Keeping up the morale in the office

teamWhen the team morale is low, it can have an impact on the performance and quality of work from team mates. When you hear more sighs and see more eye rolls than usual, you can be sure that the team is heading into a state of frenzy. There are many reasons for a decrease in energy, but none we will be discussing. The key is to not focus on the problems, but rather the solutions. A low team morale can be more than just a passing bad mood, it can derive from a diminishing sense of job satisfaction. Do note that the morale can be lifted at any given stage if handled correctly.

 

Complimenting work

 

Small achievements are often forgotten as work gets hectically busy, leaving no time for a moment of acknowledgement. Taking the time out to recognise the hard work of an employee or an entire team is the cheapest, and most effective way to boost morale. Take note when someone has improved above and beyond. Handing out meaningless compliments won’t do anyone any good. Instead, tell them how genuinely impressed you are with the particularly good work they did. Giving recognition in front of higher-ups, clients, or at staff meetings can go a long way in making team members feel valued. This is surely one way of getting team members noticed and will give bosses a sense of accomplishment in hiring hard working people – it sure did when they took out business finance.

 

Tackle the frustrations

 

Many employees become frustrated with their work, which is entirely normal for team members to experience a blow to their morale. Don’t wait for these stages to pass, use them as an advantage to seek out solutions and generate feedback. As team leader it is your job to find out how they are feeling and the manner in which they internalise their feelings of work frustration. These conversations may start off slow and tricky at first, but it is a great way to get honest and helpful feedback.

 

There are many ways to break the ice when bringing up these kind of conversations, but the best out of all is to relate to your colleague. Share a personal story about a time you were feeling frustrated with your workload or with a past manager, and how you went about handling those frustrations. Share your views with each employee and explain to them that you are seeking to boost team morale and would appreciate their input.

Safety in our public spaces

There are many reasons why robbers turn to a life of crime. Their actions have caused many citizens to fear for the wellbeing of themselves and their loved ones. With all the crime prevention women_safety_public_transport1measures we’ve taken to ensure the security of our belongings, thieves still find their way around the system. Due to this many have taken the law into their own hands in hope that they are able to protect themselves. Without having to break any laws, there are still secure measures you can take to protect yourself.

Places where crime is most prevalent

Parking lots – Parking spaces have been known to be a hotspot for crime to take place, especially at night without ample light and traffic. The presence of security guards and speed gates has lessened crime significantly and it can be seen as a deterrent from criminal activities to take place.

Malls – Major malls are generally open until late and this is the perfect time for criminals to strike. During these late hours the crowds thin out, leaving anyone perceptible for being a victim of a crime. If you are ever in a scenario where you have to leave the mall late at night, ask for security to walk you to your car, or have someone with you.

Parks – The park may seem like the friendliest place, but is in actual fact a place where many predators lurk. Mothers who keep an eye out for their kids, have their attention mainly focused on their little ones, rather than their surroundings. In an instant they can pick pocketed or threatened with their lives.

What you need to keep in mind at all times

Always have your cell phone close at hand in case of emergencies.

If you can, then avoid using the ATM machine at night, even if you do have someone to accompany you.

Wearing headphones can lesson your awareness.

When you are out on your own, put away your expensive jewelry until you have reached your destination.

Change up your daily routes if you have a walking schedule.

Never stand too close to a vehicle if the driver stops to ask you something. Be sure to stay away far enough that you can escape.

It’s best to go out on your own during the day, rather than at night where you can fall victim to crime.

Don’t walk in deserted areas, where you must pass alleys, trees, and bushes that create hiding places for someone who has the intention to do you harm.

It is safer to use the “buddy system”; ask a friend or two to accompany you to take a walk or go to the mall.

What does a PR strategy in 2016 look like

picBusinesses have had to radically adjust much of their public interaction, as the world becomes more connected. This is thanks to the rise of the internet and, especially, social media platforms like Facebook. Public relations strategies that worked in the past, therefore, might have no place going forward – as the public has become increasingly empowered in its ability to respond and react.

This has proved a blessing and curse to the public relations industry: on the one hand, it means more tools to use. The ability to utilise social media platforms for a business’ benefit can result in instant, free marketing – as the public shares and discusses your digital actions. It can also be detrimental, as an engaged audience can also quickly spread word of their disappointment. It’s two sides of the same coin.

In terms of benefitting, however, it’s worth considering an example. YouTube is a major content platform, ideal for short videos that people will want to share with their friends.

Recognising that comedy and smart satire engages viewers – and makes them feel smart – one company created a parody video about “marketing to women”. The video went viral and currently sits at nearly 300,000 views. People discuss it as an informative, funny video – not as an advertisement for the marketing company itself. Yet, when it comes to marketing, that is the company many will think of due to the viral nature of that one video.

Yet, engaging with the public doesn’t mean merely marketing. As Eric Fischgrund, in the Huffington Post points out, focusing only on media misses large parts of what it means to create a successful PR campaign in the modern era.

