30 May 2011

Lifting Unemployment - Time to Rethink How

Unemployment has risen to 25% within the first quarter of 2011. This figure is the highest in a selection of 11 developing nations with the runner up being Tunisia at 14% (CIA World Factbook). We may feel we have our hands tied, but there is something that each citizen and company in South Africa can do to alleviate this situation. Our intervention is in fact critical to the improvement of our economy.

“One solution is for us to move away from our narrow employment model and to think more creatively about how we can actively look for ways to create employment” says Zelda Pieters, Director of HR Inspiration.

“This need not necessarily be about creating new jobs, but is rather centered on assessing current job profiles and the way in which we recruit outsourced service providers”

Restructure Flexible Duties

There will always be those roles that simply cannot be altered or shared by more than one person. However in roles where some duties may be flexible, creating a new job, even if it is for a half day position, will not only give you access to a greater pool of talent, but could boost productivity and enhance performance.

Support the Little Guy

So many small companies are sidelined as they appear not large or robust enough to deliver services to larger organizations. By allowing a collection of micro enterprises to tender for work as a united front – thereby ensuring you still have access to a range of skills and services, the burgeoning number of SMME’s post the massive retrenchments in recent years are supported and allowed to thrive.

Re-invest Yourself in Others

“On more than one occasion in your career, there is no doubt that someone has taken the time to invest in the development of your skills and asked for nothing in return” says Zelda. “Giving back to your country by doing the same can have an incredibly valuable impact” she says.

Opening up your company to job shadowing or causal employment opportunities allows you and your team to up-skill your community which will bring them nearer to gainful employment and assist you in achieving your CSI and BEE targets, as well as making you feel simply great!

Think Creatively

The onus is not just on employers to make a difference – but the individual as well.

Micro enterprises need to network and present themselves as a united front to larger organizations, while unemployed individuals with specialised skills need to think of positive out-the-box ways to market themselves to employers – expecting not necessarily the corner office, but whatever opportunities are presented to them.

Companies who require assistance in restructuring job profiles and individuals who are seeking career guidance are invited to contact Zelda Pieters, Director and registered Industrial Psychologist of HR Inspiration for further guidance or a one-on-one consultation. Please contact her telephonically on +27 21 930 9022 or via email at zelda@hrinspiration.co.za. Visit our website to view our complete range of services. www.hrinspiration.co.za

01 March 2011

Virtual Workforce to Double in 2011 – How to Manage the Inevitable

3 out of 4 companies currently employ virtual workers in some form and the numbers of virtual workers employed in these companies is predicted to double in 2011 alone (Right Management Study 2010).

Beyond understanding what is driving this trend however, HR and management personnel are faced with a new challenge – how to prepare for and manage their inevitable virtual workforce.

A move to flexibility

The days of everyone working 9-5 are changing rapidly. Younger generations entering the workforce, and the surge in women who now assume high-powered positions, has meant that the average worker wants more flexibility.

“Generation X & Y are more output orientated – they’re all about being productive - merely being at the office is just not good enough for them” says Zelda Pieters, Director of HR Inspiration. “Women still have the family responsibilities they had before, so a flexible working arrangement will assist them in balancing these conflicting responsibilities.  

The technological explosion

20 years ago we could never have predicted that technology would be so successful and cost-effective.

“Technology has changed the way we live and work” says Zelda “Companies that would never have considered a larger geographical spread before – can now do so with the help of cost-effective and accessible technologies, such as virtualized desktops, intranets, video conferencing and so forth that connect workers seamlessly from around the globe”.

Recognising a potential Virtual Worker

They’re the person who is always on time, sports a tidy desk, is super organized and often the centre of the office party. They enjoy spending time on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and have no problem communicating with colleagues and management over a variety of technology platforms. They work well in a team, but are perfectly happy to champion projects all on their own.

“Most importantly, this needs to be a person you can trust” says Zelda “you will not be able to monitor your virtual workers every move, so you need to be confident that they will get the job done on their own and not compromise sensitive information”

Positions ideal for virtual work include anything administrative, sales, customers service and computer based in nature.

Preparing for the virtual work plunge

As with anything, planning is key and this cannot be truer than of the virtual work relationship.

“Virtual work roles need to form part of an overall company strategy” says Zelda, “this will help HR in identifying which positions would be most suitable” she says.

Detailed performance targets will need to be identified as the virtual worker will not have the office environment to rely on which often motivates activity.

Companies who require assistance in developing and implementing a Virtual Workforce strategy are invited to contact Zelda Pieters, Director and registered Industrial Psychologist of HR Inspiration for further guidance or a one-on-one consultation. Please contact her telephonically on +27 21 930 9022 or via email at zelda@hrinspiration.co.za. Visit our website to view our complete range of services. www.hrinspiration.co.za

06 December 2010

Thanking staff – your best investment toward a secure future

The world’s most successful companies treat recognition as a critical business process. It is the cheapest, yet the single most influential investment you will ever make for your organisation.

In a global 10 year study performed by the Jackson Organisation and Healthstream Research, the results of 200 000 interviews with management and employees revealed that:

-       Those companies where employees scored the highest in rating their managers as doing "a good job at recognising employee contributions" also came in at the top in regard to customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and employee retention.
-       Companies rated as most "effective in recognising excellence," saw their return on equity as well as return on assets tripled in comparison to those organisations that were rated lowest in recognition. 

“But organisations are feeling the pinch” says Zelda Pieters, Director of HR Inspiration. “and executives are looking for different ways to motivate staff and build morale”

Even if your company has a formal recognition program in place, 2010 has been a financially challenging year for many organisations, making the usual year end function and bonus far less likely for most. 

“We are being forced to go back to basics and delve deeper beyond material forms of gratitude” says Zelda. 

Generic emails, recognition ceremonies and gifts have their place, but they cannot replace the incredible impact of a personalised encounter, in which a heartfelt, sincere word of appreciation is expressed.

Simply saying ‘thank you’ however is not enough. 

Get personal

“It’s a one-on-one thing where you as an executive, manager or supervisor are able to take a member of your team aside and acknowledge their contribution to the company” says Zelda. 

 “To get this right, you need to observe that staff member and get to know them well - understanding their values, personal challenges and activities which will enable you to recognise the subtle things they do and express your appreciation in an authentic manner”. 

Many managers are unsure as to how to express gratitude. “It’s one of the first things we were taught as children” says Zelda “Keep it simple - we can never devalue the impact of sincere gratitude. It still means so much to people because it resonates with the core of who we are”

Start 2011 off with a bang!

Take time ahead of this festive season to review your mission as a company and pinpoint the behaviors you need to motivate in order for your company to realise better results in 2011. Honing the art of saying thank you will help you achieve your goals.

Companies requiring guidance regarding their recognition strategies are invited to contact Zelda Pieters, Director and registered Industrial Psychologist of HR Inspiration for further guidance or a one-on-one consultation. Please contact her telephonically on +27 21 930 9022 or via email at zelda@hrinspiration.co.za. Visit our website to view our complete range of services. www.hrinspiration.co.za

13 October 2010

2011 – An Opportunity to Succeed in the Retrenchment Aftermath

2009 and 2010 were both challenging years for many businesses, but especially for those electing to retrench staff on account of financial difficulties. For these employers, 2011 could be an even tougher year as they struggle with the task of retaining staff and keeping them motivated under an increased workload.  

“I have seen numerous clients struggling with an increase in absenteeism, sick leave, low morale and a decrease in productivity and work quality” says Zelda Pieters, Director of HR Inspiration. “Employees are really feeling the effects of retrenchment and as a result, clients are facing further skills losses as employees elect to find other, less stressful jobs”.

Despite the challenges businesses face right now, it is vital to keep employees motivated and productive in order to help ensure the stability and success of the company.

Recognise the Signs

Zelda recommends that HR and management keep an eye out for signs of burnout within themselves and their employees.

Signs of burnout include:-

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Negative attitude
  • Moodiness
  • Agitation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Frequent illness
  • Increase in substance abuse
  • Nervous habits (nail biting, pacing, rapid speech)
Open Door Policy

An open door policy will let employees know that they can confide in management if they are experiencing problems. Not all employees will feel comfortable about approaching management directly however, so making a point of personally checking in with staff members regularly, will help you to provide them with the support and recognition they need.

“If employees feel that you are interested in their wellbeing, it boosts their confidence in the company” says Zelda. “Ask the employee how they are coping and let them know that you appreciate the contribution they are making and the stress they are under. This will also provide you with the opportunity to recognise problems and pinpoint interventions that will keep the employee healthy and motivated”.

Ongoing Motivation

Motivational strategies needn’t cost the earth. Consider giving staff some time off to rest and recuperate – this could be a few hours off once a month, or on a Friday afternoon. In-house morale boosting activities can include team sports, games, healthy outdoor activities, weekly motivational meetings or talks, or a ‘bring and braai’. These interventions will inject fun into your employee’s lives and build positive morale. 

Although 2011 will be a challenging year for many companies, the opportunity to build the foundation for stability and success by retaining the skills you have using a supportive and motivational approach will benefit both employer and employee not only in the long term, but in the short term too. 

Companies experiencing the effects of retrenchment and other HR challenges are invited to contact Zelda Pieters, Director and registered Industrial Psychologist of HR Inspiration for further guidance or a one-on-one consultation. Visit our website for our contact information and to view our complete range of services. http://www.hrinspiration.co.za/