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Managing Staff

How to Build Your Dream Business Team

To understand the meaning and importance of a dream team, use this handy acronym: T E A M – Together Everyone Achieves More.

Harry Welby-Cooke

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As every successful entrepreneur knows, human capital is the greatest asset of any business. A dream team makes it possible to accomplish overall objectives, be more productive and ultimately more profitable. More importantly, a great team frees the business owner to concentrate on further growth.

One of the biggest complaints of business owners is that they cannot find qualified, competent help. Entrepreneurs asked to critique their own businesses point out how much more they could do if only they had more capable and enthusiastic employees who were also invested in the growth of the business.

The first step in finding your dream team is to realise that you get the staff you deserve. The people you attract are a mirror of where you are in your own life.

If you are a skilled business owner and a great leader you will attract great people to work for you. When you get to this level, it’s rarely necessary to look for people: They usually look for you. All too often the business owner is the weakest link in the chain of command.

Business owners complain that their sales team is not professional but often they refuse to provide adequate sales training or attractive incentives. Others think that if their employees would be more productive and make fewer mistakes, revenues and profits would increase. However, these same owners have no adequate systems to eliminate human error or maximise efficiency.

Then there are business owners who want to control everything and battle to delegate to their teams. They wonder why their staff cannot assume a greater leadership role and shoulder more responsibility.

Until business owners acknowledge their accountability for their teams, these complaints will continue and employees will remain stifled.

How well your team performs starts with you. Do you have clear goals that everyone buys into? Is there a training programme in place? Does everyone have an action plan? 

Building Great Teams

Here are four factors that contribute to the success and synergy of a well-rounded team.

1. The power of vision

Before you place a recruitment advert, define a vision statement so your team can play by the same rules. Without one, a business is like a society with no culture.

A vision statement serves as a framework and guide for employees. It defines acceptable behaviour and forms the central theme or philosophy for customer service. It becomes a road map for executing every detail of the business from an agreed-upon premise.

Shared vision becomes the backbone of the business and the glue that keeps teams working cooperatively and successfully through any challenge in any environment. Teamwork fuelled by vision can make a company a wonderful place to work and learn.

2. SMART goals

Achievement depends on the underlying infrastructure of clearly defined and realistic goals. Goals offer direction to keep the team focused on the mission and vision of the business.

Goals should adhere to the acronym for S M A R T: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented and set within a reasonable Time-frame.

3. Rules and action plans

Define boundaries and areas of responsibility so that your team members know their unique and specialised roles to prevent unnecessary overlap. Provide an action plan. Give each new employee a title, a written contract, a detailed job description and line of reporting.

4. Risk taking

Business teams are like trees – either growing or dying. Without some degree of healthy risk, it’s impossible for a team to flourish and push the limits of creativity and performance.

Furthermore, supporting your team with tools, training, technology and systems will free you up to operate your business remotely and concentrate on your next profitable venture.

Harry Welby-Cooke is the Master Licensee for ActionCOACH South Africa. He is also the President of COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors Association of South Africa). ActionCOACH is the world’s largest executive and business coaching company with operations in 39 countries. It is also on the list of the top 100 franchises globally. As a highly successful Business and Executive coach, Harry is a master of teaching business owners how to turn their businesses around and accelerate their growth. Email him at harrywelbycooke@actioncoach.com or call 0861 226 224

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Managing Staff

How To Avoid People Leaving Your Company

How can entrepreneurs ensure a better business model to limit the impact of high staff turnover in these environments?

Joel Stransky

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If your business requires a call centre or service centre environment the chances are that you will find yourself faced with a high staff turnover (attrition rate) versus other departments in your business.

The main reason is a generational issue as these environments are increasingly being staffed by members from the Generation Y cohort, also known as Millennials, with digital natives from Generation Z looming on the horizon.

How can entrepreneurs ensure a better business model to limit the impact of high staff turnover in these environments?

Related: 11 SA Entrepreneurs on What They’ve Learnt About Managing Staff

Understand why staff turnover is high

Firstly, technology innovation regularly introduces new skills and competencies that staff is required to learn, while also creating some degree of uncertainty with regard to what the future holds in terms of job security.

Secondly, the call centre or service centre environment is often considered a stepping stone to other career paths, and is seldom viewed as a long-term job prospect.

Thirdly, the perceived lack of career opportunities, coupled with other challenges such as low levels of stimulation; a tough sales-based environment, and hierarchical management structures1, all make the call centre a unique and complex environment where staff has a short lifespan.