As Fischgrund writes:

“It is time for PR firms to embrace digital marketing efforts. No, I’m not just talking about social. E-mail campaigns customized to each client’s needs are paramount. While most of a client’s audience will actually miss that awesome WSJ mention, anywhere from 20%-40% will catch it if you take the time to cultivate e-mail lists and send a timely, professional e-mail following the media relations coup.”

He notes that refining the business’ message is key. Once you have a refined message, there is less chance of the public mistaking a business’ position or a business losing control of the image it’s cultivating.

Considering how rapidly we are moving in this age of instant communication, it’s important that a business stay informed of recent PR developments. One good way is to consider sending staff for public relations courses – or take them yourself, if you are a business owner. This means you won’t feel totally reliant on PR firms, but can retain some semblance of control on the business’ end.

The world is changing and it’s important that all aspects of a business recognise this and respond accordingly.

Why South Africa’s vehicle industry matters

The world is slowly coming to recognise the importance and growth of the South African market. In particular, it is an untapped and potentially massive entrance to the wider African market – one which, when recognised and studied, can be beneficial to various business – construing the African market only within caricatures rather than reality is not unhelpful to African residents but businesses, too, who could stand to benefit if only they put time to study what this area means.

Consider the vehicle industry.

In 2014, Nico Vermeulen, the director of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), noted that the South African automotive industry had integrated into the global manufacturing environment successfully. The environment is one which is characterised by “a relentless focus on cost containment, cost reduction, efficiency improvements and quality”, as summarised by MoneyWeb.

Even in 2012, it was noted that:

“The sector is one of South Africa’s most important, contributing at least 6% to the country’s GDP and accounting for almost 12% of South Africa’s manufacturing exports, making it a crucial cog in the economy. In 2010, 271 000 vehicles were exported.”

What this meant for everyone, from the average driver in Johannesburg to auto electricians in Pretoria East, was that the industry itself stood to be important. It had found a hold and was developing faster than many thought possible.

A good way to examine this is to look at who’s winning this race. In 2015, Toyota sold more cars in South Africa than anyone else. The company did this by primarily keeping the brand itself relevant. The popular Corolla highlights what Toyota did to maintain such a hold on the market.

Leon Theron, General Manager of Technical Services at Toyota South Africa, told Marketplace Africa, a CNN show:

“Currently we sell about 1000 units a month on this model. This model is extremely popular in the rental business and for private individuals out there.

“This vehicle is locally produced and a lot it is locally designed, which is phenomenal, it’s a true South African car. There is a big demand with people saying give us a car with a good size that’s affordable and that’s what we did.”

This isn’t just important for cars but all businesses. Notice that what matters was that regardless of being a Japanese company, the mandate was to understand the necessity of the environment in which Toyota operated in – it didn’t work on caricature or stereotype, but listened to the demands of the wider public and environment. In this way they proved successful, in an area and market often considered unimportant by many others.

The lesson here is that businesses must listen – in this way, everyone, customers and CEOs alike, benefit.

Business trends that will matter in 2016

picWe’ve never been able to accurately predict what businesses will face over a year. However, we can examine unresolved issues that show signs of worsening or improving – but, which, nonetheless appear important for all in the business world. 2016 is no different and it’s important to focus on those areas businesses need to concern themselves with.

Coming from last year, we all noticed an increase concern and focus on cybersecurity.

As the world becomes more and more digitally engaged, we rely less and less on physical documents to track important data. This has meant, however, that other kinds of thieves have been able to acquire our important data – meaning we have had to alter our security priorities to be more focused on digital security.

This hasn’t negated on the ground security, such as having proper control consoles or security guards, though – those still matter, but it’s that we have had to add additional considerations for our way of thinking about security.

Writing in Forbes, Frank Sorrentino notes:

“As we look to 2016, cybersecurity threats continue to prevail, particularly with the rise of fintech and the growing push to develop faster methods of payment and innovative ways to transact. While these advancements are undeniably valuable, new technology breeds new security and fraud risks – thus, we should all make sure to carry over this sense of vigilance and responsibility regarding cyber protection into the new year.”

Another important dynamic will be small businesses, considering how much they are able to help drive an economy. Documenting the many types of small businesses in Harvard Business Review, Karen Mills notes:

“An important but less well-documented type is comprised of an estimated 1 million small businesses that are part of commercial and government supply chains (referred to as suppliers). These businesses are often focused on growth, domestically or through exports, and operate with a higher level of management sophistication than Main Street firms.”

Finally, another important focus for business will be premised on what banks will do. As The Telegraph points out: “Both capital and liquidity have increased in terms of quantity and quality, with equity capital held by banks at least 10 times greater than it was at the time of the crisis, liquidity up around fourfold and leverage broadly halved.”

The article highlights the questions banks need to be asking themselves in 2016; and, similarly, these questions and the various answers matter to businesses to in their responses to the banks’ decisions.

2016 has started off harsh for everyone and it’s important that businesses keep an eye on what’s to come.