Category Archives: Business

Most common staff problems in the workplace

staff problelmRunning a business, whether you’re the owner or the manager, is all about the people you have working for you. How you treat them on a daily basis can have more impact on their productivity and happiness than any other aspect of the business. You could dangle hefty bonus structures, medical aid cover and fun corporate functions in front of them. But if their experience of the daily grind is negative, you’ll find yourself managing a miserable bunch.

 

Possibly the worst part of having unhappy employees is that they can be difficult to communicate with. If your staff members have been festering feelings of unhappiness or confusion or are demotivated, the chances are that when you finally realise they’re unhappy, they’re passed the point of wanting to share. Therein lies your first problem though. Why have your employees been less than eager to share their feelings? Do they feel that management is unapproachable? Or perhaps they feel that their concerns won’t be heard. If this is the case in your place of work you must correct it.

 

Often times, the employees who are most unhappy are that way for simple reasons. To them it may feel that they’re sinking in unhappiness but most times you, as the manager or owner, can rectify their situation quickly and easily. Having open lines of communication with your staff is crucial to running a successful business. After all, a high-functioning business relies on a high-functioning team. Therefore if your team is less than completely happy, your business will suffer.

 

Some of the most common problems that arise among staff members have to do with communication and understanding. Here are three examples of the most common staff issues that you’ll find easy to fix.

 

A staff member isn’t performing because they don’t know what you expect

 

This will inevitably result in the staff member constantly under-performing because they simply don’t know how to hit the marks you require. Unfortunately, this problem is yours to handle from the outset. You cannot actually place any blame on the staff member if you haven’t communicated correctly (of course, assuming they are in fact qualified for the position). You cannot just give an employee a job description. You need to supply them with expectations and practise goal setting with them. You could offer them an example of what excellent performance standards look like. Set up quarterly Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for them to achieve. This will keep your staff motivated but also completely aware of what you need from them.

 

Your employees have no idea of their impact on your business

 

This is something that many business owners don’t spend enough time communicating to their team. If you employ someone to perform a specific function in your company you should definitely let them know that they impact the bottom line. In their performance reviews, you should show them the successes and losses the company has had and explain just how important their role is in maintaining a sustainable business. Through this you will almost immediately pick up if you’ve perhaps hired someone who, while they have the skillset on paper, doesn’t have the necessary knowledge to completely fulfill their function. This can happen quite easily if the employer doesn’t train the employee correctly because they’ve assumed that the listed education is enough. For instance, an employee might have a journalism degree but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily have the know-how to write three high quality blogs for your digital agency everyday, straight out the gates. They will need guidance and training.

 

Non-performance still gets a reward

 

This has to do with accountability. Perhaps you have a staff member who you really get along with. They have a great personality and are extremely creative but they don’t finish the work they don’t enjoy but that is required. Perhaps they even have legitimate personal issues, but you have to ask how many times their second hand Ford can realistically breakdown before they do something about it.This staff member needs to be held accountable for the work they’ve left incomplete regardless of their car, family, kid issues.

 

No matter how well they have done in the areas of work they enjoy. The standard should be that an excellent employee should be rewarded for their good work and you cannot claim someone is an excellent employee if aspects of their work is left incomplete. Similarly, you can’t spend all your time with your problem staff members. You need to manage how you attend to them or they will feel “special” and been seen as such by your other staff members, who’ll land up feeling resentful.

 

To manage the team’s requirements for them to keep operating at a high level of productivity, you need to create clear channels which they can use to communicate their concerns. By having these channels set up right from the start, you’ll have created a sense of trust among your team members. To create the correct channels of communication and ensure that your staff know what they can do if they feel unhappy, you should consider completing human resources and legal courses. These will give you keen insight into how to manage your staff and how to make sure they know and feel that they’re truly the most important asset in your company.

 

Should you give your employee a company car?

buy a carIf you are a business owner who employs staff who need to drive around to do their job, you’ve likely asked yourself this question. Many small business owners will offer their staff members a petrol card to cover the costs of fuel. After all, fuel is the immediate expense when a vehicle is in constant use. But is a petrol card enough? What about wear and tear? Maintenance costs? If the employee decides to trade in their vehicle and purchase something bigger, will you still happily cover the fuel costs? Or perhaps, they purchase a smaller car that costs half the amount of their previous vehicle’s fuel costs – will you use that saved money as a bonus or reward?

