Communicate Blog

Superpower skills every employee needs to succeed

Sandra Olivier - Friday, May 27, 2016

supermanSuperpowers and a secret lairs full of gadgets may be beyond reach, but there is much to learn from our superhero friends when it comes to our career and the workplace. Every kid wants to grow up to be a superhero. It’s the ultimate dream. Being able to fly, have super vision, conjure fire, fight the bad guys, and save the world would be the absolute coolest job in the world. Although you may not have these exact superpowers, there are a number of ways you can draw upon these heroes for guidance when it comes to your career.

Every superhero needs a team
No (super)man is alone in their battle to face the evil forces. Batman has Alfred, Spider-Man has Aunt May and Flash has Dr. Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon. Every workplace hero needs a support team, whether that's a mentor, manager or a colleague to help you brain storm ideas.

It’s important to be flexible and understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member in order to deliver on your objectives. One of the benefits of strong teamwork in the workplace is that team leaders and members become adept at dividing up tasks so they are done by the most qualified people.

Staying Calm
You might not be faced with monsters, metahumans, aliens or evil men wanting to destroy mankind, your planet or your city but the reality is that today's business world is a place of constant pressure and complexity. To be successful and take the next step in your career, we can't ignore or run away from stress. We need to learn how to thrive within it and the better you are at handling the fire, the easier time you'll have moving up on the career ladder.

Research have shown that people who welcome the challenge of a crisis and rather see it as an exciting challenge, perform far better than those who try to force themselves to be calm. Staying composed, focused, and effective under pressure are all about your mentality. People who successfully manage crises are able to channel their emotions into producing the productive behaviour that they want.

Everyone should be a good negotiator. Truth be told, Batman and Superman could do with some training in negotiation skills as they always end up in some epic battle or dual with an arch enemy.  

Being able to negotiate effectively helps you reach agreements, achieve objectives, get along better with people, and ultimately be more productive and successful on the job. People often think negotiation is just about a method of getting their way. But it's much more than that. It's really all about how we get along with other people. By focusing on the needs of the other side, each party can get more of what they want and there is simply a bigger potential pie for everybody.

Ethics & Wisdom
Spiderman is one of those superheroes who tends to go against villains who are, in their own ways, more powerful than he is. But he does so anyway, because it doesn't matter that he's likely to lose; what matters is that people need saving, and he is the one called to save them. Recognizing the responsibilities power brings is one step in being a superhero; but the responsibilities required by our powers have more to do with our use of those powers.

These days the news reports of corruption and misplaced work ethics have become common. It started with the 2008 financial crisis and recession that has since tested people's faith in business leaders. Recently revelations around the Panama Papers highlights this once again.

Good ethics make good business sense. Every company stands to profit from a reputation for acting with honesty and integrity. The same can be said for your career. Having a reputation for excellence and being thought of as someone who exhibits professionalism under any circumstances can open doors for you either in the workplace or in your personal ambition.

If you need assistance in understanding and identifying the superpowers you have to help you succeed in your career. We can assist. Communicate Personnel is a candidate-focused recruitment agency: our primary intention is to create a lifelong connection with our great candidates.

Whether you are a candidate urgently looking for a new job or somebody looking to form a long-term career building partnership, contact us. Communicate Personnel can connect you with Top Employers while assisting you to map both long and short term career objectives and advise you on what steps to take to reach your ultimate career goal.  

 Apply Here

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Building Your Team: Fantastic Four

Mallisa Watson - Friday, May 20, 2016

hand Diversity plays a vital part in the corporate world. Organizations that don’t embrace a diversity of employees, experiences, values, and capabilities will be unable to generate a variety of ideas, options, and experiments. One team in the Marvel Universe that has a diversity of personalities and at the same time works together to accomplish the team’s goals, is the Fantastic Four.

With the Invisible Woman’s vision, The Human Torch’s artistic innovation, Mr. Fantastic’s realistic approach and The Thing keeping the team together, this four really shows us that different personalities can bring different ways of finding solutions.

The best teams are the ones that actually consist of a variety of personalities. However, one of the most challenging tasks for a manager is overseeing a diverse team in the workplace, and finding ways for them to be as productive and efficient as possible.

Getting the most out of your team is a matter of finding out the motivations of different team members and balancing one personality against another. That means finding ways to manage innovation and realistic organizational tendencies and getting them to share ideas efficiently. Different personalities can be challenging, we offer some insight on how to effectively manage each one.

Invisible Woman - Visionary
Visionaries are able to predict trends and spot future problems. There is always someone in the team who has big visions, which can sometimes be a bit unrealistic. But every manager needs a visionary in their team because they see the bigger picture, they don’t let setbacks demotivate them from achieving their goals and they have the courage to take risks.

Managing this personality
As a manager, you need to encourage this person to use more detail when explaining their ideas to co-workers. If you want results from this employee, make sure you are as strong and confident as they are. Whenever possible, assign individual projects whenever you can rather than a group one. Also, visionaries articulate where a group is going, but not how it will get there so as a manager you need to guide the process on how they are going to execute the project.

The Human Torch - Innovative
Always looking for the next challenge! This persona is goal-oriented, with lots of ambition. They are full of high energy and need variety, or else they will get bored with everyday tasks.

Managing this personality
Because challenges are what drives them, always have a project for this person to start with instead of waiting on them to finish a current project. Managing this individual will possibly take up more time compared to the other team members, so make sure you have a list of projects to keep this personality busy.

Mr. Fantastic - Realist
This is an introvert who prefers working alone. They are very analytical and logical, detail-oriented, and before handing in a task, they can go through it multiple times.

Managing this personality
If you have someone like this in your team, you can hand them mainly difficult tasks to solve and they’ll have no problem simply sitting down and figuring things out. However it is important to give them enough time to do so.

The Thing - Team player
Every team have their mascot, the nice guy and possibly the most sincere person ever. When the team is on a bumpy road, the team player is there to keep everything smooth. He ensures that everybody gets along, and tries to avoid office politics.

Managing this personality
This person works very well with a team, but works even better with a group who wants to get the job done. They can be a little impatient but this only fuels their ability to get things done and requires often oversight from management.

If you think about it, the Fantastic Four are just like any team, they are individuals with their own set of challenges and fantastic abilities that must learn to work together to achieve a common goal.

Finding the right person to complete your fantastic team can be tricky. Firstly scanning through all the CV’s to find the fit can be time consuming, wondering if the person you chose is the right fit, can be stressful and finally hiring that person can make you wonder whether this was the right decision.

With over 35 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, we can take away all the stress and time wasted trying to find your next employee. Get in touch with us now to discuss all your recruitment needs.

Or if you happen to be in the market for a new job opportunity, visit our vacancies pages and apply now.


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The Mission: Unleash Your Career Superpowers

Mallisa Watson - Friday, May 06, 2016

bodybuilder red In recent years, Superheroes has made a huge comeback at the box-office. Spiderman crawling from wall to wall, Superman flying in circles, Mr Fantastic stretching his body in all the ways possible and Invisible Woman playing tricks on all of us. In this busy world, we can all do with an escape.

Who doesn’t have those days when you are sitting at your desk daydreaming of flying out the window to dodge your workload?

Good news is though that you do not have to wait to have superpowers just like the renowned superheroes in comics or movies. In you is a superpower waiting to be unleashed. The same strategies and character traits that are essential to fighting villains are equally useful when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder.

So in order for you to stay relevant in the twenty first century career marketplace, you need to be equipped to meet full-on challenges, opportunities, trials and tribulations.

Vision for your career
Cylops of X-Men is one of the characters with the strongest, clearest vision of what he wants to achieve.  One thing we can take away from this hero is that throughout his adventures even though he faced challenges, he managed to reach his destiny. When it comes to your career, this skill is exactly what you need. Your vision is a clear picture of what you aspire to and what inspires you to get where you want to be in your professional and sometimes in your personal life. Before you can take action to work towards achieving your career goals, a clear vision is needed. The first step you need to take to reach your career goal is to start with a plan on what you want and putting a time-frame on it.

It is critically important to continuously develop your professional career to remain in demand in the market place. This should form part of your career vision.

Team up with a reputable recruitment agency
Once you have your career vision drafted, it’s time to find someone who can help you define your objectives and map your career. A recruiter with experience in the desired field can be a valuable asset in your job search. At Communicate Personnel, our consultants are industry experts that understands precisely what a hiring manager is looking for. Our primary intention is to create a lifelong connection with our candidates. We will consult with you and provide advice on what steps need to be taken to achieve your career vision and help you get your ultimate job.

Responsibility in your career
Spiderman in his first taste of power carelessly ignores the chance to stop a thief and his indifference catches up with him when the same criminal later robs and kills his Uncle Ben. Peter Parker understands in that moment that “with great power comes great responsibility”. You must take responsibility for your own career path, whether with your current employer or through a number of other employers. Here are some activities that can help with that:

Network with the right people
Networking with the relevant people in your industry can provide you with a better understanding of various opportunities as well as information about numerous companies that you may not find by surfing the internet. Online sites like LinkedIn is very popular. To start interacting with new people, join the many groups that are available on the site, particularly those that are in your industry or related to your career goals.

Find a mentor
The right mentor can take your career to new heights, whether you’re new to the working world or already well-established in your industry. They can help shape your professional skills, teach you the ins and outs of the corporate environment, help you navigate corporate politics and introduce you to the right people and resources to advance your career.

Go on a training course
Companies always prefer an employee who is well qualified and possesses the necessary skills for the job at hand. But with the job market evolving on a daily basis, you need to always keep your skills updated. Apart from being a specialist in your industry, there are a number of short courses you can take to make you stand out from the rest of your co-workers.

After all as the Dark Knight said, 'A hero can be anyone' and companies wants a hardworking, energetic, responsible, organized, knowledgeable person on their team. So if you really feel like you are capable of doing great things in your career, we can assist you.

We have vacancies in the Finance, IT, EngineeringFreight and Supply Chain industries.


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Team Motivation: How to energize your team

Sandra Olivier - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

people in office team Teams are the way that most companies get important work done. When you combine the energy, knowledge, and skills of a motivated group of people, then you and your team can accomplish anything you set your minds to. Keeping your team motivated can be a challenge but its key as engagement is linked to your company’s profitability, customer satisfaction, and employee retention.

When you make it easy for a person to learn, to succeed and to grow a little bit every day on the job, you never have to worry about motivation.

So what really motivates?
It’s an old age question and many managers have struggled with getting this right. It varies from individual to individual and that’s where the problems lies. However there are a few things that is a common trend:

  • Some companies get this so wrong, but money is never a motivator.
    However, lack of money is a demotivator.
  • People are motivated by applying their abilities to the fullest.
    Under-utilization is a demotivator.
  • Most are motivated by work that creates tangible results, especially if those results are born out of innovation, a new approach or a great idea.
  • Being engaged in decision making, especially around the choices of how to do work, is a great motivator.
    Being told how to do it, which is far too common, will at best lead to mere compliance.
  • Too much stress is unhealthy and can lead to un-productivity.
    Too little stress leads to idleness, procrastination and the sense of entitlement.

Tips to help you motivate your team:

Understanding the big picture
Many managers and team leaders have a good idea of what the overall target goals might be for the business, but often do not share those with the entire team. Everyone needs to get where they fit in. It is important to show each team member how they fit within the organizational structure and why their task is important for the big picture. This will help team members feel valued and take responsibility in their job.

Work environment
Team members often spent more time at work than at home. Workspaces should be designed so that each worker can do their job optimally and add the most value to their employer’s bottom line. Research showed that environment is more important to employees than money. This is a great chance for you to create extra motivation for your staff by making the work environment a beautiful place to work, rest and have fun at the same time. Honest design, spaces that reflect employees’ needs and concerns is something that employees notice, interpret and value.

Encourage personal growth
Successful leaders encourage personal growth and mentor their team. Provide reasonable objectives to shoot for, both as individuals and as a team, but make everyone stretch a little to reach them. Talented people generally want to advance in an organization and therefore want to improve their skills and broaden their knowledge. When growth opportunities are abundant and organizational doors open, employees worked with considerably more vigour.

Currently critical skills are in demand and companies are finding it harder and harder to replace top talent. Creating a team environment and motivating your employees to ensure they feel valued and deliver their best is key in today’s competitive market.

Staff retention and the war on talent is real. If you need to replace members of your team or add new skills to help your organization grow, we can assist. Communicate Personnel represent an impressive database of skilled candidates that have been built over the last 35 years of being in the business of specialist recruitment.
Contact us today. 

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Salary Talk During the Job Interview

Mallisa Watson - Friday, April 22, 2016

interview.png Money, money, money. We are all familiar with the saying that money makes the world go round and in a perfect world we’d all be working at jobs we love and make piles of money.

But in reality, when we go through the interview process we have to negotiate our salary. While a number of blogs have been written about how to dress for success and discussing your strengths and weaknesses, we tend to forget that one crucial question that will definitely pop up during the interview. “What is your salary expectation?

This is one of the top five questions that many job seekers dread and there is a possibility that you might find yourself in the same boat. But what is so terrifying about this question? Often people are uncomfortable talking about their salary, because somehow you have to “justify” what you are worth.

Here are some tips for the salary discussion before going into the interview.

Conduct salary research
Knowing how much others in your profession are being paid is very important. You have to enter into salary negotiations well prepared, by knowing what you are worth. Also, if you are going to ask for a higher salary, you need to be able to back it up by highlighting why you have unique skills that are worth the extra money.

Before you go to the job interview, spend enough time doing research to find out average salaries and salary ranges for similar jobs in your area, industry and geography. There are a number of salary surveys that can assist you in this process. If you are working with a specialist recruiter, like Communicate Personnel they will be able to consult with you, give you industry insights and what you can expect regarding salaries.

Practice, practise, practice!
When it comes to negotiating, one of the many things that creates anxiety and prevents you from negotiating in the first place is not knowing how the conversation is going to unfold. There are many different directions in which a negotiation can go. Ask a close friend or family member to help you prepare, take a moment to think about these various directions, and develop responses to each potential scenario.
You will go into the interview feeling confident.

Aim for high
The first step to becoming an excellent negotiator is deciding to negotiate in the first place. When you take the steps to negotiate in a way that makes you confident and the others around you comfortable, you increase your chances of success. However, always keep in mind that what you’re asking for is justified.

Don’t settle for “good enough”. The higher your goals are, the better the outcome. Ask for more and you’ll get more. It’s that simple. But always make sure you are realistic in your expectation by doing your research upfront.

Don't be intimidated
Last but not least, be confident. Every employer should expect a salary negotiation with every new hire. Don't feel as if negotiating will start you off on the wrong foot. Not advocating on your behalf may even be perceived as a weakness and this is not the impression you want to give the person interviewing you.

If your current job is not giving you enough room to grow or you are not being paid what you’re worth, maybe a new job is just what you need.

Communicate Personnel is a specialist recruitment agency with extraordinary consultants who will consult with you. They will give you industry insights, tell you what companies look for when recruiting and what you can expect regarding salaries.

We have career opportunities which include Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobs, Supply Chain jobs and Freight jobs. Visit our website and apply now!


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Difficult interview questions: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Sandra Olivier - Friday, April 15, 2016

question markStepping out in the job market is not easy, leaving the comfort of a secure position to take on new challenges can be daunting. However, if you want to grow in your career this is often the only way. For many job seekers the thought of having someone grill you face-to-face with questions and being under pressure to think on your feet in the interview process can be quite overwhelming.

The best way to prepare yourself for the interview is to anticipate what may be coming and practice for it in advance. One of the most common questions that candidates struggle with is ‘where do you see yourself in five years’.

We provided some insights to give you a new perspective on how to answer this when you are being stared down by the hiring manager in that crucial career changing interview.   

Understand why interviewers ask this question
The interviewer wants to understand more about your goals specifically for your career and how this position would fit into your future plan. They care about your career goals because they want to hire someone who is motivated, proactive, and likely to stick around and work hard if hired.

Your interviewer does not want to invest time and effort in someone who is already planning to leave for something better as soon as it comes along. They are looking for those who have a clear mind-set about what they wish to accomplish and most importantly those with a career plan.

Avoid giving a non-answer
Now is not the time to provide evasive or fluffy answer. Hiring managers can see right through those and will reject your candidacy on the spot. They do not want you to lie, manipulate or give an off-the-wall answer. They are just looking for an honest answer that will show that you have put some thought into your future.

Talk in terms of accomplishments and responsibilities
The best way to phrase an answer for this question is to focus on your professional development. Many people make the mistake of talking about money or rewards. It’s best to speak in terms of skills you'd like to acquire or ones you'd like to be using. You also have to address the issue around how you plan to contribute to, and grow with, the organization over the next few years. After all the interviewer want to know that it will be beneficial for the company to take you on in the long run.

Focused mostly on the value you can bring to the company
At first glance this question might seem about you and what your plans are for the future. Which is true but the bottom line is that companies are making a huge investment by hiring a new employee. They are often spending a lot of money in hiring and training a new employee. So, hiring managers want to know if you are worth the investment. They want to know that you are willing to stick around the company and grow professionally and solve their problems. This is your opportunity to sell the interview on your commitment to the career path and the position.

Each person being hired brings something unique to the business and it’s important to seek out those with the best qualities. The interview process are the most important platform for hiring managers to decide if you would be the right fit. Don’t shy away from difficult questions like these, ensure you prepare well and questions like this will provide you a vital opportunity to show interviewers why you would be the best candidate to hire.  

Whether you are a candidate urgently looking for a new job or somebody looking to form a long-term career building partnership, talk to us. We have a team of dedicated consultants specialising in the Finance, IT, Engineering, Freight and Supply Chain industries. They can connect you with Top Employers in South Africa while assisting you to map both long and short term career objectives and advise you on what steps to take to reach your ultimate career goal. Apply today.

 Apply Here

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The Interview: What is your Weakness?

Mallisa Watson - Friday, April 08, 2016

head on chalkboard with questions So you just walked into your interview. You are dressed in your best professional attire. Your handshake was firm, you’ve nailed every interview question and you’re feeling good, very good. The process is about to wrap up soon. But then, the hiring manager drops the bomb on you!

So tell me, what is your greatest weakness?

You start seeing the job opportunity slipping through your fingers, you shuffle through everything in your brain, trying to figure out how to answer this question. Where do you start? Can you even answer this question? You think to yourself, “Why do they even ask this question in the first place?” First, they want to know that you aren’t conceited and are aware that we all make mistakes. Confidence is great, but there’s a fine line between confidence and being over-confident.

Secondly, they want to get pass the big smile you’ve been wearing throughout the whole interview to get a sense of who you really are. The way you respond to an uncomfortable question can say a lot about your personality and communication skills.

You need to keep in mind that as a candidate, you don’t want to give them any reason not to hire you. That’s why the weakness question is so challenging and important. You need to find a balance, show that you are honest and genuine without saying something that will put your interviewer off and ruin your chances. Here are some tips on how to answer this challenging question.

Know your weakness
We are only human, we are not perfect. We all have our flaws. Everyone has specific strengths and everyone has specific weaknesses. It's pretty certain that if you are not clear on your weaknesses then you are not clear on your strengths, and your value at the office will be questionable. Take an online personality type quiz or sit down with a group of your closes previous work colleagues and blatantly ask them what they think your weaknesses are. Sometimes, we don’t see what it is that we do wrong but people from the outside can see things clearer. You might get a few negative answers but at the end of the day, this will help you in the long-run.

Describe your weakness
Don’t feel like you have to go into great detail. Be short and, most importantly, avoid sounding defensive. Pick a weakness that is acceptable for the job at hand. Be aware of the job requirements and don’t refer to a weakness related to any of the required skills or desired qualities. If you’re an accountant, don’t talk about how unorganized you are or your lack of attention to detail. This might just raise a red flag.

Give an example
Hiring managers who ask about weaknesses during interviews are looking for examples of how a person faced obstacles and overcome them in the past.

Don't just say that you struggle to meet deadlines, also provide ways in which you have worked on this. It's important to highlight that now when you work on a project, you don't just meet deadlines, rather you prefer to complete the project well ahead of schedule. Being aware of your weaknesses is a good sign, it shows that you know where your boundaries are.

Practice, practice, practice! The more you drill into your head the response you want to give, the more comfortable you will feel when you hear those dreaded words in an interview.

If you are looking to move on to a new job adventure, get in touch with us now! Communicate Personnel is a specialist recruitment agency with remarkable consultants who will match your skills with the relevant job and advice and consult with you throughout the job search process.  We have career opportunities which include Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobs, Supply Chain jobs, Freight jobs.

Visit our website and apply now!


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How to answer that “what are your key strengths” question

Sandra Olivier - Friday, April 01, 2016

chinese symbol for strengthKnowing your strengths and weaknesses is something that is crucial in your career. Each of us has particular strengths: talents in thinking, habitual ways we approach problems that give us energy to solve them. These skills are what makes you unique and will ultimately benefit your career. But for many being asked the questions “What are your key strengths?” “What skills can you bring to our business?” in an interview gets treated with rehearsed answers of what you think a potential employee might want to hear.

However, if you answer this question well, it’s one of the best ways you can show off your skills and show that you stand out among other candidates. This is not the time to be humble. While you do not want to exaggerate your strengths, you should be comfortable articulating what makes you an ideal candidate.

Here are a few strategies to approach this question during the interview process:

Assessing your strengths
This is an exercise worth doing before any interview. The easiest way to determine these are to break it down into the following three categories:

  • Experience — Experience with a certain software or type of task, expertise in a particular industry, a track record of working with similar products or clients, etc.
  • Talents — Abilities such as programming in a desired language, writing proposals, selling widgets, litigating cases, organizing events, etc.
  • Soft skills — Personal attributes that enable you to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people, for example; influencing, team building, negotiation, managing up, problem solving etc.

Once you have a clear understanding of your strengths you should also look for examples of how your strength is evident in your past work performance.

Choosing the right strengths
Before going to an interview look at the job requirements to guide you in what strengths you should select. Choose one to three attributes you want to mention and stop there. You’ll want to think strategically about what skills will position you as qualified for the specific job you are interviewing for and position yourself as a good fit for the company.

Steer away from general statements
This is one of the biggest mistakes candidates make when trying to answer this question. Don’t answer this question in any generic way. If you strength is something 90% of your peers claim as strengths then pick another one. Avoid all the over used clichés and meaningless phrases such as team player, hard-working, patient, positive, reliable, good time keeper unless you can quantify your answer with tangible results or scenarios.

Good Examples
Still not sure where to start in answering this question? Here are some good examples:

Being motivated
“One of my strengths is that I am motivated to achieve and exceed set targets. In my last role I achieved all my sales targets and increased these by 5% on the previous year.”

 “One of my strengths is my strong relationship with my team. For instance, due to my constant ‘informal get-togethers’ with the team members, I was able to realize their work pressure and thus, modify the deadline of a project. As a result of which, the team worked enthusiastically and we excelled in overall expectations of the client.”

“I’m an adaptable person. I work for three different managers, they have very different management styles and expectations of me. I am able to adjust my approach to meet each of their needs”

If you are in the market for a new job, we can assist. Communicate Personnel is a candidate-focused recruitment agency: our primary intention is to create a lifelong connection with our great candidates.

Whether you are a candidate urgently looking for a new job or somebody looking to form a long-term career building partnership, talk to us. We have a team of dedicated consultants specialising in the Finance, IT, Engineering, Freight and Supply Chain industries. They can connect you with Top Employers in South Africa while assisting you to map both long and short term career objectives and advise you on what steps to take to reach your ultimate career goal. Apply today

  apply here

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Teamwork: Keeping the Momentum Going in the Workplace

Mallisa Watson - Friday, March 18, 2016

light-bulbs The workplace is where most of us spend many hours of our lives, so getting along and working productively with your colleagues is very important. That is why teamwork matters.

But what is teamwork? One of the most used words in the workplace, but what does it really mean? Well, perhaps the best way to define it is when a group of people work together with the same common goal in mind, creating a positive working environment and supporting each other resulting in an improved performance.

Leaders who are not afraid to make the tough call and establish standards of performance that should constantly be met, are what we call and effective leader. You must constantly foster commitment from each team member to embrace a mind-set where each of your employees must learn to apply the differences that exist in one another for their own success and that of the company. To manage people, organisations require effective managers. Highly skilled and trained managers can make or possibly break your business.

T- for together
An effective leader recognizes the importance of embracing differences in people and knows how to bring the team together and connect the dots amongst those differences to get the best outcomes from the team. This is what cultivates a workplace environment of continuous improvements, innovation and initiative.

Well-functioning teams are essential to running a well-functioning business. If there is no co-operation, employees do not work together effectively. Leaders can facilitate collaboration by highlighting the impact of individual productivity and clarifying team members; value's.

E-for engagement
Work teams need people who have strong technical and interpersonal skills and are willing to learn. Also, having self-leaders who take responsibility for getting things done is important. But if a few team members carries most of the burdens, the team runs the risk of a burnout.

To develop consistent engagement on a team, leaders should consider three factors that affect the level of individual contribution:


The more individuals feel like part of a team, the more they contribute and the more members contribute, the more they feel like part of the team. When workers are involved in the decision making process, they feel enabled and invest more of themselves in the company.

A-for accountability
When you’re part of a team, each member affects your productivity and schedule. When you rely on co-workers to review a document before proceeding, a month can go by before you have everyone’s input. As leader of the pack, it’s in your best interest to push your team to get things done more efficiently, so you can produce better results in less time with less frustrations.

One way to increase everyone’s response time is to arrange a meeting with your team at the beginning of each project, so you can plan it through to the end. Set out goals, discuss each member’s responsibilities, and set firm deadlines. Highlight what is expected from each person and when, also have them do the same for you.

M-for motivation
Employee motivation is important because in today's competitive economy, it's more important than ever to have a motivated workforce. That's because a motivated employee is a productive employee. And a productive employee is a more profitable employee.

At the end of the day, employees are people too. Each one of us have needs that are fundamental motivators that go beyond simply getting paid to do a job. Motivating by money only works if you have an unlimited budget. Instead, find out what they need by looking into employee personalities. Their behaviour will show you enough about their personality to determine what it means they need.

Being a leader is not an overnight thing. Your role should not be to settle problems or constantly monitor your team, it should be to create a team culture where people address concerns immediately, directly and respectfully with each other. Yes, this will take time but the return on investment happens fast as you regain lost time and see problems solved both better and faster.

Thinking of adding a few talented professionals to your team?
We are a well-known, reputable specialist recruitment company with over 35 years’ experience in the employment market. Get in touch with us. If you happen to be in the market for a new Finance, IT, Engineering, Freight or Supply Chain job, visit our website and apply today!


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Do you have a contingency plan for middle management?

Sandra Olivier - Friday, March 04, 2016

team spiritMiddle management consists of those senior employees responsible for implementing the company’s business strategy, overseeing and improving the work productivity of employees, making the work environment as efficient and effective as possible, setting budgets and administrating projects and work processes, and ensuring that the production environment is compliant with company requirements.

Middle managers are the production leaders and the people who report to senior management and executive levels – they are the ones that oil the cogs in the machine and keep them running.

So what happens when middle management is impacted by natural, technological, or organisational risk or disaster?

What is a contingency plan?
The success of a business is not only about sales and profits, business growth and development, but also about effective planning for the worst. Contingency planning – or “Plan B” – means preparing an organisation for a significant event where key players in the business’s success are impacted, and ensuring that the organisation can respond accordingly and continue doing business as soon as possible. If a natural disaster like a fire, hurricane, earthquake, etc. destroys the organisation’s commercial building, or a technological attack means that the company servers are wiped clean of all their data, how will the business recover? If the aeroplane that your middle management team is travelling in incurs a fatal crash, what then? A contingency plan covers the “what ifs” of risk management, disaster recovery, and subsequently, business continuity.

Implementing a contingency plan starts with a risk assessment
An organisation will not only be affected by major natural disasters or terrorist and hacking attacks. There are also more localised risks such as data losses, employee turnover, client departures, and supplier losses. By doing a risk assessment, organisations will have the information to prepare and implement a contingency plan to ensure that business operations aren’t affected so badly that the company will lose business, cut employees, or shut down altogether.

A risk assessment involves assessing all areas in the business that are critical to operations and identifying how these can become risk areas – how could these areas possibly threaten the company’s operations? Prioritise these risks from high to low, then identify how to address and mitigate them before they materialise.

Developing a contingency plan
Once the risks have been identified and prioritised, a plan needs to be put in place to ensure these risks are minimised and can be managed should they come to pass. Middle management’s main priority is to keep business operations going, so it’s important to identify the solution to keeping the minimum level of operations going. For instance: if your commercial building is made non-viable by a weather event or a fire, your employees should be provided with internet capabilities in order to work remotely: a 3G dongle, home internet connection, and a mobile device like a laptop or tablet.

As part of the contingency plan, the trigger events for each risk should be identified: what would make the risks materialise? And if they do, what needs to happen in the time periods following these events – an hour, six hours, a day, etc. after the event – to ensure that business remains operational? Also identify what constitutes the success of the contingency plan: should the business be running at 100% profitability, or only maintaining the most basic of client SLAs?

The contingency plan should not only focus on what to do should the risks materialise, but should also have a good risk management plan in place to minimise the risk events taking place. If a big organisational risk is employee turnover (and the departure of knowledge and skill), then effective risk management would involve ensuring employee job satisfaction and maximum retention. To avoid the disaster of losing large teams to travel risks, ensure that team members travel separately and don’t engage in dangerous activities together.

Communicating the contingency plan
It’s important that everyone in the organisation is aware of a contingency plan for operational success. Lead by middle management, the contingency plan should be compiled in a document in the form of a company contingency policy, which needs to be written plainly and clearly in a way that all levels of employees and executives can understand, and made available to everyone who will be impacted by the identified risks. Where possible, a contingency meeting or workshop should be held annually where risks are identified and evaluated by employees at all levels, and contingencies put in place to help mitigate any threats to the organisation. Make sure employees are aware of their roles and responsibilities in light of the identified risks, and ensure they are on board to implement “Plan B” should it ever be necessary.

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