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 |2017-03-06T14:11:28+02:00March 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 |2017-03-06T14:08:36+02:00March 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 |2017-03-06T14:06:07+02:00March 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 |2017-03-06T14:02:29+02:00March 7th, 2017|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship, General|0 Comments

Recruiting the right people for the right job

Getting the right person with the right skill, enthusiasm, expertise and confidence for the post within your business is as rare as winning the Lotto. Or is it?

What can be done to better recruit the right staff members within your business? There are a number of key strategies that can be followed to help eliminate the errors of recruitment that will help get closer to the right person.

The number one error we see in small business is what I call ‘Sympathy employment’. This happens when we are requested or even forced into employing someone from our own family, church or friend circle just because of their relationship with you. This request often comes from your mother or someone else you find it hard to say No to. You employ this person and from day one they become a slacker and high maintenance. These people are hard to train, discipline or get rid of. If you have in the past or are planning to employ someone like this: DO NOT.

Another issue we see in small businesses is that staff are either recruited far too early for the post or too late. Both these result in a huge trough of productivity for the new staff member who is either board or over-worked. Staff should be employed at the right time, just as the workload is increasing allowing just enough time for Induction, training and orientation into the business. Timing is everything

Developing a solid business case and job description for new posts is key. Too often we think we know what we need and then once we are stuck with a staff member, we try to bend our business around their skills and needs. This compromise will always begin to derail your business and your long term strategies.

Getting professional help is a must for more skilled posts. I know that recruitment agencies are expensive and they don’t seem to ‘earn’ their money, but their experience and insight into the process of recruitment will be invaluable in the long term. Get help from the right people.

Do not recruit off GumTree or CraigList or any other free web based advertising platform. You will get all the people you do not want or need. We put up an advert for an admin post earlier this year and got over 300 applications. Most of them with spelling errors and completely inadequate skill sets.

Then once you have employed someone you need to put them on an induction programme: more on this in the next post.

By |2017-03-06T13:58:52+02:00March 6th, 2017|Business Resources, Leadership|0 Comments

Are Your Staff Developing?

This week we will look at staff development within small businesses. I am convinced that our staff are and always will be our most important asset. But with this comes a huge maintenance bill and related effort. For most small business owners we chat to, the number one complaint is either Debtors or Staff. Debtors we will chat about some other time. But staff are and continue to be the gripe of any business. So what is it that we need to do: other than fire them all and work alone, yes, we think about it too.

The issues around staff can be grouped into the following topics, each we will focus on within this series of posts.

  1. Recruiting the right people for the right job
  2. Inducting staff into your business
  3. Staff development and education
  4. Accountability and assessments
  5. Cutting, pruning and firing

These topics will be posted on our various platforms over the next few days. Please comment, ask, object and offer further advice. We all need to learn more about how to get these things right in our businesses.

By |2017-03-06T12:28:26+02:00March 6th, 2017|Business Resources|0 Comments

Now is the time to start your Business

We have so many enquiries of people who are working on starting a new business. If this is you or you know of someone, then this article is for you.

Being your own Boss and running your own business seems like a fantasy dream for anyone trapped in a corporate job or sitting at home unemployed. But it is not all fluffy pillows and cute puppies. Starting a business is tough and requires hard work, long hours and a host of networks, hoop-jumping and regulations to get through.

That is where we come in. We do this for a living and helping you start and grow your business is what we do, and we are good at it.

To assist you or a friend, we have set aside two days in March to kick start your business.

Join us for a half-day programme to kick start your financial future as you learn what to do next to start your profitable business. In this programme you will:

  • Complete a business readiness assessment
  • Learn what 5 initial steps to take in developing a business
  • Understand the legal and compliance issues
  • Develop a plan of action to take the first step

Signup for one of our programmes today for just R300 and also receive a full list of over 100 business development steps that require your attention within the first year of business.

The dates are:

To register for one of these dates, please click HERE to get to our events calendar, click on the date and complete the online registration form.

By |2017-02-23T14:09:25+02:00February 23rd, 2017|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Do you have a financial calendar?

A financial calendar? What is that, you say? The answer is a simple one: a financial calendar is just a year planner that details all the deadline dates for the various submissions to SARS, CIPC and other compliance agencies. Keeping track of all these alleviates the last minute stress and panic we see on a lot of business owners faces when we talk about these things and will also help eliminate those unnecessary fines you have to pay for overdue returns.

So here are a few dates to remember and add to your financial calendar for this year.

  1. Next week 28th is the deadline for the provisional tax returns and payments for both companies and provisional taxpayers
  2. This is due again at the end of August.
  3. Monthly PAYE and UIF
  4. The deadline for your annual CIPC submission is in the date month that your business was registered. Find your CK1 document and add this to your diary.
  5. If you are VAT registered you will fall in either the ODD or EVEN month’s returns. This will require you to return your 2 months submissions every second month together with payment by the end of the month.
  6. Your workman’s compensation recon is due in May

Add additional items such as your vehicle’s licence renewal, any annual organisational membership or professional bodies and any trade or industry organisation fees.

All these once planned and added to your budget will give you a sense of ease that will not lead to panic, late payments and penalties.

Of course, if you have us doing your accounting for you, we take care of all these items for you and just let you know when we need what from you and how much to pay whom. For more on our accounting service go HERE.

By |2017-02-21T17:29:39+02:00February 21st, 2017|Business Resources, Financial Management|0 Comments

Start Something Today

Is it not time to get that idea in your head onto a piece of paper and into action? I am amazed at how many people we meet that have had brilliant business ideas in their heads for years and never had the inclination or opportunity to do anything about them.

We have a solution for you, in fact, we have two: Each month we run a short half day programme called “Introduction to Entrepreneurship”. This workshop will give you all the information and confidence you need to get out of the starting blocks and headed in the right direction. The next session is just a few days away on the 15th September. DETAILS HERE

Start up schoolThe second option for your future is our 6 module Start Up School. This programme offers a full day workshop every 3 weeks and walks the journey from initial idea through to the business launch pad. We cover all the required checkboxes, issues and compliance matters that you will need to be aware of in developing a new business. This is for you if you have an idea and need it to get to market. To book or get more info email me HERE.

Never let your ideas take up residence in your head; they will only breed regret and frustration. Better to try and refine your ideas and test them in the market before giving up on your dreams. Our success rate is far too high to ignore.

Your future awaits your action today. DO IT.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:05+02:00August 30th, 2016|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Spring into action with a marketing revamp

With winter coming to a close here in Cape Town, the weather is getting warmers and the gaps between the rain and storms a little longer. So is it now time to do some changes and spring cleaning?

One area we see a lot of people needing in their business is a revamp of their marketing. Too many companies we see do the same old same old marketing and sales cycles over and over again. Then as insanity defines, we expect different results and an ever increase in the bottom line.

We have revamped our marketing offerings ready for your new business approach to accessing the market ahead of the end of the year season. We now have two-valued and fun filled workshops: Blue Water Marketing strategies and Narrative Marketing that we have on the schedule for the next few months.

If you are ready to relook, revamp and relearn what your marketing is all about then we are ready for you. Please go HERE to check out for dates and details and get your place booked.

Remember: if you change nothing, nothing will change.

See you at the next workshop.

By |2016-08-30T14:15:56+02:00August 30th, 2016|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments
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