Follow SmartHR Blog on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook


Paternity leave entitlement has been amended because Dads also need to bond with their newborn babies, and they need quality time to do this.

The first days and weeks of a newborn baby’s life are a time when bonding between parent and baby takes place.  Fathers can now spend those first days with their baby, and form that crucial bond – without rushing off to work and getting back to ‘normal’ life.

Fathers also need quality time with their new babies.  They need time to hold and comfort them and gaze into their eyes, contrary to the belief that fathers don’t need to spend time with their newborn baby.

The first days of a newborn’s life

After birth, a baby will stare at the faces of its parents; react to the sound of their voices.  In fact, a baby will use all of their senses at this time, and is able to identify its mom and dad.

These first days are a very emotional time, with so much to learn, and do as parents of a newborn.

It requires support from the partner who is not the one staying at home on maternity leave.  This support is provided in the form of paternity leave.

Paternity leave

The Cambridge English dictionary defines paternity leave as a period of time that a father is legally allowed to be away from his job so that he can spend time with his new baby.  You can now change this definition to say ‘so that he can spend 10 days with his new baby’, as this is what the new Labour Laws Amendment Bill states.

This means:

  • not having to get up and go to work after a sleepless night
  • bonding with the baby from day one
  • being able to spend special time with new baby and partner after 9 months of waiting.

On 28 November 2017, parliament passed the Labour Laws Amendment Bill that allows fathers to take 10 days paid paternity leave.   The bill is now with the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for final passing.  This is expected to come into effect in June this year.

What does this new amendment mean?

Currently, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act states that an employee (either a female or one in a same-sex partnership) may take four months maternity leave in respect of that employee’s child. This is paid for by the Unemployment Insurance Fund or the Employer if they provide for that.

It also states that an employee who is the father of the child can take three days family responsibility leave when their child is born. The family responsibility leave is paid for by the employer.

Under the new amendments, it has been proposed that:

  • fathers will receive 10 days paternity leave.
  • a single adoptive parent of a child less than two years old will be entitled to 10 weeks leave. A second adoptive parent is entitled to 10 days consecutive leave.
  • surrogate parents will be entitled to 10 days leave.
  • full maternity leave (four months) in the event of miscarriage in the third trimester or stillbirth will be given.

These amendments are gender neutral, available to both parents of the same or different genders.

Other benefits of paternity leave

Besides for the obvious cost benefit of having those days at home covered, there are many positive effects it will have on the family.

The sharing of parenting responsibilities is a benefit.  Fathers who take paternity leave become involved in changing nappies, feeding and bathing baby.  These fathers stay involved in child-care in the long term.  This helps share the burden with the mother.

Being involved with the tasks of changing nappies, and feeding helps the baby to bond with the father.

It can be a stressful time, and having the support of a partner is a great help.  This can strengthen the bond between partners which results in a happier family life.

When paternity leave is offered it levels the playing field for men and women.  This is in terms of how employers look at employees and their potential to take family leave while at their company.

Also, when fathers and partners are able to take leave it lessens the economic effects on a new mother’s career.  It also decreases wage loss for women.

Paternity leave tips for dads

Some tips to consider for a fulfilling time while on paternity leave.

  • Just do it – from changing dirty nappies to giving your baby a bath.
  • Help feed the baby – bring the baby to the mother when it’s time for a feed or burp the baby.
  • Spend time alone with the baby. This will help bond with the baby and give mom a break.
  • Take naps – use the baby’s sleeping schedule to assist with this.
  • Forget email and turn off the phone. Focus on the newborn and the family.
  • Communicate with your partner. The first few weeks of parenthood will set the tone for how you will work together in future.
  • Limit visitors to ensure you give the baby, mother and yourself some rest.
  • Savour the time – enjoy your time bonding with your baby.
SmartHR considerations

The legislation is currently before the upper house, the National Council of Provinces. If passed, it will take effect in early 2018. As the new entitlements would draw on the financial resources of the UIF, there will probably be an increase in the UIF contribution rate.