Talent acquisition

As an entrepreneur, anticipating and proactively addressing talent issues requires a focused acquisition strategy. Finding ways to better predict performance alongside traditional methods of assessing candidates has become a top priority. And it is not only about whether new hires have the skill-set to perform in the role but also do they fit into your company culture.

Traditional assessments such as psychometric testing can deliver some insights about potential employees, but the reality is that these tests only accurately measure between 16 to 20% of key performance predictors.

Related: How To Keep Your Sales Staff Focused On The Future

In addition, the skills required in a modern multi-channel call centre are varied as staff need to engage via various mediums such as social media and email, not just over the phone.

Companies therefore need the ability to match core competencies/skills with the job role, while also ascertaining both written and verbal skill sets.

As such, it has become increasingly complex to assess which candidates will be a good fit for the call centre environment when relying on traditional assessments alone.

Understand your talent to manage staff turnover

Once hired, the ability to understand your employees and track their talent lifecycle can help to identify early warning signs of discontent and consideration of leaving, which is highly beneficial to your business.

There are technologies today which allow you to do just this. By understanding your employees better you can intervene to hopefully address their concerns and secure their continued service, or plan for the attrition to ensure a smoother transition by finding a replacement before they leave.

It is important to limit the financial impact that empty seats in a call centre can have on your bottom line as it limits the risk of sales targets not being met, and helps ensure that customer engagement and satisfaction goals are not compromised.

Related: How To Know If You’re Focusing On The Wrong Types Of Staff Skill Enhancement

Boost performance

By better understanding call centre employees, your managers will develop more robust strategies to boost both workforce performance and job satisfaction, which is of particular importance to Millennials.

By understanding employees better, career planning and progression can also become more focused by aligning skills or helping to identify weak areas that require improvement. This personal development will help employees feel like they are growing and advancing.

Today entrepreneurs have access to technology, specifically Artificial Intelligence (AI) that are being used to support a stronger talent acquisition and staff development business model.

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Managing Staff

These 4 Types Of ‘Nightmare Managers’ Are Scaring Employees Away

You don’t have to drive to the local cinemaplex to see “It,” to see monsters in action. Just check your workplace.

Andre Lavoie

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Things that go bump in the night, monsters hiding under the bed and terrifying clowns called “It”: These are the things nightmares are made of. But for some employees, the scariest part of their day isn’t a movie; it’s dealing with bad managers.

While no one sets out to be a bad manager, this scenario happens and all too often. In fact, one in two employees surveyed by Gallup in 2015 said they had left jobs to get away from a bad manager.

Since managers are the main sources for employee motivation, productivity, happiness and retention, one who’s a “nightmare”  can wreak more damage than just unhappy employees. Even with today’s technology and resources, managers continue to make major mistakes – and that can hurt the bottom line at the same time it costs companies quality employees.

The solution? Be aware of the habits that could make your managers a nightmare, and don’t get tangled in that web to begin with.

Related: Fighting Sleep Is A Losing Management Strategy. Let Your Employees Take Naps

Here are four examples of managers who haunt employees long after the workday has ended – and how to avoid becoming one:

1The poor “people” person

A manager who doesn’t interact well with people sounds like an oxymoron, but these individuals exist. When someone who doesn’t work well with others is in charge of a team, the entire company dynamic becomes derailed.

One of the biggest things that suffers is free-flowing communication. OfficeVibe’s August State of Employee Engagement report found that 31 percent of employees polled wished their manager communicated with them more frequently.

Unfortunately, however, a manager categorized as a “poor people person” may actually be uncomfortable communicating and dealing with critical employee situations.

For some managers, this type of bad management style will be easy to avoid. However, others will have to overcome their natural tendencies to stray away from social situations. This means that leaders have to assess personality types and understand which people skills that certain managers lack may need improving.

The best place to get information is from your current team members. Because they may feel they’re being put into an awkward situation, you might offer an anonymous survey. Ask how frequently your employees would like to speak with management and in what format, and whether they feel management is opening up and communicating with them on the level they need.

2The self-involved manager

Quality managers have a knack for motivating their entire team toward one end goal – the company’s mission. While this is accomplished by setting and pursuing personal and company goals, good team leaders know how to invoke passion from employees and help them succeed on every front.

The self-involved manager, on the other hand, has no awareness of anyone’s goals but his or her own. This is why the incidence of managers taking credit for their team’s hard work and not empowering employees happens all too frequently.

Self-involved managers may seem successful due to their ability to hit goals and make the numbers move, but that’s all they’re interested in.

For managers who want to improve, a good place to focus on is the greater good of the company. In this regard, managers need to know exactly where employees stand with their individual goals, the nature of their personal missions and where they picture the company moving to.

Ignoring this kind of detail about employees may make managers seem self-involved, and employees will quickly lose trust in their leadership.

Sit down for weekly meetings or create an online chat room where managers and employees can come together. Make this a safe place for all to share their personal goals or discuss where they hope to see the company in a few years. Offer advice, step-by-step guides or continuing education courses to help employees reach their greatest potential.

Related: To Have An Innovative Company, Let Your Employees Take The Reins

3The overly involved manager

This type of manager often wears a mask of popularity and is frequently involved in a small company or startup. “Overly involved” doesn’t simply refer to the micromanager who has to be in on every project, opinion and decision. Overly involved managers take things a step further and try to meddle in every aspect of their employees’ lives.

While it is important to care about team members as more than just employees, there is a fine line between being a caring manager and becoming a close friend. Going beyond that point can make employees uncomfortable and even make it difficult to manage them.

Employees, meanwhile, may appear to like this type of manager, but his or her inability to successfully lead and manage will eventually cause the team to feel stagnant.

Rather than focusing on getting employees to like them, managers should look at what boosts those employees’ productivity, motivation and passion. Knowing what makes them tick inside and outside of work will help bosses lead their teams to victory. Remember to keep things professional in order to maintain employees’ respect for management and the company.

4The indecisive manager

These managers are infamous for being hard to please. From their perspective, they’re simply putting the company’s best foot forward and perfecting employees’ projects and tasks. But being unpredictable makes for a scary workplace situation. Employees are left feeling uneasy, apt to second-guess themselves and overly critical of co-workers.

Related: What Are Your Employees Doing When You’re Not Looking?

Once indecisive managers become known for their lack of predictability, morale and creativity get thrown out the window. Employees need to feel safe in their working environment, especially with the person who is reviewing and assessing their final products.

So, loosen the reins a bit and have employees take control of their projects. When necessary, post guidelines in a shared drive, like Google Docs, to offer direction when employees need it, and don’t forget to always be available for questions.

It’s okay to make small changes to these guidelines, but don’t jump in and change them too frequently. Let team members know they can always expect a supportive and guiding hand from management when needed.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Workplace Evolution 2.0: Are You Ready For The New Era?

Much of workplace change is driven by technological advances and ongoing evolution of workplaces and the workforce will continue to be the new norm for some time to come.

Wits Plus

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Multi-generation collaboration

Generations X and Y work together with Millennials and baby boomers, and Generation Z (born after 1998) is just starting to join the workforce. It’s a multi-generation mix that provides a collaborative ecosystem where innovation and problem-solving could thrive.

But how do companies ensure multi-generation collaboration across these multi-generations?

Related: 3 Ways Workplace Gamification Can Backfire – And How To Avoid Them

Automation of more tasks

Understanding the activities most susceptible to automation from a technical perspective could provide an excellent opportunity to rethink how workers engage with their jobs and how digital labour platforms can better connect individuals, teams, and projects.

The biggest challenges are the workforce and organisational changes that leaders will have to put in place when automation upends entire business processes, as well as the culture of their organisations.

Improving culture and workplace wellness

Companies are using wellness programmes to lower absenteeism, attract talent, and save on healthcare costs, while employees themselves become more health conscious. This type of investment in staff creates an environment where people want to work and where they feel valued.

Spaces and dress code promote culture

workplace-environment

Many workspaces (also known as ‘open plan’) have been designed for extroverts and their need for lots of stimulation. However, it is important to accommodate both introverts and extroverts in the workplace, so mobile and flexible workspaces are becoming the order of the day!

With the increased presence of younger generations, and more employees working remote, there’s no doubt that the workplace dress code is increasingly casual.

Related: Purposeful Work: The Six Barriers To Fulfilment In The Workplace

Augmented and virtual reality to improve recruiting and training

Gen Z and Millennials want their companies to incorporate virtual reality into the workplace and the technology that employees are experiencing outside of work naturally influence them to desire the same tech at the office.

Virtual and augmented reality can help close the experience gap for job seekers and allow employee training to be more engaging, less expensive and free of distractions.

Prepare yourself with the flexible part-time and online study opportunities offered at Wits Plus!

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