 

These are tricky questions to ask. Often, business owners provide their staff with company vehicles when driving is expected as this way the company will cover the fuel, maintenance, insurance and so on. But this means that the staff member can expect a slightly lower salary as they use a company vehicle for their transport needs.

 

These stipulations can be a challenge to figure out. There really isn’t a blanket idea on how to deal with the company vehicle situation. It’s about what the business can afford and what the employee is happy to accept. Often times, companies offer a cost-to-company (CTC) package which will include things such as a company vehicle, a petrol card, a cellphone allowance, medical aid and a pension fund. If the employee accepts the CTC package then they have no say in the matter of what vehicle they drive. Things become extremely challenging when the company wants the employee to use their private vehicle for work purposes. After all, maintaining a vehicle, the tyres, the fuel and so on costs a lot of money.

 

Employees can appreciate a company car more than you think

 

In the case of an employee who doesn’t own their own private vehicle, the setup of having a company car can change their world. Even those who rely on only one car for the family to use for personal needs will find a second car extremely beneficial. In the case of those who earn in the lower income bracket and do manual labour, making use of the work truck to take their kids to school might be the very best benefit they can imagine receiving from their job.

 

But as a business owner, you need to make sure that you can afford the vehicles. The outlay of capital needed is enormous. Even when the car has been financed by the bank, it’s a couple of thousand out of the profits each month plus insurance, plus fuel. What’s more, if your staff are driving often or long distances, you will need to replace tyres more often than on your normal car. Also, you won’t be able to get away with anything less than comprehensive insurance considering you won’t be able to control how your staff drive the vehicle.

 

The tax man is on your side

 

On the positive side, you’ll be able to claim from the tax man off the company vehicles, the fuel costs and a portion of the maintenance too. Which means that tax season sees the business receive a hefty chunk of change, which can be used for something like a major service on all vehicles. What’s more, by offering the vehicles to your employees, you can include this benefit in the CTC package as mentioned earlier, which means their salary expectations are lowered.

 

Do as much research as possible

 

When looking into buying company vehicles, you should do your research before you simply purchase. Have a look online at what the resale value of the vehicle is. This is vitally important as you will likely want to trade in your company vehicles once they’re paid off, or even beforehand. You can do your research by playing around with a car book value calculator which will churn out results of different types of vehicles with a variety of different weaknesses or problems. In fact, if you see a vehicle you like for a good price, you can do a price comparison by using a car book value calculator. It’s best you make use of one that’s a feature on a reputable financial institution’s website so that you can rest assured of accurate results.
You see, vehicles are depreciating assets. Now, while a business could do well to have some company vehicles (they can work as branding and advertising opportunities too), they’re not going to bring in any concrete income. You need to put this down to basic company infrastructure that you believe is a must and not a nice-to-have.

5 simple ways to revamp your workspace

An office is a place where you work but does it work for you? Most of you spend about 40 hours per week at work. That’s the majority of your time per day. Your workspace needs to be as interesting as your profession. Spaces impact energy levels, moods and the comfort level at which you work. Because you spend most of your working hours in the office, it needs to be designed in a way that fosters creativity, productivity and cheerfulness.

The days when offices were staid and clinical spaces, are gone. From lighting, design and furniture to fun elements like wall murals, quirky stationery and colours it’s important to create a positive space. Create an office that will make anyone who works there look forward to coming to the office each morning. Everything you do should reflect your professional personality and this includes the decor of your office space.

You should make your office space feel inspired and give it as much attention as you would your home. It’ll enhance your productivity and make the day go by faster.

Here are a few ways to revamp your workspace.

Moving your office

Sometimes, the best way to revamp your workspace is by moving offices. Your new office will be a blank canvas. It’ll be a space you can mould and shape according to your tastes and needs. The decor of your office must strike a fine balance between design and functionality. You can experiment with different types of furniture, colours and other elements until you get the right mix. You can divide your office by using an industrial sliding door. Perhaps separating the boardroom from the office or different departments from each other.

