According to Deloitte’s recent annual Ethics & Workplace Survey, one-third of employed Americans plan to look for a new job once the economy recovers. That’s an astounding figure and one that South Africa most likely shares.
In many cases however, it’s a scenario that could be mitigated if organisations invest in a long-term strategic approach to motivate and reward staff. Many companies assume they need to roll out extravagant rewards to make a big impact. This is not so, and I’ve found that a healthy retention rate can be achieved by following the tips listed below.
1. Management training builds morale and employee dedication
The status of an employee’s relationship with his or her manager is the most sensitive indicator of whether he will stay or quit. It’s not enough that a manager is nice; they need to communicate clear expectations to the employee, offer ongoing feedback about performance and provide a framework within which the employee can perceive success. Ensuring that employees are provided with clear feedback on their performance and that they clearly understand their earning potential will let them know they’re valued and an important part of the long-term bigger picture.
2. Embrace employee opinions or risk losing their respect
Corporate culture is the way employees describe where they work, understand the business and see themselves as part of the organisation. If an employee feels empowered and comfortable to speak freely within the company, they are more likely to feel a part of the business. Ask yourself: Does my organisation solicit ideas and provide an environment in which people are comfortable providing valuable feedback? If so, this will create a happy and more productive workforce. If the company does not promote an open door policy for feedback, employees often disengage and ultimately go looking for a better fit.
3. Recognise your staff
Employees like to know that they’re valued members of a larger team, and recognition for a job well done goes a long way in establishing company loyalty. If offering a raise, cash bonus or additional paid time off aren’t options, non-financial rewards, title promotions and new assignments are all great alternatives – and often mean more than financial recognition. Offer top performers a greater role in decision-making or set them up with a mentor. If a business prefers to reward employees financially but cannot afford pay raises, bonuses are also an effective tactic.
4. Create a sense of community
One of the biggest benefits to working in a small or midsize business is the closeness of an environment where people know each other beyond just a name and a face; it can become a true community. Leverage this strength by holding potlucks, picnics and even the occasional social hour. Being part of a community can be a powerful counterpoint when a larger, more impersonal entity tries to recruit your star employees.
5. Transparency goes a long way in building trust
Share financial details and other company information with employees, and solicit their input. If employees feel they’re part of the overall process of moving your business forward, they will not only stay productive, but they will also support new ideas that come from management.
Support your strongest assets
I truly believe that to succeed and retain top performers, business leaders must provide an honest snapshot of the company’s future goals. I hold an all-hands meeting quarterly to review the previous quarter, reveal company financials and assess the company’s achievements in relation to the goals we set. This provides an opportunity for staff to ask questions and allows the entire company to hear the same message.
As validation of this idea, Deloitte’s survey identified that 48% of respondents cited loss of trust in their employer, and 46% claimed lack of transparent communication from their company’s leadership were the primary reasons for pursuing new employment at the end of the recession.
The bottom line is that employees are the one asset a company categorically cannot do without; the retention of key employees is crucial to a company’s long-term health and success. As the economy stabilises, many CEOs and managers are rightfully concerned that their best talent will look for greener pastures at other companies – an occurrence that will only escalate as the economy continues to improve.
Why Uninsured Employees Are Bad For Business
Often businesses assume that their employees will take the necessary steps to insure themselves, but in reality, many people don’t. By covering your employees you’re not just insuring their financial futures if something happens, you’re covering your business too.
Entrepreneurship is not for sissies. It involves dreams and risks. Cash flow is crucial and often thin on the ground, as owners juggle the challenges of overheads and growth. An entrepreneur or SME owner cannot fall back on the financial cushioning that is characteristic of much larger corporate businesses.
That said, as an entrepreneur have you ever thought what would happen if one of your staff members were suddenly unable to provide for their families due to death or disability? Would their family be left destitute? Would you as a business owner feel obliged to contribute to cover funeral costs and offer support to the family concerned?
If so, you should be considering a group life policy as the financial and emotional strain on the business can be significant. Group cover is generally far cheaper than retail cover. In many cases, employees can even cancel their individual cover and, in so doing, save a significant amount of money.
Recognising both the need and the opportunity, our business, Simply Financial Services, recently introduced an online Group Cover product. These are our top five questions asked by business owners when considering employee benefits.
1. Why is group life cover better for my employees than their retail alternatives?
Group life insurance holds numerous benefits for individuals. First, since the employer pays the premium, persistency is typically better and dependants are more consistently protected. Second, the cost of group cover is often far lower (for equivalent cover) than the individual could get directly. Third, better cover may be provided for people with impaired health. And finally, waiting periods are often waived or shortened. We’re convinced that good value group cover is a net positive investment for a company.
2. Is group life cover affordable?
Group life cover starts at very affordable levels. Meaningful cover can be obtained from about R49 per employee per month. Also, there are ways to structure the payment of premiums in such a way that it becomes part of your employees’ total remuneration package. You may for example want to structure it so that the employee makes a contribution, which is matched by the business.
Affordability is obviously important to SME owners and entrepreneurs. Costs need to be weighed against benefits both in terms of increased loyalty and job satisfaction from employees, and the potential cost to the business if a key member of staff is disabled or dies.
3. What does group life cover typically include?
Cover varies a lot from provider to provider and ranges from very simple funeral policies to very complex death and disability cover. Cover can be a multiple of annual salary or a fixed amount of cover for both life and disability, and a fixed amount of cover for family funerals. You should look out for the following when selecting your product:
- What’s included in the cover? What benefits does it include? In our view, you should look for a product that provides good value protection products (eg. life, disability, family funeral). This caters for as wide a range of scenarios as possible. Be careful you don’t end up with a bundle of value added services (eg. free airtime) and very little life or disability cover.
- Free cover limits. Is there a guaranteed amount of cover (the ‘free cover limit’), up to which your employees are covered for death and disability from both natural and accidental causes (full cover), irrespective of employee numbers?
- Waiting period. How long would you have to wait, from when you take out the policy, before your employees get full cover, rather than just accidental-only cover?
- How does the price compare with your alternatives — both group and retail — and how are premiums likely to change over time?
4. What’s hidden in the fine print?
It’s really important to check the fine print, to ensure there are no nasty surprises when there’s a claim. Many providers have complex policy rules and documents, and SMEs only discover the details when it’s too late. A good barometer is to look at how simple and transparent the sign-up process is, and how user-friendly the policy documents are.
5. What provider should I choose?
Make sure your insurance provider has a reliable track record, and is underwritten by a recognised insurance provider. There are a lot of fly-by-night players out there and you need to ensure that the policy you are buying has the backing of established and well-recognised market players. You need to be confident that your insurer can be trusted to pay when it comes to claim time.
6. How do I go about buying and administering the policy?
Traditionally, brokers have sold group life policies and provided admin support to their clients. Since quite a lot of work is involved and commissions are limited, brokers have not typically been available to SMEs. As such, there is a long tail of SMEs who don’t have group life cover and their employees are at risk. Fortunately, there are now options available that allow SMEs to do it themselves online and for brokers to serve SMEs cost-effectively.
You need to decide whether you want the peace of mind of working through a broker or the speed, control and convenience of doing it yourself online.
In conclusion, we believe group life insurance offers much value and peace of mind for SMEs. While many South Africans have funeral cover, very few have life or disability cover. As an SME owner or manager, you can show you care by taking a policy for your employees. Not only will you probably save money relative to an equivalent retail product, you’ll be amazed at how much your employees will appreciate your care and generosity. And you’ll be able to sleep easy, knowing their families will be taken care of if they die or become disabled.
Day Zero And Your Employees – What An Entrepreneur Needs To Know
With Day Zero pushed out to 2019, entrepreneurs in the Western Cape are still left with one concerning question: “What will happen to my business should the water supply still run dry?”
Depending on their reliance on municipal water, entrepreneurs could potentially find themselves without the ability to generate revenue in the absence of water. During this time, they will still be expected to pay staff a salary, creating a potentially untenable situation for certain businesses.
It is imperative that entrepreneurs in the Western Cape region start early discussions with their employees to find possible solutions that can be implemented should Day Zero actually hit. CDH provides the following possibilities to consider:
To pay or not to pay, that is the question
The duty of the employer to pay remuneration continues as long as the employee tenders his or her services. This is also the case where an employee is prevented from working, due to an unanticipated or unpreventable act such as a natural disaster.
An employer would have to pay its employees that tender work even if it cannot provide them with any work. Fortunately for employers, labour law recognises certain measures that can be taken to minimise this burden. The two most common are short-time and the temporary suspension of payment of remuneration. It is also important to note that these two measures can only be implemented if all parties concerned have agreed to it.
Short-time is a system of work that is used for periods when there is little or no work. The system recognises that paying an employee for periods when he or she is not working places undue strain on the financial position of the employer and the employee.
Employees may either agree to short-time in a contract of employment, or an employer may enter into a collective agreement regulating short-time with a union representing the affected employees.
A temporary suspension of payment of remuneration may be implemented when there is some prospect of the work situation improving in the near future and the employer being able to provide the employee with work. This may be implemented as an alternative to a dismissal.
Where there is no agreement to these alternatives an entrepreneur will have to engage with his or her employees, explain the company’s position and attempt to secure an agreement in this regard. If an employer is unable to do so, he or she may have to consider retrenchments.
Can you retrench employees as a result of Day Zero?
This is a difficult question. An employer will have to consider whether employees’ inability to work will be for a prolonged period.
There is no way of knowing how long a drought will continue. With the unpredictable effects of global warming, the weather has become increasingly difficult to forecast. The World Wildlife Fund anticipates that if the Western Cape region receives the same rainfall pattern as last year, the drought will continue for six months.
The Labour Relations Act, No. 66 of 1995 allows an employer to retrench employees for ‘operational requirements’. Operational requirements are defined as requirements based on economic, technological, structural or similar needs.
In order to establish that an ‘operational requirements’ dismissal is substantively fair, an employer must determine that genuine operational requirements exist. If the anticipated consequence of the drought is that a business may not be able to continue with its operations – without access to municipal water – this would constitute an operational requirement.
In conclusion, CDH advises entrepreneurs in the region whose business is heavily reliant on water to consider entering into working arrangements with their employees for the duration of the drought. This will ensure that the entrepreneur and the employee are both in agreement regarding available options should Day Zero occur. It will also help provide a sustainable alternative to retrenchments.
10 Corny But Undeniably True And Inspiring Quotes About Teamwork
As Michael Jordan said, “Talent wins games; teamwork wins championships.” He ought to know.
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.
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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