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Showing posts from August, 2013

Employee Engagement

I do love the word engagement, it is so rich with promise.   When a couple gets engaged, their dreams for the future are full of hope for a perfect life together, and it is similar when an employee is engaged for a new position.

There are dreams of potential career growth, an improved salary and the beauty of a fresh start with a clean slate.

That first day at work sets the scene, and the most detailed, well thought out induction programs, fall short when the new employee is not made to feel welcome and special from the first moment.  All of a sudden, the honeymoon is over, and there is work to be done to recover the relationship.   The early days are a delicate balance between the expectations held by both sides, and the delivery on those expectations.

Nothing adds more value to a business than an employee body who is wholly committed and working towards the common objectives of growth, sustainability and positive impact.  Achieving that kind of engagement feeds the agendas of manag…

Absenteeism and Presenteeism

Everybody knows that absent means not there, but there are many ways of being absent, some while actually present.

When we are implementing time and attendance systems, we regularly find that absence from the workplace has a number of processes already in place, but there are a whole lot of other issues that management wants to get a handle on.

Absenteeism

Consistent late arrivals - simply put, if the employee is not on the premises, he is absent.Downing tools early and spending 10 to 15 minutes in the restrooms, getting ready to leaveAbsence from the workstation to smoke, make tea, have a chatRegular, long bathroom breaksWhen collecting stationery or tools, taking a lo..o...ong time to do it.Treating sick leave as a target
Presenteeism
Extended personal telephone calls Playing computer games or social networkingDragging out projects and work, not meeting deadlines, but doing just enough to stay under the radar It is true that presenteeism is also defined as coming to work when ill, and g…

Mentorship, Coaching and Sponsorship

What is the difference?   Over the years, I have been lucky enough to have quite a few mentors, who were generous with their time, ideas and input.  And I have certainly had sponsors, who have recommended me for really good positions and opportunities, as well as head hunting me at just the right time!

But once I was in the position of having a mentor who was also a great coach and a sponsor. Sieg Frankenfeld held my current position of heading up +Accsys (Pty) Ltd for 4 months as a caretaker, before I was promoted from Sales Director to CEO, and he was, and is, an unbelievable coach.

We were at a meeting at our Head Office once, and he was presenting on the company, and he kept saying "I" have done this and "I" have done that.   When we sat down together after the meeting, I queried saying I instead of we about all the positive input and he, smiled, and said "Do you think you will be able to share the failures with your team, too?"  I still use "We&…

Do cell phones make your voice louder?

Or is it just in public places?   All I know is, if I am sitting next to two people having a conversation two seats away, I can barely hear them, but a person half a room away on a cell phone is absolutely clear.

So it is possible that the shared conversation muffles the sound, but it seems to me that many cell phone users think their phone is an under amplified microphone.

I am very lucky, I travel a lot, and get to use the wonderful business class lounges in airports.  But, oh, how often is the peace shattered by people talking on their cell phones, twice as loud as a normal conversation!

Firstly, their conversations frequently cover quite sensitive topics, secondly people's names are mentioned, and so are companies and thirdly, it is difficult to concentrate on anything other than them.

For me, that 45 minutes to an hour in the Business Class Lounge, gives me a quick and easy snack, and time to catch up on emails.   I do manage to tune out the cell phone brigade, but sometimes …

More about networking

Wow, this is really something people want to do, and do well!   So a little bit more about the how to's.

Some things that have worked for me at networking events are:
If possible, go with a colleagueStick together for the first half an hour or soSplit up once you are both comfortable (maybe not at the first event)If you are on your own, look for a small group or another single, and join themIf there is a theme for the event, read up about it in advancePrepare a few questions and comments about the topic or topicsPrepare your "elevator speech" - 30 seconds about your company and what you doRead or listen to the news before the event, and be ready with a few topical comments or questions about current affairsConfirm the dress codeCirculate, but not too much, and really focus on the people you are withAsk for business cards, and then make a connection within 24 to 48 hours of the event It is also important to attend events that are aligned with your industry and your interes…

Company culture - Does everybody have to fit in?

Is fitting in with the corporate culture important?  Of course.  Do all effective and productive employees do so?   Of course not.

A few years ago, +Accsys (PTY) Ltd celebrated 30 years in business.  In keeping with traditional thinking around anniversaries, we used the pearl as a symbol for the year.

A key message for us was that the pearl is formed from a piece of grit that irritates the oyster, and the oyster slowly covers the grit with nacre, until a beautiful gem is formed.

So, as an IT company, we accepted that high productivity, creative people are not always aligned with the culture, but can add enormously to the growth and success of the business.  But we found that the reverse was also true, if they are too high maintenance, they can drain the energy levels of both their management and their colleagues, to such a level, that their nett impact is negative.

We have put a strong focus on a 3 month probation period, in assessing for attitude, aptitude and skill.  While it is r…

More interview techniques and tips

So you had the interview, you felt it went well, and yet there has been no feedback.  Worse, you notice that the job is still being advertised.   What now?
Before you leave the interview, ask a few key questions, eg
What is the process after this round of interviews?Will there be a second interview, or have I met all the decision makers already?When will a decision be made?What is your preferred method of follow up? Phone call or eMail?When would be the best time for me to follow up?After the interview, there are a few nice touches that will keep you top of mind.  First, send the organiser of the meeting a brief thank you note, stating that you enjoyed the time spent with the company, and believe that you would be a good fit, based on the interview and confirming that he/she said that you would hear from the company within a time frame.   And second, if you have committed to send through further details, do so when promised.
Not hearing within the promised time frame is not necessarily…

Accsys Payroll Administration Graduation

+Accsys (PTY) Ltd held our 4th Annual Payroll Diploma Graduation last week, both in Sandton and East London.  Our top graduate is from Port Elizabeth.  Congratulations to her, as well as to all our graduates, nationally.

Adult learners face many difficulties and challenges, not least because most are both studying and working full time.   Life long learning was a discussion point in the speeches at the event, as well as in the discussions around the great food.   The feedback was wonderful, and the atmosphere was positive and uplifting.
Just as exciting was how many of our graduates were delighted to hear there is a next step and that they can shortly work towards a B. Com Degree at The Da Vinci Institute with Payroll Administration as one of their majors.     As the degree is going to be offered via eLearning too, it opens it up nationally and internationally,
As part of our focus on life long learning, in interviews we always ask our candidates what they read.   Many answer that the…

Networking

While we celebrate the whole month as Woman's Month in South Africa, with numerous events and celebrations, it really is about August 9th, 1956 when approximately 20 000 women marched on Pretoria to deliver a petition to JG Strydom, the Prime Minister.

Led by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, some carrying the children of their employers on their backs, they stood in silence for 30 minutes, in a powerful objection to the "pass" that black South Africans had to carry at all times.

A frequent question is why do we still need a woman's day and woman's organisations.   And I guess it is because much has changed since 1956, but there is still a long way to go.

There is a view out there that successful women don't help other women grow.   Sure, not every successful woman is a natural mentor or sponsor, but a lot are.   In South Africa, women are being offered many opportunities to meet, and build relationships with, top wo…