Once this Bill has been made an Act of Parliament, employers will need to review and amend their contracts of employment accordingly.

SmartHR has a generic leave engine that can be used to easily add new leave types such as paternity leave.

Administrators can add the paternity leave dates, submit the necessary proof documentation and allow users to apply for it on the web, kiosk and mobile.

SmartHR could calculate what paternity leave would theoretically have cost an organisation, based on the dependants registered over the past 5 years.  This would enable an organisation to predict the cost and make provision for future paternity leave.

The cost of paternity leave

Employers worry about the cost of having to pay employees while they aren’t working, but this leave has a minimal impact on business operations.

The cost of paternity leave, both in business and at home is:

  • A strong foundation for a lifelong parenting partnership
  • Gender equality at home and at work
  • A positive impact on the productivity of employees
  • A strong bond formed between father and child.

The post Paternity leave, because Dads also need to bond with their newborn babies appeared first on SmartHR.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Employee experience is a hot topic on the web, in the press and on the airwaves. Not to be confused with company culture, employee experience also takes the technological and physical working environment into account.

Put simply, the idea behind creating a great employee experience translates into providing the right tools for the job and creating a place or environment that inspires employees.

In considering all things related to the employee experience, I was reminded of my experience at an excellent conference I attended in Boston in 2013.  ‘Inbound’ is an increasingly popular marketing conference, hosted by Hubspot, and attended by more than 10 000 delegates annually.  Their lineup of speakers include the likes of Seth Godin, Ariana Huffington,  Alec Baldwin and more. (As an aside, this year’s conference will see Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert and Michelle Obama as keynote speakers at Inbound 2017).

Going back to 2013, one of the talks was about how people perceive far better value when they purchase experiences as opposed to purchasing material goods. The presentation was delivered by Elizabeth Dunn one of the co-authors of the book “Happy Money – The Science of Smarter Spending”.

The book explains how your money can actually buy happiness if you follow certain principles.  Spending on experiences, or on others, always trumps spending on stuff. The authors go on to say that the five principles explained in their book can also be used by “companies seeking to create happier employees and provide happier products to their customers.”

At this point you may be asking what on earth this has to do with HR or the employee experience, so let me explain.  Firstly, Inbound marketing is all about digital transformation. Companies who are adapting to take full advantage of the digital era are embracing digital throughout the organization.  This now includes the Human Resources Department.

According to Forbes “Digital and consumer marketing are permeating new ways of recruiting, working, learning, and engaging employees.”

So the whole digital disruption or transformation has now permeated into the HR department seeking to optimize the work environment to ensure that employees are fully engaged.  More and more companies are realizing the benefit of providing the employee with a great experience and not just a salary cheque at the end of each month.  Companies are increasingly improving their workspaces to help create better environments that people enjoy working in.

Over and above the physical environment, companies have recognized that the tools that people use have become quite a personal choice.  If you use a tool that you are most comfortable using, you are likely to produce a better product.  Thus the era of companies standardizing on certain hardware and software seems to be coming to an end.

We see this as an essential step forward in the workplace and fully support the move towards better experiences all around.  Has your company made any moves in this direction? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments box below.

  • Happy Money Elizabeth Dunn, Michael Norton
  • Forbes

The post Now trending: The Employee Experience appeared first on SmartHR.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In an organisation, there can be leaders that aren’t managers and managers that aren’t leaders but in modern society, organisations should be employing managers that can lead their subordinates at each level of the organisation and by employing successful succession management to equip employees with potential for management positions to be leaders.

There are a few differences between leaders and managers. The goal should be to employ managers that are leaders throughout all levels of the organisation.

Leaders vs Managers?

A leader is someone that motivates and inspires people to work together and align to achieve a common purpose. Leaders set a directive and create change in an organisation.

A manager performs the functions of management and managers the change created by leaders and deals with complexities within the organisation. The functions of management are planning, organising, leading and control.

Leading and management in an organisation share one thing in common – they both aim to achieve a specific purpose through others.

