Navigating office politics
NAVIGATING OFFICE POLITICS

In as much we like to believe that office politics do not exist in our work place; they do and can be a nightmare to deal with especially if you don’t know how to negotiate them.  Too many ambitious professionals try to navigate office politics by pretending corporate politics don’t exist and end up buckling under the pressure and hostility.  Once you know how to navigate through the office politics arena, your work life should improve. In this article we’ll be looking at some of the ways in which you can deal with office politics.

YOU CAN’T AVOID OFFICE POLITICS

It is important to face reality and know that we cannot avoid office politics. Granted, when we first set foot in to the job market, we all have a vision of a corporate meritocracy where everyone does their absolute best at their job and promotions are awarded to those most hardworking, diligent employees but this is sadly not the case. That being said it is therefore possible to use office politics to your advantage. Put yourself out there and engage with individuals you are more likely to gain success from.

RETHINK OFFICE POLITICS 

For the most part, office politics are viewed negatively and most people do not want to get involved. This primarily due to the fact that the individuals involved are mean spirited and will stop at nothing to climb the corporate ladder. This doesn’t have to be the case. When used effectively and for good, office politics can be an extremely powerful and effective tool to advance your career goals. Seek out more positive interactions with your colleagues and discuss ways in which you can all succeed. Look for like-minded individuals and form strong alliances with them.

DEVELOP A STRONG PERSONAL BRAND   

A great way to set yourself apart and avoid the drama is to develop your personal brand. Do this by demonstrating high quality work daily. If you are known to be someone who is consistent and diligent at their job and produces quality work, then you are more likely to be trusted by your seniors. This will in turn lead to more independence and autonomy because you can be trusted to do your job well. This will likely lead to you getting more responsibility in the workplace.

PICK YOUR BATTLES WISELY   

If you truly want to be someone who can demonstrate your value, influence and level of importance in the workplace, then you cannot afford to keep your head down and ignore all the emerging issues in an effort to stay neutral and avoid discourse. There are two types of conflict that may arise in the work place i.e. professional conflict and personal conflict. By all means avoid all personal conflict in the workplace, however, do not shy away from professional conflict that directly affects you or the company. These can include conflicts relating to work quality, company time and resources as well as various issues that may be hindering you from doing your job well. Engage in important conflicts and avoid the petty ones.

BE FRIENDLY, GRACEFUL AND COURTEOUS

The workplace environment is made up of people from various cultures, socio-economic backgrounds etc. Each of these individuals have their own sets of beliefs and views on various issues. Sometimes it will be difficult to get along with everyone you work with, however at the end of the day you must remain professional in order to achieve your own career goals as well as the company goals. In this regard, try to be civil as you engage with your colleagues and feel free to distance yourself from individuals you don’t necessarily see eye to eye with while still maintaining professionalism. Remember, you don’t want to come off as rude and unapproachable.

KNOW WHEN TO LET GO

Even though this article makes it seem simple to navigate intricacies of office politics, it has been vastly oversimplified. If you’re struggling to stay above the unproductive fray of un-useful politics and personal babble between your colleagues and/or superiors consider finding a more conducive work place. If these tips aren’t helpful, perform a cost-benefit analysis on your work life to get perspective on your next steps. They are plenty of workplaces that match your personality and work ethic, so don’t ‘stick’ it out when you’re unhappy. Remember to approach your HR department when you’re uncomfortable or feel targeted by politics – see how they can help.

https://www.livecareer.com/resources/careers/planning/dealing-with-office-politics

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bonniemarcus/2017/04/04/what-i-learned-about-office-politics-that-changed-my-career/?sh=16e89a7a6168

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/work/7-habits-to-win-in-office-politics.html

IMPORTANCE OF A CORPORATE LAWYER
WHY YOU NEED A CORPORATE LAWYER

Corporate lawyers, also known as business lawyers provide a broad range of legal services for businesses and companies. A corporate lawyer represents the corporate entity. This is because in company law, companies are viewed as a legal person capable of suing and being sued in their own name. Running a business often involves various legal situations such as lawsuits as well as the various laws regulating the type of business being conducted. A corporate lawyer ensures the protection of those involved and invested in a business/ company by giving legal advice on various issues relating to company law. In this article, we’ll look at some of the reasons why your company should hire a corporate lawyer.

  1. LEGAL DRAFTING

Every company needs a lawyer to aid in the drafting of legal documents such as contracts. All business documents, whether for employees, customers or vendors should be reviewed by a company lawyer to ensure all the appropriate formalities are captured. Experienced lawyers help make the process of drafting corporate documents more efficient. Documents drafted by a skilled lawyer can also help to ensure that the paperwork is enforceable by law, legally binding and well suited to your company and its needs.

  1. PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Intellectual property is the term used for a set of intangible assets or assets that are not physical in nature. It is any product developed from human intellect that the law protects from unauthorised use, theft of plagiarism by others. If your business is in the field of media, design or any other creative field, consider hiring an intellectual property lawyer. This lawyer will help you register your products and services for state trademark and copyrights protection.

  1. PREVENTING LAWSUITS

One of the biggest challenges most companies face is employment lawsuits. This is usually brought about by a breach in employee rights and various labour laws. A common rule of thumb is that ignorance of the law is not a defence. This means that everyone has a responsibility to be aware of the law and ignorance of this fact is not a reasonable defence in case of a lawsuit. Hiring a company lawyer is one way to prevent these issues down the road as they are well versed on these laws and are able to spot any possible issues that may arise.

  1. AID IN CHOOSING THE APPROPRIATE BUSINESS FORM

Corporate lawyers also deal with various business entities in the forms of partnerships, limited companies, limited liability companies and business trusts. Each business form has its own set of legal rights and responsibilities, organisational structure and tax burdens. Corporate lawyers help clients with businesses to decide which of these legal forms is best suited for the business they want to run. Choosing the appropriate business structure for your business is important because if you do not structure properly from the get-go, you may find yourself with unnecessary legal issues down the road.

  1. NON-DISCLOSURE AND CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS

In the course of running a business, there is some information that a company may not want revealed to people outside of the business or even outside of the managerial circle. There are various reasons why a business may want information to remain confidential. Confidentiality agreements can be written to protect the details of a new invention, new product or service ideas or a business partnership. For instance, some organisational information also known as trade secrets give a business a competitive edge in the market and the disclosure of this information may give competitors an upper hand.  A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a legal contract drafted by a corporate lawyer that offers protection to parties that will be disclosing confidential information. Corporate lawyers also provide legal counsel in case of a breach in this contract.

Mshimba Michelle

3 changes to company law in kenya
3 MUST KNOW CHANGES TO COMPANY LAW IN KENYA

Like most institutions in this country and the world over, there are laws set up by the government to ensure legality as well as the promotion and protection of individuals rights in these institutions. These laws also serve to ensure the efficient functioning of these institutions. There are various laws that govern how business is conducted in this country as well as how companies are to conduct their dealings. In this article we’ll look at some of the new laws and amendments to these laws.

  1. BUSINESS REGISTRATION SERVICE ACT

The Business Registration Service Act of 2015 establishes the Business Registration Service as the body in charge of administering laws relating to the incorporation, registration, operation and management of companies, partnerships and firms.

This Act will be responsible for matters relating to business registration. This body will also take over the existing company law functions of the State Law office. The Business Registration Service Act, 2015 will become operational on a date to be set by the Cabinet Secretary by notice in the Kenya Gazette. 

  1. COMPANIES ACT

The Companies Act of 2015 is one of the laws intended to streamline the manner in which business is conducted in Kenya. The intention behind this is that the new provisions will be more flexible, in line with modern business practices and will in turn lead to growth and innovation in various commercial transactions in Kenya. Among the many significant changes, the Act now has provisions that allow companies to have a single shareholder as well as provisions that require a company to have at least one natural director except for in cases where the company’s sole director is a corporation.  

Previously, financial assistance was prohibited except in a limited number of cases. This is no longer the case as companies are now able to buy back their own shares in order to create treasury shares which may then be re-issued. 

  1. INSOLVENCY ACT

To begin with, insolvency occurs when a company is unable to pay its debts. The Insolvency Act of 2015 contains laws relating to matters of insolvency for both individuals and companies which were previously contained in the Bankruptcy Act. The Insolvency Act provides debtors with an alternative to bankruptcy. It creates the legal framework that enables companies to be put into administration which is an alternative to liquidation under the supervision of an insolvency lawyer.

In Kenya, our laws are constantly changing and various amendments are done to ensure that the laws serve the Kenyan people accordingly. It is important to keep up-to-date with these changes.

 Kindly visit http://kenyalaw.org/kl/ to find out more about our laws.

SUSTAINABLE HR PRACTICES

Sustainability refers to the practice of meeting the needs and demands of people today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs as well. It is the balancing of various social, environmental and economic factors in a manner that is optimal for the preservation of current and future generations. Now more than ever, sustainability is one of the most urgent topical issues in the world.

Owing to the fact that since the Industrial Revolution, most companies/corporations have played a massive role in the degradation of the environment, organisations can no longer afford to ignore this fact. In this article we’ll look at various ways in which companies can become more sustainable especially through their HR departments.

  1. MAKE SUSTAINABILITY A PART OF YOUR COMPANY’S MISSION STATEMENT.

Ensure that sustainability is a key part of your company’s goals. This should also be reflected in your recruitment process in order to ensure that your employees work together towards achieving this common goal. For instance, discuss your sustainability goals during interviews in order to let future employees know what you stand for.

  1. PROVIDE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES.

Clearly set out the ways in which your company’s sustainability goals are going to impact the society and the environment and let your staff know the roles they can play in achieving these goals. You can speak to your suppliers about sustainable sourcing or find suppliers that are in alignment with your sustainability goals.

  1. PROVIDE VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES.

Allow your employees to join company volunteer programs. They can also take time off to support charities, and to nominate charities or causes your company can support. You could have an end of year company tradition where you donate to specific charities at the end of the year and have your employees visit these charities.

  1. ADOPT CULTUTAL CHANGE STARTEGIES.

Human Resource departments are charged with handling the affairs of the organisations culture. HR is able to provide data that allows company heads to see how the existing culture aligns with the company’s strategy as well as the progress being made in regard to the implementation of these strategies. A prime example of a sustainable cultural strategy is the training of company heads to properly communicate with their employees’ regarding work-life conflicts. This means providing suitable working conditions and being mindful to the needs of employees such as their health and their relationships with their co-workers.

  1. PROMOTE EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION.

In a bid to promote sustainability, it is important to give your employees from every level the opportunity to communicate their ideas to their managers. Employee participation creates the conditions for a fruitful social dialogue between the employer and employees. Employee participation increases overall job satisfaction and improves employee loyalty to your company. This in turn means that your company can save up on the costs of recruitment, hiring and training of new employees.

  1. EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT.

One of the ways to achieve sustainability as a company is to train and equip your employees with skills that will benefit the future needs of your company. The business environment is constantly evolving and the need for newer skills is constantly arising in companies. In order to promote sustainability within your company consider sustainably developing your employees. This is can be done through the long-term orientation of your employees by equipping them with the necessary skills that will benefit your company’s future needs.  

  1. REVIEW YOUR WORKPLACE PRACTICES.

Review all your processes and work practices to ensure that they are in line with your sustainability goals. Address any areas that are not up to par and develop a code of ethics you would like your company to adhere to. Remember to re-evaluate and adjust your goals in order to keep up with the ever changing societal issues.

Many companies are switching to more sustainable workplace practices in order to keep up with the current global sustainability demands. Implementing a few of these tools is a great way to positively impact your organisation and society as a whole.

https://www.raconteur.net/the-hive/5-ways-hr-drives-culture-change/
CONSULTANTS AND PART-TIME EMPLOYEES
Consultants and Part-time Employees

As companies try to streamline operations and increase their profits, many human resource professionals are now looking at employees in a different light. Aside from trying to find the right candidate for a job, they are looking at ways they can cut costs while still maintaining quality services in order to maximise company profits. The amount of money spent looking for, hiring, paying and training new employees is analysed and used to help determine the companies’ profits and losses.

As businesses look for new avenues to reduce overall costs, human resource management has evolved to include different types of employment, like part-time employees and consultants. Particularly in light of the recent pandemic and the economic decline, trends towards lower cost employment have grown increasingly common.

Part-Time Employees

Part-time employees, also known as casual employees who work thirty-five or fewer hours per week. In addition to working fewer hours, part-time employees don’t usually qualify for benefits such as health insurance or paid vacation.

PROS

To begin with, the benefit of using part-time employees is mainly that the cost per employee for hiring, orientation, and training is less than for full-time workers. This then enables the company to save on these costs and maximise on profits in the long run.

Another benefit of employees that work fewer hours is that employers can be more flexible with scheduling. If a position requires long hours to fill, hiring two part-time people can make scheduling easier than with one full-time employee. It also helps avoid overtime or time and a half, thereby reducing overhead for an employer.

In addition, part-time employees bring diversity to the workplace. This is especially true for workplaces that are maybe looking to increase the number of women professionals. This also has the added benefit of showing your clients and potential customers that you value diversity in your workplace.

CONS

There are few downsides to hiring part-time employees. With part-time employees, there is the risk that they may not be as committed to your company goals and work standards as they are not permanent employees and not feel like they owe your company loyalty.