Designing office cubicles 

A cubicle is the best solution if you want to increase collaboration between employees but you realise they still need separate space to call their own. Coworkers can easily stop to talk to each other and share ideas. Offices being separated by doors make it too easy for employees to avoid each other. Cubicles in an office also provide enough privacy for employees to focus on their jobs and avoid distractions. It’s their personal space. It gives employees the freedom to add their own quirky, classy or professional touch to it. So go ahead and bring your personality to your office and make your work hours pass by easily.

Decorating your office

Many people love to redo their homes nowadays.  This keeps things fresh and allows them to experiment with new styles and trends. Who says you can’t do the same at your office? There’s nothing more uplifting at a workplace than beautiful illustrations filled with colours and designs that motivates you to have a productive and happy day. If you want your walls to be transformed, then wall murals are your answer. Invest in one and watch the energy levels soar in the office. Visitors will love and remember them, too.

Also, colours are a part of the background and they influence the overall look and feel of the office. Dull colours will make you feel slow and inactive where bright colours will cheer you up. Deeper colours will give the office an air of professionalism. Balancing the homely and professional aspects at work can prove to enhance the productivity of a team.

Think about chairs

You might consider it as one of the furniture types that you’ll buy along with the rest of the other office furniture. But ensuring your staff members have comfortable chairs is crucial to their health and wellbeing in the office environment.. Put in great thought and look for good ones as it’s an investment for your staff’s health.

Lighten up

When you’re busy designing an office layout, choosing the right furniture and deciding on open or closed floor plans may take the bulk of your attention. But less tangible elements, specifically lighting, are as important to consider. The office should at least have three points of light: natural, overhead and desk-level. It’s always a bonus if you have windows or a sliding door in your workspace. If not, then you can make up for the lack of light by adding a standing lamp or double up on desk lamps. You should create a modern yet warm feel with lighting.

With your freshly updated office, you’ll feel a renewed sense of excitement about kicking off the workday. You should create an office space that’s more vibrant and engaging.

Tips for taking your small business to the next level

Before you started your small business, before you quit your day job, you spent any free moment you had researching the best way forward. You wanted to know what the experts thought about how you could turn your idea into a successful business. You read many thousands of articles, listened to podcasts any chance you could, asked for advice from friends who’d done the same and searched for books on the subject.

Says Entrepreneur: “In today’s tumultuous economy, many business owners are in need of a jolt — something that helps their companies grow, whether it’s finding new ways to sell their products or to broaden their customer base. Of course, there are many potential avenues for achieving growth, and each business needs to assess at its own business model and determine its own path.”

Time has similar advice: “These days, doing what you’ve always done won’t cut it anymore. Just look at former movie rental giant Blockbuster. All the brand familiarity and market dominance in the world couldn’t save the company when it lagged behind competitors more responsive to critical changes in the market.”

If your small business is beginning to do well, you’re probably wondering how you can take it to the next level. What’s the next step, you’re wondering. Here are some tips to take your business from a zero to a hero.

Consider your timing. As is often the case, in business you need to be in the right place, at the right time. For example, there’s little point releasing a photo editing and sharing app right now. There’s already a major winner in this market. Unless your app can make people look like supermodels and Hollywood actors, you’re probably not going to have much luck. You need to spot a need that your customers have. To do this, you’ll need to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your area of interest. You need to keep yourself updated with new activities and projects  in your industry.

Build your brand. Every single thing related to your brand is a part of your business. If your car is branded with your company’s name, you’d better drive carefully. If someone is paid to answer the phone for your business, they better know how to handle callers. You are going to need to connect with your brand on a personal level so that clients think of it as an industry leader, influencer and expert. When journalists think of your industry, they know they need to contact you for a quote. You’ll need to make sure you know who your target market is and that you’re connected to them when they want to have conversations. You should also be certain your brand is known for its excellent service. When all of these factors come into play, that’s when you can begin to grow your business to the next level. That’s when you know it’s time to contact asset finance companies in South Africa about securing your next big line of credit.

Pivot your business offering. You’re not going to want to do this too soon. But there will come a time when you need to diversify your business’s offerings. Be sure to stick to related products or services, otherwise your business may begin to feel disjointed. This might confuse your customers and push them toward your competitors where they’ll be sure of what they’ll be getting.