The 4 management functions and leadership

Planning: A manager implements and creates strategic plans to achieve organisational objectives and set goals to figure out the best way to achieve new strategy and direction for the organisation. A leader needs to plan to align people, culture and values in order to achieve these objectives and goals.

Organising: This task leads to the development of the organisational structure which serves as a guideline for employees to understand how activities in the organisation are divided and how resources are allocated. A leader is able to organise people and resources by dealing with change accordingly, finding new opportunities and capitalising on the strengths of the organisation.

Leading: This is “a social process of influencing people to work voluntarily, enthusiastically and persistently towards a purposeful group or organisational goal.” Managers are able to lead by having a vision and inspiring people to work toward achieving that vision. Managers that are leaders are able to choose other leaders that buy-in to their vision and lead their own subordinates in the direction of that same vision.

Control: This management function makes sure that the organisation is on the right course to achieve its goals for the organisation and implement corrective action when plans are steering off course. Managers that are also leaders are able to control human resources more effectively as people are more willing to be controlled by a great leader. Leaders are also able to communicate gaps in actual and targeted performance while maintaining respect from their subordinates and creating change to achieve performance standards.

John W. Gardner identifies 9 tasks of leadership:

If you want the managers in your organisation to be effective leaders, here are some of the tasks they should be able to complete as stated by John W. Gardner

  1. Envisioning Goals: Leaders have visions which they share with and are able to translate this vision into objectives that need to be achieved in order to obtain a vision or goal.
  2. Affirming Values: Leaders ensure everyone knows what the values of an organisation are by behaving in a way that expresses these values.
  3. The Regeneration of Values: Leaders need to create an awareness and appreciation of values in an organisation. They need to remind people of these values and revitalise shared values and beliefs. Leaders also need to stay on top of changes in their environment and ensure that values are aligned.
  4. Motivating: In order for all employees to work toward a vision and ultimate goal, they need to be motivated to do so. Whether it is money, family, security, work success or acknowledgement that motivates employees, without a job they would not be able to achieve any of these. Leaders know how to motivate their employees in a way that means something to them.
  5. Managing: This means carrying out the 4 functions of management as a leader.
  6. Achieving Workable Unity: This is not only workable unity within the organisation but also the workable unity of the organisation with its environment by capitalising on opportunities and avoiding threats while knowing what strengths and weaknesses lie within the organisation.
  7. Trust: Organisations function when people trust one another and their motives. A leader creates an environment of trust that enables people to work cohesively and in harmony with one another.
  8. Explaining: Leaders are able to convey messages to employees and alleviate any doubt in policy, practices or procedures.
  9. Serving as a symbol: Corporate culture needs to be implemented by senior management – leaders serve an example of the company beliefs, values and ethics in order for the culture to be realised at all levels of the organisation.

Are your managers, leaders? Do your succession management plans enable you to choose the right candidates for management positions?

  • BJ Erasmus, J. S. S. R.-K., 2013. Introduction to Business Management. 9th ed. Cape Town: Oxford.
  • Gardener, J. W., 1988. The Tasks of Leadership. NASSP Bulletin, 72(510), p. 77.
  • Vrba, M., 2016. Principles of leading. In: M. V. T Brevis, ed. Contemporary Management Principles. Cape Town: Juta, pp. 445-457.
  • Brevis, T., 2016. The Management Process. In: M. V. T Brevis, ed. Contemporary Management Principles. Cape Town: Juta, pp. 28-43.
  • Werner, A., 2011. Leadership and Followership. In: A. Werner, ed. Organisation Behaviour – A contemporary South African Perspective. Third ed. Pretoria: Van Schalk Publishers, pp. 351-379.

The post Succession Management: Are all managers leaders? appeared first on SmartHR.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A company needs to transform a few basic inputs into outputs –  the final products or services they trade for a profit. These basic inputs may differ slightly for each industry but generally, they are known as the factors of production. These general and most basic factors of production include natural resources, human resources, capital and entrepreneurship. One cannot combine financial and natural resources effectively or efficiently without human resources – employees. Maintaining healthy employee relations is imperative to ensure a happy and satisfied labour force.

