limit against serious illnesses, without having to provide medical evidence. This is subject to pre-existing condition exclusions for a new cover or recent recruitments.
  • By offering health benefits, employees can go to the doctor for routine check-ups; when they are unwell, they receive high-quality care more quickly than their uninsured counterparts. This leads to an increase in productivity for the business.

The significant overarching advantage is to provide health coverage for all the employees to ensure everyone is protected and that there is a limited operational loss because of an illness.

Additional Group Insurance Benefits

Apart from death and disability cover, ‘group insurance’ benefits may be included to create a customised, competitive benefits package that meets their employees’ needs and expectations.

  • Funeral cover which may include protection for  the employees’ spouse and children
  • Education cover for children of deceased employees to pay for the child’s education expenses.
  • Dread disease cover who pays on a diagnosis of serious illnesses such as cancer, heart attack and/or blindness.

The above benefits can be structured either for a specific category of employees or for all of them, providing financial security for almost any eventuality.

In conclusion, it can be argued that professional and personal growth is a prerequisite for any candidate searching for a job vacancy. It’s critical that as an employer, you have their best interests at heart and want to see them grow in parallel with the business. However, the diverse options to consider can be time-consuming. As independent employee benefits consultants, Fio Human Resources can assist you by obtaining several quotations and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure the most appropriate package for your staff contingent.


Return to Work: Are HR Strategy Changes Necessary?

As 1.5 million South Africans return to work this week, risk-adjusted regulations have been gazetted for employers; these include the provision of two cloth masks for every employee, adhering to social distancing and having hand sanitisers readily available.

Numerous government relief measures have also been put in place: the most recent of which is R2.4 billion of funding that has been made available to employers to help keep businesses afloat during this transition time. Other measures such as debt relief finance scheme for SMEs include R200 billion loan scheme with major banks as well as R70 billion in tax relief for businesses that have a gross income of less than R50 million per annum.

While the government should be lauded for instituting these relief measures, the ease of adjustment and adherence to the new regulations on a practical level remains to be seen. It can be argued that the only way this can work successfully is in conjunction with a re-defined, opportunistic HR strategy.

The need to create new HR strategies – in real-time

At this juncture, a complete reboot of HR procedures may be best. The reason is that there is no precedent on which to base a phased re-integration of operations. New HR strategies have to anticipate and implement strategies that can realise new priorities in real-time.

Businesses should also engage employees so that there will be a mutual understanding when it comes to sustainable strategies requiring sacrifices over the short term. Creative solutions to cut costs could be the difference between successful restructuring of operations and diminished capacity. Considered guidance from HR is imperative.

One of the main worries that COVID-19 has brought to the world’s attention is that we weren’t prepared for a global pandemic. Therefore, HR departments need to develop recovery strategies that prepare and support the workforce and position business sustainability and resilience.

The challenge is that this requires HR to expedite fluid organisational strategies that can be adapted in real-time to align with changing business requirements. HR will need to focus specifically on policies and procedures that include

  • Understanding government regulations and applying available relief measures.
  • Agile learning/training. Employees need to know how to use what is now deemed essential technology to streamline their performance, e.g. how to use video conferencing platforms.
  • Re-establishing employees’ individuality and security.
  • Targeting quick implementation and execution to oust competitors.

These can be seen as short-term reactions to stimulate business recovery. By re-engineering previous HR strategies and priorities, businesses can reposition themselves to flourish in the new realities. A return to the prior way of life is simply not feasible.

HR also has the unenviable task of integrating a long-term vision into their marketing recovery strategies so that businesses are ready to deal with future uncertainties that may arise. This requires calculated anticipation; therefore, it’s recommended that enterprises, particularly start-ups and SMEs, seek professional assistance.

The bottom line is that there has been a business operational paradigm shift. If businesses refuse to adapt and adopt new HR policies and procedures, now, long-term sustainability is unlikely. 

At fio.life, we provide you with access to your own HR department offering services including but not limited to HR strategy; HR audits as well as planning and implementation of bespoke policies and procedures.   


How to Hire the Ideal Employees

Employees are your business’s prime asset. Period.

You’ve opened the door, taken a walk around and have begun to implement the basic infrastructure in your empty room. The next step is to learn how to hire quality employees who can seamlessly understand how to execute your business’s short, medium and long-term goals. 

Numerous schools of thought exist about what constitutes the ideal employee. The answer isn’t as simple as you may think; many layers need to be unwrapped. In this article, we’re going to discuss all aspects of the reciprocal relationship required between an employer and his/her employees so that together, the best possible human resource infrastructure can be developed.  If you’ve never hired employees before, the three most pertinent questions that you are asking most likely are 

  1. How do I attract my ideal employees?
  2. How can I retain my employees?
  3. How do you know if I’m hiring the right candidate to fill a role in my business? ‘What am I looking for exactly?

How do I attract my ideal employees?

Whether employers like it or not, we live in the age of digital disruption. Job seekers are more tech-savvy than ever due to the advancement of technology, they have many avenues through which to access key information about your business. It’s in this light that HR managers and employers need to find innovative ways to separate themselves from competitors by piquing the interest of candidates.

  • Online visibility

If job seekers can’t find your business online, it’s a massive red flag. Brand reputation is a significant attribute for any potential employee. So, before you even think about hiring someone, ensure that your website is fully functional and optimised to be search engine friendly. If you’re having trouble in these departments, consult a marketing firm that specialises in search engine optimisation (SEO) as well as website development.

  • Offer a fresh work environment and office culture

According to an article published on Inc., ‘The happiest employees get along with their co-workers and even continue to see them outside the workplace. An environment with unnecessary stress, flexibility, an attitude of acceptance, and supportive supervisors make people glad to come to work every day.’ It doesn’t matter whether you’re a start-up or established corporate; happy employees who care about their jobs are more proactive, will produce high-quality work, enhance brand reputation which, in turn, leads to more sales.

  • Be transparent 

Through social media (specifically Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), review sites such as Hellopeter as well as word of mouth, it’s effortless for a candidate to see whether you’re burying certain negative aspects about your business in a job post. For example, you may be touting your company as the best place to work, offering numerous perks, but it’s found out that you have a high staff turnover rate, you’ll never appeal to top talent.

  • Offer internships

There are many benefits to offering internships. They are a unique platform which you won’t find through traditional hiring methods. It allows you to assess the prospective employee ‘on the job’. It’s the most effective way to determine whether credentials on a CV can be backed up in real-life stressors such as tight deadlines and managing multiple tasks. From this, you have concrete evidence of whether or not an individual is right for the job role. The most significant benefit is that it’s likely that interns will want to stay with the business in the long term. If you’re a start-up, an internship programme is a practical, cost-effective way to test talent before bringing them on board full-time.  

Interns also bring refreshing energy and enthusiasm. They are eager to learn as well as develop new skills. This is precisely the type of atmosphere you want pumping through your new room; it should set an exciting tone for the work environment you want for your business. As you grow, you’ll find that the infectious energy will rub off on new interns and continue to improve the work environment, which boosts productivity. If you are interested in starting an internship programme, it’s best to get in touch with a professional HR company who will be able to assist you with everything from set-up to implementation as well as monitoring the programme. Well-run internship opportunities spread by word of mouth like wildfire and you may soon be attracting top talent who are chomping at the bit to work for your business. 

However, it needs to be stressed that once you’ve attracted and secured employees, you need to be able to retain them. As mentioned earlier, a high staff turnover rate is a big red flag for any job seeker. Now, we’re going to take a look at this essential aspect in more detail.  

How do I retain my employees?

It’s one thing to attract the talent best suited to your business, but ensuring that they stay is an entirely different ball game, and this is where an employer needs to have sufficient knowledge about employee management. Here are six ways to oust competitors and retain your staff.

  • Ensure your employees are happy and care about their job

This should be a no-brainer, but it’s an unfortunate reality that if you don’t look after your employees, they are likely to leave. According to an article published by Business Insider, ‘workers say lack of engagement is a top reason they’d quit their jobs.’

It further states, ‘Employees want managers to help grow their careers — and if bosses don’t step up, they leave. A new survey found a third of employees who quit their jobs did so because they didn’t learn new skills or better performance. A lack of career growth is one of the biggest reason workers leave, second only to low pay.’

  • Know the value of your employees

Employees should be regarded as your most prized asset and should be treated with the respect they deserve. There is so much untapped potential value available for you, but it can only be realised if staff are mentored and feel appreciated. 

  • Offer workplace flexibility

Take a few minutes to browse a few third-party job-listing sites. You’ll find that many companies are now offering flexible working hours or the opportunity to work remotely as their main draw cards. The truth is that the advancement in cloud computing, customisable content management systems and digital streaming services has ushered in an era where employees don’t necessarily need to work on-site. A Wi-Fi connection to the internet may be all that’s needed. So, if your specific industry doesn’t require staff on-site permanently, offering them the flexibility to work remotely (even for a couple of days during the week) is advantageous for your business because it’s a sought after benefit by job seekers.

  • Have well-defined policies and procedures

As a start-up, policies and procedures should be seen as part of the permanent foundation of the room that you’re developing. Yes, they will change as your business grows, but the fundamentals of well-written policies and procedures will always remain the same. They are necessary because they set the expectations for employees in a document so that there can’t be any confusion about how they should go about their tasks and work as a cohesive team. Furthermore, it decreases the need for micromanagement, allowing the business to function more efficiently and effectively.

  • Employee benefits

It can be argued that professional and personal growth is a prerequisite for any candidate searching for a job vacancy. It’s critical that as an employer, you have their best interests at heart and want to see them grow in parallel with the business. Do you offer your employees any benefits? If not, it makes business sense; from an employee’s perspective, a benefits package increases the value they receive by working for you. As an employer, it’s a reciprocal relationship because employees are committed and happy. This will be reflected in the quality of service output. Benefits that you could offer your employees may include but are not limited to

  • Further education opportunities. Allow staff to take training courses so that they can learn and develop new skills as well as refine current competencies. Through this, employees can add more value to your business. 
  • Care for their financial wellbeing. A retirement fund and/or medical aid will assist your employees’ future financial health. A possible way to help employees in this regard is for you to opt for an umbrella fund. It’s best to speak to expert independent financial advisors (IFAs) who will help you find the best financial product to suit your business’s needs. 
  • Annual bonuses. The festive season can be costly, and a financial incentive will go a long way to helping employees get through this period. It also reiterates that you value all of the hard work they’ve done throughout the year.
  • Be a leader who inspires your staff

When employees respect and trust you, they feel valued secure with themselves as well as their job. Leaders who are accessible; transparent; give honest, constructive feedback and listen to employees are vital to ensuring staff job satisfaction.

  • Appreciate all of your employees’ efforts.
  • Treat everyone with the value and respect that they deserve.
  • Encourage a proactive, fun work culture of collaboration, communication, and engagement. This will aid in helping the teamwork together cohesively.
  • Build positive workplace relationships
  • Welcome new ideas and innovative strategies. Never dismiss any contribution made by employees.

Important traits to look for in prospective employees

With that being said, candidates do need to fit the job role so that the work can be done correctly. So, this traditional part of the hiring process is still relevant. Essential traits of an ideal employee in today’s working world include

  • Proactivity: The ability to take the initiative to create and/or control a situation instead of only responding to it once it’s happened. 
  • Honesty: You may find a candidate who ticks all the boxes, but without honesty and integrity, it’s impossible to form trust.
    • Autonomous: A candidate that will add value to your business is one that does his/her job successfully without needing constant hands-on management. Autonomy is crucial if you offer flexible hours for employees or allow them to work remotely. 
  • Leadership qualities: Leadership begins with self-confidence. Employers can help mould and refine this trait in their employees by positive reinforcement and giving them the opportunities to take on leadership roles such as heading up a project.
  • Detail orientated: We live in a fast-paced world, often having to juggle multiple projects at the same time with tight deadlines. A candidate needs to be able to produce excellent-quality work under pressure.
  • Upbeat and positive attitude: A positive attitude towards work, colleagues is essential. A negative mindset can quickly create a toxic work environment, decreasing morale, overall quality of service output as well as put the reputation of the business in jeopardy.

It’s also beneficial for you to have all of this insight can be consolidated into an actionable HR strategy.

The benefits of a successful HR strategy.

  • Defines the requirements for staff qualification development as well as training opportunities.
  • Establishes an overall system of HR development (policies, processes, rules, responsibilities and accountability) 
  • Facilitates the management of employees’ work performance which includes motivation, social/educational programmes and employee benefits
  • Defines the working conditions, labour relations and influences the organisational structure of the business.
  • Facilitates the achievement of short-, medium and long-term business goals.

Contact us today to book a consultation with our specialised HR division. Your first consultation is free. We can help you start filling your room with employees who will add immense value to your business.


Your Guide to Effective Employee Management

Congratulations! You’re now at the point on your journey where you can start filling your empty room with employees, your prime asset. We discussed this topic in-depth in our previous article; please read it so that you have an understanding of how to hire the ideal employee. In this article, we’re going to dissect how to manage your staff. Welcome to your guide to effective employee management.

What is employee management?

Employee management is a position of leadership that requires a balance between interpersonal (emotional) skills as well as the ability to objectively quantify employees’ contribution to the goals of the business. It’s a topic that needs to be looked at from a holistic perspective. Here’s snippet of three fundamental aspects of employee management:

Measurement and monitoring

During the interview process/processes, the requirements of the job role need to be explained so that the employee fully understands what is expected of him/her – these requirements are known as key performance indicators (KPIs). It’s a legal requirement for you to compile a formal job offer in the form of an official contract. The KPIs should be stated in an appendix in his/her contract. However, it’s just as important that as his/her manager, you have a meticulous understanding of the KPIs that you are obligated to perform for your employees. Once employment commences, you’ll need to actively monitor and measure whether your employee is meeting his/her KPIs. It’s an essential managerial duty because failure to do so can have a detrimental effect on the financial wellbeing of the business.  

Open, honest communication

Effective communication between you and your employees is crucial for business success. At the most basic level, the workplace should have an inherent, unique culture or ‘personality’ that resonates with them, making them enjoy working there – we’ll discuss this in more detail later in the article.

Tips for better communication include:

  1. Actively listening to your employees
  2. Scheduling one-on-one meetings
  3. Scheduling group meetings
  4. Understand unspoken signals – e.g., negative body language; overall apathy
  5. Recognising and appreciating employees’ work
Discipline 

Part of being a manager, whether you’re comfortable with it or not, is to implement disciplinary actions against employees if he/she contravening company policies and procedures . It’s imperative that you’re able to take on this responsibility and deal with it in the correct manner. If you don’t have experience in this aspect of management, consider taking a management course – a reputable HR company will be able to assist you.

What are the traits of a successful manager?

The position of ‘manager’ shouldn’t be taken lightly. You have intellect and authority that forms a significant part of the backbone of the business. You have to be a leader. Particularly, if you are building a start-up, it’s important to learn and/or refine the traits of a manger who is a role model to which employees can aspire – this is a significant drving factor towards the business’s sustainability and brand reputation. 

Take a bit of time and etch the following traits into your mind so that they can be comprehended and actioned proficiently.

  • The ‘halo effect’

Leaders who have the ‘halo effect’ exude a charisma and self-confidence to which others are drawn. An article published in SUCCESS comments, ‘They are perceived by others to be leaders who are capable of great things. Their shortcomings are often overlooked, while their strong points are emphasised.

  • Transparency

Hidden agendas can severely hinder the productivity of a business. In the spirit of reinforcing a positive working culture, be completely open with your employees with regards to any information that has the potential to affect their jobs.

  • Effective communicator

Even though this has already been mentioned, it needs to be reiterated because it forms an integral part of the business. A leader knows exactly when to talk and when to listen. Be succinct and clear when communicating information to your staff. It’s imperative that you can articulate everything from high-level organisational goals and operations to specific tasks.

Serial entrepreneur and marketer, Deep Patel reiterates this in an article published by Forbes, ‘you need to be able to communicate on all levels: one on one, to the department and to the entire staff, as well as via phone, email and social media. Communication is built on a steady flow of verbal and nonverbal exchanges of ideas and information, so work on being approachable and involving people from different levels.’

  • Setting achievable goals

What is the purpose of your business? What do you want to achieve for the business as a whole as well as for yourself and employees? If you can’t definitively answer these questions, sit down in a quiet place and set aside some time for introspection to find your why.

Knowing your why

Start off by watching this video presented by acclaimed author and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek,  entitled, ‘How great leaders inspire action’. After watching this 18-minute masterpiece, you’ll have a refreshed mindset and know exactly why your business exists. Please watch this video before continuing to read.

The video can be boiled down to the following powerful statement: ‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.’    

Can you feel your vision flowing through your veins? Have you found your why? Fantastic! Now, it’s time to translate it into achievable goals that you wish to accomplish. Remember, that a shotgun approach isn’t going to work; it’s going to take time if you want your goals to be sustainable – they are the lifeblood of your business.

These goals may not always work out as you initially planned, but it’s the job of a successful leader to keep persevering through tough times. Never throw in the towel.

The popular mnemonic below outlines five bases that should be covered when communicating high-level goals to individual tasks. Remember to keep your objectives SMART:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable 
R – Relevant
T – Time-based

1. Have a vision for the future

An exceptional leader has the ability to see the big picture; a clear vision of where the company should be in  future. They are self-assured, optimistic and inspire passion. Furthermore, you need to be able to tackle and manage change within your industry. In today’s fast-paced dynamic workplace, a business has to find a balance between stability and growth. Your long-term vision should be compiled into various strategies, but at the same time, be flexible enough to account for potential change no matter how big or small. 

2. Accountability and responsibility

There is a fine line between abusing and/or using a position of power correctly; for many people, authority can become an aphrodisiac that can severely tarnish relationships with employees and in turn, brand reputation. A leader is strong enough to accept responsibility and take ownership without making any excuses or taking passing the buck to an employee who has to carry the burden.

Patel comments that, ‘They appreciate the importance of supporting and encouraging individuality while also understanding organizational structures and the need to follow rules and policies. They are able to balance different perspectives while taking appropriate action.’

3. Create lasting employee relationships

Great leaders have the ability to motivate their employees to do their best to contribute to the company’s goals. Employees who feel valued and appreciated, who feel like what they do makes a difference, will feel engerised to push harder to achieve success personally and professionally. In conjunction, they also need to be willing to take risks and encourage innovative creativity. 

How do I foster growth, trust and loyalty from your employees?

A business that promotes growth, trust and loyalty are the most successful because their prized asset, employees, feel valued, able to trust their manager and exude an overall happiness. Here are two ways to assist you in this endeavour.

Effective listening

Importance of non-verbal communication

Body language such as posture, facial expressions and overall attitude towards the subject or the speaker themselves can speak volumes. Here are a few examples of negative body language that can damage with your employees.

  • Looking at your watch: Looking at your watch constantly signals that you are not interested in the conversation. If you are on a tight deadline rather ask if you can reschedule the meeting.
  • Not making eye contact: By looking down or refusing at to make eye contact with your employee is not only rude, it indicates that you are not taking their issue seriously and are completely disinterested.
  • Fake smile: It’s very easy for an employee detect a fake smile. A true smile incorporates the entire face including the eyes. It’s known as the Duchene smile
  • Tapping: This is similar to looking at your watch. It’s an indication that have no interest in the conversation; it also signifies impatience.

Don’t do any of the above action because your employee will feel disrespected and degraded; their trust in you is lost.

Understand the underlying feelings:

There may be numerous underlying causes that has led to this conversation. Don’t interrupt them; let them express their feelings/opinion. Listen to the actual words they’re using. Recognise your preconceptions: No matter what your feelings towards the speaker may be, they are still your employee and you have obligations to them, if you are unsure about what the speaker means, ask for clarification instead of making assumptions.

Allow employees to grow personally and professionally

There is absolutely no substitute for ongoing employee development. Today, with the possibilities of working remotely – or from anywhere in the world for that matter – the average job longevity for an employee is approximately two years. They are continually searching for new, exciting opportunities, and they will find them. So, as a manager, you need to action a strategy to give employees the prospect to upskill. The benefits of paying for employees to attend training courses include

Preventing boredom: “For those of us who aspire to be original, predictability can be the worst kind of banality.” – James Spader, as Alan Shore, in the television series, Boston Legal.

The traditional ‘go into the office, perform your tasks, and go home should be scrapped from your business model. The chance for job advancement and ongoing career development is vital to forge employee loyalty. 

Increase Productivity and Satisfaction:

Employees will naturally become more inspired, productive and satisfied with their job if they are offered support. By adding ongoing development opportunities with an employer’s support, the business has the potential to grow significantly. The employees’ fulfilment may even spark them to develop key leadership traits such as self-awareness and process management – this is fantastic for employee career advancement and the business as a whole. Make sure that you are always actively seeking new ways to improve employee job satisfaction.

Attract and Retain Talent:

As mentioned earlier, more job seekers are joining the gig economy, so you need to offer existing and prospective talent opportunities that would be difficult to find somewhere else. 

In this case, an employer needs to remember the fundamental fact that employees are your most important asset and therefore you need to invest in them. Potential candidates want to know that their investment (time and expertise) in your business provides them with favourable returns. 

Looking after your employees’ financial wellbeing can be another motivating factor to attract top talent. Consider consulting an independent financial adviser; he/she can help determine which products will suit your business – a provident fund/umbrella fund and medical aid will usually be recommended. 

How do I manage policies and procedures successfully?

Professionally written policies and procedures allow you and your employees to know the “official” ways about  how everyone should go about their tasks and, in turn, work as a cohesive unit. As a manager, you need to see these documents as a permanent part of the foundation of the room developing. It’s very likely that policies and procedures will need to be updated as the business progresses, but the fundamental aspects will remain the same.  

Furthermore, it decreases the need for intervention, allowing your business to function more efficiently, and consequently, increases the potential revenue growth. This creates a stable working environment. A copy of your company’s policies and procedures should be available for all employees to view in the form of a booklet or a downloadable PDF.

Ironically, well-written policies and procedures should actually serve to minimise the intensity of hands-on management.

Our HR experts will work directly with you to compile these in a way that is easy to understand and implement accurately, ensuring your business achieves its short, medium and long-term goals.

How do I create a safe, productive and fun working environment?

There are various aspects that you can promote and implement – but, remember that it all starts with you; be the role model.

Studies have shown that employees who enjoy their job are far more likely to have a deeper engagement with their work and are therefore more productive. As a manager, it’s part of your job to ensure you have happy, healthy employees in the workplace. 

Here are a few ways to create a safe, productive and fun working environment.

  • Team building events: Group activities allow all staff members to bond in a casual environment, making it a perfect way to engage with them on a personal level; the more you learn about someone, the more comfortable you are with them. It will improve communication and enhance the teamwork ethic.   
  • Engage and learn about your employees through one-on-one conversation: Make a concerted effort to connect with your employees in person. By doing this, you’re establishing yourself as a manager that cares, which, in turn, provides unparalleled motivation.
  • Have a bit of fun during the day: Everyone needs a bit of downtime during the day; the demands of daily business operations can become overwhelming. So, take a few short breaks during the day to completely unplug and chat about topics that don’t have anything to do with work. Throw in a few jokes as well because laughing releases dopamine (the feel-good hormone) which will help everyone relax and feel refreshed when they get back to work.
  • Clean and comfortable workspace: The physical workspace should align with the culture you want to create. Dirty desks, uncomfortable chairs, sub-par equipment and a general blandness cannot foster good relationships and encourage creativity and productivity. Spruce up the workspace with different elements that reflect your brand’s culture/image that you want to project to customers.
  • Occupational health and safety measures: Did you know that If you have 20+ staff, the correct health and safety measures need to be in place. Occupational health and safety is designed to ensure a company has the knowledge and means to prevent injuries and hazards in the workplace. Are you unsure if your business meets health and safety regulations? An HR audit performed by a professional company is the best option. Based on the audit, you’ll be advised on the necessary steps to take to meet the required standard.

Creating a safe, fun and productive working environment is the epicentre of your business. As such, it needs to have a symbiotic relationship with all employees. In return, your company will reap the rewards of having a team that works cohesively, produces world-class work and enjoy every day they spend in the workplace.

How to I resolve employee conflicts?

Should conflicts arise in your business, it’s critical that as a manager, you are able to handle them properly and professionally. It’s in your best interests to see conflict through a lens of positivity. If you dealt with correctly, it can ‘clear the air’ of any unaddressed, simmering issues which can be resolved.  Clear and open communication is the cornerstone of successful conflict resolution. Please take some time to read the following tips you can use to resolve conflicts.

  • Recognise that there is a situation: Doing everything that you can to avoid conflict is the worst tactic you could employ. It’s imperative to understand that open communication is part of the resolution process. 
  • Let each party have his/her say: Conflict is usually accompanied by anger and other emotions. Let the parties express their feelings, and acknowledge them, before you discuss different ways to put a problem-solving process into place.
  • Dealing with an employees’ anger:  This can be a difficult emotion to deal with depending on different personalities, but this is where your communication skills, particularly effective listening, need to be used to calm the situation. Be cognisant of the following and allow the person to know that he/she knows that he/she is being heard, understood and that you’re empathetic to him/her – positive body language will go a long way to achieve these goals.
  • Define the issue: Establish and understand the problem as accurately as possible. This will help you determine the potentially damaging impact that it may have on relationships within the team and the business as a whole. 
  • Determine the appropriate action(s): Once you’ve determined and implemented the necessary actions (these should be stipulated in the employment contract); make sure that you monitor the situation: follow-up meetings with the parties to find out how/if they are working cohesively.

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