Get yourself online. As the world becomes increasingly digital, it’s become essential for every business to have an online presence. When your customers want to check on procuring your services, the first place they’ll search for you is Google. No one uses a phone book anymore. There’s only one place to go for suggestions and solutions. It’s important that your website can be found by anyone who looks for it by making use of SEO strategies. You should also make an effort to use social media to your advantage. This has become increasingly difficult as social media has begun to use algorithms which prefer the companies which are spending money on ads. So, it might be very likely that you’ll have to put some money behind your efforts.

Make sure you take your time to launch and grow your business slowly. That’s the best way to make sure it’s a sustainable success. But, importantly, don’t wait too long to grow your business or you’ll never get anywhere.

6 Security tips to keep your business safe

The aim of a business is to make money and that’s what attracts criminals. Which is why you need to protect your business and your staff with adequate security.

It’s important you analyse your office space to check if you have adequate security. Look at your building from a criminal’s perspective. Are there burglar bars, alarm systems, security cameras and other security in place to protect your company?

Shred documents

There are criminals that make a living on identity theft and prowl on vulnerable individuals. You need to shred any documents containing sensitive or private information once you are done with them. If you simply throw them away, the information will be lying in a dustbin for anyone to take. Don’t leave a doorway that’ll leave criminals the opportunity to steal from you.

Criminals can also use the information from the documents they steal to open accounts in your name. If any of your paperwork contains signatures on it, medical details or account numbers, they should be shredded so you’ll be safe. These details can be found on a number of documents, such as bank receipts, CVs, bank statements and medical records. You should also look out for other documents containing personal information, such as your name and identity number.

If you can’t afford to shred the documents because you will need them later, make sure that you store them in filing cabinets that can be locked.

Assess potential employees

When you hire new employees in your business you need to assess them carefully. And this means doing more than just simply interviewing them. You should check their criminal record and history, as well as follow up on their references. If they stole from their previous employers, they might do the same to you. Sometimes crime doesn’t come from the outside but from within the company.

Install security

Make sure that you equip your premises with adequate security systems. Install burglar bars on windows, alarm systems, surveillance cameras and a video wall controller. The more secure your place is, the more criminals will see it as too much of a risk. And if you have security cameras installed, when a criminal comes in and tries to steal from the company, there will be sufficient evidence to give to the police. Many criminals have been caught in the act because companies had video footage of the perpetrator in the building.

Security guards

Security guards are usually positioned around the perimeter of the building so they can easily take stock of who goes in and out.They can also write down the registration number of every car that enters the premises. And perpetrators are always lurking in parking lots. So, if you have no one looking after your parking lot, they can steal your staff and clients’ cars. Or if a car isn’t looked after, they could do a smash and grab and steal any items in the car. Criminals aren’t likely to go out to a car if there is a security guard roaming the area.

And if you have an emergency that requires immediate help, the security will only be a call away to help you. Sometimes, by the time the police come, the perpetrator has already left the scene. Having a security guard nearby will leave you feeling less vulnerable.

If your employees find themselves working extremely late hours, they’ll feel safer knowing there’s security in the area and they don’t have to scurry off to their cars alone. They can even ask the security guard to walk them to the car and wait until they leave.

Lighting around your building

If you’ve got access to perfect lighting around your building, you could be safe from criminals. But if you don’t, criminals may take advantage of this. Criminals like dark, secluded areas where they won’t be easily exposed. They’ll think twice about entering a place with adequate lighting because criminals don’t like smashing windows or climbing walls if they can be clearly seen. Motion-sensor lighting is perfect because, when the lights come on, they will catch the criminals off guard, resulting in them fleeing the scene.

Protect important information on your computer

Makes sure that all your employees have a password on their computers to safeguard against any information theft. It’s important to also ensure that your antivirus and your web browsers are always updated.

It may cost you to keep your business secure but it’s definitely worth it. Analyse your place and decide where you can improve it in terms of security. You need security on your premises, so even when you’re not around you can feel safe knowing that all your assets are protected. The more secure your office is, the more peace of mind you will have. And your employees will also feel protected.