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With the upcoming elections around the corner, it might be wise for HR Managers to consider their role in making the elections a success. Voting day in South Africa is usually a public holiday, but there are still many factors that prevent people from registering to vote, and going to their voting stations on election day. In addition, people working in certain industries, such as hospitality and retail, might have no choice but to work on voting day, which makes it almost impossible for them to go and cast their vote. At the end of the day, an employer who does not appear to be proactive in assisting staff to do the right thing does not only have a negative impact on the results of the elections, but it also has an indirect negative effect on employee wellbeing and their overall attitude towards the company they work for.

Below are 5 ways in which employee morale is increased by assisting them with the elections:
  1. It improves employee wellbeing and makes them more engaged

    Research shows that when firms assist their staff with the voting process, it improves employee wellbeing and makes employeesmore engaged in the company. In fact, a recent survey by American O.C. Tanner found that employees who are allowed time off to vote have more support for their organisation’s values, would recommend their company as a good place to work, and will want to work for their companies a year from now.

  2. It shows your employees that you respect them

    HR Managers can also take into consideration that by assisting your employees with the voting process, you actually show them that you respect them as human beings which, at the end of the day, increases employee engagement and commitment.

  3. It shows your employees that you care about what matters to them

    The right to vote matters to everyone, thus giving employees the means to vote shows them that you care about them and their needs. It also makes employees feel more positive towards their workplace as you give them space to do things that matter to them.

  4. It gives employees time off from their tasks and allows them a breather

    As a broader subject, being cooped up all day in the workplace for hours at a time is not just harmful to individual wellbeing, but also to company performance. By giving employees some time off to focus on something completely different than their work will help to increase their wellbeing and morale, and giving them time off to vote or to register to vote is a great place to start with this initiative.

  5. It makes the recruiting and hiring process easier

    This point does not necessarily increase the morale of your current employees, but it does show how your company actions can make it easier in the long run. When you encourage your employees to vote, it shows that your business is socially responsible. It is a great no-cost way to show your community and consumers that you not only care about the country, but about them as well. This then has the positive effect of making recruiting and hiring easier, as you will gain the respect of future employees as well.

Share these tips:

Some ways to assist employees in the voter registration process includes:

  • Giving them a few minutes at work to go online and check their details on the Electoral Commission of South Africa website. Have someone available to assist should they need any help.
  • Staff who may have moved home recently will also need to update their address on this website.
  • Anyone who is unsure of the registration status can send an SMS with their ID number to 32810 (R1.00 per SMS) to make sure that they are registered and that their details are correct.
  • On voting day, if a lot of the staff vote in the same district, then you can arrange with the staff to meet at the place of work in the morning, and have staff transport available to take them to their designated voting stations. This might relieve some transport problems for the staff.

If you are in the retail and hospitality industry, it does not have to be a long and complicated process to give your staff time off to vote. Some options to consider includes co-ordinated shifts,  letting employees come in later, take a longer lunch break, or to let your employees leave earlier.

Remember, though, that it is important to stay impartial and not try to influence any of your employees’ decisions regarding whom they vote for, as this will not have the positive outcomes as stated above, and might even make your employees dislike the company.

As Tammy Cohen, founder and Chief Visionary Officer of InfoMart says: “A great employee is like a four leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have.” Make the investment in happy employees and soon you will have a company full of great employees.








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Do you want to find out how to be an ethical leader in 6 steps?  Do you want to be a leader who inspires your team to make ethical choices or be the one in the news for your bad ethical failures?

How to be an ethical leader

How does one be an ethical leader when surrounded by a lack of organized standards of behaviour and training, a lack of accountability and not enough positive role models?  When you find yourself surrounded by individual leaders ignoring organizational values and industry codes, lacking self-control and following the crowd, how do you stand out from it?

Will you put your ethics before the bottom line?  Doing this will make your team loyal and ethical in return.

Steps to take to be ethical

These are 6 steps you can take to define the ethical standards for yourself and your organization and how to put these into practice.

  1. Know Your Personal Values

What standards of behaviour are really important to your company?  What specific values do you admire in certain leaders? Do you identify with those values?  Would you still live by those values, even if they put you at a competitive disadvantage?

