10 LinkedIn tips that can get you hired

Most recruiters these days will take a look at your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you if your CV captures their eye and they’re interested in interviewing you.
They also often scan relevant profiles on LinkedIn to identify people they think might be a match for positions they are struggling to fill or don’t want to advertise.

A recent study on Global Recruiting Trends 2016 showed that 43% of recruiters use social professional networks as their key source of quality and 42% use internet job boards. As such, a clean, professional and presentable LinkedIn profile can be a major asset for developing your career. It can help you land that great job or expand your network for the future.

Here are key things we look out for when we’re evaluating job candidates’ LinkedIn profiles.

DO

1. Keep your profile up-to-date

Don’t let your LinkedIn profile get dusty and out of date. Regularly update your experience, job titles, and career activity so that a prospective recruiter can easily see what you’re up to. Even if you’ve held the same job for a while, add a bit of info about your most recent projects and achievements to show that you’re busy and productive.

2. Highlight your strongest selling points in a prominent manner

A LinkedIn profile should be quite detailed, offering recruiters and business contacts an at-a-glance view of your education, experience, achievements, and your community engagements. But make sure that your most recent and important skills are easy to identify.

Take some time to polish your summary so that it really pops out and sells your strengths to the reader. And ensure that you use the right keywords in your summary and in your list of skills to make it easy for recruiters to find you when they’re searching for candidates with your profile.

3. Connect with people in your industry

Don’t be shy on LinkedIn – connect with people in your industry. When you seek to connect with someone, add a polite, personalised note asking them to accept your invitation and explaining what (or who) you have in common.

4. Follow companies, publish content, and join relevant groups

There are millions of profiles on LinkedIn, so you might need to do a bit work to get attention from the right people. Share relevant professional content, write short posts if you have the time, join industry groups and get involved in their discussions, and follow companies to raise your profile. Companies and groups often post job openings, which can be handy if you’re looking for new career opportunities.

5. Make your intentions known

Let the other LinkedIn users see what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re a recruiter looking for talent in a certain field, post that information so interested parties can contact you.

Don’t

1. Use an inappropriate photo or picture for your profile

Profiles without photos don’t get much attention. You don’t necessarily need a professional portrait for LinkedIn, but you should look presentable in the picture you use.

Avoid photos taken in social settings, especially with a beer in your hand; also, don’t put up a pixelated picture, or use ones with distracting backgrounds. A recent head-and-shoulders, taken in your work clothes and with a smile on your face, will be perfect.

2. Rely on jargon or clichés

Don’t get carried away with industry buzzwords or CV clichés when you talk about yourself. Even if you’re a dynamic problem-solver and team player with an inspirational management style, these words sound empty and insincere because of how overused they have become.

Rather show off your characteristics by talking about your achievements (“I helped Acme Corp. to develop a widget for a new market” rather than “I’m an out-of-the-box thinker”). Consider asking people you have worked with to write endorsements for you so that the boasts aren’t coming from your own mouth.

3. Fib or exaggerate

This should go without saying, but white lies and exaggerated claims on LinkedIn are effectively as bad as telling fibs on your CV. It’s so easy for someone to check up on your claims and you will be caught out.

4. Use LinkedIn as a social media site

Your profile should reflect your professional persona and not your child’s first steps or pictures from your holiday at the beach.

5. Have spelling errors in your profile

Typos in your profile create an unprofessional impression. You will lose the recruiters interest if your spelling and grammar isn’t correct.

Heidi Duvenage is the Head of Department at Sage Talent Solutions.

Culture and change: The crucial ingredients required for positive change

Change is important for any company wishing to grow and prosper. In the previous two articles on this subject of change,

the mathematics of change, we’ve seen the importance of understanding what change is and compared it to the cheese making process: change is like making cheese. We also touched on the vital role the leader (i.e. Big Cheese) has on the culture and change initiatives in the company. The other aspects are also important, but they can only be touched on if the leader has done his or her part. Let us explore the other aspects in the change equation.

Apart from the manager or leader, there are some crucial ingredients that make change effective. They are the employees and the team. Is there a dysfunctional culture that needs to be eliminated or new culture to be added? Do you as manager really realise how important it is to understand the employees in your team?

For cheese making the basic ingredients are the milk and the culture. In our workplace and organisations the main ingredients are the employees and the culture of the team or organisation.

The type of milk (goat’s milk, cow’s milk, low fat milk, full cream milk) will determine the quality and properties of the cheese. The same goes for the culture you are building in your company. The quality and type of employees you hire will determine the culture. You do not want “bad bacteria” in your milk. In the same way you do not want “bad behaviour” in your employees. One litre of ‘bad’ milk will affect the entire batch of cheese. I have seen the same happening in organisations with one toxic employee or team.

The graphic design company I coached experienced the impact one person can have on a group. I came in to consult with them after one of their employees caused chaos and then moved on to another company. It took them a year to move out of the negativity and judgemental behaviour that this one person had created in the office.

Make right hiring and firing decisions. It is very hard to eliminate toxic employee. First, find out why certain people are so disengaged before choosing elimination. Know where your boundaries are and make the tough choices when needed. Then add the right employees – focus on the big things. There should be less focus on the details of gender, age, qualifications, although the employee does need the basic skills. Rather look at the attitude that you need in your team or culture. Ask the difficult questions, for example, “What will you do when your boss gives you an instruction that goes against the ethics of the company? Does this employee have a growth mindset? Is this employee open to new ways of doing things?”

