Friday, September 23, 2016

HR 101 - Training Records Check List

HR 101 – Training Records Check List

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

As usual it is of the utmost importance that accurate staff records are kept and maintained.  Ultimately these may be required to prove illegibility in terms of BEE and/or EE requirements.

Clearly it will also assist with ensuring that staff are adequately trained for the tasks that have been allocated to them and/or to ensure that they remain up to date and ‘current’ with the latest technological and/or legal requirements and/or methodologies.

Some of the required information is (but not limited to):

1. Employee’s personal information:
- Surname
- Name(s)
- Identity Number
- Employee Number (where applicable)
- Designation/Position
- Grade/Level
- Line Manager
- Department
- Date Started
- Gender
- Racial Group
- Disability

2. Training courses attended
- Course Name
- Type of Training (i.e. skills/development/ABET/school level/further education/tertiary etc.)
- Training Provider – Name
- Training Provider’s registration information with the relevant SETA’s etc.
- Starting Date
- Completion Date
- Number of Training days/hours
- NQF credits – if registered
- Examination information including results obtained.
- Direct costs incurred – cost of course/books/examination fees/any other.
- Indirect costs incurred – travel/accommodation/meals/any other.

3. Bursary Information
- Type of Study
- Name of course/degree/diploma
- Special Conditions that may apply
- Contract date
- Contract Term
- Costs incurred.

Remember though that records are only worth anything if they are updated and maintained on a regular basis.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Early Warning - All About Procurement Fraud - Part 6

EARLY WARNING - All About Procurement Fraud – Part 6

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting.

Last time we looked at some of the different types of issues that need to be looked at around procurement.

Today we will have a look at some more.

As we said one of the ways to limit procurement fraud is to ensure that you have a proper procurement policy in place and that it is adhered to and checked on a regular basis. We looked at the Needs Analysis, Timing and Suppliers. Then we looked at Supplier Communication and Negotiation and then Supplier Liaison, Logistics Management and Tender Notification. Other issues that need to be taken into account when implementing the procurement process are (but not limited to):

In this the final issue on procurement fraud let’s look at some of the practical processes that can be included  (but not limited to) in your procedure in order to limit fraud.

- Make sure that the procedure is that there has to be a minimum of 3 quotes.
- Make sure that all the suppliers, who have submitted quotes, have contactable references and do the reference check.
- The person, in your company, who submits the quotes, should not be the person who authorizes the use of the supplier (unless of course that is you – the business owner).
- The person, in your company, who orders the products/supplies/service, should not be the person who authorizes the purchase (again, unless of course that is you – the business owner).
- The person, in your company, who ‘pays’ the supplier should not be the person who authorizes the payment (unless of course that person is you – the business owner).
- There should be a valid ‘gift’ policy in place to govern/prevent your employees from receiving ‘gifts’ as ‘kick-backs’ from suppliers and/or service providers for ensuring that they become creditors.
- The most expensive quote does not always translate into the best value for money – make sure that the research is properly conducted to ensure that you get the best value for your money.
- Make sure that you have a proper Service Level Agreement in place, with realistic consequences for non-delivery and/or to ensure that you are properly covered in terms of compliance.

Finally, use common sense – if the deal is ‘too good to be true’, it usually means exactly that.  Always be alert for charlatans and scammers as they are always on the look-out for gullible business owners.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Business Tips - Firing a Client - Part 3

BUSINESS TIPS - Firing a Client – Part 3

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting.

We all agree, at some point in our lives, that there are clients that we just have to get rid of or we ourselves will suffer a slow and agonizing death.  Here are a few more reasons for you to look at, to know and understand, that now is the time to fire these clients.

At some point in our lives, we have all done work that has been boring to the point of screaming inside ourselves, ‘if I have to do this one more time I am going to kill myself’!  Often we hold onto it because of the financial implications – it puts food on the table. The problem is, what it does to our ‘souls’.  It can go a long way to destroying the entrepreneurial spirit, or it  crushes our self confidence.  Sometimes we do it to ‘add’ to our portfolio’s or so that we can show that we have worked for a plethora of interesting clients – my suggestion to you though, is get rid of them as soon and then as fast as you can.  They will rob you of the essence of who you are faster than you can blink!

Then of course there is the client that you have had since before ‘pa fell off the bus’!  Let me tell you a story.  When I first started my business almost 6 years ago, one of my first clients was also in the retail game.  They had little in the way of policies and procedures and they also had a host of hungry shark type suppliers following them around.  Several months into our relationship I discovered suppliers stealing from them and I mean stealing goods – actual goods going missing and stealing money in over charges and the like and then the fun started.  To cut a long story short the claims and the court cases amounted to several million rand – nothing to be sneezed at.

Once the main hurdles had been jumped, although there was still a lot of work to be done and policies and procedures to be implemented – my weekly obligation was suddenly cut from 3 days a week to 1 and then just as suddenly, only when they needed me.  I weathered the storm understanding the lessons that I had to learn and got on with my life.  Almost a year went by and suddenly, out of the blue, I received a call to please come and assist them with their shipping documents – it appeared that the new supplier was also over charging them.  It was the 2nd week in December, my diary was full and I was handed the shipping documents for the entire year to check and go through.  I ended up working through the night every second night and at the end of the exercise I even gave them a 15% discount – they’re “old” clients after all.

This is where it gets interesting – they paid, but asked me to reduce my fees even further as they could not afford me.  Here they are, both partners driving in the latest Merc’s, wearing the height of fashion, going overseas on holiday several times a year – money seemed to be of no consequence, yet here they were asking me for a ‘better rate’ – never mind that they had not given me any work for an entire year, never mind that I had to work through the night every second night for almost 3 weeks – none of that seemed to matter in the slightest.  You see they had given me one of my ‘first breaks’!  Here’s the thing though – I had worked like a dog for every cent that they had given me and it wasn’t as if I had not delivered.

My reply – well it went something along the lines of “my hourly rate is RXXXX.  If you are willing to guarantee me, in writing a minimum of Y hours a month, I am prepared to give you a 5% discount, on anything over the Y number of hours that I work.”

Did I get any more work from them?  Of course not. Was it sad to see them go?  Of course it was, my relationship with one of the partners spanned more than 15 years and we have now seemed to have gone our separate ways. Has it made any difference in my life?  Of course it has – I found a bunch of other clients who are willing to pay the full price and who don’t dump things on me at the last minute and who don’t expect me to work all hours of the night and day because they are not organised.

Don’t be scared to walk away from something that does nothing but build up resentment in your heart – it’s just not worth it.  By walking away from something that is harmful, you are opening up the door for something a lot more worthwhile.

Next week we will have a look at some additional reasons on why to get rid of some of your clients.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Monday, September 19, 2016

Motivation - It's a Matter of Choice

MOTIVATION – It’s A Matter of Choice

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – October 2009

Jeremy Kitson says “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.  It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

Oh my, that certainly has brought a huge smile to my face!  You see I am of the opinion that not only do most of us do not achieve all that we can, but we do this because of the choices that we make (or don’t make for that matter).

Since working with my mentor and friend Vanessa and meeting Donna McCallum the Fairy Godmother (http://fairygodmotherinc.com) , I have become a huge deal more aware of the choices that I make.  In fact, often as I make the choice I realize that it’s the wrong one and then I have to run around un-doing what I have just done. Note to self – stop, think and then make the choice!

It is imperative though, that once the choice has been made that it is followed by an action, without the action there may very well be a result, but it’s probably not the result you were hoping for.

So often we work really hard at what we are doing and we seem to be going backwards or round in circles, so we work harder still.  Sweat pouring down our faces, we put our shoulders to the grindstone and we push ourselves even harder until we fall down in this little heap of exhaustion.  That was our choice.

The choice however was based on an antique belief system that has been passed down from generation to generation and that is (but not limited to) that we have to work hard to be successful.  Notice the ‘hard’ part.  Think about residual income – that is money working ‘hard’ for you – not you working hard, but rather you working smart.  Now that’s the kind of work that I love to do.

Of course it doesn’t just happen though.  You have to make it happen, by the choices that you make.  By the way that you set it up.  By following the natural flow that your life takes instead of trying to swim upstream like a salmon!  The action still has to take place in order for the result to be the one that you want.

I guess, what I am trying to say is that we need to decide what we want to achieve and then we need to look around and see how best to achieve that result and when I say ‘how best’ I mean the most simple, the easiest, the most gratifying and the most fun – don’t forget the fun!  Then of course we need to take the action, even if that means inaction – like sitting still whilst we ascertain in which direction ‘the flow’ is going or resting to ensure that we are fit and healthy to take on the challenge.

Yip, it’s all in the choices and like most things in life, the more you practice the better you get at it.  So go on, make the choice!  Make as many choices as you want, and then just for the hell of it, make some more.  The more choices you make towards achieving your goals, your dreams and your aspirations, the more opportunities will arrive in your life to encourage you to make  . . .  still more choices.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Friday, September 16, 2016

HR 101 - What is Condonation?

HR 101 – What is Condonation

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

Please note: This pertains to South African Labour Relations & Best Practice.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that ‘condonation’ is:

“Implied pardon of an offense by treating the offender as if it had not been committed”.

Condonation in terms of labour is when an employee fails to refer a dispute to the CCMA (Committee for conciliation, mediation and arbitration), within the 30 day time period.

Let’s bring out the protagonists. Mike owns a small but very busy cell phone retail store is a popular mall.  George is one of the sales assistants.

George keeps taking sick leave and he does not follow the correct procedures which are 1) to contact his supervisor if he is not going to be at work or be at work on time and 2) to produce a doctor’s certificate if he has been off work for longer than two days.

George has already had a 1st, 2nd and final written warning for these offences.

George is once again not at work, he hasn’t phoned in and they have not been able to contact him.  A week later George comes back to work.  George is silent on the issue of why he did not call in and why he was not contactable but he produces a note from the clinic evidencing that he was at the clinic on the first day that he was absent from work.  There is no further documentation to evidence that George has been booked off.

George is issued with a notice to attend a disciplinary, he is found guilty and dismissed.

George does not appeal his dismissal and nothing is heard from him until three months later when Mike received a notification from the CCMA.

Now the normal rule is that George had 30 days after the date of his dismissal to lodge a dispute at the CCMA and yet, here we are three months down the line and a dispute has been lodged.

George had been to a labour attorney who had made a Condonation application and the commission had granted it.

Some of the issues that the commission would have had to look at and consider before either condoning the application or rejecting it are (but not limited to):
- How late is the referral
- The reason for the referral being late
- Whether the employee has a case or not
- Whether there is prejudice to both the employer and the employee.

In this particular instance George had advised that he had been ill and had supporting documentation (being a letter from the clinic where he had been committed) to support this.  On the grounds of this documentation, the application was successful (it doesn’t mean that he has won, just that he can still lodge his claim).

The lesson here of course is for the employers to understand that just because the 30 day period has expired and they haven’t received notification from the CCMA, doesn’t mean it’s still not coming!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Early Warning - All About Procurement Fraud - Part 5

EARLY WARNING - All About Procurement Fraud – Part 5

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting.

Last time we looked at some of the different types of issues that need to be looked at around procurement.

Today we will have a look at some more.

As we said one of the ways to limit procurement fraud is to ensure that you have a proper procurement policy in place and that it is adhered to and checked on a regular basis. We looked at the Needs Analysis, Timing and Suppliers. Then we looked at Supplier Communication and Negotiation. Other issues that need to be taken into account when implementing the procurement process are (but not limited to):

1. Supplier Liaison
Of course it is important for the supplier to perform and at this point in the process that is exactly what needs to be done.  It makes sense therefore to have some sort of scorecard in place around the performance of the supplier.  By now there should have been at least one or two deliveries and re-orders and the whole experience needs to be evaluated.  Should the supplier have not met your basic requirements, then it is obviously time for you to consider alternative suppliers and/or options.

2. Logistics Management
Whilst we all have expectations around our suppliers and their delivery of our goods, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that we manage the whole process. Issues around (but not limited to) shipment, delivery and payment need to be monitored closely and of course the terms and conditions of the contract must be met at all times.

There may instances where ‘installation’ needs to take place and then training needs to be effected.  Clearly this would also need to be monitored carefully as well.

3. Tender Notifications
Should your company be large enough to require and/or need tenders to go out to meet your procurement requirements then obviously this would necessitate a whole different workflow.  There are software systems that can be utilized or you can also outsource these requirements.  Obviously you can also keep this ‘in-house’ but I would suggest that careful consideration be taken into  how the whole process should work and of course a lot of research would need to be undertaken in order for this to be as painless as possible.

Be sure to document the process so that there are clear lines of what the requirements are and make sure that each step is monitored carefully.

Next time we will have a look at a few more steps that need to address in your procurement process.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Marketing 101 - Losing the Plot

MARKETING 101 - Losing the Plot

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting

I am sure that at one time or another we have all sat in front of the TV, having watched the same ad, for what seems like the 100th time in the same  hour and thought or even said “I’m sick to death of this Ad!”?

More often than not, the first time we saw the ad, it captured our imagination and if you are anything like me, you will have even, on occasion looked forward to, or even actively sought to watch it again and again – especially if it has had me in fits of laugher.  But pretty much like a song that I went from wanting to listen to over and over again, I soon got tired of it.

Does this mean that the ad must be pulled or taken off to be replaced by another?  Good heavens no!

The Company who owns that particular ad may have heaps of spare cash to indulge themselves in producing a new ad campaign, but the average small business owner does not and the old saying of “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” certainly applies here.  If the ad or the promotion or the marketing campaign is making you money – for heavens sake don’t stop it or swap it for something else – that’s just losing the plot!

Sure if it is not working anymore, then by all means step up to the plate, but if the money is still rolling in, then you being bored with the ad, or the promotion or the marketing campaign is not a good enough reason to switch to something else.

Remember that what is old and boring to you is still shiny and new to your untapped target market.  If it’s making you money, stick with it.  When the results show that the money is no longer coming in, then it is time to change, but don’t change before the results are in.

One way to appease your growing boredom is to test the market with a new promotion and then track these results.  That way when your ‘old’ promotion shows in the results that it is no longer working and it is time to make a change – you have a brand new promotion ready to take its place.

So be clear about why you want to swap a promotion, make sure that it is about the results and not just your boredom.

Make sure you don’t lose the plot!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za