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Managing Staff

Is Training In Your Company Worth The Effort?

Skills development has become an absolute priority for companies in South Africa.

Sharlene Herandien




“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow” – Anthony J.D’Angelo

How important is learning and development within your organisation? When budgets are being threatened in the company, training and development is the first cost to be cut – The worst mistake any manager or head can make.

While I can understand the need to cut costs in a business, the training and development of your employees is not a good place to start.

Dig-deeper: Can staff training increase my turnover?

Companies that invest in their staff have more competent employees. The more competent an employee is, the more confident they feel – in their job, in their department, in the company. Employees who are more confident in their positions tend to be more loyal to their managers and company overall.

Strategic spending on training and development should be treated as an investment in order for your business to run better, faster, and smoother, and with happier people.

One might think that investing in employee training during economically challenging times would be counter-intuitive because it requires a significant investment and thus increased costs. But when you consider the long term reward, this might be the best investment yet.

With the recent change to the BBBEE scorecard, a bigger weighting has been placed on skills development; companies are now required to spend 6% of payroll toward skills development.

What are the consequences if targets are not met?

According to the Ts&Cs, if targets in the codes are not met, the company will not obtain the maximum number of available BBBEE points. However under the new codes, ownership, skills development and, enterprise and supplier development are identified as “priority elements” and companies are expected to comply with the following minimum requirements:

  • >40% of the “net value” targets for the ownership element. “Net value” measures the “debt free” portion of the BBBEE ownership of a firm;
  • > 40% of the total weighting points for the skills development element;
  • > 40% for each of the three subcategories of the enterprise and supplier development element (being preferential procurement, supplier development and enterprise development).

Anything a company can do to showcase itself as a great place to work will yield dividends down the line. Knowing that a company offers employees room for advancement and room to improve is going to be a big draw card for potential employees. Having that opportunity in front of them also encourages them to be more engaged in their position.

What benefits can be expected from skills development

  • Education is linked to better earning opportunities –Employees are kept motivated when they feel financially secure; and the more you learn, the more you earn.
  • Lower turnover – When employees know that their company cares about their career, and is willing to offer training and opportunities to improve themselves and advance, they tend to stay around longer.
  • The company’s image will improve – Being known as the company with the most competent and talented employees will lead to repeat business therefore growing your bottom-line.

Related: How to Build Skills, Loyalty and Profits With Staff Training

One of the best things about training your employees is that it doesn’t have to cost you much at all. You can offer in-house training such as coaching, workshops, a buddy system, gamification etc, on a multitude of topics that relates to the workplace. All it takes is innovation and vision to see beyond today.

Sharlene Herandien is a dynamic Occupationally Directed Education Training and Development Practitioner. She has gained her experience in the financial service and insurance sector. Sharlene holds a B.Th. in Theology and BA in Counselling as well as her OD ETDP qualification. Her passion for learning and development has only been superseded by her love for popcorn and running; not necessarily at the same time. She believes learning should be fun, blended, innovative and relevant.

Managing Staff

10 Corny But Undeniably True And Inspiring Quotes About Teamwork

As Michael Jordan said, “Talent wins games; teamwork wins championships.” He ought to know.

Blake Snow



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With two games remaining, my daughter’s soccer team is in second place. They’ve won nine games and lost only one – to the team in third place.

Although that team doesn’t not have as many star players as our side, they beat us on the admittedly widely held but elusive principle that sharing the ball leads to more goals (and better defense) than impressive dribbling or individuality.

In other words, their 11 played better as a team than the three remarkable players on my daughter’s team. Granted, the third-place team probably dropped more games than we did because playing as an effective team in consecutive games is harder to do. After all, it’s easier for a few great players to show up to every game (as we have mostly done) than a reliable team.

Related: 7 Team Building Ideas To Create An Engaged Team

In any case, my daughter’s “club” will square off against the first place team this weekend. I suspect they’ll lose unless they listen to Michael Jordan: “Talent wins games; teamwork wins championships.”

The same is true in business and life in general.

If we want to “win championships” in both of those, we have to get others involved, pass more, risk failure, allow teammates to learn from their mistakes by letting them commit them and putting the needs of the group above our own selfish aspirations.

To that end, I encourage you, my daughter’s soccer team and everyone else interested in winning to consider and internalise my 10 favourite quotes on the importance of competing as a team. Some are a bit corny. All are true.

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Managing Staff

Your Team Will Succeed Only If They Trust Each Other

Trust is difficult to establish, hard to maintain and easy to break.