Hiring part-time workers may lead to inconsistencies in work performance. This is because they may come in and pick-up where on employee left off and the quality of work may differ.

Due to the fact that part-time employees are not around as much or for consistent periods time, they have less contact and interactions with the permanent employees. This may result in full-time employees feeling uncomfortable around pert-time employees.

Consultants

Consultants are hired for a specific positions or tasks and consider the companies they provide their services to, as clients. Consultants are not official company employees. They often have more than one client to which they offer similar services, and are therefore specialists. As consultants aren’t employees, companies don’t have to offer them benefits.

PROS

Hiring consultants saves companies money. Although companies pay consultants more per hour in the long run it actually costs more to hire, train and retain new employees.

Hiring consultants also has a long list of legal benefits, as independent consultants are not protected by the rights available to employees. For instance, consultants do not have the right to unionise. In addition, employees have the right to sue their employers for wrongful termination. Consultants cannot bring these types of suits before the court as they are bound by the terms agreed on in their consultants.

CONS

Independent consultants are difficult to secure due to their scarcity and overly booked schedules. It can take a while to get one booked and it can be difficult to get the same person to do another job for your company. This can then result in inconsistencies in the work done.

Due to the fact that consultants are not employees, they are consultants by numerous companies some of which may be your competitors.

https://social-hire.com/blog/recruitment/5-benefits-of-hiring-part-time-employees

https://www.insperity.com/blog/hiring-part-time-employees/

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/pros-cons-hiring-independent-contractors-30053.html

ADVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
ADVICE FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

Entrepreneurship comes with a host of challenges. Rewarding challenges, but difficult challenges nonetheless. This is especially true if you’re venturing into an unfamiliar industry or designing the next generation of products. For new entrepreneurs there’s little to no training and sometimes no mentors to guide and support you through the process. This is why it’s so important to gather as much information before you start your new business venture. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. GATHER YOUR TOOLS

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step; make sure you’re wearing the right shoes. Before starting your business. You should gather as much information about the industry you plan on delving into. How are the thriving businesses structured? How big is the market and who should you target first? What marketing techniques work for the industry?

Speak to other business owners and find out how they operate and what success have they’ve had. Look for the potential and predicted shifts the sector is facing and how your business could respond.

Before you even begin hiring employees, you need to do the job you need them for. This means you’ll be familiar with role and its requirements and can therefore properly recruit for it.  Preserve your cash flow by avoiding unnecessary spending like unqualified employees.

  1. SET SPECIFIC AND REALISTIC GOALs

When starting a business, it is absolutely important that you set specific goals. Goals help you stay on track with your vision and inform all the decisions you make. Setting specific goals enables you to prioritise actions instead of taking random shots in the dark. While it is essential to set goals, it is also vital that you remain realistic about them as well.

In the initial stages of your business, you should set short term goals that are easy to achieve. For instance, having a five-year growth plan that is both specific and realistic will guide your efforts and ensure your actions are focused. Realistic goals are important because they are achievable. Setting unrealistic goals will only serve to demotivate you in the event you don’t achieve them.

  1. BE PATIENT

Rome was not built in a day. When you start your business, you may focus on growth and expansion. This is completely reasonable because this is the point of starting a business in the first place. However, don’t rush yourself remember that any progress, no matter how small is still progress.

In its initial stages, progress may be slow. In the pursuit of growth, you may neglect your focus on improvement. Check your systems and processes, is your business a well-oiled machine? In order for your business to achieve the success you’re working for, all the elements that make it up must be properly maintained. Be patient and persistent and you will begin to see results.

  1. GET THE WORD OUT

Marketing plays a huge role in the success of your business. Now is the time to invest in a content marketing strategy. This will get the word out on your business and draw customers in. Take advantage of social media which has grown to be one of the most powerful marketing tools available. There are many benefits to this marketing strategy such as free traffic and continuous growth as people engage with your content. Keep an eye out for all the new apps and websites that are coming up and use them to your advantage. Your business is only as big as the people who know about it.

  1. KNOW THE LAW

As tedious as it may seem, it is absolutely important that you know the law when starting a business. It is important to know the laws surrounding your industry in order to avoid penalties and legal hurdles. It is also important to ensure that you are in compliance with the legal requirements of running a small business. These include financial regulations, tax obligations and employment laws. Ensure that your new company complies with all its legal responsibilities so you can get back to focusing on growing your business.

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill

https://www.success.com/11-game-changing-tips-for-small-business-owners/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikekappel/2017/07/12/10-tips-for-starting-a-small-business-that-you-havent-heard-a-thousand-times-already/?sh=7a360d416e19

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