Most of the time our offices are our second home and therefore the people who work alongside us are inevitably going to befriend us. They become our allies. Also, you shouldn’t despise going to work and having friends there makes for a more relaxed and homely atmosphere. But just how relaxed or professional should friendships be at work? Should a manager or team leader befriend his/her subordinates? OR rather befriend people on the same level in an organisation? Is there a massive difference between social friends and work friends? What happens when the lines blur between being a friend and suddenly being the boss? In this article we discuss how leaders should manage friendships at work in order to avoid awkward situations.
Many people who are new to the job market, especially young talent, feel bewildered, not knowing what to expect. They are unsure of themselves, feel uncertain about all the skills that they will need and hesitant to perhaps take action or initiative. These employees are, however, very eager to learn and want to grow professionally especially at this stage of their careers.
Companies, who are serious in obtaining and keeping quality talent with growth potential, develop their entry-level employees’ and interns’ leadership skills early on in their careers. They invest in mentorship programs and establish entry-level job programs specifically structured to assist in building core critical leadership skills and easing them into the processes of the company.
Have you ever heard of the job title Customer Experience Executive or Chief Customer Officer or Customer Experience Manager? When you search these types of jobs online in South Africa there are roughly 316 vacancies just on LinkedIn that pop up. Companies are urgently looking for customer experience leaders because they are quickly realising that if they invest in the overall experience of customers and manage these experiences as part of their customers’ sales journey, it can improve their profits drastically. Another plus point is that companies who employ customer experienced leaders are way more ‘attractive’ than their competitors.
We are currently in our winter months which are already associated with numerous sicknesses and illnesses, never mind all the noncommunicable diseases people already deal with. In addition, we must deal with the infectious novel Coronavirus. Absenteeism and increased health care costs due to sickness and illnesses, always have a significant impact on productivity in any workplace.
Some of the most difficult challenges faced by businesses is increasing employee productivity and improving their performance. This is especially true during a time where global economies are battling, people are required to work in remote teams, the work-from-home is their new normal and the pandemic is causing havoc in people’s lives. But if you wrongly approach employees who are already scared, confused and stressed, management might aid the problems.
There are numerous reasons why employees might lack performance. Reasons can include mental health and workplace wellness, or employees might purely lack skills that may impact their performance. Mainly, they just need a bit of mentoring and coaching. Here is a brief summary of what workplace counselling is, the benefits of it and what skills the person responsible for this will need to be an effective counsellor.
There is a difference between stress and burnout. Stress is inevitable in everyday life. Burnout is a result of prolonged stressors and a real possibility during these uncertain times.
This is the third part of a series of three articles discussing Job Hunting During The Covid-19 Pandemic. We are now at the end of the series where we list the 6 tops soft skills employers will look for in the ideal candidate.
This is the second part of a series of 3 articles discussing the second point of 3 things:
1. How to secure your job better during this Pandemic
2. How to find a new job through this time
3. The 6 top soft skills employers look for during Covid-19
Head of digital content at Investec, Tim Spira quoted leading labour expert Andrew Levy saying: "The State President switched off the economy with a flick of a switch. But it can’t start again the same way. It’s going to be a long, slow, staggered process”, in an *online article published 15 April 2020.
In these uncertain times both the job seekers as well as employers face new challenges. Around the world current job markets are shifting due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some people are experiencing layoffs or retrenchments and several companies are using the remote work approach all in an effort to stop the spreading of the coronavirus.
What is Psychological Safety and why is it fundamental to high-performing teams?
Amy Edmondson, an Organizational Behavioural Scientist coined the term ‘Team Psychological Safety’ (TPS) in 1999, which she defined as “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.”
In layman’s terms, Psychological Safety in the workplace basically means that you feel safe to be yourself among your peers in your team. You thus feel comfortable enough in your team to contribute and learn, as well as to challenge or question things without feeling scared and worried about being embarrassed, penalised or even reprimanded because of it.
Pre-pandemic, Management and HR Teams learned through training and experience how to motivate, inspire, and drive employees. HR Managers knew and understood the needs of their staff before this whole pandemic started, but suddenly everything has changed and feels up-side-down. Everyone is in this pandemic together and we are all facing the same challenges. Most, if not all of us, are worried and stressed.
HR managers are now an essential link in the changes that the ‘new business normal’ will bring. The opportunity to act as the middleman between management and employees should be fully utilised to adjust mindsets. Here’s what will be expected of HR Managers to help employees adapt in the workplace during COVID-19, which many say is here to stay.
Health and safety protocols will rank high on the company’s priority list and HR teams will be expected to co-develop and facilitate this process and keep everyone updated regularly on any regulations or changes. The education process of the new crisis and COVID-19 plans will be of utmost importance and will likely form part of the Human Resources Department’s job description.
The Mindspa Institute has courses called “Train the Trainer” or “Effective Communication” which will assist HR personnel with the right way to communicate and educate workers. All courses are also offered remotely, live and interactive via Zoom.
HR Teams will have to create and maintain a healthy work environment. They will be expected to invest in the mental health of each employee and help them achieve wellness in not only the workplace but also in the personal lives of the employees. This can be done through developing wellness strategies and programmes.
The Mindspa Institute has a workshop called “Wake up to Wellness in the Workplace” which is an ideal course to form part of the companies wellness programme. It will empower employees to look after their own wellbeing and mental health. All workshops are also offered remotely, live and interactive via Zoom.
Employees are naturally more stressed about their own personal finances and flexibility. Management should also be open to granting employees flexibility where possible, either by working from home or giving them flexible working hours. HR Managers will have to negotiate and facilitate this. It will show employees that the company cares about their personal needs and will lessen these types of stressors.
Many, if not all companies and industries are battling financially during this pandemic. Therefore, it is unlikely that there will be salary increases in the near future. If employees know how to manage their own personal finances better, it will decrease their financial stress.
The Mindspa Institute offers a Personal Finance course ideal for employees to learn how to manage their own personal finances. This course is also offered online, live and interactive via Zoom.
Things have changed drastically in employees’ personal lives. They might have a few secondary problems like suddenly home-schooling their kids or not being able to send their children to day care. There is also the harsh reality that someone might become a single parent or lose a loved one because of COVID-19. All these hardships and challenges need a fair sense of empathy. Now more than ever, it will become extremely important for HR to lead with empathy and to continue to develop their own emotional intelligence to help employees through these hurdles.
The Mindspa Institute offers an Emotional Intelligent course online, live and interactive via Zoom, ideal for HR Managers to upskill the EQ skills.
One of the many roles HR Managers have is to do team buildings and keep employees connected. This helps with the company’s culture and morale. Although this forms part of previous job duties, there is a bit of shifting involved. With most workplaces still being remote, HR Managers are expected to keep employees connected and therefore are encouraged to create virtual social events. Being social, reduces feelings of stress or anxiety and through this HR Managers will also help employees feel more comfortable to reach out to other co-workers when they need to.
The Mindspa Institute offers a lot of motivational talks ideal for teambuilding sessions via Zoom which is live and interactive.
It came as quite a surprise to some employers to see just how resourceful their employees can be during this pandemic. Some companies did not even realise that they could have a fully-remote workforce with high levels of productivity. They underestimated technology like skype and zoom keeping employees, upskilled, connected and communicating.
Most employees have worked tirelessly to keep companies and industries up and running. But it is taking its toll. Employees require dedicated support, upskilling and education from empathetic leadership, especially now. The Mindspa Institute has a variety of soft skill courses ideal to keep your employees, upskilled, motivated and rejuvenated.
The new ‘phasing in’ approach slowly reopens the South African Economy. The ‘new normal’ in business remains a challenge for companies, their employees and their sales. The upskilling of sales teams and their adapting to a new ‘Sales Mindset is now critical in surviving these trying times more than ever. Sales Consultants, in particular, are reliant on their commission but how can they sell when they are restricted during the phased in approach of opening the economy and when the virus is rapidly spreading? The way we will sell in future is one of the many areas in business that will change.
Leadership is an insightful human process. Any leader, who can change their own mindset to a more optimistic one, is capable of influencing the mindsets of their subordinates in a positive way.
Business leaders are expected to get the most out of their teams by setting clear achievable objectives. Aligning their team’s objectives with those of the company is paramount. As leaders guide and motivate their team members, they measure their performance and also grow with their teams. All this forms part of a holistic leadership approach.
With the uncertainty of what the future holds in every aspect of normal people’s daily lives, puts immense pressure on them as employees and also on the business leaders. One wrong decision, miscommunication or problem-solving issue, can have extremely devastating results. Leaders are expected to have all the answers. We can learn 3 leadership lessons from the pandemic: