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The second book for Business Sherpa Group (BSG) Book Club was The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. The book was chosen so we could reflect on the learnings for BSG clients and the BSG ecosystem. We focused on how the book provided a model for behaviour which could be a useful tool within the many teams we are all a part of. For example, in her work within BSG as a Family Business Advisor and Coaching Associate, Cathy Holuk already applies elements from Lencioni’s book; one can imagine the nuances of the issues within a professional team that is also a family!

Basics of the Book

“Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.”

– Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Based on the quote above, it’s easy to surmise that the book is about teamwork and how to work on the dysfunctions all teams have (some more than others!).

The book is told as a fable. Kathryn is the new CEO of a tech company in Silicon Valley that is failing despite having the best product and a group of top-notch executives (who aren’t working as a team). Kathryn’s job is to bring the executive team together and turn Decision Tech around from being one of the worst places to work in Silicon Valley. She does this through a series of fictional off-site retreats, where the five dysfunctions model provides the structure for conversations that eventually lead to an executive team working together and a thriving company.

The Model

The model starts at the bottom and you work your way up to the top:

 Absence of Trust

  • A team must feel safe to be vulnerable
  • Vulnerability builds trust
  • One person can destroy an entire team’s trust

Fear of Conflict

  • Fake harmony stifles productive conflict and ideological differences
  • No productive conflict means there is no trust

Lack of Commitment

  • Lack of commitment and fear of being wrong leads to no decisions or half-decisions
  • People don’t stick to decisions they’ve made

Avoidance of Accountability

  • We would prefer to be nice than hold others accountable for their behaviour

Inattention to Results

  • Desire for individual credit rather than collective success
Our Take-Aways: 1. The Model

As with most business books, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a model that provides a framework for a conversation and should not be considered the be all and end all. It is a fable and should be taken as such. Let’s face it, Kathryn the CEO always seems to say the perfect thing at the perfect time (a little hard to live up to that standard). Often times when reading business or leadership books we can strive to get the exact same results. The BSG team discussed how important it is to remember we’re all human and each situation has its own nuances and particularities. What this book provides is a model and way to discuss each situation.

2. Hiring is Important

On an episode of Patrick Lencioni’s podcast, he argues that it would be less costly to take a trip across the country with a potential new hire than hire them and they not be a fit. This is especially the case with leadership hires. He argues for making the hiring process less traditional (e.g. a trip across the country) so you can assess whether the person will be an effective team member. A simpler way we can do this (than taking a trip) is including behavioural questions in the interview process that assess a candidate’s willingness and ability to behave in ways that are consistent with team expectations. When hiring and onboarding employees and associates here at BSG, we try to make it clear what it means to be part of the team, what are our acceptable behaviours and what collective results we are striving towards.

3. So Many Teams!

A struggle for BSG is that our employees and associates are part of many teams. We are part of the overall BSG team, sub-teams and also a part of our client teams.

As members of the BSG team, the book club participants discussed having collective goals or accountabilities. For example, associates’ accountability could be to add a useful template or tool to their practice-specific tools folder to help build our community of learning and support. For BSG as whole, the group discussed the power of an overarching goal that can be shared by us all. In a client situation, we can draw attention to issues in teamwork and work with the client to address them.

Overall we enjoyed the book, its content and how easily it was to read. If you are interested in the principles discussed in this book and how they could be applied in a realistic way in your team, our General Manager Todd Luckasavitch is happy to chat.

About the Author

Katherine Clarke-Nolan specializes in facilitation, strategic planning, governance and change management services that focus on helping organizations strategically transition and transform, resulting in more engaged and innovative workforces.

You can learn more about Katherine or contact her below.

_______________________________________

Business Sherpa Group

Strategic and operational professionals providing flexible business solutions for SMEs.

Explore the services we offer or contact info@businesssherpagroup.com with your immediate needs or 613-656-3499 if you’d like to chat; the first coffee is on us!

The post Book Club #2 – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team appeared first on Business Sherpa Group.

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In case you didn’t know, Business Sherpa Group offers a Developing Leaders Series program.

After running the DLS program for a year, feedback has been that these sessions are useful for everyone – regardless of where you are within an organization.