What is ‘employee relations’? It is a term given to the relationship employees have with other employees in the organisation. Considering that employees’ coordination and synergy is essential to achieving business objectives of all kinds, having healthy relationships – throughout the organisational hierarchy, is imperative

There are a few basic elements of an organisation that tell its story. The first is the quality of products and services they provide, the second is the symbols of an organisation which they choose to associate with, the third is the values they project through their vision and mission statements, the fourth is their customer service and lastly – the way the employees perceive the organisation.

The last two elements make maintaining healthy employee relations an incredibly important task carried out by the human resources manager. Healthy employee relations need to be formed and maintained because human resources include the mental and physical talents and skills of employees that combine the factors of production – losing a skilled employee to a poor working environment due to unhealthy employee relations is a situation that needs to be avoided at all costs. The increase in demand for knowledge workers multiplies this need, putting healthy employee relations at the forefront of all human resource activities.

Not only are employees essential to combine other factors of production, they are also one (if not the first) contact point for customers and clients. An experience with a single employee of a company can form a long-lasting impression about the company as this single employee serves as a representative of the entire company’s labour force and its corporate culture. Good customer service is all about having positive interactions with customers. This is essential for creating long-term value customers (those that keep returning to purchase goods and services from the company) and to gain loyalty from clients and customers. Customer service is also a key differential for any company – putting them at a competitive advantage or disadvantage. On the other hand, having excellent customer service is a long-term cost-saving strategy as customer acquisition is a far more expensive endeavour than customer retention. How about that? – Happy employees = saving money on marketing budgets.

So, now that we have established that one factor of a sustainable competitive advantage is good customer service and that good customer service depends on healthy employee relations, the question we need to answer is why.

Employees, customers, investors, banks and the community are just some of the stakeholders in any business. The most important stakeholders that you need to keep happy are your employees. Your employees are the organic mouth piece of your organisation and their perception of and attitude towards the company is an incredibly important aspect to manage during reputation formation. If employees are disgruntled, what impression does that give the public of the business practices within the organisation? Is that really a company that people want to interact with when we live in a free market with plenty other options and a democratic society that affords us the right to choose? No. And the first sign of disgruntled and uninterested employees is the level of customer service.

As we mentioned in the definition of employee relations, this could be relationships with anyone in the hierarchy of the organisation – employees and their managers, managers and other managers or just employees. So, with all these different dynamics, how is it possible to form healthy employee relations and maintain healthy employee relations?

Here are a few tips:

  1. In motivation theory, there is a theory regarding the equal distribution of rewards. This is known as the equity theory. An employee compares their input-output ratio to those they perceive to be equal to them. If an employee feels that one of their ‘equals’ is being rewarded unfairly, they will become unmotivated and there will be tension between these employees. It Is essential for management to understand who employees are comparing themselves with and ensure that there is no misunderstanding in the distribution of rewards.
  1. Create an environment that fosters healthy employee relations. This sort of environment would be one that employees feel comfortable to solve disputes and form relationships in. Perhaps you have a mediator that employees can deal with directly to solve issues or an anonymous help desk on how to deal with certain issues in the workplace. Having a little cafeteria or coffee shop on your premises where employees can meet and sit together is also a great way to foster relationships. Remember that these sorts of facilities in an organisation shouldn’t be exclusive because all employees want to feel like equals and not below management. If management had their own ‘executive cafeteria’ it wouldn’t create an environment for employees to form healthy relationships with those at higher levels of the organisation.
  1. Teambuilding! Yes, it is a little bit of a cliché and some employees can’t stand the thought of some teambuilding activities but if you manage to get this right you can create strong relationships between members of an organisation that enable them to work productively together toward achieving organisational goals
  1. Honesty and trust. When employees trust each other and the intentions of other employees (again, this isn’t only applicable to employees on the same hierarchical levels) then employee relations are strong. There is little hostility in organisations built on honesty and trust because employees never feel there is malicious intent in the actions or criticism of their fellow employees.
  1. Track employee relations and disputes to identify patterns and put measures in place to prevent future disputes and remove obstacles inhibiting healthy employee relations. Allow employees and managers to log disciplinary and grievance incidents which are work flowed between the relevant parties with suitable software such as SmartHR’s People Administration Module.

