How to Reduce Employee Turnover: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Best Talent

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High staff turnover can be a problem for any company. Teams typically rely on each and every member to keep things moving forward, so when someone leaves, it can often disrupt progress.

Not to mention, you’ve invested time, energy, and money in recruiting and training. When someone leaves, you need to repeat the process.

Retaining employees — like retaining clients and customers — is one of the best ways to keep your team on track towards their goals. So how do you create an environment that makes people want to stay? How to you keep your best talent?

We’ve detailed five tips for creating more loyal employees to help your business avoid turnover.

5 Tips for Creating Loyal Employees

Staff Loyalty Tip 1: Improve Your Benefits Package

Not every company can compete on salary alone. But the truth is that there are many benefits above and beyond money that make your team feel valued and happy.

Some of the benefits you can offer include:

Flexible work hours, such as enabling staff to start or finish at different times to fit their schedule.Remote working options so that members of your team can stay home with a sick child or skip the commute a few days a week.A shorter work day or half-days in the summer. Fancy coffee, smoothies, and other snacks to keep the energy levels up.Extra vacation days so your team can come back to work refreshed and reinvigorated.Quality equipment and furnishings. Creatives love to work on nice computers and ergonomic chairs. Spare no expense when it comes to the right gear.Initiatives that align with staff values. One of my friends works at a PR firm that has a zero-waste policy. They make a huge deal out of being environmentally aware. This is an important perk for her as someone who is conscious about this cause.

Staff Loyalty Tip 2: Create a Staff Onboarding Program

One of the reasons many people look for greener pastures is because they don’t feel invested in the company they’re working for. They don’t understand their role in the overarching company goals.

The good news is that changing this mindset is easy, but it should be done as soon as the new team member starts at the office. Part of your recruitment policy should focus on how to bring a new employee into the organization so they feel included and invested in the success of your agency from the beginning.

When a new hire joins your team, you should:

Have a formal welcome meeting so he or she can be introduced to the team.Send an information pack containing important details for staff, such as instructions for the photocopier, alarm, expenses, etc.Give a presentation or workshop about the history, goals, and strategic direction of the agency. Ideally, this should be done by the owner or CEO. Plan an informal get-together. A welcome outing or lunch can help someone to build connections with other members of the teamPair the employee up with a buddy or mentor who can teach them the ins and outs of life in your office.

Staff Loyalty Tip 3: Provide Opportunities to Grow and Learn

A huge part of growing is being able to take ownership of projects and improve your skills and abilities in other areas so you can stretch the boundaries of what you’re capable of. To keep talent, you have to keep them engaged and interested.

Consider what type of learning opportunities you can provide at your firm. This could include:

Funds to attend conferencesWorkshops on different aspects within their disciplineTime to attend free or inexpensive local events and networking opportunitiesTime to attend webinars and online learnings about different subjectsTime to work on fun and challenging in-house projectsOpportunities to take ownership of projects and leadership roles within the teamUnderstanding of company strategic objectives and the opportunity for people to take an active role in figuring out how to achieve them.

Staff Loyalty Tip 4: Allow People to Build Their Personal Brands

This quip of advice is especially true of creative talent like designers and developers. Many creatives have their own vision of how they want their personal brand to evolve. If they don’t feel as though they’re getting enough of the type of work they want, they’re going to look for new opportunities.

You want to ensure that they are being assignment projects that provide them with room to grow and exerpiment. You can also facilitate this by:

Allowing your team members to take credit for work when possible (for example, a written bio at the bottom of a blog post).Inspiring staff to take ownership of projects that are a particularly good fit for their skills.Avoiding micromanagement. Offer your advice on critical aspects of the design, but let your team take the reins and become the stars.Talking to each team member individually about their goals and future plans as a designer, writer, etc., and help them initiate projects to move them closer to their goals.Enabling team members to include pieces in their portfolio, as well as share work they’ve produced on sites such as Behance and Dribbble.

Staff Loyalty Tip 5: Reward Hard Work

Rewards aren’t so much about the gift itself, but rather about the recognition of a job well done. Everyone likes to feel appreciated and to know their contribution matters. So what kind of rewards could you grant even on a small budget?

Take the team out for a lunch or host an afternoon get-together after completing a complex project.Acknowledge hard work in front of the rest of the team, so they can see that you stand behind their efforts.Start each meeting with some reflection on great work done in the past month.Make sure employees have one-on-one time with managers each month to discuss goals, strategies, and progress. Ensure this time is positive. Focus on what is working and what has been successful.Frame feedback and criticism in a constructive way. Don’t allow people to feel as if they’re being “ganged up” on.

Keeping your talented team members is about more than paying them a competitive salary — though that definitely helps. Your people want to be creatively stimulated, nurtured, and above all, appreciated. How you do that is up to you, but what’s most important is that you provide the tools and direction for your team to find satisfaction in their positions.

Long Term Agreements

Email from Anton Kotze of Ellipsis regarding some info on the CPA and contracts.

Hi

Mohammad – Thanks for insights into a very interesting thread.

All of the parties are correct to some extent. I have some legal and some commercial input, and the two inputs work together in tandem.

With regards to the legal input, it is indeed correct that consumers (being any individual person or any company with a turnover/asset value of less than R2million) can indeed terminate a fixed term agreement as provided for in the CPA, subject to the right of the service provider to charge a reasonable fee. The reasonable fee is expanded on in regulation 5(2) of the regulations published under the act in GNR.293 of 1 April 2011.  Although there is no formula, there is 10 factors that needs to be taken into consideration, namely:

(a)the amount which the consumer is still liable for to the supplier up to the date of cancellation;
(b)the value of the transaction up to cancellation;
(c)the value of the goods which will remain in the possession of the consumer after cancellation;
(d)the value of the goods that are returned to the supplier;
(e)the duration of the consumer agreement as initially agreed;
( f )losses suffered or benefits accrued by consumer as a result of the consumer entering into the consumer agreement;
(g)the nature of the goods or services that were reserved or booked;
(h)the length of notice of cancellation provided by the consumer;
(i) the reasonable potential for the service provider, acting diligently, to find an alternative consumer between the time of receiving the cancellation notice and the time of the cancelled reservation; and
( j) the general practice of the relevant industry.

The CPA and its regulations then also needs to be read with the Conventional Penalties Act of 1962 (incidentally also abbreviated to CPA :)).  In short, the Conventional Penalties Act provides that penalty clauses for early termination is valid and enforceable.  However in terms of section 3 of the act a court may reduce a claim for such a penalty amount if it is found that claim is out of proportion to the prejudice suffered.

To understand the prejudice suffered, one must also understand the business model of the service provider and the justification for requiring fixed term contracts.  A few that I can think of is as follows, and more often than not these issues are cumulative:

1.  Often, there is capital outlay in the form of CAPEX underpinned by a business case which requires a certain level of income.  There may also be a need for CAPEX to grow the network.
2.  As customer increase, so does operational requirements, albeit not in direct correlation.  For example the need to increase support staff and maintenance agreements.  Such commitments are normally much more difficult to reduce that the potential rate at which customer revenue can reduce.
3. Often, especially when contracting for larger “core” capacity – the service provider itself has to enter into longer term agreements to get better pricing so as to make it more competitive.
4.  Businesses with month-to-month contracts will be valued much lower than business with term based income.  Term based contracts therefore serves to increase the value of the company whilst mitigating against risks.
5. On the point of risk, this is something that in terms of the King III code of governance requires to be considered and mitigated within the boundaries of the companies’ risk appetite.
6. Term contracts are often used as an incentive for the customer to obtain better pricing.

Risk
Customers always blame the connectivity provider for everything that they do across the link, because they don’t understand that sometimes it is not the quality of the link but the quality of the application that they are using it for, or the quality of remote servers on third party networks.  This is especially true in the consumer, low priced market where the level of consumer technical knowledge is not so great.  This thus means that you can have customer cancelling agreements for reasons that are not attributable to you, but for which you are blamed for reasons which are not manageable by you.  You therefore run the risk that due to factors outside of your control your revenue can decrease at a much faster rate than your expidenture.  This in turn reduces overall profit margins and creates cash flow problems.  In addition, planning for growth is much more difficult and risky if you do not have a pipeline of guaranteed income.

All of the above, (and I’m sure these much more) therefore serves to create prejudice to the service provider in an environment where customers can cancel at short notice.

Fixed term agreements, carefully and properly structured within the parameters of the business model of the service provider and within the context of “risk-v-reward” therefore serves to create  a win-win scenario for both service provider and customer and conversely, if it was structured for a win-win and the customer does not honour it, then the service provider will suffer prejudice.

Regards
Anton Kotze
ellipsis (Johannesburg)

Do I need to respond to every email?

The suggestion I have is to fetch rather than receive which worked well for me over the years, meaning:
Instead of staff sending you email reports, it certainly is convenient for you to receive it in your inbox, and for you to view them as you find convenient time. However, the failure to this method is that before you know it, everyone is emailing you, your inbox gets flooded, and you spend hours on emails daily. From the office time to family time then to your personal sleep time. Less sleep, less productivity.
Email programs are not that well suited for tasks management,therefore we use programs like crm and project management.
Here, all leads and projects are created, and staff deposit their information in those bins. Now you can view the leads received,their progress and maintain tasks progress in the project management module. All without email intervention.

Another thing: if you initiate an email, do it stating your message without the need for a response or acknowledgment of receipt. Send it once, and avoid getting a reply. If you do, it’s an extra email and minute you are spending on. If you do receive an initiated email or report,avoid replying to it . Why should you? The email was sent to inform you of something,so leave it as that,unless of course it was a question or escalation. If you have a query on it, make a note of it on Keep.Google.com and review it during management meetings. You’ll get a clearer response faster.

Keep your phone calls short, you don’t need to get involved in every deal or every project in any company. You surround yourself with good partners and staff and trust that they’re doing their job properly. If they’re not, then train them to, don’t expect them to perform at your level of thinking,they never will. If they were,you would be working for them.  there are procedures to follow to replace them with more capable staff if current staff aren’t meeting your realistic expectations,even after training them.

I end of with a blog entry I made years ago,hope it helps.
https://patel.mu/144/

Business in NigeriaAfrica’s testing ground

To make it big in Africa, a business must succeed in Nigeria, the continent’s largest market. No one said it would be easy

IN 2001 MTN, a fledgling telecoms company from South Africa, paid $285m for one of four mobile licences sold at auction by the government of Nigeria. Observers thought its board was bonkers. Nigeria had spent most of the previous four decades under military rule. The country was rich in oil reserves but otherwise desperately poor. Its infrastructure was crumbling. The state phone company had taken a century to amass a few hundred thousand customers from a population of 120m. The business climate was scarcely stable.

Read more

Source: http://www.economist.com

Google Calendar: 8 Hidden Tips & Tricks

Google Calendar can help you plan your workday. The Web-based calendar application features an easy-to-use minimalist design and broad compatibility; you can sync your Google Calendar with just about any mobile device, as well as with desktop calendar applications like Outlook. Plus, it’s free, making it a good option for business users on a budget.

But Google Calendar is much more than a digital version of your desktop calendar. It’s packed with tons of hidden functionalities to make you more productive every day. Here are eight Google Calendar features you may have not even known about.

Notifications

Putting events and appointments into your Google Calendar won’t do you much good if you forget about them when the time comes. That’s why Google Calendar can send notifications, in the form of emails or SMS text messages, to remind you about upcoming and imminent appointments. It can even alert you when an event is canceled, or if the details are changed. To tweak your notification settings, click the gear, and then click Settings. Select the Calendars tab, click Reminders and Notifications, and edit the settings to suit your preferences.

Get agenda

In addition to sending alerts for individual appointments, Google Calendar can email you a daily agenda so you can see your entire schedule at a glance. First access the Reminders and Notifications menu (see above), and then check the box next to Daily Agenda. Each morning at 5 a.m. in your time zone, Google will send a complete agenda straight to your email inbox.

Hide inactive hours

If you use Google Calendar for business, weekends and evening hours are probably just taking up space on your calendar. You might consider hiding those times, so you can get a better view of the hours and days when you’re open for business. To hide weekends, click the gear icon on the top-left corner of your calendar, and then click Settings. Under Show Weekends, select No. To hide hours, click the gear, and then select Labs. Enable “Hide morning and night.” Now, when you view the day or week view of your calendar, you’ll see a slide to the left of the entry field. Click and drag it up or down to hide unwanted nighttime hours.

Set working hours

Google Calendar users can receive meeting invitations from others and add those appointments to their calendar with a few clicks. But because you’re not always available for a meeting, a feature in Google Calendar helps you set working hours. When someone tries to schedule an event outside those hours, he or she will receive a warning and will be given an option to select a different time. To set working hours, click the gear icon, and then click Settings. Set the desired hours under Working Hours.

Weather forecast

Unexpected weather can put a damper on your business plans, and weather emergencies can make travel difficult and force you to cancel appointments. Google Calendar lets you put the weather forecast right in your calendar so you can plan for the future and avoid surprises. To activate this feature, click the gear icon, and then click Settings. Under “Show weather based on my location,” click either Celsius or Fahrenheit.

Tasks

Forget about pen-and-paper to-do lists. Google Calendar includes a hidden task manager that lets you create lists and check items off as you go. To access your list, click My Calendars in the left-hand column of the main calendar view, and then click Tasks. Your to-do list will pop up on the right side of the page. To add a task, click on the appropriate day in your calendar. When the event dialog pops up, select Task and type in the details.

Offline calendar

Using a Web-based calendar has its perks; mainly, it’s accessible from any Internet-connected device. But you don’t always have Internet access, and sometimes mobile coverage can be spotty. For those types of instances, it comes in handy to access an offline version of your calendar using Google’s Chrome browser. Enabling this functionality is a bit complicated, so check out a step-by-step guide here. Of course, new events added to your offline calendar won’t be synced across your devices until the next time you establish an Internet connection.

Share your calendar

Sharing your calendar with employees, co-workers and colleagues is a good way to collaborate and complete team projects. When you share a calendar with people, they can access it via their own Google Calendar page. To share, click the gear, and then click Settings. Navigate to the Calendars page, click Share This Calendar, and type the email address of the individual with whom you want to share it. You don’t have to share your primary calendar; you can create a project-specific calendar from the main calendar view. Just click the down arrow next to My Calendars in the left-hand column, and select Create New Calendar.

Source: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6243-google-calendar-tips-tricks.html