Friday, December 09, 2016

HR 101 - Who is an Employee - Part 6

HR 101 - WHO IS AN EMPLOYEE – PART 6

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

Please note that this pertains to South African Labour Relations and Best Practice requirements

If you will remember, the forth indicator of how to determine if the person is an employee is:

4). the person has worked for the other person for an average of at least 40 hours per month over the last three months.

Although this is self explanatory, please don’t confuse it with the fact that a ‘casual’ worker cannot work more than 24 hours in a month. Once they work more than 24 hours, they are no longer considered ‘casual’ and are entitled to company benefits. So please watch that one.

The fifth indicator of how to determine if the person is an employee is:

5). the person is economically dependent on the other person for whom he or she works or renders services.

This one can be a real ‘nasty’! You see if the person works for you and gets 80% or more of his/her monthly income from you, not only is he/she considered an employee but you are also responsible for paying his/her statutory payments (such as PAYE/UIF etc) over to the Receiver of Revenue.

The person will not normally be economically dependent if they are running their own Businesses as they would generally have other clients too. Please understand that if a Self Employed person does only have one client, this does not automatically mean that they have entered into an employee-employer relationship as there may be other reasons that they are currently only working for one client.

Again, please don’t fall into the trap that because a part time worker is also able to work part time at another client that they too are self employed. This would not change the fact that a part time employee is just that – an employee, albeit a part time one.

This would also include a full time employee who chooses to (and is given permission to) work at another job after hours in order to improve his/her income. They too still remain employees.

Should a person be free to contract with other Companies and/or Businesses to do work for them or provide services for them, then this would be viewed as an important indicator evidencing Self Employment.

Next week, we will look at the final two indicators.

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

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Gender Diversity 101 - Looking Beyond the Board Pack

Gender Diversity 101 – Looking Beyond the Board Pack

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

Having been to several “Gender Diversity – Women on Boards”  type seminars and workshops over the last few years, it was very clear and evident that the “Board Pack” is of the utmost importance and that the information contained therein is critical to the decisions that are taken and the strategies that are agreed upon in order for the company to grow in a positive way.

What was also evident though is that the Board Pack and its’ informational requirements is not the only thing that a Board member has to deal with and this side of the proceedings is often neglected when research is done to ascertain what a new Board member needs to know.

It is a recognized fact that as a country, businesses need to include more women onto the Boards.  The reality is that more than 52% of the workforce  in the world (not just in the country but in the world) are women.  That means that more than 52% of the skill set that a business requires resides in the female population.

In this age where there is a world-wide skill shortage, why would any business leader deliberately exclude himself from more than 52% of the skill sets that are so desperately needed?  It makes good business sense then to include women, not only in the workplace, but also in the decision making positions and of course at Board level.

I recently had the privilege of attending a Business Engage “Boardwalk” breakfast that was hosted by Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), where the CEO James Formby stated that diversity is necessary in the Board room because it challenges opinions and creates a different perspective.

Many of the questions that were raised by enthusiastic aspiring to be female Board members, were in fact about issues other than the universally known Board pack.

I was fortunate enough to engage in an informal chat with James and asked him what some of the things, “beyond the Board pack” that we, as women also need to know about in order for us to make a significant difference on the Boards that we may choose to sit on.

“Technical ‘know how’ is not necessary to be a Board member” says James, “but common sense is and women have a huge amount of common sense.”

As women we often second guess ourselves and agonize about whether or not it is the correct thing to do or the right decision to make.  It’s time we got over ourselves and believed in ourselves and just “go” with our instincts.  That’s just another way of saying “use your common sense!”  Ladies, it is built into our DNA, just trust yourself.

Another thing that James was very clear about is the asking of questions.  It’s a good thing but just be aware of the manner in which those questions are asked.  Don’t be confrontational or aggressive and demanding.  Remember that as a ‘newbie’ on the Board, you don’t really have any frame of reference in terms of the history of what is happening.  In the interests of clarity you obviously need to ask the question, but use the right tone and the right words or alternatively try and get the answers before you go into the Boardroom.

It is always a good idea to find yourself a “mentor” on that Board.  Find someone who you respect and whose opinions you can relate to and ask them if they will ‘guide’ you in the correct protocols and processes that the Board follows.

“Establish a rapport with the CEO and make sure that you are ‘visible’ to the organization”, says James. Understand what the company does.  The only way that you truly get a “feel” for that as well the culture of the company, in my opinion, is to spend some time there.  Get someone to take you on a guided ‘walk through’.  Meet the HOD’s (Heads of Departments), talk to some of the staff and familiarize yourself with what is happening, how it happens and when it happens.  It will certainly give you a more thorough grounding and assist you with making more informed decisions when it comes time to vote.

Roll up your sleeves and get yourself involved! Get yourself interested in the welfare and progress of the Company. Remember that there are also a number of sub-committees that are set up for various projects.  Make sure that you get yourself onto some of these sub-committees.  This again will give you a better perspective on what is happening in the company.  The more you engage, the more information you get about how the company works and what the challenges are, the easier it will be to make informed decisions which of course means that you will make more of a difference and at the end of the day, isn’t that why you want to be on a Board – to make a difference?

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, December 07, 2016

Marketing 101 - 7 Steps to Starting Out

MARKETING 101 - 7 Steps to Starting Out – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

Following on from the first three marketing tips out of the seven steps to starting out – let’s look at the fourth one.

Well this is my favorite one for sure, but that is because I absolutely love to write – it is a passion that I found, rather late in life and as you can see from my blogs it is one that I am making the most of – catching up for all the years I lost I suspect.  Thing is though that writing is one of the most powerful marketing materials.  With the advent of the internet and more recently ‘social networking’, your writing skills (or if you don’t have them, your marketing guru’s) is of paramount importance.  I use my blogs on blogger.com as well as the posting of the blog on my own Website and on Twitter and on Facebook.  Posting the blog, by means of a “url link” onto Twitter and Facebook ensures that I get visitors to my website.  The blogs give out useful information for free, to anyone who cares to read them, but the primary target is Small Business Owners or Entrepreneurs and as people read what they think pertains to them, they are drawn to read more and more as my blogs cover a vast variety of subjects.

The blogs are therefore used to educate potential clients and persuade clients to not only avail themselves of the ‘free information’ but that help is but an e-mail away or a phone call away, should they need it.  My website also contains the links to the various articles that I have written for newspapers and/or magazines as well as YouTube clips of my interviews on various television programs.  All of this is used to promote my business and most of it cost me only the time that it took to research the material (usually for my own or a client’s needs) and then to write the article.  Not a bad marketing budget, even if I say so myself. So it is worth everyone investigating in it for themselves.  Most small business owners are ‘specialists’ in what they do, or passionate about what it is that they do, so why not share some of that passion and some of that information – it will draw people to your product and/or service that you provide.

Then comes engagement and no I don’t mean the marriage type, I mean where you have the interest of the other person and you engage in conversation with them.  Getting an appointment with someone you have met whilst Networking or someone who has been referred to you, timeously is of the utmost importance and obviously the sooner it is done the better.

Invite them for a cup of coffee and have an informal chat.  Find out how you can be assistance to them and tell them they can be of assistance to you.  Remember to keep it reciprocal – it’s the best and most profitable way for both parties.

That’s it for this week folks – next time we will look at the rest of the points.

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, December 06, 2016

Business Tips - Using Your Voice

BUSINESS TIPS - Using your Voice

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting

It is said that “You never get a second chance to make a good impression and it only takes 15 seconds to make that impression.”

Rightly or wrongly the fact of the matter is that it’s the ‘visual’ – all of you – yes warts and all, that ultimately contributes to the creation of that impression.  It’s your appearance, your attitude (portrayed by your body language) and even your voice that people first get to see and/or hear, and they then make a judgment on who you are, based on that.  Really crazy, but that is the truth of the matter.

Much has been stated on your appearance and there are style and image consultants galore, who will mold you and dress you and ensure that you are wearing the right clothes, in the right colours, with the right shoes and the right accessories, the right make up and the right hair colour/cut/shape (insert what you will here).

Still more has been said about the eating of food and the diets that go along with them to get you into some sort of shape (other than round) and that will greatly enhance your appearance.

Don’t for a minute forget all the coaching, counseling and hours that you spend, at great expense I might add, getting a good a healthy attitude adjustment.  Making sure that your head is not only screwed on tightly, but also facing in the correct direction.

On a personal note though, there is nothing more strange and off-putting for me, than meeting the most beautiful woman on the planet and then when she opens her mouth to speak, out comes something that can only be described as, a high pitched squeak in a clearly phony American/English/French (insert what you want here) accent!  Or how about the very tall, extremely well built, slightly bronzed next James Bond, with the dashing smile and rippling muscles, who opens his mouth only to sound like my neighbour’s 13 year old son, whose voice is changing.

Quite honestly, when I am confronted with voices that sound like these, I am so busy trying to keep a straight face and not burst out into gales of laughter, that I have missed whatever it is that they are trying to say.

The point of the whole article is to highlight the fact that it is clear that good vocals and good speech also is of vital importance to the package that is you and will contribute greatly in the selling the concept, service and/or product that you are trying to sell.

Phony accents and/or voices that are clearly ‘put on’ do huge amounts of damage to your credibility and therefore to your value.  If you are putting on a fake accent and/or voice – what else about you is fake and phony.

Imagine hearing a presentation done in an unnaturally high pitched voice with a phony accent.  How much of that particular presentation would you actually hear and how much of what you have heard will you actually believe?

Research shows that people who converse in a ‘rich resonant voice, in the lower frequencies’, irrespective of whether they are male or female, are usually seen to be more sincere and/or credible.

So, if you have a problem with a voice that is high pitched or nasal sounding or monotonous and flat, perhaps it would be a good idea to invest in some professional assistance and advice – for the sake of your business.

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

Monday, December 05, 2016

Motivation - Taking Action

MOTIVATION –  Taking Action?


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC – May 2012

Todays’ quote comes from Al Batt who says “It is easy to sit up and take notice.  What is difficult is getting up and taking action.”

I must admit I did have a quiet chuckle about this one.  I guess I have watched too many movies where the wife yells at the husband at every possible opportunity “You never take any notice of me or what I am saying!”  Honestly speaking, not only is he not taking notice, he is also not doing anything about the problem either and the more she continues to shout and scream, the less likely he is to pay any attention or take any action.

For me, just like it’s not having the knowledge that makes me powerful, it is what I do with that knowledge that makes me powerful – taking notice without putting the action into play is just a complete waste of time!

To be quite honest I am completely at a loss with people who are inactive.  I think in the grand scheme of things, many people do not understand that there are also consequences for inaction.  Most people understand (although they may not accept) that there are consequences for your actions, but few understand that there are also consequences for inaction – it’s the whole “but how can you hold me accountable – I did nothing!”  The fact that your doing nothing resulted in the consequences is, for some reason, more difficult for some people to wrap their heads around.

Here’s an example – you’re driving from Johannesburg to Cape Town – you see the petrol gauge moving from “F” to “E” slowly but surely.  You continue on your journey going through one town after another – passing one petrol garage after another, but not stopping to fill up.  Clearly the consequence of that behavior is that eventually the car will run out of petrol and you will come to a standstill.  You have done nothing and there is a consequence.  This is a consequence of your non-action. Conversely, you have stopped at the garage to fill up with fuel, but the petrol attendant filled up with diesel instead of petrol – now that is a consequence of an action that took place.

Many folk seem to float through life without committing to anything

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, December 02, 2016

HR 101 - Who is an Employee - Part 5

HR 101 - WHO IS AN EMPLOYEE – PART 5

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC.

Please note that this pertains to South African Labour Relations and Best Practice requirements.

If you will remember, the second indicator of how to determine if the person is an employee is:

2). the person’s hours of work are subject to the control or direction of another person.

If there is a Contract and/or Letter of Appointment and the hours of work are stipulated therein, this is a really strong indicator that there is in fact an employment relationship between the employer and the person.

On the other hand, the lack of stipulated hours in a Contract does not necessarily mean that it is not a Contract of Employment.  As soon as there is any kind of control or any indication that the person is required to work a specified number of hours within a specific period (per day, per week etc), this an indicator that the person is an employee as flexi-time working arrangements can  also be present in an employment relationship.

The third  indicator of how to determine if the person is an employee is:

3). in the case of a person who works for an organization, the person forms part of that organization.

This one on the face of it appears to be somewhat tricky.  However it probably applies in respect of any employer that is in the Corporate arena.  It would not apply to say someone who employs a domestic worker or a gardener, although having said that both the domestic worker and the gardener are obviously employees.

Let’s see if I can explain this a little more clearly.  If a person does work for or supplies services to an employer, as part of his/her own business interests, they do not form part of the employer’s organization.  So for example, I have my own business, it is a registered as a close corporation, I supply a service to other organizations, however I do not form part of that organization, but rather form part of my own organization.

So how does that make me different from an employee, who also provides a service as well?  Well you see, apart from having a registered company of my own, I also have to bear the risks and be accountable for issues such as poor performance, bad workmanship, incomplete work, price increases etc.  In the instances where there is an employment relationship, the employer would be the one to bear these risks and be accountable to the client – not the employee.

Next week I will continue with some of the other indicators.

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




Thursday, December 01, 2016

Gender Diversity 101 - The Basic Truth

Gender Diversity 101 – The Basic Truth

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting CC

A while ago now, I advertised a Gender Audit Workshop that was taking place and that I thought would be of interest to someone other than myself. A chap called me to get some additional information.  As I was trying to explain what the workshop was about and how it would benefit business, he abruptly interrupted stating “so this is just another ‘beep, beep’ thing for you ‘beep, beep’ women!”

I responded “actually my dear, you males are also a gender!”

As amusing as this is, it is also quite sad that many individuals, both male and female, feel so disempowered and that the fact is that they feel so disempowered because of their own skewered perceptions.

In the interests of clarity, let’s make sure that we all understand exactly what each of these terms mean before we go any further.

According to the google dictionary, gender is defined as “Either male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behavior.”

Gender Diversity on the other hand, according to Wikipedia is “A term referring to how different genders are represented in a relevant setting.  Primarily the term is often used to refer to females and males, though in some contexts and research the term may also refer to those who fall into the non-binary categories of gender.”

The reality of course, is that more than 50% of the population are women. The statistics show that more girl children than boy children are getting degrees at university and yet there are more men being employed in senior positions than women.  How does that even make any kind of sense?  Surely as a business owner who is employing someone in a senior position, you would want to employ the very best that a) your budget would allow for and b) the very best person who has the correct qualifications and skills that your budget would allow?  I know I would!  Yet statistics also show that men are still being employed in decision making positions over qualified and skilled women. How does that make any kind of good business sense? By doing this you are actually restricted your access to more than 50% of the qualified and skilled individuals that you need to employ – why on earth would you do that?

Part of the challenge of course in terms of the representation is getting the balance right.  The last thing that you want to do is make the pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction -  that too would not make any kind of business sense.

In my opinion, the other greatest challenge is not to” isolate” anyone.  It should be an inclusive process!

It’s about getting everyone involved. It’s about getting those who have the experience, the knowledge and the skills, sharing with those who do not – not to then exclude the ‘teachers’ from the workplace but rather to include the ‘students’ into the workplace.

It’s about levelling the playing field so that everybody contributes to the team and more specifically to a team that pulls in the same direction for the greater good of everyone in the company.

So if you decide to make the transition and include the whole gender diversity into your company culture, make sure that your intention is one of inclusion.

Make sure that your goals are one of inclusion!

Make sure that your action plan is one of inclusion!

Including women in every aspect of your business and getting the balance and equality right, is not only morally and ethically right, it is also quite possibly the best business decision that you will ever make.

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