As an HR manager, what other ways do you ensure and maintain healthy employee relations within your organisation? If you’re an employee, how would you want employee relations to be handled?

The post Maintaining healthy employee relations appeared first on SmartHR.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In this day and age, the regular office equipment from the nineties does not suffice as sufficient employee equipment, and as technology has advanced so have the essential assets every employee needs to do an efficient job. The way businesses conduct their daily work has a lot to do with what assets employees have at their disposal.

Here are a few general assets that employees should be empowered with and that need to be kept track of. SmartHR’s asset management system can track all employee-linked assets.

Suggested essentials:
  1. A uniform

    Uniforms or branded items are essential for employees when representing your company. Even if your company doesn’t have a ‘blue-collar’ uniform, your employees may have shirts, caps, shoes or pants that need to be branded with your company’s logo. Each item of this uniform becomes a company expense and should be monitored to ensure each employee has sufficient clothing and that they aren’t misusing this company benefit.

  2. A laptop/tablet

    Laptops and tablets are mobile and are therefore perfect for employees who are always on the road, or for business meetings that take place out of office. Laptops make it easy for employees to access work files from any place in the world – as well as staying in touch! Laptops are also a reservoir of company files and data on hand. A laptop or tablet also proves as an entertainment hub where employees can present videos, presentations and take people on company journeys they might not have been able to go on.

  3. A company car

    Company cars are essential for certain fields – such as sales. Sales representatives need a car to get to and from clients. A decent company car is important because they form impressions – the clients will think that your business is successful and therefore invest time and money in you. You may think this is a little superficial but you would never trust a brokerage company who sends their investment brokers out in an old red Toyota Tazz, would you? If your employee is using the car sales purposes, or even for deliveries it could also work out to be more affordable than always renting a hire car or reimbursing the employee for kilometres they travel based on AA rates. The employee wouldn’t suffer any wear and tear on their car and the vehicles could always be transferred to a new employee, should the existing one move on to a new position or company. Company cars could also be used as an incentive for employees to work towards.

  4. Wi-Fi (and/or the dongle) that is stable.

    Businesses today are driven by computer technology and Wi-Fi is at the centre of that technology. Wi-Fi can be accessed by employees anywhere in the building which is important if you need informatino on the spot and need to quickly Google something or watch a demonstration on YouTube. Internet access has also been made mobile in the form of a dongle, so even if an employee needs to travel to an area that has no connectivity he/she could still gain access to their emails. Wi-Fi has made the employee much more efficient. With portable Wi-Fi, employees that travel a lot in marketing or sales will always be able to use their time to their advantage even though they are away from the office.

  5. A work cellphone

    The cellphone, an item that has been changing our lives since the 1970’s. Cellphones are essential for employees as they allow an employee to be reachable at all times no matter where they are. The fact that an employee is available at all times (within reason) can lead to them generating more business as a client can have contact with an employee at all times. Employees can also schedule meetings no matter where they are – and are not confined to the parameters of their desks. Cellphones also make it possible for employees to hold teleconferences while travelling. Cellphones these days are also able to perform basically all the same functions as a laptop – or very close to one, this makes it easy for employees to access their emails anywhere or send documents at any time. Cellphones also allow an employee to be “always at the ready”, in a situation where a client insists on being sent something immediately it isn’t a problem.

    A cellphone makes an employee extremely versatile and should be a standard employee asset.

As the world of business develops, so will this list of essentials – and by no means are these the only essentials. Stay ahead of the game as an HR manager by empowering your employees through innovative technology to help them be completely invested in their work and clients – no matter where they are. Technology is making the world a lot smaller and employees a lot more versatile.

The post The five assets that could be essential to your business appeared first on SmartHR.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview