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Showing posts from October, 2013

Thinking of leaving - should you discuss it with your manager?

The exit interview is not the time to tell your manager that you would have stayed if.....   When you are serious about your career, and really enjoy your job, except for one key component, take the time to talk before you resign.

While sometimes the grass is greener, more often than not you just inherit new issues at a new company.

It is a difficult labour market in South Africa right now, there is a skills shortage, and yet there are millions of people without jobs.   Working for a stable company, with people you like, and a job you enjoy is important, and yet there are often those frustrations that give you itchy feet.

In your current position, your manager might really want to keep you, and be very interested in finding out what would make you a happier, more productive, employee.   It is also sometimes much easier to have that conversation with somebody you already know, than have it in your first weeks in a new position.

When you know you have choices, as well as know that you …

Tips for Managing Effective Meetings

Every meeting should follow a structure if you want it to be effective, but more importantly you want everybody at the meeting to want to be there, and to be able to see the value, otherwise it is just more words that take time out of your day.
The following "W" questions are a guideline:Why are we having this meeting?Who needs to be at it to be effective?What steps are being taken to ensure that the jobs of the people at the meeting are being handled?Where is it going to take place for maximum efficiency (Video Conference or Skype instead of travel)When will it have the least impact on productivity?Will there be an action plan with deadlines at the end?What positive feedback can we share that will create the right environment for positive engagement? While a formal agenda is not necessary for every meeting, our BCX strategist, Paddy Gray, taught me a valuable meeting lesson and that is to start your meeting by querying what each attendee hopes to achieve by being there.   …

SARS Warning - Fraudulent Tax Returns

There are always ways to make money out of unsuspecting people.   Last week SARS issued a warning to all tax payers to be aware of fake tax practitioners offering guaranteed tax refunds for a rather large share of the refund.

SARS Media Release 15th October, 2013

I know that, no matter how simple your tax is, it is stressful to submit returns.   It is important to note that if a fraudulent practitioner submits on your behalf, you, as the taxpayer, are still ultimately responsible, and SARS is still able to recover any shortfalls from the taxpayer who might have paid over a portion of the refund to the fraudster.

Should you not wish to do it yourself ( and it really is easy with eFiling):

Make sure that you use a bona fide practitioner and check their credentials thoroughly.   Remember, if they say it is guaranteed, you should be immediately suspicious or
Taxpayers are able to visit any SARS branch, with all the relevant documents, and a SARS official will submit their tax return electro…

Error Prevention in Payroll

Human error is one of the 3 major risks in payroll management.   Some fairly simple processes can help to reduce the risk.   And put them in writing, for easy referral.

Setting deadlines that are both realistic and practical is one of the first formal processes that should be in place. It is crucial to have open discussions with all the role players when setting deadlines, so that everybody understands what the implications of not meeting the deadlines are, as well as being committed to the process. A key success factor is that the contributors are aware that they need to inform the payroll department timeously if the can't hit a deadline, so that alternative arrangements can be made. It is amazing how many people think that its OK if they miss a deadline once, not being aware that if there are 20 deadline contributors who do that once each year, well, you can do the math....
Standard formats both reduce risk, and make processing easier.   Every form should have the critical inform…

Problem solving - it takes a village

Back in the day when I was a Systems Analyst, I was sent on an Advanced Programming course.   We learnt how to follow a business problem from start to finish using logic and flow charting.   It is amazing how often I use this method to understand problems, sometimes just in my head, sometimes on paper.   I also learnt that if I shared the problem with a few people, and brainstormed, the answers came even more quickly.

About a month ago, I noticed that our lounge couches and chairs were all pushed up against the coffee table.   I thought that our domestic helper had been cleaning the carpets and forgotten to move them back, and so I moved them back into place.   Over the next few weeks this kept happening, but as we are not often in the house at the same time, I would just replace them and forget about it.   Finally, I had a chance to ask her, and she told me that she thought I was doing it in the evenings.   I questioned my family, but it remained a mystery.   We have a rule in the ho…

Risk Management in Payroll

What are the risks in a payroll department?   There are many variations of the three below, but it all comes down to them.
FraudErrorConfidentiality Good processes and governance go a long way to preventing all of them, and, of course, the positive effect of getting it right the first time, is so much better than having to constantly correct problems.   Payroll errors have a very negative impact on morale.

Fraud   

From ghost employees to duplicate bank accounts, payroll fraud is wide ranging and yet we are frequently told that payroll administrators manage the full process from data entry to EFT without anybody else checking the output.   While it is clearly not good governance, it is also quite simply putting temptation on the table.

Another concern is that there are many repeat offenders out there, protected by the employer who chooses to not take action, and by the companies who do not insist on full background checks when hiring into such a sensitive role.

Errors

Payroll departments…

Mutual Respect is a Growth Industry

"You have to earn respect" - is one of those sayings that gets trotted out regularly, but like smiling, respect is bi-directional.

So do I believe you have to earn respect?  Well, I think we should treat everybody we come into contact with respectfully, as people who get treated with respect, respond in a like manner, most of the time.  
There are a number of people who believe that by being demanding, overbearing and generally unpleasant, they will get better service.   The truth is that they do get served more quickly, and possibly with more deference, than polite, respectful people, but are they really getting better service, or is it just faster?   And where is the fun and the joy of a spontaneous smile from the cashier, the "have a nice day" said with sincerity, and, in restaurants, the confidence that nobody spat in your food?
In the workplace, managers expect to be treated respectfully, because of their position.   Yet, employer / employee relationships have…

Flexibility in the workplace

Is flexibility now a reality in the workplace?   And is it really working?   The assumption of control over one’s own time and deliverables does look like a great way to work and live, and it seems to be is a high priority for those entering the business world.
Decision makers in business, along with HR managers and recruitment consultants, are very much aware that both current employers and new recruits are looking for guidance and ideas as how to achieve work/life balance.
It is accepted that this balance has to form part of the workplace. Yes people still need to prove themselves, initiative is still expected, hard work and commitment are still viewed as non-negotiable – but the dynamics of employer/ employee relationship has changed.
And it is innovation in ICT that has paved the way.
The advantages of a mobile workforce can include an increase in productivity, lower total cost of ownership and a wider, more direct reach to the market.
In essence an employee should be just as effective…