You need to answer these questions and decide if you follow your own personal values as well as your organizational values.  Good leaders do.

  1. Define Your Organization’s Values

As a leader, people will look to you to set an example in ethical leadership.  To do this you must know your organization’s values, so that you can incorporate and live them in your day-to-day business.

Ethical companies uphold the highest standards and are aligned with their core values.  They have clear rules about the behaviour expected of its people that are specified in the organization’s mission and vision statement.

You need to communicate these rules clearly to your team members.  When people understand why ethical behaviour matters, they will more likely behave accordingly.

  1. Define the behaviour

Once you have defined your organizational and personal values, you can create the right environment for your team and your organization.

Being a good role model is the best way to do this.  The people in your organization will ‘follow your lead’, and do as you do.  By being a good role model you set an example for others to follow.

If one of your values is honesty, ensure that you demonstrate this by being transparent with everyone around you. And if your company values free speech, make a point of allowing your team members to openly communicate their ideas.

Once you have defined the good behaviour, let your people know the consequences of behaviour that doesn’t follow the corporate values, or behaviour that breaks the rules. This is to remind people of the standards of behaviour that is expected of them.

Rewarding, or appreciating people who consistently act according to the company values is important too.

  1. Identify Ethical Dilemmas

Some ethical dilemmas you face in the workplace are not totally obvious, such as if a colleague is dishonest about the performance of a project.  How do you identify unethical behaviour in your organization?

Some situations seem to attract ethical dilemmas such as promotion, hiring, firing, purchasing and bonuses.  You need to be aware of your actions and behaviour when in these situations.

If a situation makes you uncomfortable, or goes against one of your core values or beliefs, stop and think things through rationally before proceeding.  Listen to your conscience, it will tell you when something is wrong.

  1. Address Ethical Dilemmas

Now that you have recognized the ethical dilemma, you have to decide what to do about it.  This is the difficult part.

There are various ways to respond to an ethical dilemma:

  • Prepare in advance. Consider how you would handle an ethical dilemma, and be prepared to do so in reality.  If you had to respond immediately, be ready to do so.  Getting team members to recognize and prepare for ethical dilemmas of their own can also be helpful.
  • Take the time to investigate and assess whether someone has behaved unethically before taking action.
  • Revisit your decision before you act. Before you do anything ask yourself how you would feel if your actions were made public. Would you be proud of what you did? If not, reconsider your decision.
  • Get advice. The most senior leaders take advice in difficult situations, so get input from others to help you assess a situation more rationally.  This can help you reach a better-quality decision.
  1. Be Courageous

Trust yourself and your instincts in uncomfortable situations.  You will find yourself having to act on decisions that you know are right, but they will have unpleasant consequences.  If you calm your anxiety and look logically at the situation, your instincts will often guide you in the right direction.

Doing the right thing

To be an ethical leader means doing the right thing.  This means that you need to make hard decisions and even be unpopular with those who follow you.

You need to set an example for those you lead.  Having values defined for your organization will help you keep on track.  These values and your instincts will lead you through the ethical dilemmas you will face.

Lead and inspire those around you by being honest and always do what is right.


  • mindtools.com

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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.

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Do you ever feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland who said “the hurrier I go, the behinder I get”.  That you feel like you are rushed off your feet, so busy, always a full calendar and you just aren’t making any progress?  Are you always saying that you don’t know where the time went? Do you think about time management and wish you were better at it?

If you were proficient in time management then you wouldn’t have to feel this way.

Time management is a skill that you can learn.

What is time?

The question what is time could be a very philosophical question that is not going to be discussed here.  A physicist would say that time is a basic concept, but is one of the most difficult properties to understand.  But you are going to find out that it isn’t difficult, and you can understand it and use it to your benefit.

To put time into a more relevant context, time is used to sequence events; it is also a fixed moment for something to happen.

You cannot create more time, but you can use it wisely.  You can manage it better.

What is time management?

Time management is the way that you organize and plan how long you spend on specific activities.

Time management allows you to be more effective when there is little time and deadlines are near.  It helps you shift your focus from activities to results.  You can achieve more with better time management.

How to achieve better results with good time management?

