Surprising new research. Motivating without a raise. And the profit in employee wellness. We learnt some once-in-a-lifetime lesson in management and HR in July 2020.
If only because, when the pandemic started in early 2020, most of the world honestly thought that Covid-19 would be behind us by mid-year. But this was not the case in July 2020, when economies, job markets and society a whole started bearing the brunt of a protracted response to the virus.
NEW LESSONS IN MANAGEMENT AND HR IN JUNE
1. NEW RESEARCH SHOWS FLEXI WORK BOOSTS EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
Higher talent retention. Better performance. And more productivity. Those are just some of the benefits real SA companies say they get from flexible work arrangements. This according to a new study in the SA Journal of Human Resource Management that shows 100% of companies saved cost (whether they wanted to or not), 62.5% say it kept them relevant in the global jobs market and 50% saw a direct increase in productivity because flexi work boosts employee engagement.
2. NEW PRO SELF-MANAGEMENT COURSE
Boost productivity. Love what you do. And rediscover purpose in work. The LifeXchange Solutions team have launched an all-new science-based course for managers, HR and teams.
Aimed at giving everyone the kind of 10X-growth power you’d expect from Netflix and Google, the course is in its Beta phase. But the team have allowed you and your team to sign for a reduced rate of $75 (around R1276) to test it out. Sign up or get the details on this exciting new self-management course.
3. HOW TO MOTIVATE PEOPLE WHEN A RAISE IS NOT AN OPTION
ManpowerGroup SA’s MD Lyndy van den Barselaar says that it’s wise in uncertain times to keep teams motivated with kindness and celebrating small victories. You could even focus on having more fun together as a team and launch a mentorship programme. Even Inc.com ran a piece on how to motivate without money – see it here.
4. THE RISE OF A NEW TYPE OF WORKFORCE
Oracle South Africa’s Rob Bothma paints a picture of a new kind of employee he terms Generation R (although it has nothing to do with when you were born). According to Bothma, there are those who’ve taken the pandemic as a sign to adapt and respond by reskilling, upskilling and finding new ways to max performance while maintaining work-balance. See the opinion here.
Now, there are no stats or studies of any kind to back up these assertions. But what’s notable is Bothma’s advice to companies for the future, because it’s true whether Gen R is real or not: Enable flexible work environments, give people purpose-driven opportunities and focus on strengthening your company culture.
5. IS IT TIME TO SHOP FOR TOP EXECS?
Talent agency Signium Africa’s Annelize van Rensburg says the economic storm is likely to affect all job levels. So you could see a lot of top talent available on the market soon.
In fact, she cites a Harvard Business Review article that said during the 2008 fin crisis, hiring execs from competitors proved one of the most successful bounce-back strategies. Are you ready to recruit your new executive?
6. RE-SKILLING IS GOING TO BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
Although SA’s unemployment rate is at a shocking 30.1%, Nedbank’s chief economist Mamello Matikinca-Ngwenya says that’s nothing. We’re only likely to start seeing the true economic costs of the pandemic towards the end of this year, as many big companies are only now starting their retrenchment processes. And that will impact both tax and consumer spending – see the insights here.
Many believe the only way to curb the coming joblessness trend is to get really good at re-skilling people. And it’s going to become everyone’s job to get people re-employed because this level of unemployment (currently at 30.1%, expected to peak at 50% plus) will start affecting all of us.
6. THE PROFIT IN EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE
Positive culture times wellbeing and willingness to learn. That’s how you could calculate your employee experience says a range of HR pros, from PwC’s people leads Barry Vorster and Bernice Wessels to Microsoft SA Business Applications lead Natassia Katopodis.
And they believe that every business can see a huge improvement in performance by finding a way to measure the company’s Return on Experience (RoX), instead of ROI. For example, says Voster, employees who suffer physically or emotionally miss more workdays or are prone to presenteeism. And that erodes your overall performance and profitability. Turn it around, and you‘d see more profit. See their thoughts here.
The question is, how are you taking your people’s wellness into account for its contribution to the bottom line? You should. Because, in the end, these experts say you get actual financial returns from investing in employee motivation, better workplace trust and a good company culture.
7. TOP CEO PREDICTIONS FOR AFTER COVID-19
A recent Fortune 500 survey of the US’s top CEOs showed that most top brass only expect investment and economic activity to get back to 2019 levels by 2021 or 2022. And most of them say their staff will never return to the office again at the same levels as 2019. This as working remotely becomes the norm thanks to the adoption of new technologies. See the survey here.
8. CONCERNS OVER SA EMPLOYEES’ HEALTH
Delaying health checks. Skipping chronic medication. And ignoring depression, anxiety and mental health. Jacqui Nel, head of healthcare at Aon SA says there are some really worrying trends among SA’s employees. This is as economic pressures are not letting up – salary cuts and retrenchments are still with us, even as TERS and payment holidays are no longer.
She says a lot of people are buying down on medical aid or just stopping their contributions. And this at the worst possible time as not only COVID-19 peaks but also the stresses of lockdown amplifies pre-existing conditions. See the insights here and know it’s a call on SA businesses to step up and do more to take of your people.
9. OPTIMISING INTERNAL TALENT GROWTH
Digital marketing tech experts Acceleration’s Josie Hill says that their company developed a new skills-development system, if only out of pure need. Requiring specialised skills that no university offered yet, along with client-facing capabilities you can’t expect from an intern, Acceleration has had to partner with tertiary education institutes to create a learnership programme that blends with on-the-job-training. Read here.
10. POSSIBLE TAX HELP FOR COMMISSION EARNERS?
Law firm Webber Wentzel’s Joon Chong said this week that companies could help commission earners get some tax relief this year. Normally, if their commissions make up more than 50% of their remuneration, they can deduct a range of business expenses from taxes. But, with Covid-19, their commission income might have been a lot less, limiting what they can deduct from tax.
However, Chong says that employers can help commission earners by creating official communications showing a schedule of commission earned in 2019, the pre-lockdown targets for 2020 and then a further post-lockdown communication showing lowered targets as a result of lower sales in 2020. Citing 2020 during the pandemic as an unprecedented, exceptional and temporary in nature. See her thoughts here.
11. BEWARE OF ERODING WORKPLACE TRUST
Law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s Aadil Patel made an excellent point in a recent HR industry webinar. Pointing out that, when the pandemic hit and the lockdown was announced, there was a huge sentiment of selflessness. Businesses allowed people to work from home, and people trusted their employers to secure their financial future.
But that all shifted, says Patel, when the cracks started to show – not everyone could cope with working from home (which is why we started our self-management course to help). Businesses had to keep running and insist on performance, sometimes demanding more than usual. Then you had a weakening economy. And he notes that a sentiment of selfishness has emerged. Which the current retrenchment climate is not helping, either. According to Patel, the trend we need to be wary of is eroding workplace trust.
12. 3 MILLION JOBS LOST, HUNGER MOUNTING IN SA
Growing unemployment. Entire communities going hungry. Social grants not reaching people. And a sharp rise in inequality. We’re seeing the initial large-scale results of SA’s response to Covid-19 in UCT’s National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) new Coronavirus Rapid Mobile (CRAM) Survey. And the kicker is that active employment is also down 40%. See all the reports here.
13. CHANGE-MANAGEMENT IS THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS SURVIVAL
Kriel & Co’s Francois Kriel reminds us that US consultant group the Henderson Institute’s 2019 organisational research paper’s prediction that the companies who’ll thrive post-2020 will be those that can adapt to change is coming true right before our eyes.
If you just take the topic of remote work and lockdowns, it’s already clear that the most resilient businesses are those that could quickly and effectively adapt to life without an office. And it doesn’t stop there. Supply chain disruptions. Changing markets and social realities. There’s so much that’s changing around us that now, more than ever, for any business’s survival, a vital focus will be change-management services.
And, in case you don’t know who we at LifeXchange Solutions are, we are experts in the science of managing organisational change. So, prompt us and we’ll call you back.
MANAGEMENT & HR SOFTWARE
14. SNAPSCAN FOUNDER LAUNCHES NEXT-GEN PAYROLL SOFTWARE
Bernard Bravenboer, a founding team member on SnapScan, launched his own company, called hellohr. It plans to roll out a lot of super-smart next-gen HR software solutions. But it’s initial offering includes an apparently super-sleek online payroll system that integrates with your employee data profiles and allows staff much easier access to their payslips etc.
The best part: The basic “Starting Up” package lets you manage 3 employees for FREE for life if you sign up now. And, the more advanced packages, which would cost around R19–R29 per employee was listed as FREE temporarily on Monday 20 July 2020. Don’t know for how long, though. So if you want to give it a try, it’s worthwhile going and signing up right now on their new website.
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Every 7 days, we filter and collect the most vital news and insights in our posts on what’s new in HR This Week. And then, to promote real long-term thinking and growth, we collect those weekly insights into a monthly collective like this one. We welcome your ideas on topics to include here – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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