The individuals in teams are presented with challenges every day of every week. These challenges may include cognitive, behavioural, resource, motivational and political issues. Your team only needs to focus on a few critical shifts in their behaviour. Choose your battles wisely. Which of these challenges has the highest impact?

In his book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek says “There are only two ways to influence human behaviour: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it”. If you want to build lasting changes, everyone involved must understand why it is in their best interest to help make these changes happen. Engage the team in the process. Remember change is a scary thing for the brain, and most of your employees and team members will have an “Away State” as coined by David Rock in his SCARF model. An Away State is similar to the Flight or Fight response. Your brain is not utilized effectively and will want to urge your body to run away or resist this change process. The process of business coaching can assist your employees with this transition.

Coming back to the analogy of cheese making; cheese culture is very sensitive to changes in the temperature, if you heat up the mixture too fast or too slowly, you will not get the desired product. The cheese maker controls the temperature continuously. In the same way you as leader must not heat up the temperature too quickly or too much for your team, you need to be sensitive to the environment and introduce the change aspects as and when the team is ready – or fast-track the team’s readiness, for example through team coaching, so that you get them involved in the change process, which will allow you to increase the rate of change.

Changes and culture start with the individuals. Does the motivation for change align with the values of each individual? Remember the old culture is hard-wired in each person’s brain and good habits were formed within the old culture. New culture means new brain wiring and maybe a new habit or two. This has to be ingrained to make the change sustainable. The brain should not focus on too much change at once. Limit the amount of change and first ensure that part one is sustainably implemented before the next batch of behaviours is addressed. Understanding each individual’s values and talents can aid in speeding up the change process. After all, a professional cheese maker knows the ingredients well! The Gallup’s Clifton Strengtfinder tool is one of the best I have found for understanding teams. Having a qualified facilitator can unlock the typical conflict areas in the team, but can also open up the possible synergies locked up in your team combinations.

In conclusion

Honour the strengths of your existing culture. What does it mean for the individual? Are you able to make the impact practical? Are the changes tangible for each and every employee?

Wilmien Davis is a Member of the International Coach Federation (ICF).

SA crying out for more first-line managers

Forget a lack of leadership at the top, a new survey shows that there is a huge demand for good entry-level managers in South Africa.
The level of unemployment in South Africa is one of the highest in the world, and yet at the same time it is getting harder and harder to fill those vacancies that do exist.

According to the most recent Manpower Talent Shortage survey, 31% of employers in South Africa found it hard to hire the right person for their jobs in 2015 – up 8% from the previous year – with management level staff being cited as one of the top three most difficult jobs to fill.

This contradiction suggests a lack of adequate skills training at key levels. Most significantly, training of first-time managers is often neglected.

Being a manager is not something that comes naturally to most people. Often individuals are promoted to management positions without any training and this can be an overwhelming experience. There is also a strong emphasis on personal mastery, which is increasingly becoming a core aspect of leading and managing effectively.

One of the reasons new managers struggle is because the management landscape is changing.

The old way of managing was being in power, exercising control and domination. But this is old school and destroys value in the long term. The new way is about really listening and collaborating and providing feedback in a constructive way. In this sense the manager is really a coach that enables others to create value.

Numerous studies have shown that managers who are more caring and less authoritarian in their approach have more successful teams working for them and higher productivity levels. A survey at a UK hospital in Cardiff in 2015 found that authoritarian managers resulted not only in stressed and unhappy staff but in conditions where patients were actually at a greater risk of being hurt due to the way the hospital was functioning.

Scholar and coach Nancy Kline, who developed the concept of the Thinking Environment, stresses the importance of managers listening when people talk, not only hearing them.

This means allowing people to finish their thoughts, not interrupting others and allowing everyone an opportunity to speak.

Managers need to be in tune with the unconscious, psychological forces that influence the way a team behaves and performs as well as how this affects a company or organisation.

Leadership is about serving and leading your organisation to be bigger and better in all spheres that it touches.

Organisations should consider exposing new managers to such ideas and strategies to ensure that these key employees are able to live up to their potential and add value. The risk of not doing so means that they may actually damage the organisation. A recent Gallup poll revealed that poorly-managed work groups are 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed groups.

Just because someone is an excellent engineer does not mean that they will be as good at managing engineers. Managing people requires unique skills that fortunately, can be learned, practiced and refined.

And who knows, if we invest more in good managers at the lower end of an organisation – by the time they reach the top – they may just have a better chance of being good leaders – the kind we so desperately need in this country.

Jenny Boxall is the course convenor for The New Manager short course and Fatima Hamdulay is the senior lecturer at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB).

Our brain’s tricks for effective work

Have a quick look around if you are reading this article at your desk or in your office. You are in a specific situation, an artificial environment, which was created for your tasks.
The thing is: no matter how thoughtful your office was designed, it most likely doesn’t correspond with the natural environment of your brain, just because a brain is not made for the typical office. Actually the brain isn’t “made” for any environment at all, it rather adjusts to its surrounding automatically. It learns and optimizes its thinking paths, depending on how we use it. That also means that the thinking performance of the brain can be improved, if you consider how we are thinking.

Brain-friendly thinking

Anyone who is regularly working in an office will probably have recognized that our brain can be a troublemaker sometimes. It doesn’t focus, is distracted easily, gets involved in things it shouldn’t and needs a break all the time. But that’s normal, the brain is not a thinking machine. We can’t permanently work on a problem, we need breaks to think effectively. To be able to do its best thinking the brain works in rhythms.

Step 1: Activation

Before a brain can process information it has to absorb it. During the process of absorption the brain is very communicative, as it aims to gather as much information as possible. Sending e-mails, getting on the phone with colleagues, presenting in meetings and discussions – the more ways we exchange information regarding one specific task the better. This is because for our brain information isn’t static, instead it changes depending how they are used.