The next session is on May 30th and will focus on Conflict and Leadership Management. If you would like to find out more please see the details on our Eventbrite page or contact the program facilitator Claude Haw at chaw@businesssherpagroup.com.

As space is limited at these sessions, please make sure to register ahead of time here.

Stay tuned for details on the future Developing Leaders Series sessions!

Business Sherpa Group

Strategic and operational professionals providing flexible business solutions for SMEs.

Explore the services we offer or contact info@businesssherpagroup.com with your immediate needs or simply if you’d like to chat; the first coffee is on us!

The post Next Developing Leaders Series: Conflict and Leadership Management appeared first on Business Sherpa Group.

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Much has been said about the future of work, the gig economy and the increase in remote employees. As organizations grapple with their growth and the finite nature of physical space, more creative solutions are emerging or are re-emerging depending on who you talk to. Shared work spaces are becoming more prevalent and generally the acceptance and encouragement of remote work is growing. Yet there are still many individuals that are on the fence about working remotely.

I for one, being a recent convert, wasn’t really a champion of remote work until a few years ago simply because I had never done it before. When I did start working from home a couple of years ago it was typically two days a week and it required some getting used to for personal and philosophical reasons.

Two Days a Week Remote: Personal Challenges

On a personal level, I was easily distracted and found it hard to get into the zone. The reason for that was more about mentally recalibrating my view of my home as an office. Yes, I did have an office chair and desk in a designated spot in my living room but the proximity of my “workspace” to my television, couch and entertainment system were jarring juxtapositions.

My other personal challenge was my need for social interaction and belonging. At the office, I would have busy days but the occasional question from a colleague or a quick huddle to address an issue on a project were good disruptions that would help to reinforce my oneness with the team. It was that main element that pulled me into the physical office, Monday to Friday, opting out of using my available remote days.

Two Days a Week Remote: Philosophical Challenges

Philosophically, I saw remote work as more of an exception than a norm. The cliché “out of sight, out of mind” invoked a sort of anxiety about missing out on some important decisions at the office that could affect me directly. I think someone coined the term FOMO – the fear of missing out, to address this feeling of not wanting to be left out of something important. Change is good but it’s even better when it’s change you are aware of and can influence. Physical presence, I thought was always the gold standard. But what about the daily commute? While many would lament an hour-long bus ride to work, I found the experience satisfying. I would catch up on some reading, mull over some ideas in my head for some process improvement and also do a bit of brainstorming for ideas to handle a difficult project. The commute for me set the tone for the rest of the day.

Perks of Two Days a Week Remote

Being able to work remotely did have its perks. While I didn’t always use the opportunity to work from home, I did appreciate at least having the option to do so, especially with a young toddler in day care. I also enjoyed the savings on gas (although one could argue the cost of my monthly bus pass negated the gains in that area).

Working Full-Time Remote

Fast forward to today and I am now a full-time remote employee with the same company. Physically located in a different city, the option to forgo remote days and head into the office aren’t available any more. Out of necessity, I now choose to focus on the benefits that full-time virtual work affords me (rather than reminisce on the benefits of being physically present in the office).

If adapting to two days working from home took some getting used to, then working full-time remotely was somewhat of a culture shock.

Full-Time Remote Week One

The first week, I was excited about the new arrangement. I had enough work to keep me occupied and I had grown to appreciate the absence of distractions. The economic savings on time and gas were also noticeable. I no longer needed my monthly bus pass and my car was mostly used for short trips.

Full-Time Remote: Week Two

By week two, the novelty waned slightly but I was still able to find my rhythm and have a fully productive work day.

Full-Time Remote: Month Two

By month two, however, I was just shy of acting like Tom Hanks in Castaway minus having deep conversations with inanimate objects. I had my first virtual meeting with my team and I admittedly felt a little disconnected. Before going remote I was a regular in the office and pretty much knew what was happening with my colleagues on a personal and professional level. I benefited from relational osmosis; being physically present with my peers enabled me to get to know them personally with very little effort on my part. We are in fact a very close team but that first meeting did remind me that I was now separated from the others and would not benefit from the casual conversations and bonding that I had grown accustomed to.

I also noticed that I was feeling fatigued. I didn’t notice at the time, but I was approaching a state of burnout. Any online search engine will provide you with quite a few studies and articles stating that remote workers are susceptible to burn out. Once you become remote, especially after previously being in the office daily, the tendency is to try to overcompensate for your lack of physical presence by upping your productivity. It’s a latent drive to keep in step or even a step ahead of your peers in order to justify that you are still valuable to the team as a virtual contributor.

Thriving at Full-Time Remote

So where was the turning point for me from being burnt out to thriving in a virtual role? The answer is partly due to both external and internal factors.

Externally, my employer placed priority on increasing the connectivity with remote workers and the mothership (head office). We invested in our technology to facilitate higher quality video meetings and increased the cadence with which these meetings took place. Social events, including some of our casual get-togethers, added an option for remote staff to Zoom/Skype in and join in the festivities from their own pub, coffee shop or home. Greater emphasis was placed on using our existing instant messaging tool, Slack, so that persons could be kept in the loop in real time. The management team, led by our CEO, emphasized the importance of virtual contributors to the success of the organization in most staff and all-team meetings. This helped to reinforce the sense of belonging that I was afraid of losing in a remote role. Generally, there was a sense that remote employees were just a regular part of our organization. It became very clear that remote work was part and parcel of our company culture and not a foreign practice.

Even with the intentional actions taken by my organization to keep me grafted to the tree, I had to choose to engage with the process. Yes, the tools were available to me but if I did not make an effort to use them and connect with the team, then I would still feel that sense of disconnect. Building and maintaining professional relationships takes effort, even more so in the remote world. Availing myself to a reach out from a colleague, initiating a conversation around a difficult project, or requesting assistance from colleagues all helped to maintain my connection with the team.

Take Aways

As we grow more global and virtual, organizations and employees must fully engage with each other to enhance the remote experience. Yes, there are challenges to remote work but these challenges are not insurmountable. All it takes is a little creativity and commitment from all the players involved.

About the Author

Richard Jaggon joined Business Sherpa Group in 2016 after earning a post-graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management from Algonquin College. As a BSG employee, he consults with business owners and leaders in small to medium sized enterprises, assisting them with their HR needs. Richard’s expertise lies in recruitment and people management and has supported clients across several industries. He has a degree in Sociology and completed ten years of military service prior to embarking on his HR career.

Business Sherpa Group

Strategic and operational professionals providing flexible business solutions for SMEs.

Explore the services we offer or contact info@businesssherpagroup.com with your immediate needs or simply if you’d like to chat; the first coffee is on us!

The post Pass the Remote: The Pros and Cons of Being a Full-Time Remote Employee appeared first on Business Sherpa Group.

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Last week one of our Sherpas, Forrest Donaldson, was fortunate to be a guest on Momentum Law‘s Facebook Live event. Together Forrest and Megan Cornell, a lawyer and the Founder & CEO of Momentum Law, discussed the legal and HR importance of having proper written Employment Policies in your small business. They specifically went over:

  • Social media policies
  • Violence and harassment policy (legally required)
  • Policies around various leaves of absence
  • Cannabis policy

The chat was so full of substance that we couldn’t upload it as one file! Each type of policy that was reviewed has been segmented below:

Social Media Policies
Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.
Violence and Harassment Policies
Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.
Leave Policies
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Cannabis Policies
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If you found this chat useful then good news! Momentum Law holds Facebook Live chats every Friday at 11:00 am; see their Facebook page here. This conversation between Megan and Forrest was specifically for their new learning platform, Momentum Business Law Academy.

Business Sherpa Group

Strategic and operational professionals providing flexible business solutions for SMEs.

Explore the services we offer or contact info@businesssherpagroup.com with your immediate needs or simply if you’d like to chat; the first coffee is on us!

The post Employment Policies for Small Businesses: A Chat appeared first on Business Sherpa Group.

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Life in small business can feel pretty chaotic. You’re wearing several hats working on a hodgepodge of tasks and priorities. With all this going on, how do you make the best and most informed decisions for your business while understanding the risks and potential outcomes?

A strong finance capability is key to better business decisions. Without the key data provided by strong financial analysis, making large business decisions can feel like plucking something out of thin air.

Before the Foundation is In Place

What we often see when we start an engagement is:

  • Year-end accounting only
  • Over-simplified bookkeeping and G/L
  • Automated reports with no adjusting entries
  • Behind on:
    • Invoicing
    • Accounts Receivable/ Accounts Payable
    • Remittances
    • HST
  • Cashflow issues
  • No standard financial reporting
  • No forward-looking analysis

We see so many companies who are trying to figure out how and when to make a decision without the right data and metrics. Often companies who haven’t yet reached level 1 (in the chart below) try to make decisions that require level 3 insights!

Understanding Your Numbers Building the Foundation

So, what do you do?

You take steps to truly understand your current and future financial states.

Like any building, begin with a strong foundation. Work with a skilled bookkeeper to set up a proper General Ledger (G/L) that is designed around your business. Get caught up on outstanding transactions (e.g. Accounts Receivable (A/R) and Accounts Payable (A/P) and remittances and establish minimal reporting. You might also want to explore new technologies that create efficiencies in managing finances. Some of our favourites are Hubdocs, Quickbooks Online and Plooto but there are many other good options out there too.

After the Foundation is In Place

With the foundation in place, you are then able to track your cash and begin working with your finance team (controller and/or vCFO supported by a skilled bookkeeper) to build processes and reports that support current and future business. The tools used: forecasts, budgets, cash flows and monthly reports, provide a higher level picture of your business and what decisions you want to make moving forward. For example, now you have the data and knowledge to understand your next hire or what products sales teams should focus on selling.

With the foundation, processes and reports in place, you can now take your financial analysis to a new level. With the help of an experience vCFO, you can begin looking at creating and reporting on higher level data. This could include looking at your margins, choosing key financial indicators to gauge the health of your business and implementing month/ quarterly/ yearly business reviews. Once here, you can make well informed big picture business decisions. Were you thinking about buying some real estate? Acquiring a company? Expanding to new markets? Well, now you know what you can or cannot do.

Take Aways

No business decision can be completely free of risk. There are variables beyond anyone’s control. To make the most informed decision you can, focus on what is in your control.  Build a strong financial foundation, implement key processes and reports and work with your team on financial analysis. It takes time, focus and the help of a few professionals. Trust us, you will be grateful that you took the time to implement these practices the next time you need to make an important decision.

About the Author

Katherine Clarke-Nolan, Director of Delivery and Engagement, specializes in facilitation, strategic planning, governance and change management services that focus on helping organizations strategically transition and transform, resulting in more engaged and innovative workforces. She currently plays a leading role in guiding and supporting the Business Sherpa Group finance team.

Business Sherpa Group

Strategic and operational professionals providing flexible business solutions for SMEs.

Explore the services we offer or contact info@businesssherpagroup.com with your immediate needs or simply if you’d like to chat; the first coffee is on us!

The post Building your Finance Capability for Better Business Decisions appeared first on Business Sherpa Group.

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Culture in a Small Team

When Business Sherpa Group (BSG) was formed, Margo’s* vision was a firm that provided full business solutions in factional, flexible amounts for SMEs. This offering was achieved by working with independent associates who are experts in their fields. To optimize this approach, a community was created for these independent associates – an ecosystem where they could collaborate with others, build their knowledge and enjoy team activities you might get in a conventional workplace.

At first, with a small core team of associates, engaging and learning was fairly easy. A weekly call among associates and quarterly all-team sessions provided opportunities to socialize, learn, teach and grow. Ask any of our early associates; finding someone with an answer to your burning HR question or a tool you could use with your finance client was simple because, well, you knew everyone.

*Margo Crawford, President and CEO of Business Sherpa Group

Culture in a Growing Team

Flash forward 11 years, and BSG has GROWN! BSG is now a team of 17 staff and over 75 associates. How do you maintain a sense of community and culture in a growing community and one that now includes virtual resources across the country? Most recently, a very enthusiastic Katherine Clarke-Nolan, Director of Delivery and Engagement, launched BSG Book Club as a means to discuss concepts with our community of employees and associates that touch our clients.

Book Club book #1

The inaugural book for BSG Book Club was The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. The book was chosen so that we could reflect on the learnings for BSG clients and the BSG ecosystem itself. We focused on how we encourage healthy cultures for our clients and how we can continue to build a BSG culture that we are proud of, as we continue to scale and grow.