Some pros and cons of good time management:

Benefits Drawbacks
Greater productivity and efficiency Missed deadlines
Better professional reputation Inefficient workflow
Less stress Poor work quality
Increased opportunities for advancement Tarnished professional reputation
Achieving important goals More stress

With this in mind, before you get started on that long to do list, spend 10-12 minutes planning your day.  This will save you up to two hours in wasted time and effort throughout the day.

Read on for more time management techniques.

To do list

Prioritize the items on your to do list.  Ensure that the items on your list are written in such a way that they are clear and actionable.

Personal goals

Something else that is crucial to managing you time well is setting personal goals.  Setting a goal gives you that final destination to work toward; you can manage your priorities, time and resources to reach the goal.  Goals also help you distinguish between a distraction and what you want to spend your time on


This will help you to stay focussed on your task at hand.  Don’t just drop everything you have spent the last hour doing just because another distraction has reared its head.  Determine if the task is high importance or low importance to decide what to spend your time on first.


It is easy to get distracted by emails, instant messaging chats going on, phone calls – yours and others in the office.  Distractions do just that – they distract your flow, your progress in the task at hand.  So turn off your instant messaging, let people in the office know you are focussed and close your email inbox while you complete your task.


Don’t keep putting off what you should be doing right now.  Instead of avoiding the task because it seems overwhelming, break it into bite-sized pieces that seem more achievable to complete.

Just say no

This time management technique is a difficult one if you have a hard time saying no to people.  By always saying yes to people results in taking on too much and having more on your plate than you can actually handle.  Learn to decline to demands that do not contribute to your effectiveness.

Focus on one task at a time

Multitasking is not an efficient way of working, in fact you are more likely to both tasks poorly, and end up wasting time when you have to fix errors due to lack of concentration.


It is impossible for anyone to focus and produce really high-quality work without giving their brains some time to rest and recharge.  Having a break will allow you to think creatively and work effectively.  Take a quick walk or get a cup of coffee.


If you know you have more energy and are more productive in the morning, then  make best use of your time by scheduling high-value work during the morning, and schedule low-energy work (like returning phone calls and checking email), during your “down” time.

Work SmartHR, not harder

SmartHR Time Management offers a unique, single platform for Time and Attendance to measure shift employees, and Employee Timesheets to record project timesheets for salaried employees. With the SmartHR leave engine, scheduled and unscheduled leave can be managed for all employees, regardless of how it is accrued, and compared against time recorded for a complete picture of time spent.

Up to 70% of operational costs in your business are spent on salaries and wages. Are you making sure that time is accurately and fairly measured, reported and analysed to ensure optimum efficiency?

Since SmartHR Time Management is part of the SmartHR suite, it provides rich analytics on the productivity in your organisation to ensure less waste and higher efficiency.

More for less

There are numerous techniques you can use to improve your time management skills, but remember you need to shift your focus from activities to results.  Spending your day being busy isn’t necessarily being efficient.  So work smarter to get more done with less time.

Don’t be like Alice and turn down the offer for a cup of tea because you just don’t have the time.


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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

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Organisational effectiveness refers to the organisation formulating goals and pursuing these goals through completion of relevant tasks. Effectiveness is concerned with getting the job done. When an organisation is efficient they are doing things right in the organisation by utilising resources so that there is no waste. These resources include financial, human, raw materials and capital. Resources are inputs in the transformation process and the aim of efficiency is to use the least amount of inputs to generate maximum outputs during the process of transformation.

When an organisation is efficient they are doing things right in the organisation by utilising resources to avoid waste. These resources include financial, human, raw materials and capital. Resources are inputs in the transformation process. The aim of efficiency is to use the least amount of inputs to generate maximum outputs during the process of transformation.

According to Goh, “Being effective is about doing the right things, while being efficient is about doing things right”.

The three levels of management are top level management, middle-level management and lower level management.

Top-level management

Top level management consists of a small group of executives that have control and final say in the organisation. They execute the management process, determine the organisation’s missions and long-term goals and influence the corporate culture. Top level management possesses low technical skills and high conceptual skills which give them the ability to view the organisation holistically.  This level deals with strategic planning – formulating long-term plans and goals that apply to the organisation as a whole.