Tip: Talk first – work later! At the beginning of a workday a stimulating environment is activating. Do your e-mails and correspondence before you turn to further tasks of your day. That way the brain automatically collects the information that it will use more effectively afterwards.

Step 2: Focus

The activating warm-up time is followed by a phase of focus. Letting the brain do its work and freeing it of any external distractions is crucial in this phase, because our brain’s capacity is limited and even subconscious thoughts and processes need resources, which will be pulled from other processes. E-mail alerts, conversations in the background or music are disturbing this phase of concentration. The only way our brain is able to focus is to actively switch all these factors off.

Tip: Set the finish line! Every phase of deep focus should be limited to a certain timeframe. Always set yourself a specific timeframe or a deadline for focused work. It can be minutes or a few hours. Only if you can overlook the time scope of a task you can pace yourself according to the energy you have.

Step 3: Regeneration

Why is it that professional athletes are higher performers than amateurs? Not necessarily because they train more but because they use breaks more effectively. Only if breaks are used for regeneration you can improve. Same applies to the brain. It can’t permanently perform, it needs distraction and rejuvenation. Just like high performance athletes uses their breaks in smart ways, high performance thinkers use breaks to improve their brain’s performance. After an hour the latest the brain deserves a short break of a few minutes. The longer relaxation phases however are also very important, especially in the evenings before we go to sleep. It is not without a reason that we sleep. In this time the brain creates a stimuli-free room to process and save the information that it collected during the day. On a side note: free yourself from the thought that breaks are a waste of time. Subconsciously the brain continues to think about the task at hand and comes to new thoughts and ideas when you give it a break.
Tip: Mental pit stop! Micro pauses of a few seconds are often sufficient to keep the brain working. The glance outside is enough. The brain uses this short distraction to stop automated thought processes and restart them with new energy – just like a mental pit stop.

Brain-friendly environment

The brain doesn’t work statically like a computer, but in rhythms and it will always adjust to the tasks. The more you use it, the better it will work. Especially if you accelerate your thinking with these tricks:

• Attention: The natural enemy of focus is multitasking. Not only do you need too many resources and make too many mistakes when you switch tasks all the time, the more we do it, the worse we become in paying attention to tasks. Use to-do-lists and strike things of the list as soon as you’ve done them. This will activate the brain’s reward system and will motivate it for the next task.

• Routines: At first routine sounds boring and dull, however they are a sophisticated way of our brain to optimize thinking paths so they work almost automatically and therefore with less energy (which by the way is what distinguishes an intelligent from an average brain). Try to develop routines for repeating tasks. This will save time and thinking work which you will be able to use for more complex thinking.

• Space: We need necessary resources to be high performers. That also applies to the office. In the best case the work environment allows workers to choose between different spaces so they can pick their environment based on the task at hand.

Choose unusual places for unusual tasks, take your laptop for a walk or do your thinking at the cafeteria.

• Motivation: the best way to be motivated is to know where to go. If you know when a task is done you can conclude it. Work with check-lists and mark every progress you are making. Small acknowledgements like this are enough to activate the reward system in the brain.

Dr Henning Becks is a Neuroscientist at Steelcase.

Why chatbots won’t replace humans?

Fear mongering is everywhere, in every industry. And most recently, the contact centre has experienced its own dose of this with the announcement that Facebook will be making use of chatbots via Messenger to deal with customer queries.

The concern, of course, is that the development and inclusion of intelligent tech will replace humans in a contact centre. There are many opinions on the matter, but many industry experts maintain that while the advancements of technology are remarkable, for the foreseeable future there will remain an important place for people, with the help of automation, in a contact centre.

The reality is that systems, like the ever-frustrating IVR, are starting to take a back seat in favour of more innovative and user-friendly solutions. This can be seen as a positive move as response times are reduced and query resolution increases through advanced tech solutions. But when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) developments, it is likely to be the implementation rather than the new technology alone that will make or break the introduction of chatbots into a call centre.

With the move to an omni-channel approach in a contact centre where a customer can engage on a variety of platforms, adding an additional channel, such as Messenger, is relatively simple.

Most contact centres are already managing multiple channels through which customers are able to make contact, and with integrated cloud-based solutions, this has become even easier and more streamlined. A chatbot, in the form of Messenger, would simply be an additional channel which can be incorporated into a contact centre’s operations.

However, while the inclusion of Messenger is straightforward, ensuring that chatbots increase efficiency and improve customer experience may not be quite as simple.

The key is to avoid a chatbot becoming just another automated responder that can’t adequately answer a customer query, and therefore creating more customer frustration rather than enhancing the experience.

Currently, the level of AI such as a chatbot is unlikely to be able to deal with all possible scenarios that will be presented to a contact centre. A chatbot could be used to solve simple or routine issues, while for more complex situations, the human element is still essential.

The strength of a contact centre lies in the partnership of technology and the human element.

There is a place for technology and automation such as chatbots in a contact centre to simplify and speed up processes. But, at least for the next five to 10 years, this technology will not be sufficiently sophisticated to replace humans who will still need to manage the more complex situations.

Bruce von Maltitz is the co-founder of 1Stream.

What is the impact of the leader on culture and change?

Change is a complex subject and looking at it logically one could make use of a mathematical equation to unpack and simplify the matter. This might ignore some of the final details, but it is important to capture the crucial aspects. The dynamics of change and culture in all organisations has a few basic ingredients that should be taken care of.