Basics of the Book

Through anecdotal and fact-based research, Daniel Coyle says there are three traits that create highly successful cultures:

  1. Building Safety

Healthy cultures build signals of connection that generate bonds of belonging and identity. Building safety depends on small moments and cues. The large gestures, unlike romantic comedies, do not a good culture make. Instead it is eye contact, a small touch, or avoiding interrupting colleagues.

  1. Sharing Vulnerability

Building habits of mutual risk to drive cooperation, “we are all in this together”. It is the moment of vulnerability and how we respond that affects the culture. If the response is negative, people will not continue to share mistakes or take risks. Instead, in moments of disagreement or vulnerability, make it a habit to be open and trusting.

  1. Establishing Purpose

Increasingly, we are seeing employees who would rather believe in what they are doing than engage in a job that pays them more, but they do not understand the purpose. Coyle makes the point to “measure what really matters”. Most of us have goals tied to business metrics such as revenue, but consider how you might create metrics that are tied more specifically to the narrative and purpose of the organization.

Take Aways

 Overall, Culture Code by Daniel Coyle offered us a lot  to think about and discuss in our book club. We would recommend it to those looking for a simply written and easy to read book on company culture.

As for a means to connect with our growing team, book club was an excellent vehical to combine learning and socializing. We’ve come to realize the face-to-face element is very important to feel a connection so, instead of just having participants who couldn’t physically attend call in, we used video-conferencing. Feedback from both those present and those video-ing in was that the video conference made a world of difference. So while learning about company culture in book club we realizing something out our own culture!

The next BSG Book Club is on The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni.

Business Sherpa Group

Strategic and operational professionals providing flexible business solutions for SMEs.

Explore the services we offer or contact info@businesssherpagroup.com with your immediate needs or simply if you’d like to chat; the first coffee is on us!

The post Book Club: The Culture Code appeared first on Business Sherpa Group.

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Small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) of every type are entering into an era of exponential change.

Technology transformation, data and information abundance, labour force changes and connected communities are coalescing to disrupt businesses, workplaces, teams and how employees want to work. For example, a linear traditional workplace is giving way to a more fluid and flexible employer-employee relationship driven by new expectations and preferences on how employees want to work.

This era of change means the Human Resources (HR) function has never been more critical to help navigate any uncertainty (that naturally arises with change) as well as to help organizations and teams embrace the opportunities found in new working relationships and new organizational structures.

Then

SMEs have often foregone the opportunity to build a complete HR function within their organization by thinking their only option is a full-time hire or they hope online tools and basic documented policies promising HR compliance will resolve most of their HR issues (and that nothing too complex will come up).

The reality is that the issues that consume the most time, energy and focus are people issues. These are situational, often involve personal judgements or interactions and can usually be avoided with some preventative initiatives. More importantly, the full potential of a team becomes short-changed without a dedicated eye focused on how to organize and create opportunities for growth.

Now

Many SMEs have recognized the importance of having experienced HR leadership within their organization. These SMEs have embraced the emerging workforce model that’s comprised of dedicated virtual and/or part-time HR professionals who typically work 1 to 2 days per week depending on the organization’s size and needs. During this time, these experienced HR professionals are able to manage all of the HR activities from establishing HR compliance and addressing routine operations through to strategic activities and flexibly fit the complete HR needs of a business. These HR leaders are able to become part of a SME’s core team and build high-trust relationships that can influence and shift perspectives, guide change and steward the culture all the while maintaining operational routines and keeping up with legal employment obligations.

When to Bring in an HR Professional

Some of the indicators often cited by SME leaders and owners as the motivation to bring in a dedicated virtual and/or part-time HR professional are:

  • Questions arising around policies and practices and how these apply to their organization as well as questions regarding consistency in application and being transparent about processes and fairness.
  • A growing unease of not being legally compliant in policies and in how situations are being managed or addressed.
  • The owner or leaders feel that people management issues are taking up too much of their time and they feel uncomfortable providing objective and balanced guidance – they simply want to focus on the most critical outcomes for the business and how to get there.
  • A specific issue has arisen that points to underlying symptoms that need focus and attention in order to ensure the continued functioning of high performing teams. 
  • An organization wants to ensure that the right skills and talent are in place by developing existing staff and hiring key talent. There is a strong feeling that effective people management is seen as vital for growth and to achieve the company’s vision.
Impactful Outcomes of Established HR Function

SMEs that have embraced the model of using fractional HR support have generally started small, dipping their toes in to address foundational activities. But they quickly discover the value of having an experienced HR leader. Based off what I’ve seen, the five most impactful outcomes of establishing a professional HR function are:

  1. Confidence that the ‘house is in order’; the organization is meeting its obligations and mitigating risk with processes, documentation, routines, policies as well as appropriate responses to challenging situations;
  2. The team and leadership have a resource to answer policy questions as well as to help guide and coach them through challenging situations;
  3. There is focused attention on the development of employees, teams and individuals through organization planning, performance & development programs as well as situational and formal coaching and training activities;
  4. Compensation, benefit plans and other rewards are structured and planned to align relative to a desired position in the market and support internal equity;
  5. New initiatives and programs are introduced and effectively maintained that align to vision, values and strategic goals. This facilitates enhanced employee engagement contributing beyond their day to day activities.
Take Away

Many small and mid-sized enterprises are leading the way in embracing workplace shifts towards flexible virtual and part time HR functions. Having a key HR leader who is accountable for people strategies to support staff, teams and leaders ensures alignment, clear communications and accountability that will drive performance and help navigate challenges allowing SMEs to keep up with the exponential change facing them today.

Business Sherpa Group

Strategic and operational professionals providing flexible business solutions for SMEs.

Explore the services we offer or contact info@businesssherpagroup.com with your immediate needs or simply if you’d like to chat; the first coffee is on us!

The post In Times of Exponential Change, Critical to Establish a Human Resources Function appeared first on Business Sherpa Group.

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2018 is quickly coming to a close and for most of us that means juggling competing priorities – there just seems to be so much that needs to get done before the year is out!

If one of the tasks on your “to do” list is year-end payroll, please read on for a checklist to ensure your year-end process is seamless and 2019 starts off successfully.

Reconcile
  • Verify all manual payroll cheques were recorded in the payroll register and balance source deduction remittances to payroll register and general ledger accounts.
  • Prepare a PIER audit of CPP and EI deductions and remit any amounts owing with the final remittance for the year.
  • Generate a draft T4 run and T4 summary report for use in reconciling. Verify employee addresses and SIN numbers are correct.
  • Reconcile T4 summary report to payroll register and accounting general ledger accounts. Verify all amounts balance and are recorded in the correct boxes on the T4.
  • Communicate any additional payroll time for reconciliations with your employer or clients in advance. 
Taxable Benefits
  • Ensure taxable benefits (employer paid life, dep life, AD&D, CI) were reported each pay period, are balanced to the provider statements and are recorded in the correct boxes on the T4.
  • Process taxable benefit variances and other entries such as company car benefits. 
Set-up 2019 Payroll Year
  • Review payroll provider 2019 calendar for payroll processing/pay day conflicts (statutory holidays etc.)
  • Email employees new TD1 and TD1 ON forms from CRA for the 2019 payroll year.
  • Review 2019 CPP and EI statutory deductions rates and maximums.  You can find details by following these links to CRA website:
2019 Canadian Pension Plan

2019 CPP Contribution rates, maximums and exemptions are changing. Learn more about these changes by clicking here (link to Government of Canada information on CPP).

2019 Employment Insurance

2019 EI premium rates and maximums have increased. You can learn more about the 2019 EI changes on this concise chart (link to Government of Canada information on EI).

Have you considered outsourcing payroll?

Many smaller businesses try to squeeze in payroll tasks when they have time but if the work is not done well or in a timely manner it can prove costly. A bookkeeper can process your payroll promptly and ensure that your payroll remittances are made on time to avoid costly penalties. Business Sherpa Group provides cost-effective, experienced bookkeepers in the exact amount that you need and has a team of accounting associates who are well versed in current processes, technologies and legislative requirements for payroll.  Learn more.

If you would like a copy of this checklist, we’ve created a downloadable version.

About the Author

Sandy Berry leads the Bookkeeping Business Solutions Team at Business Sherpa Group. Over the past 30 years, Sandy has worked with multiple small and medium sized organizations providing bookkeeping, accounting, payroll and human resources support.

The post Make Year-End Payroll Easy: A Checklist appeared first on Business Sherpa Group.

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As an entrepreneur or leader of a NFP, there’s pressure from stakeholders to prove your value and yet, how do you show that you’re moving the needle forward? While it sounds like a simple question, it is not always clear because there are so many levers at play – revenue, funding (restricted and unrestricted), operational costs, employees, margins etc. If it’s so complicated, why even bother?

The Rationale

It’s worth it because taking the time to develop performance management and measurements helps organizations to:

  • Turn strategy into action
  • Link performance to strategy
  • Maximize effectiveness of operations
  • Enable attainment of strategic outcomes
  • Promote an environment of continuous improvement, enhanced creativity and innovation
  • Provide proof of value to stakeholders and funders
So, how do you build your performance management structure?

You can start with…

 1. A solid strategic plan

The first task is a solid strategic plan that outlines the organization’s objectives for the next several years. A strategic plan defines where an organization is going, aligns members of the organization behind a strategic vision and helps you reach your goals and objectives. It answers the questions: Where do we want to be? Where are we now? How do we get there? Who is going to do what? How will we monitor our progress?

Example strategic objective:

  • To be the leader in providing Electrical Contracting Services to businesses in the Ottawa region.
2. Solid Key Performance Indicators

Once you’ve established your strategic objectives, you can begin to form Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will let you and your stakeholders know how you’ll measure your progress. KPIs are:

  • Controllable and accountable
  • Qualitative and quantitative
  • Long term and short term

Although you have most likely included your entire management team in the strategic planning process, it is very important to include them in developing KPIs. Your COO, CFO etc. will have the information and knowledge to help develop KPIs that are linked directly to strategic objectives and identify organizational successes or failure.

Example KPI:

  • The number of clients using our services each year
  • The number of referrals for services each year
3. Link KPIs to your operational plan and specific targets

This is where rubber hits the road. Strategic objectives are only attainable if those who are doing the work understand and agree with how to reach them. A strong operational plan provides the actions to take in reaching the strategic objectives, and the specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound targets (S.M.A.R.T) that link directly to the KPIs. 

Example Targets:

  • A 20% increase in the number of clients using our services
  • A 15% increase in referrals for services

Example Actions to help reach targets:

  • Develop baseline numbers for client engagements and referrals in order to track increase
  • Track client engagement and referrals
  • Engage in business development activities
  • Recruit new electricians
4. Commitment to tracking, reporting and reviewing KPIs

For consistent tracking and reporting many organizations choose to use a dashboard or scorecard to view progress on their KPIs. No matter the tool you use, what’s important is that you are tracking, reviewing and reporting on them regularly. In committing to regularly tracking and reporting on your KPIs, you are able to share good news or bad news with stakeholders easily and regularly. It also provides the opportunity to reflect on the choice of KPIs and make changes as needed.

Example of a simple dashboard:

Bad Habits in Performance Management
  • Judging people with measures. Performance measures are for improving processes, they are not about improving people.
  • Using unclear language for goals. Write so a fifth grader can understand
  • Not involving people in the creation of measures. Enable contribution without wasting their time
  • Rushing to dashboards and reports. Focus on defining the right performance measures in enough detail before deciding what tools and/ or reports will be used to track them.
  • Cluttered and bloated performance reports. Put time into a report that is simple and answers only what is asked
  • Treat symptoms not causes with quick money or resources. Focus on measures that fix root causes, not Band-Aid measure.
In Summary

Performance management is a continual and iterative process that can have everlasting impacts on an organization and their ability to plan, develop and execute. Taking the time for effective performance management can help you tell your story to future investors, donors, clients and funders.

About the Author

Katherine Clarke-Nolan specializes in facilitation, strategic planning, governance and change management services that focus on helping organizations strategically transition and transform, resulting in more engaged and innovative workforces.

The post Measuring Value and Performance: What’s the Point and How to Do It appeared first on Business Sherpa Group.

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Corporate Governance in the Spotlight

Ottawa Business Journal‘s (OBJ) November issue featured a theme that was all things Corporate Governance.

Margo Crawford and Claude Haw are seasoned vets when it comes to corporate governance and shared their insights in this OBJ November issue. Their article focuses on the power and importance of effective governance in small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and includes tips on assembling an effective board.

The Article

Read Effective Governance Accelerates SME Performance here!

The post Effective Governance Accelerates SME Performance appeared first on Business Sherpa Group.

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