Angela Kambouris




Bureaucracy exists were trust doesn’t. Excessive process and micromanaging exist because people don’t trust each other to do what’s right and what’s needed. In a digital era where social tools make you more visible and accessible, you make personal and business decisions based on trust daily.

The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, often identified as the benchmark of trust measurement, recently identified that there has been a “loss of trust: The willingness to believe information, even from those closest to us.”

Trust is difficult to establish, hard to maintain and easy to break. In business, trust is one of the most valuable and complex of all your assets. It solidifies your relationships with all people and leads an organisation to thrive. As Richard Branson often says, “Learn to look out for your staff first, and the rest will follow.”

Let me share with you eight principles that determine whom and how you trust in the workplace.

1. How people handle failure

Within an organisation, when people trust each other, their energy is invested in minimising damage and getting on with it.

The involved parties take responsibility without prompting and lead the conversation to see how the problem will be avoided in the future.

A recent Google study, Project Aristotle, was founded on the premise of understanding why certain teams in the workplace struggle while others thrive. Researchers determined that “psychological safety” is the key to building and fostering successful team.

Related: Daily Practices for Cultivating a Positive Work Culture to Support Your Business

When people don’t trust each other, blame and shame runs rapid through the tapestry of the organisation. Taking responsibility embraces your vulnerability and leads people to move forward together.

trust-is-like-a-flower2. Accumulate trust deposits

Trust is like a flower. Once we step on a flower, it’s difficult to revive it. When you think about trust within a workplace, we know that when members trust each other to execute, teams are inherently productive.

When we want to create and build upon an environment that fosters trust, then what we say we will do, we do. We genuinely are curious and listen.

We are honest in how we provided feedback, without the sugar coating. And we don’t engage in gossip, eradicating the “I shouldn’t be saying this, but…” conversations. When we are visible and transparent in the workplace, we create a platform that invites shared thinking from all.

3. Work together to solve pain points

Most projects take more than one person to accomplish. Trusting colleagues is about letting go of the urge to be a lone ranger. Your team members have to be trusted to accomplish their tasks so you can complete yours.

Autonomy is only possible where there is trust. When you trust, you don’t expend much of your time and energy watching your back. Your energy is directed towards productivity and innovation.

Horst Schultze, one of the founders of the Ritz-Carlton Hotels, epitomised what it meant to be a trust-building leader.

Every employee was provided with an induction to the organisation, coupled with extensive training and a $2000 discretionary fund they could use to solve a customer problem without checking with anyone. He honoured his people by collecting their stories in making a difference for customers.

Related: Team Building Without Time Wasting

A team with high trust inspires its members to retain trust through excellence. Time is spent on identifying and breaking through road blocks, inspiring people to share more and working together to resolve pain points.

4. Small actions over time

Trust is not a matter of technique, but of character. You are trusted because of your way of being, not because of your polished exteriors. Building a culture of trust in the workplace occurs one step at a time. It is the small actions over time.

As a leader wanting to build trust, talk about what you want, not what you don’t want. Lend your voice toward what you want to bring to make it happen. When you operate from a place of trust, you demonstrate a commitment toward trust.

You show others what can be by promoting the ideas, talents and contributions of those you work with. Focus on what people can do and help others succeed. Step toward trust from where you are.

5. Sharing stories

Trust can grow rapidly when someone shares with you something touching that happened earlier in their life. You start to build a shared empathy.

When you want to create trust in teams, initiate conversations or invest in team games that help you tell stories you want to tell.

You control what you want to share with colleagues that can break down the divide between people and teams and lead to more empathy. Sharing stories is one way to connect and build trust.

paul-zaks-ted-talk6. What can mice teach us

A study at NYU Langone showed that when mice were given oxytocin, they started caring for the other mice’s babies as if they were their own. The oxytocin hormone enhances bonding, and even after the mice’s oxytocin receptors were shut off, this behaviour continued.

Oxytocin, the trust molecule, can teach us a lot about working together as a team and building great working relationships leading to more trust in the workplace.

Related: Making The Team ‘Work’

The best way to build your team’s internal trust is to be transparent about the overall vision and progress of the business, showing people how and why their work is important. Leaders must provide guidance, schedule check-ins between colleagues, and make room for conversations that strengthen connections.

7. Monkey see, monkey do

Our brains are wired to place survival as the top priority. In the workplace, any person who can demonstrate that they can reduce or eliminate threats to other’s survival is deemed trustworthy.

When we watch someone else, our brain is activated in the same way that the brain of the person you are observing is activated, effectively through what is called “mirror neurons.”

This means you may unintentionally transfer your own feelings of distrust to others. The trick is you can’t fake trust. You must believe that your colleagues are trustworthy to transmit this signal to them. In return, their brain will start feeling trust towards you as a result.

8. impact trust levels in the workplace

There are many ways to treat your colleagues well, but one of the most important initiatives is creating a culture that makes it safe to make mistakes and openly debate and discuss issues without fear of retribution. Your colleagues will trust your ability to help them grow if they know that failures will be treated as teachable moments.

In a time of crisis, how you act in difficult times is the greatest measure of your integrity. Don’t wait to talk about a mistake that happened until everyone finds out about it on social media, and don’t sugarcoat what happened. Take swift action to right a wrong. Taking responsibility preserves trust.

Atlassian, a global software giant, built a culture where articulating why certain decisions are made is important in how they have built trust.

Related: 4 Strategies To Build Trust – Through Trusting Your Team

An “open company, no bullshit” value within the company has provided teams with access to information as quickly as possible, allowing employees to share and express their opinion without feeling they are going to get judged or pulled down. The company supports an environment where individuality is celebrated.

This article was originally posted here on

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Managing Staff

Why Remote Teams Are More Productive Than Ever

Remote work is an absolute cornerstone of any businesses employment model. This is why.

Megan Harris




Over 40 years ago remote work seemed like a product of the distant future, a fever dream that was too good to be true. Nowadays remote work has become something of a commonality. However, many companies are very reluctant to the idea of remote workers. Business owners all over the world are used to the draconian by laws that dictate the socialised environment of traditional work culture.

Managers in physical offices typically enjoy the stranglehold they have over the individual employees life. However, employees are no longer enjoying the typical corporate business environment.

After slogging through their day-to-day and being judged harshly by men and women they do not know for their livelihood, they are starting to pursue other opportunities in the remote industries. Beneficial to this cause is the fact that businesses all over the world are beginning to accept remote work and telecommuting.

As employees begin to flee the authoritarian environments of traditional work spaces, remote businesses are beginning to see a boom. What was initially seen as a millennial go to has now shown its appeal to workers of all ages. This has created an environment of fierce competition for employees in remote work but luckily more and more businesses are seeing the benefits.

Related: How Much Does Your Remote Team Actually Need to Know?

Here, in this article, we explore why remote teams are becoming more and more productive.

Traditional office spaces have often been seen as vestigial structures left over from the time of monarchy. Draconian dress codes and bylaws that restrict employees from being themselves are no longer appealing to the pseudo independent worker. While initially reluctant, businesses are beginning to turn and allow telecommuting workers.

This led to an initial bloom in productivity that has not since slowed down. The freedom it grants the employee cannot be understated and immediately invokes a sense of pride and relief along with comfort in their new working environment. This led to a change over and how businesses treated their employees after noticing that employees who were respected and trusted performed better than those who were not. This is only the individual, not the team.

When it comes to teamwork the upsides are obvious and the potentiality is enormous. To put it in simple terms, remote teams benefit highly from their relaxed environments and comfortable spaces. What this means in greater terms is that the individual employees are more satisfied with where they work and how they work.

This creates a culture based in de facto trust and respectful space. Teams that operate through remote work are typically much more pliable and friendly.

Remote work has seen productivity go up exponentially for every business that has incorporated it into their employment scheme. When employees are not being squashed from the top down, they feel levity and an increased push to do their work as efficiently as possible. Some estimates put the productivity increase at over 400%.

When we talk about remote teams we are truly talking about the division of individuals. Due to the pressures being absent from remote work environments, teams in remote environment are more likely to get along and produce higher-quality work. This benefits employees as much as businesses, if not more so.

To contribute to the individuals mood alone, however, would do Injustice to the massive Innovations created in the field. Years ago remote work would only be accomplished via fax machine and telephone.

These days, with apps like Slack, employees can speak to each other in a moment’s notice and organise meetings and projects quickly and efficiently. Email of course is an incredible technology but the ability to have a meeting on your phone, with apps like Zoom, send remote work to another level of interactivity.

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

These applications make remote work similar to traditional working environments without draconian overlords or harsh judgments by strangers who feel that they are the appropriate judge of whether you get to eat or not.

This furthers the productivity of remote teams and gives a good argument for remote work to businesses that have not implemented it yet. Ultimately, the productivity of remote teams can be linked to an increase in happiness for the employee.

As businesses begin to respect their workers and their spaces they are seeing increases in productivity and profit. Owners who respect their employees receive immediate benefit and can expect business growth along with high levels of productivity. This makes remote work not only a good idea but an absolute cornerstone of any businesses employment model.

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