The leader has the most important role to play to make the change process less daunting. The better the leader, the smoother the change. Change is not always about changing the culture, but the leader should first look at the impact on the required change of the current culture.

The manager or leader has a very demanding job: Apart from the complexity of the change process the leader has to deal with, the journey is usually also governed by politics.

While swimming through the rough seas of budget, performance, return on investment and team dynamics, CHANGE is required. The top brass gives one direction, the team runs in the opposite direction and the consulting firm comes from who knows where with some jargon and processes and suggestions that are not always practical. Most of the time there is alignment from top management and the consultants that the CULTURE must change. But is that really true? How will you know? Continuing with the metaphor of cheese making, you, the leader, are in control of making the Cheese – you are the Big Cheese.

Firstly you need to understand yourself in the leader position and understand your responsibilities. Do you have the passion for this job? If you do not like to make cheese and prefer to make pasta, quit being a cheese maker. If you don’t like the department, the job, any of the people, maybe you should not be the cheese maker. If you prefer only to make Cheddar and are not interested in Brie/Feta/Blue Cheese, then move to the Cheddar making line. You cannot lead your team to do something you are not willing to do yourself. You need to be passionate about your product and be the expert at how to make it. Don’t go in half-heartedly and expect your team to be the magic that brinsg it all together.

The manager needs to understand the details. You cannot manage if you don’t know the details. You need the knowledge, skills and experience and you need to know the people assisting you.

As the leader you need to give your employees a chance to be heard. Most of the time there is a gap between the executives and employees. They just do not use the same dialect (sometimes they talk two remotely different languages!) Do not underestimate the valuable insights you as leader can gather by listening attentively, without judgement and preconceived ideas, to what is happening on the shop floor. Don’t make assumptions and think you have it all figured out.

One of my clients needed to take their graphics business to the next level and had a few ideas for marketing the business. The day the two owners sat around the table with their design team, they were astounded by the fresh, new ideas from their workforce. That sparked even more ideas and an amazing commitment from all employees to assist with the marketing over and above their existing roles.

You will get very valuable insights if you get to know your ingredients better. Find out which part of the old and new culture is or is not aligned with the values. Which ingredients mix and which don’t go well together. Take it seriously, this is not only an exercise to tick the box, this WILL add value. Ask the question: What can I do as a leader to change and support the people? Try to find out if there are any underlying beliefs, feelings or mindsets that are limiting the productivity and effectiveness. Maybe change is not required if you’ve got this far.

The cheese maker must have the bigger picture in mind all the time. He must know the recipe from and keep the equation in mind.

Here is a list of critical behaviours for the leader amid change:

• Resource the positive behaviours;
• Select the ingredients, know the recipe and gather the equipment;
• Follow through with promises, good and bad;
• Identify and reinforce positive and negative boundaries;
• Changing and enforcing controls that will assist the process;
• Increase feedback;
• Evaluate performance;
• Take remedial actions where required;
• Ask for feedback;
• Integrate formal (new rules, metrics, incentives) and informal (networking, coffee sessions) interventions; and
• Measure/monitor the underlying beliefs, feelings and mindsets (like a cheese maker should measure the temperature and pH throughout the process).

This process will guide you in your role as leader to achieving the success you desire so that you take the team and the organisation to the next level.

Wilmien Davis is the member of the International Coach Federation (ICF).

IQ or EQ for employee performance?

The Happy Manager reports that the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is often used to determine a potential candidate’s ability to perform in the workplace. This begs the question – is being intelligent (of high IQ) enough when it comes to working with other people, in teams, or for a manager? A particular level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is required to work with others; and in certain instances, a high level of EQ is a much greater asset in a staff member than IQ.

According to the book Emotional Intelligence, by psychologist Daniel Goleman, EQ can be broken down into five segments, each of which encompasses the ability to deal with certain emotions. From self-awareness to self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills, a high level of EQ will serve employees well in the workplace – perhaps even more so than a high IQ.

Developing employees’ understanding of their own emotional intelligence is crucial to workplace synergy. IQ will help employees get the job done, EQ will help them get the job done as a cohesive team, breaking down silos and creating an organisation that moves forward as one unit.

South Africa’s corporate culture is one that focuses on physical health in employee engagement. Surely an employee that has a high IQ and is physically healthy will perform at optimum? This simply isn’t true. An employee that is physically healthy, but unhappy emotionally – whether due to working conditions, clashing with his/her manager, or issues arising outside of the workplace – will be distracted, demotivated and unproductive.

In an article published in the HR Professionals Magazine, American HR expert Judy Bell confirms that teams have a collective emotional quotient, and this must be fostered to ensure a collaborative effort. Bell mentions various elements that employees should consider in developing their own EQ – but we believe that these elements should be a focus of employee engagement and development, from a management level.

To foster happiness in the workplace management must recognise employees’ emotions, understand the cause of their feelings and explore with them the difference between having a feeling and acting on it. By exploring employees’ actions and being aware of their frustration tolerance, management can encourage staff to express anger appropriately, eliminate self-destructive behaviour and nurture positivity in the workplace.

Liane McGowan is the founder of Happy Monday CC.

The Happy Manager reports that the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is often used to determine a potential candidate’s ability to perform in the workplace.


This begs the question – is being intelligent (of high IQ) enough when it comes to working with other people, in teams, or for a manager? A particular level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is required to work with others; and in certain instances, a high level of EQ is a much greater asset in a staff member than IQ.

According to the book Emotional Intelligence, by psychologist Daniel Goleman, EQ can be broken down into five segments, each of which encompasses the ability to deal with certain emotions. From self-awareness to self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills, a high level of EQ will serve employees well in the workplace – perhaps even more so than a high IQ.

Developing employees’ understanding of their own emotional intelligence is crucial to workplace synergy. IQ will help employees get the job done, EQ will help them get the job done as a cohesive team, breaking down silos and creating an organisation that moves forward as one unit.

South Africa’s corporate culture is one that focuses on physical health in employee engagement. Surely an employee that has a high IQ and is physically healthy will perform at optimum? This simply isn’t true. An employee that is physically healthy, but unhappy emotionally – whether due to working conditions, clashing with his/her manager, or issues arising outside of the workplace – will be distracted, demotivated and unproductive.

In an article published in the HR Professionals Magazine, American HR expert Judy Bell confirms that teams have a collective emotional quotient, and this must be fostered to ensure a collaborative effort. Bell mentions various elements that employees should consider in developing their own EQ – but we believe that these elements should be a focus of employee engagement and development, from a management level.

To foster happiness in the workplace management must recognise employees’ emotions, understand the cause of their feelings and explore with them the difference between having a feeling and acting on it. By exploring employees’ actions and being aware of their frustration tolerance, management can encourage staff to express anger appropriately, eliminate self-destructive behaviour and nurture positivity in the workplace.

Liane McGowan is the founder of Happy Monday CC.

Whose responsibility is it anyway?

It is not uncommon in construction contracts for a contractor to be replaced with an alternative contractor prior to completion of the works.

Should an employer require that the ‘incoming’ contractor is to assume responsibility for remedying defects or damages caused by an outgoing contractor, it will be prudent for the employer to ensure that this is expressly stated in the agreement, failure to do so, as can be seen from the case of Trencon Construction (Pty) Ltd v South African Airways (Pty) Ltd and another [2015] JOL 33366 (GJ), may result in the employer being left wanting.

Trencon and SAA concluded a Joint Building Contracts Committee (JBCC) Principal Building Agreement for the construction of a departure lounge at the OR Tambo International Airport, wherein a principal agent was also appointed. Trencon sought payment in the sum of R552,040.38 from SAA, alternatively, that the principal agent be ordered to issue a final payment certificate in the claimed amount.

SAA and the principal agent contended that there were defects in the works which had to be remedied before a certificate of final completion could be issued and argued that Trencon was not entitled to payment as it had not complied with its obligations in terms of clause 8.2 of the agreement, which stated that:

“The contractor shall make good any physical loss and repair damage to the works, including clearing away and removing from site, all debris resulting therefrom, which occurs after the date on which the possession of the site is given and up to the issue of the deemed certificate of final completion and resulting from . . .”

It was argued that the intention of SAA was to have the works completed and thus it could not have been intended that, despite the appointment of Trencon to complete the works, that the contractor could receive payment without the works having been completed.

This argument was found not to accord with the intention of the parties as appeared from the unambiguous written terms of the agreement.

It was common cause that the defects were not caused by Trencon but by the contractor, TL Steward, who had preceded Trencon’s appointment. In addition, there was no contention that the loss or damage occurred after the date on which possession of the site was given to Trencon.

The court held that Trencon was not responsible to make good the loss or repair the damage, there being no other provision in the agreement which rendered the incoming contractor liable to do so.

Further, the court held that as the loss or damage did not occur after the date on which possession of the site was given to Trencon, it was not Trencon’s responsibility to make good the loss or repair the damage in question.

It should be noted that in the latest edition of the JBCC Principal Building Agreement, published in 2014, the phrase ‘which occurs after the date on which the possession of the site is given’, that appears in the 2005 and 2007 editions, has been omitted.

Adine Abro and Muhammed Somrey, Construction and Engineering practice and services, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

How to unearth hidden value in your ERP system

The advent of enterprise-grade Cloud solutions, combined with the precipitous drop in costs for volatile memory storage, has propelled in-memory computing to the forefront of many CIO’s agendas. Techopedia defines in-memory computing as “the storage of information in the main random access memory of dedicated servers, rather than in complicated relational databases operating on comparatively slow disk drives.”

It promises to give decision-makers and strategists near real-time analytics on their operational data, to better understand every facet of an organisation – its operations, customers, sales performance, employee productivity, and to react immediately to critical events.

Like most burgeoning technology domains, in-memory computing is passing through a phase of ‘inflated expectations’. Vendors and service providers are hyping-up the future of Big Data and The Internet of Things, and positioning in-memory computing as the key to capturing the wondrous new opportunities of the digital economy.

But one of the understated advantages of in-memory computing – and certainly one of the most immediate ways it can create value – is its ability to unearth hidden value in one’s existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

Generally speaking, ERP platforms and data warehouses are strong at information storage, but lacking in the area of information extraction.

And this is where in-memory computing comes in.

Working hand-in-glove with a conventional ERP system (whether it’s delivered on-premise or in the Cloud), in-memory solutions run queries at lightning speeds. This enables business leaders to clearly see any pain points or bottlenecks in the organisation’s operations, conduct tasks like profitability analysis in near real-time, and uncover new business opportunities.

The obvious benefits aside, in-memory computing enables organisations to think differently, ask different questions, and discover more opportunities for operational improvement or innovative approaches.

Algorithms can be set that react to conditions in real-time. For example, a logistics provider could use embedded sensors and actuators to track its fleet of vehicles. Real-time information streams can be used for everything from re-routing, to predictive maintenance requirements – improving the efficiency of its operations and minimising maintenance costs.

The use-cases may be complex and sophisticated, or they may be remarkably simple. One safe bet is that any organisation – irrespective of size or industry – can improve its operations in a number of ways by capitalising on the hidden value of its existing data sources.

In-memory computing is the key that unlocks these opportunities.

For B2B organisations operating inside complex value-chains, in-memory computing opens up opportunities to expose certain operational data to suppliers, partners, distributors, or others in the ecosystem.

A supplier could then, for example, be able to predict when one of your stock inventories will be depleted – and automatically push orders to you without needing to be instructed. In this way, in-memory solutions enable more fluid links between organisations.

Having captured masses of historical data in ERP systems and data warehouses, in-memory computing gives the CIO the opportunity to fully exploit the value of that information.

Various studies show that organisations are generally despondent with the actual value they’re deriving from their ERP systems. But by augmenting them with in-memory computing, this sentiment can become a thing of the past. ERP systems can be brought magically to life – fuelling the organisation with new insights that lead to step-changes in efficiency and innovation.

Alan Collins is the Portfolio Manager: Cross Industry Business Solution at T-Systems South Africa.

Why you should treat your data like the strategic asset it is

In an increasingly digital world where it is no longer only time that is money, but information as well, data has become the equivalent of a new currency. Protecting this data is a top priority for businesses of all sizes. However, in tandem with the growing importance of data, we are also witnessing an ongoing data explosion, with huge data volumes created at high velocity. This is changing customers’ requirements when it comes to data protection and data management, and organisations need to adopt a comprehensive approach to data protection for today and into the future. Data is a strategic business asset, and should be treated as such with effective data backup, protection, recovery and management solutions designed to address new data challenges.

Data backup and recovery has become a business imperative, and the importance of implementing effective solutions cannot be overstated. In fact, data is top of mind for the majority of organisations. According to analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) in the 2014 annual IT Spending Intentions report, the top three most important IT priorities for 2015 centred on data. The top priority for businesses according to the report was information security initiatives, with improving data backup and recovery coming in second, and managing data growth at number three. In addition, business continuity and disaster recovery were the eighth priority for respondents.

The bigger picture of these statistics is that protecting data is of vital importance, even more so than investment into solutions such as the cloud and other production-enabling deployments. Backup remains one of the most significant IT investments, because the reliance of business on data and IT systems is ever on the increase. This means that any downtime or data loss could be detrimental to business operations. In addition, legacy approaches to backup simply cannot meet the diverse and evolving needs of modern IT platforms, necessitating continued investment into backup solutions. However, backup alone is no longer sufficient. Organisations need to increase the agility of data protection infrastructure by incorporating supplementary data protection capabilities such as snapshots, replicas and archiving as well as high availability, disaster recovery and business continuity.

These data protection mechanisms each provide a different type of agility that compliments backups rather than replacing them, ensuring a comprehensive solution to data recoverability. However, it is also important to bear in mind that it may not be necessary to apply these various mechanisms with a blanket approach across the entire organisation. For example, while backup is essential across the board, snapshots, replicas and archives are only necessary for business critical data. Given the increasing volumes of data being generated and the cost of implementing new solutions, it is important to apply data protection mechanisms based on the value of data to the business as well as the requirement for availability.

This hybrid approach to data protection is highly effective in today’s world. However, where many organisations go wrong is in attempting to address each of these mechanisms with a separate, disconnected technology. The end result is typically significantly higher cost along with increased complexity. In addition, often such disparate solutions fail to meet the business’ need for comprehensive, improved protection and agility of data recovery, because they simply cannot integrate effectively. Organisations should look for integrated solutions that incorporate multiple mechanisms of data protection within a single platform. This ensures a single point of management, while providing one overall data protection strategy that aligns with the recovery and data needs of the business. By treating data as a strategic asset and protecting it as such, organisations can ensure their data is available and managed today and in the future.

Johan Scheepers is the Systems Engineer Director – MESAT at Commvault.

What are the unspoken costs of inappropriate staffing?

Having too few, or too many, staff can have negative financial, service and productivity implications – affecting both an organisation and its employees.

Hiring excess staff can result in superfluous wage pay outs as well as inefficiencies. It also denies all employees sufficient opportunities for growth and development and is the root cause of interpersonal clashes.

On the other hand, staff shortages add to the workload of existing employees and pushes them to put in overtime which can lead to low morale, loss of productivity, burn-out and absenteeism.

These factors cost an organisation, both financially and in terms of time and reputation as they may be required to pay excessive overtime to existing staff or spend time and effort in searching for a last minute replacement for staff who were unable to handle the pressure. Such situations also often have a knock-on effect in terms of service provided to existing client who may then feel the organisation is unreliable.

Assessing staffing requirements depends on accurately anticipating future demand for workforce levels. This is an essential consideration in order to ensure that you meet the goals of your business and customer expectations whilst maintaining quality.

Factors that affect demand for employees include business volumes, marketing campaigns, and competitor offerings. Additional factors include the business climate and a country’s economic outlook. While these factors are out of our control, they will affect businesses.

There are things that organisations can do to ensure that they are equipped to handle any eventuality with the appropriate size workforce available.

Suggestions include:

Determining where you would like your organisation to be in the next three to five years: This will enable you to map where you are, where you are going and how you plan to get there along with goals you will need to meet along the way. It will also give you a better understanding of your organisation’s human resource needs.

Performing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the organisation: Look at the attributes of the organisation that assist in achieving the abovementioned goals and consider those that are detrimental to realising goals. Explore external conditions that are helpful to attaining goals and those that are potentially damaging. These should include changing customer expectations, new legislation, fluctuations in the national and world economy, employment trends and staff expectations.

Developing a profile of the current workforce and projecting workforce supply: Assess the current supply of human capital in your organisation and factor in variables such as retirements, resignations and transfers. Consider any business changes that you assume will occur and which could impact your workforce needs. This information will help you determine future staffing requirements in line with demand for your services.

Identifying the current and future work functions necessary for achieving goals: Things to consider include those functions that will change, be discontinued or introduced.

Reviewing competencies required to meet business outcomes: Focus on defining the competencies (skills, knowledge, abilities, and personal attributes) that your staff should possess to successfully perform the functions identified above. This will assist you in correctly briefing your staffing provider in terms of your staffing requirements.

Comparing the supply and competencies of current staff with the anticipated staffing levels and attributes: Assess your existing staff to uncover any gaps in the size of the workforce and competencies necessary for accomplishing current and future functions. Based on these gaps, you can figure out whether your recruitment methods match your priorities and if you have sufficient training or knowledge transfer methods available to develop these competencies.

Determining the most critical future workforce gaps and developing solutions: Prioritise the areas where you have the most pressing needs so you can continue to meet your goals and critical business outcomes whilst targeting recruitment and retention efforts to specific levels of staff that possess the right knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Knowing the direction in which your business is headed, together with having an appropriately sized and skilled workforce to get there, will benefit both your organisation and staff.

Kay Vittee is the CEO of Kelly.

What is the global workplace phenomenon?

This global workplace phenomenon, presenteeism is defined as a group of passively disengaged employees who are putting in the time but not the passion or discretionary  efforts that their employing organisation so desperately requires to be competitive, these employees are described as the individuals who have “quit and stayed”.

Local data on this new workplace trend is scarce – it is said that presenteesim is much harder to quantify than absenteeism. The only data specific information is a report conducted by PDT which suggests that at least 42% of South African employees are not motivated to affect real change in the organisations.

A global survey of employee engagement conduct by Dale Carnegie including South Africa showed that only 29% are fully engaged and 26% are fully disengaged.

Aware of the negative implications of presenteeism in any organisation including the significant impact it has on the success of the company, it has become quite a daunting reality when consider the fact that in order to create a sustainable competitive advantage and ROI, a company’s value and long-term strength – is the workforce. When it comes to people, research has shown that engaged employees significantly outperform those that are not engaged. In the fight for competitive advantage where employees are the differentiator, engaged employees are the ultimate goal.

The tell-tale signs of an enthusiastic employee becoming disengaged

A common occurrence of an employee becoming disengaged is a result of their relationship with their immediate supervisor; this can steam from a number of issues and have a noticeable impact the employees work environment. Some of the factors vary from interpersonal communications, learning and performance or health and well-being. Another key reason engaged employees move toward being “present-but-not-engaged” is a lack of pride in their organisation. An employee’s pride in their company is influenced by a number of elements, including the product or industry, whether employees are treated with dignity and respect and provided with the resources they need to be effective in their roles, how well the company’s “higher purpose” is communicated, whether employees believe in the future of the company and even efforts toward corporate social responsibility.

To combat presenteeism in the workplace, tackle it head it!

It starts with the organisation’s culture; take an honest look at whether it fosters employee engagement. Three key drivers included:
• Relationship with the immediate supervisor;
• Senior leadership’s ability to lead the company and communicate goals; and
• Organisational pride.

The most crucial of them all is the ability to restore the trust that has been lost in senior leadership and the ability to confidently lead the company and communicate the goals.

Employees are the biggest investment and should be the greatest reward

In many organisations, employees are viewed as an asset to be managed rather than as individuals who can create the next innovation for success. Long-term engagement starts with good communication between employer and employees as well as among co-workers, fostering a positive working environment.

By working with employees to create a clear career path and set goals with a potential for growth, a manager can create positive esteem within each team member. By showing them that they are valued and have responsibility, and then to recognise and reward them for a job well done, a manager can create an “involved employee.” It is then much easier to turn that sense of involvement into enthusiasm and a sense of pride in ownership that creates the highest levels of engagement with employees.

Managers and supervisors can turn enthusiasm into full engagement from a multigenerational team to ensure effective workplace environments typified by effective communication, value recognition and motivation.

Neville De Lucia is the New Business Developer of Dale Carnegie Training.

Social media and employment: the new business risk

The various incidents in the past few months of racism on social media have highlighted the dangers of social media use and abuse.

It has also brought to the fore the potential for negative spill over effects into the employment context and the effect this has on business reputations and employment relationships.

The Botswana Constitution protects freedom of expression, however, it also limits it as the freedom is not absolute. A limitation of the right to freedom of expression will still be lawful as long as it is reasonably required for the purpose of protecting the reputation, rights and freedom of other persons. Thus, the following forms of speech are not protected by the Constitution: hate speech, defamation and furthering a designated boycott.

The Botswana Penal Code takes it a step further and also contains criminal defamation, in that it is unlawful to publish any defamatory matter that is likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him or her to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or likely to damage any person in his or her profession or trade by any injury to his or her reputation concerning another person, with the intent to defame (for example Facebook posts about colleagues, bosses, employers and companies).

The danger with defamatory content is that there is the possibility of liability or damage to the company either via statements made on social media which can quickly spread worldwide, vicarious liability of the employer, as well as brand and reputational damage.

To anticipate and address the effects of social media on their businesses, employers should draft social media policies that include provisions to the effect that statements made on social media may constitute misconduct, which may warrant disciplinary action, including dismissal. Social media and labour law training and sensitisation could also be held for all levels of employees.

Larona Somolekae is an associate(secondee) at Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group’s Bookbinder Business Law office in Gaborone, Botswana.

Why you need to lock down the value of ICT services contracts

The dynamics involved in selling or leasing ICT equipment, and related support, continues to change at a rapid rate, the pace determined by innovation. Experts in ICT services and solutions point out that over time vendor/client contracts, lease periods, migration of PBXs into the cloud and licensing has changed – and decision makers need to be up to speed on developments.

It is explained how long term contracts governing lease agreements for ICT equipment present a challenge to both the vendor and the client.

Let’s look at this from both ends. The vendor has entered into a long term contract in order to ‘pay off’ the supplied technology, so if the contract ends early without a penalty or pay back on the remaining term, then the vendor sets to lose i.e. paying back what they supplied, someone has to carry this cost.

Then you have the customer … the customer entered into a long term agreement so that they didn’t have to pay a bigger agreement amount over three or five years, but extended it to 10 years, thus drawing out the financial burden of what needs to be paid, thus a longer term is better for the customer.

A fair deal

The market today has moved from ‘sweating’ technology for up to a decade and possibly even extending support. The term is now between three to four years.

As a result most supported support contracts have been reduced from five and 10 years to one and three years, with a possibility of five years as an extension of the three year by an additional two years, but this is rare.

Add to this majority of contracts that are three or five years have “out clauses” in order to get out of the contracts if the technology landscape has changed radically that it’s impacting the customers’ business.

Another critical facet of the modern ICT services space is the impact of the Cloud. There are pros and cons to premise-based solutions and Cloud hosted solutions, and each organisation has different reasons for wanting to stay on premise or moving to the Cloud – but Cloud is not the answer for all and it depends on customer fit, technology and the overall solution.

A major factor pushing towards Cloud is financial. Does the company have the Capex (upfront costs) to spend up front or do they prefer to have the cost for the technology on an Opex model (monthly costs). Majority of vendors do not mind either which way the customer wishes to go, as long as the customer is fully made aware of the pro and cons to both offerings – the pros and cons are different per solution/technology stack.

The question of licenses for the number of users per company has also transformed the services space and the degree of flexibility built into these contracts impacts significantly on the growth of companies.

Licensing in the past was based on the number of users you had and not on usage and thus the support agreements were directly connected to that. That is coming to an end in majority of environments/solutions/technologies that era has ended. Now is based on usage, this applies to both on premise and Cloud solutions – here the technology looks at the sustained usage over a given period (say month to month) and then you are billed/charged for that usage and so the support agreements are then aligned to that usage.

It is important to remember that vendors/suppliers use the support agreement costs that are charged for R&D, without R&D nothing new is be produced, and so in order for a customer to stay ahead and on top and on the forefront of the technology R&D is required, hence support agreements are required.

Karl Reed is the Chief Marketing & Solutions Officer at Elingo (Pty) Ltd.

Why HR needs to keep pace with technology’s accelerating speed

The world of human resources (HR) is changing at a speed that is leaving most HR departments behind.

New technology is bringing more transparency into the job market and into the performance of the HR department, creating new challenges for HR directors.

It’s also changing the expectations that employees and job applicants have of the employer experience. What’s more, HR departments need to make faster decisions, even as the amount of information they need to manage grows. For example, I know of a business that received 100,000 CVs after advertising a group of positions. Meanwhile, a volatile labour market, growing competition for scarce skills, and tighter regulation all bring with them complex and constantly evolving pressures. Line mangers and senior management are putting more pressure on HR departments to add value to the business and to serve as their strategic partners.

As a result, HR departments need to become more tech-savvy. They need to put in place systems that allow them to automate routine paperwork, make sense of growing volumes of data, and respond to the needs of the business and employees in a more agile fashion. Without technology, they will not be able to meet the demands they face.

Digging through big data

As a start, the recruitment market poses some interesting challenges for HR managers. They have access to a wider potential pool of talent, thanks to the Web and social media, but that also means that they need to be able to process more information. Here, online applicant tracking systems and career portals can be a massive help in filtering and managing data.

In much the same way as the Internet has given employers access to jobseekers, it also gives talent access to expanded employment opportunities. Let’s face it: anyone who has a CV on a career website or a profile on LinkedIn is on the job market for the right price and opportunity. It’s easier than ever for recruiters to spot great talent – which means the HR department’s job is harder when it comes to skills retention.

Engage and retain

As such, it’s also important to apply technology for engaging, managing and retaining employees. When it comes to managing staff, HR departments can gather rich data about the business and use it to analyse skills gaps, performance, costs, and more. Increasingly, HR decisions about hiring and training are driven by good information housed in HR and line of business systems.

In the background, a robust HR platform enables the HR department to capture data about employees’ key performance areas (KPAs) and indicators (KPIs), performance reviews, training and development requirements, medical history, occupational injuries, and more. This information can help the business to make better hiring and training decisions. HR directors can get better insight into trends such as staff churn, the costs of training and development, and the skills they may need to attract and develop to support the business’s future growth.

IT also has an important role to play in employee engagement. Tools such as employee self-service can reduce paperwork for the HR department while delivering better service to the workforce. When people can apply for leave, fill in expense claims and pick up payslips online or from their mobile phones, everyone wins from the gains in efficiency and convenience.

Closing words

In a world where employees are ambitious and connected, and where business has high expectations, HR departments must become more flexible and focused.

Technology is an important enabler for them, offering them the ability to streamline operations and make better decisions. And with today’s Cloud-based options, it is easier and more affordable than ever for HR departments to modernise and automate the way they work.

Sandra Swanepoel is the Managing Director for Sage HR & Payroll.

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