Top management contributes to the organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness. In order for the organisation to be effective, the correct organisational structure must be created. This ensures that employees with the correct skills are performing the correct tasks that will contribute to the achievement of organisational goals. Employees that are performing irrelevant tasks are not effective. Top management needs to interpret opportunities and threats in the environment and determine what resources to utilise to gain a competitive advantage.

Top management needs to interpret opportunities and threats in the environment and determine what resources are required to gain a competitive advantage. They must ensure that organisational strategies are angled in a way that provides the organisation with a competitive advantage through the efficient use of resources. For example, if top management knows that their competitors are not environmentally friendly, they could incorporate the efficient use of natural resources in their strategy to encourage the use of eco-friendly processes and materials in the attainment of organisational goals.

Middle-level management

Middle-level management are responsible for functional areas of the organisation. They execute policies, plans and strategies of top management. These managers monitor the environment that affect their own departments.

These managers have an equal amount of conceptual and technical skills. They need to be able to see the organisation as a whole to implement top management plans as well as understand the technical activities their subordinates are involved in.

This level of management is responsible for tactical organisational plans. These are medium-long term plans concerned with resource and time allocation as well as human commitments.

Middle management contributes to an organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness. In order for the organisation to be effective there needs to be consistency. This level of management executes the rules, procedures and policies to ensure that subordinates are all doing the right things and following a uniform set of guidelines aimed at achieving the organisational goals and maintaining corporate culture.

Resource allocation, time management and human commitments are how middle management contribute to organisational efficiency. They must determine how to utilise the minimum amount of resources to generate maximum outputs in a reasonable amount of time as expected by top management. Certain tasks should be completed using the correct human resources.

Middle management also contributes to the effectiveness in the organisation by monitoring efforts that are interacting with the organisational environment. For example, it would be ineffective for the marketing department to pursue trends that are not relevant in the external environment.

Lower level management

Lower-level management holds supervisory roles. You may know them as line managers. They deal with day-to-day operations and activities of the organisation and maintain close control of subordinates. The direct influence they have on subordinates puts them in a position to increase or decrease levels of production. T and the role they play in implementing plans, policies, procedures and rules of middle management. This level of management is responsible for operational plans that set unit goals and operational standards. They require a high level of technical skills to supervise the technical activities of their subordinates.

This level of management is responsible for organisational efficiency and effectiveness because it ensures that workers are performing the correct tasks and under close supervision, utilising resources as intended by middle level management.

  • Management Innovations, 2008. Management innovations. [Online] Available at: https://managementinnovations.wordpress.com/2008/12/04/managerial-effectiveness-efficiency/
    [Accessed 28 08 2016].
  • Brevis, T., 2016. The Management Process. In: M. V. T Brevis, ed. Coontemporary Management Principles. Cape Town: Juta, pp. 28-43.
  • Goh, G., 2013. The Difference Between Effectiveness And Efficiency Explained. [Online] Available at: http://www.insightsquared.com/2013/08/effectiveness-vs-efficiency-whats-the-difference/
    [Accessed 28 08 2015].
  • BJ Erasmus, J. S. S. R.-K., 2013. Introduction to Business Management. 9th ed. Cape Town: Oxford.

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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.

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The work behaviour of employees is crucial for organisational success as their behaviour can directly influence the organisation’s profitability and productivity. Work behaviour can be influenced by understanding what motivates and how to motivate the behaviour of employees. Motivation can be defined as “the inner desire to satisfy a need” as this definition implies, motivation comes from within the employee and managers can only create an environment that motivates employees to achieve organisational goals. An unsatisfied need results in behaviour to try satisfy this need and this behaviour has consequences which could lead to goal attainment. If managers know what motivates their employees they can influence their work behaviour. The question that human resource managers must ask is ‘does money motivate performance and employee behaviour?’

We’re on the fence about whether or not to believe money is a motivator but we will let you decide by presenting some arguments against various theories of motivation as well as Vrba’s statements of money as a motivator for each theory. Theories of motivation can be divided into content theories – what needs motivate behaviour and the factors that direct, produce and sustain behaviours and process theories – how employees are motivated and how to energise, direct, maintain and stop employee behaviours.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which arranges needs in hierarchical order and proceed in succession as follows; physiological needs – including basic survival needs,(food, water, air), and basic working conditions. Safety and security needs – the protection from physical and emotional harm, clothing for protection from the elements, life policies, insurance plans, pension plans and organisational structure. Social needs – affection, belongingness, friendship and acceptance. Esteem needs – high self-confidence, positive self-image, compliments, recognition and challenging projects. Self-actualisation needs – self-fulfilment once all other needs have been met, skills development and being the best version of one’s self.  According to Vrba, money motivates the lower order needs of this content theory (physical needs, security needs and social needs.) We’d like to present an alternative argument – money can be seen as a means to achieve the needs in Maslow’s theory. One may be motivated by their esteem needs and may want to be recognised by their achievements through the purchase of a Ferrari, money will be the means to purchase the Ferrari but the motivating factor was the person’s esteem need of recognition.

The second content theory is Hertzberg’s two factor theory. This theory focuses on 1) circumstances surrounding the task (hygiene factors) which lead to job satisfaction and consist of lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy and 2) the actual task content (motivational factors) which lead to high job performance and consist of higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy. According to Vrba, money acts as a motivator when the organisation uses it as a reward for good performance. Our alternative argument is that money motivates job performance and is not a motivator for job satisfaction. According to a study done on the relationship between pay and job satisfaction by Timothy Judge, Ronald Piccolo, Nathan Podsakoff, John Shaw and Bruce Rich, they found that when they compared employees at different pay levels across America, Australia, Britain, India and Taiwan they found that “job and pay satisfaction did not vary across employees at different pay levels” and that there is only variance among the employees about how they value money – is it a means to achieve physical needs or to buy that new Ferrari? They found that money does make employees happy and therefore the writer concludes it does not lead to job satisfaction and is not a motivator for job performance.

According to Dan Pink, money is a motivator and if you don’t pay employees enough they won’t be motivated to perform and they will not experience job satisfaction because all they are focusing on is making money but once people are being paid enough, money is no longer a motivator. An alternative argument is that when employees are not being paid enough they are focusing on making the money to achieve their lower order needs rather than the money itself – as explained by Pink.

One of the process approaches we want to focus on is the expectancy theory that states employees will behave in a way because they expect this behaviour to result in goal attainment with a certain amount of effort being expended to achieve this goal. Work behaviour is motivated through managers properly communicating effort to performance expectancies and what personal goals employees can attain through meeting these expectancies. According to Vrba, money is a motivator in this theory because employees expect that good performance will result in a monetary reward that employee’s value.

An alternative viewpoint uses arguments from ‘Motivation: Good Theory – Poor Application’ that states that “managers should spend considerable effort identifying the rewards at their disposal and determining how they can best use these” we interpret this as managers should take time to find out what needs motivate their employees and translate the standard reward (money) to a different motivator (such as a paid holiday) that the employee values highly. An employee will not expend effort if they are not motivated by money and they know this is the only reward available. This statement leads us to draw another quote from this piece; “the availability of rewards is a necessary condition of motivation, but the most important aspect of availability is not what management says is available but what each and every employee perceives is available” if an employee perceives that the effort they put in will result in them attaining any intrinsic/extrinsic reward, they will shift their work behaviour to result in high performance.

Where do you stand in the ‘is money a motivator argument’? We’d love to know your feedback!

  • BJ Erasmus, J. S. S. R.-K., 2013. Introduction to Business Management. 9th ed. Cape Town: Oxford.
  • Bagraim, J., 2011. Motivating the South African Workforce. In: A. Werner, ed. Organisational Behaviour A Contemporary South African Perspective. Pretoria: Van Schaik, pp. 81-114.
  • Vrba, M., 2016. Principles of leading. In: M. V. T Brevis, ed. Contemporary Management Principles. Cape Town: Juta, pp. 445-457.
  • Joel K. Leidecker, J. J. H., 1974. Motivation: Good Theory – Poor Application. Training and Development Journal, 28(6), pp. 3-7.
  • David C.Wyld, R. M., 2011. Does MoneyBuy More Happiness on the Job. Academy of Management Perspectives, 25(1), pp. 101-103.
  • Pink, D., 2010. The surprising truth about what motivates us. [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
    [Accessed 27 08 2016].

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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.

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Developing employees through different training methods enables them to meet their needs and the needs of the organisation. Once you’ve recruited your employees the hard part is retaining them, especially if they are knowledge workers. Developing your employees includes empowering them with new skills through organised activities which gives them the opportunity to meet their current and future work demands.

You may have a standard training procedure that you use for all employees. This is known as the shotgun approach and the attitude with this approach is that if a training programme is good for one person it must be good for all employees in the organisation. This approach may waste precious company resources.

As an HR manager, your job is to gain as much value as you possibly can out of training and development programs.

How to get value out of training programmes
  1. Identify a skills deficiency in the company to assess training needs that can be fulfilled through different training programmes
  2. Identify eligible employees for these programmes. These include employees that have the potential to be developed and the willingness to learn. This is important because your company is investing money into these employees to uplift the company. Choosing the correct employee ensures that there is a return on investment.
  3. Find ways to incorporate newly learnt skills into the employee’s work duties by ensuring their direct supervisor utilises the employee to their full potential.
  4. Follow up with the employee and their immediate supervisor to find out whether the training effort was a success.

Once you have identified which employees are the best candidates for training programmes you need to decide which training method would be most beneficial.

Different development methods
  1. Job rotation:

    Moving employees between jobs on the same difficulty level to learn new skills from different positions. The ultimate aim of this method is to find out what job an employee is best suited for and to expose them to different skills and tasks to keep them satisfied if job tasks are mundane.

  2. Job enlargement:

    Giving the employee more tasks and autonomy increases their responsibilities and empowers them with more knowledge about their department and helps them gain a holistic understanding on the importance of their job in the organisation. This is known as horizontal work loading.

  3. Job enrichment:

    Also known as vertical wok loading, the employee must perform higher level tasks that would normally be done by an employee in a more superior role. This is a motivating development method as it provides employees with a sense of personal accomplishment and fulfils their achievement needs while empowering them with new skills that are required at higher levels of the organisation.

  4. Job instruction training:

    This method enables the employee to become a student where they watch a supervisor perform a function while providing instructions on how to do so, they try out the function themselves and then their supervisor provides feedback and follows up on the training to teach the employee.

  5. Coaching:

    An employee’s immediate supervisor shows their employee how to perform certain tasks which require new responsibility. The supervisor demonstrates and encourages the employee to perform these new tasks and provides support for the employee when dealing with difficult situations – they discuss the situations and work on alternative ways of dealing with these situations.

  6. Mentoring:

    A more experienced member of staff such as senior management guides and supports employees during their development.

  7. Apprenticeships:

    An unqualified employee may be allocated to work practically under a qualified senior member of staff where they learn and develop skills. After the apprenticeship, the learner will receive a certificate or formal qualification after the apprenticeship.

  8. Internship:

    A student may do an internship to learn practical skills and achieve certain learning goals which they can add to their formal training and experience.

  9. Lectures:

    This isn’t only for new employees or students. The work environment is forever changing and employees should be up to date with the latest trends in their business environment. Lectures are useful in learning new information about their working world.

  10. Seminar:

    Not only are seminars excellent for networking but they allow employees to interact with specialist and highly qualified individuals to learn new skills and ways of thinking through interactive activities and talks.

  11. Vestibule/stimulation:

    A situation is created to resemble an employee’s actual work environment. This method teaches employees how to handle certain situations and how to react under different circumstances

  12. e-Learning:

    Employees can take courses online which they can complete in their own pace and be exposed to new technologies and ways of thinking. E-learning allows employees to learn wherever they are and is a flexible, cost effective development approach.

  13. Case Study:

    Employees exercise their problem-solving skills through this development method. They are given certain situations and organisational problems to which they develop solutions, recommendations and alternatives.

  14. Role-Playing:

    If employees deal with customers or are interacting with people daily, role playing can be an effective development approach because employees are put in a made-up scenario which helps them prepare for similar real-life encounters.

It is evident that one of these training methods would never successfully meet the development needs of all employees in various departments of the organisation. It is essential to analyse the skills deficiency in each department and select the most effective development method.
Which development methods has your company successfully executed and what results did you have? We’d love your feedback!


T Brevis, M. V. ed., 2016. Contemporary Management Principles. Cape Town: Juta. BJ Erasmus, J. S. S. R.-K., 2013. Introduction into Business Management. 9 ed. Cape Town: Oxford.

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