Are You a Learning Legend?

Learning Legend

Last week we launched our online Learning Legends programme. This allows everyone on our current mailing list to have access to our wealth of information and programmes for developing both you and your business.

The first release was access to the book Exploit Yourself, a master class in personal networking techniques. This is delivered in audio book format to your email over a 7-week programme. We have already had a flurry of people taking up the offer. If you want access to this free programme, then simply click HERE and complete the form.

We want to make online learning and access to information as easy as possible for the busy business person. Our programmes will in future include email courses, online video and eBooks. All of these will be available from our website, some free, others paid for, but all worth participating in.

We would love to hear from you about topics and ideas that you would like to have covered and we can see what we can do to accommodate you.

Keep an eye out for specials and discount vouchers for upcoming courses. Do not forget to get your free Audiobook HERE

By | March 13th, 2017|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Cutting, pruning and firing

I am not an HR or Labour consultant, so this post is not about how to fire a staff member and not end up at the CCMA.

Every business seems to have at least one of those high maintenance, destructive staff members. Those people who seem to suck the very energy out of others. They seem wise to the laws and walk very close to the minimal effort line, but their attitude is what does the damage. You know who I am speaking about.

So what can you do? I just love the Apprentice show, where the Boss leans over the table and says “You have been terminated”. But the laws in South Africa just do not allow for this. Due process needs to be followed and this at best of times can be long and tedious. We have just come out of a season of right-sizing and getting rid of some staff, moving others and employing more. Our team is now better and more efficient than ever. It was a long and often painful process, but we did hire the expertise of a consultant to keep it legal and regulated.

It is important to keep your head above the issues during these times and remember that the bigger picture of the business is always more important than the personal issues and remarks from individuals. People can become very nasty and destructive during retrenchments, hearings and warnings, but as business owners, this comes with the job description.

There is also the coaching and consulting that should happen with each staff member to help avoid the decay that leads to dismissal. Regular meetings, encouragement, guidance and education all help prevent staff loss. But alas there are those that will just not cooperate and need to be pruned.

If you are going through this season in your business, hang in there. Keep taking the high and legal road. Do not get sucked into the personal squabble and hurtful remarks. Address people as adults, hear their views and follow due process. It will work out in the end.

If you are struggling with staff and wanting to do some pruning and cutting, then start today. Waiting even a day longer than necessary just adds to your resentment and decreases the joy of coming to work. Good luck.

By | March 10th, 2017|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship, General|0 Comments

Accountability and assessments

You cannot manage what you do not measure and you cannot reward what you do not manage. We see and hear this all the time at productivity seminars, but how does this apply to your staff? Are you able to measure the effectiveness of your staff at their various levels of productivity?

Sure we can count output of widgets made per hour per workstation, but what about staff engagement and happiness. Colin Hall from Learning to Lead works with businesses all around the world assisting staff to become more engaged in their daily jobs. With as much as 80% of staff disengaged or involved in activities other than core productivity, it is no wonder our businesses are stagnating and people are grumpy at the coffee machine.

Regular check-in sessions with a mentor with a huge dose of accountability and at least annual or 6 monthly assessments are key to getting a better level of engagement.

But do not fall into the corporate trap of descending a huge black cloud of despair on the business when it comes to assessments. These should be unrelated to salary increases and more about promoting productivity at work. A great assessment should be at its heart a self-assessment that each staff member can then reflect back to their mentor or manager with. The manager is there to guide through their experience the development of a roadmap that addresses failure, understands learning and maps a way forward that is congruent with the development of the business.

Getting this right is not easy and the larger the business the more staff dynamics you have and the more complex the task becomes. If required, get professional help, there are many companies that offer such services.

I like to think that each staff member is accountable firstly to the business as a whole then to their manager for their job KPA’s and then to themselves for their conduct and behaviour. Sharing this at induction sessions and repeating this at regular mentor sessions helps create an environment of achievement and development energy not easily found in most businesses.

And if you still have those grumpy, unproductive staff members around, then maybe it is time to cut. More on this in the next post.

By | March 9th, 2017|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship, General|0 Comments

Staff development and education

All staff need to be developed as the business grows and changes. There is nothing worse that a staff member who has worked for a business for many years and only has one month’s experience, just repeated 12 times each year over and over again. People like to grow and learn new things. Constant growth allows the business as a whole to grow and thus makes those larger changes easier to manage.

Staff are individual and thus require individual development programmes. We have a staff ‘red book’ that allows each member to plan their year ahead in the form of goals, dreams and hopes. We then work with then at monthly coaching sessions to help them realise their plans for the year. We assist in recommending online or classroom-based courses, hold them accountable for actions and support them through times of hardship that may come up. Theses coaching sessions are held in confidence and have nothing to do with work base assessments or salary increases.

There are so many online training programmes, journals and resources that allow for different facets of personal and skill based development. Many ebooks and audio books can be downloaded and distributed to staff for reading.  I personally commit to three online university courses per year and allocate myself a strict reading programme of one business book per month. Other companies have a reading club for their senior management that they then share the key points of their assignments to the others at a weekly or monthly session.

Learning and development are habits that need to be instilled into every job level in your business. But it does not stop there, people need to be held accountable for things they are assigned, more on this in our next post. What are you doing with your staff?

By | March 8th, 2017|Business Resources, General|0 Comments

Inducting staff into your business

New staff are just that new. They may have looked and sounded great at the interview but they still remain new and know nothing about what you do or how it is done. You can never just leave a new staff member to ‘find their way’ and hope that everything will turn out right.

Develop some form of induction programme, this does not need to be a whole week of training and signed contracts, but at least a checklist of things that are important to the functioning and compliance of your business. Here are some ideas for your list:

  • Employment contract read and signed
  • Access control, cards, ID, fingerprints etc
  • Tax forms, UIF, copy of ID and payroll forms completed
  • Read and signed Companies Vision, Mission and Values document
  • Introductions to other staff members, individually or at a staff meeting
  • Office orientation of where everything is, desk, toilets, kitchen, emergency exits etc.
  • Daily, weekly and monthly schedules for meetings, processes and deadlines
  • Procedure, process and policy manual for reading and reference
  • Chain of command for line managers, HR and other issues
  • Allocation of a mentor

I am sure there are many more, but this list is a good starter kit to get that first day working well and the new staff member settled.

We put all our staff on a long term learning programme, but more on that in the next post.

By | March 7th, 2017|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship, General|0 Comments