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Showing posts from March, 2014

When were you last satisfied with service?

What is good service?   Its giving people what they want, not what you want to get rid of, nor what you think they want!

Case Study One

On a recent trip to Cape Town, I hired a car.  On arrival at the car hire company, there was a queue at least 30 deep.   There were 5 people serving.

I did the maths, and realised that at an average of 5 minutes per person, I had at least a 30 minute wait. Unfortunately, the average was not 5 minutes, because it appears that at 11 am, a lot of international passengers require cars, and the very pleasant floor manager informed us that international passengers take much longer.

When we asked why more than half the stations were unmanned at such a busy time, the explanation was around shifts and not enough people, none of which satisfied anybody in the queue.   50 minutes later I was in front of another very pleasant young woman who informed me I had been upgraded and would get a better car.

Now, I always hire the same car, as I like driving it.   As ther…

Are tips taxable in South Africa?

Yes, tips are taxable if they are considered to be part of your gross income and must be declared to SARS.

Every time a diner adds a tip to the bill, this income is almost certainly taxable.

While there are a number of definitions around the employer /employee / patron relationship, the interpretation given is that income earned in the course of your job should be declared as taxable earnings.

Of course, monitoring hand overs of cash is almost impossible....

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Two case studies direct from the SARS Interpretation Note: No 76

Example 1 – Gross income Facts:  A, aged 19, works as a porter for the Sparkling Waters Hotel Group in Port Elizabeth.  A is required to assist hotel guests by collecting their luggage on arrival and carrying it to their designated hotel room. A is also required to collect their luggage and transfer it to their vehicle upon departure from the hotel.  For the 2013 year of assessment A received a gross s…

Internal Promotion? How to prepare

Career path and succession planning are part of a good HR strategy.   They should be part of your personal strategy, too.

But when an opportunity for promotion is sitting in front of you, and you are granted an interview, how should you prepare for it?

Ask HR:
Who are the interviewers?How long will the interview be?Are there any questions that you can prepare for in advance? If the present incumbent is in the interview, you need to be sensitive to his/her feelings when you are asked about how you would manage the position.   It is really important to be well prepared when you are an existing employee, as there is an expectation that you have ideas around the role.

Before the Interview Prepare a business planIf the person in the position is willing to help, do ask for input and adviceIf you are already in the department, use your knowledge of what is working and what isn't to build a SWOT AnalysisOutline your strategy to grow the departmentResearch typical questions in a promotion int…

Sorry you resigned?

So the deed is done.   Your resignation letter is in your boss's hands, and you are wondering whether you made the right decision.

In fact, you are now pretty sure that you have made a mistake, but withdrawing doesn't seem possible either. What to do?

Whatever you are going to do, do it quickly, but do take a moment to think it through.   First of all, this is not a counter offer situation, you just simply know you don't want to leave.  So its not a negotiation, its a discussion.

There is a school of thought that believes once you have made a decision you need to stick to it at all costs.  Some rather dreadful events have happened as a result of this kind of thinking.   I believe that not all first decisions are good, and admitting that you have changed your mind can be a mature decision.  

If you do it too often, though, it will definitely be viewed as indecisiveness.

Draw up a list of reasons you resigned, and reasons you want to stay, and evaluate carefully.   Then, if…

How to get good service

Service in South Africa is less than consistent.   Every day, we have to deal with people who have little or no interest in providing a great customer experience.

So how do you raise your happiness level and get better service most of the time.   I have been conducting a personal survey into this and have found the following:
Shout, bully and demand and, under certain circumstances, you get faster service, not necessarily better, but you move up the ladderWait to be served, and you will wait a long timePolite and assertive behaviour, on balance, gets the best results Sometimes, I feel that the power has shifted.   In other words, as a consumer, it seems to be up to me to greet the service provider first, be absolutely charming, ask nicely for whatever it is I want, and thank them graciously after receiving unfriendly service.

The counter of this is that when I receive great service, I keep going back, even if the product is not as good!

Under promise and over deliver!   The front office…

Blurred lines - Is there a difference between personal you and business you?

And should there be?   Lets cover just two aspects, Facebook and dress code.

Business men typically have two very distinct wardrobes, work and play.   Men in business roles simply do not wear shorts and a t-shirt to the office.

 Women have taken a very different approach in the last 10 or so years.   There is an increasingly blurred line between what women consider business and informal dress.   Recently, I was at a business meeting where some of the women were wearing halter neck dresses with bra straps clearly on display.  Another was wearing a dress, with the neckline cut like a bikini top.

Did they look pretty?  Yes, they really did.   Was it work appropriate?   And this is where the blurred line starts to become fuzzier.   My response is a definite No.    It is not that I think that women need to wear suits every day to the office, but I do think that there should be a distinction between what is business wear  and what works for your personal life.

Adding social networking to t…

Family Responsibility Leave in South Africa

What is Family Responsibility Leave?   It seems self explanatory, but in South Africa (and in many other countries, I am sure), families are extended beyond the nuclear one.   Frequently, aunts look after children for many years without formal adoption, but they fall outside of the legal requirements ie if a child falls ill under an aunt's care, the aunt may not take family responsibility leave (FRL).

There are also interpretations of the word "child", some companies have taken the view that a child has to be under 18 if you wish to take FRL.  Others contend that the child must be financially dependent on the parents, or still living at home, if over 18.   A further variation is that there are companies that allow sick leave to be used as FRL.

Line management are constantly trying to improve productivity levels and complain about abuse of  non holiday leave.    (While discussing this, it must be noted that there are people who have serious or chronic illnesses that requi…