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GREAT MANAGERS
WHAT GREAT MANAGERS DO DIFFERENTLY

Great management skills are an important quality to have as a leader no matter how many people you manage. Research, as well as history proves that great leaders think and act boldly. At some point in our professional lives we’ve experienced a bad manager, an average manager and a great manager. We know how each management style affected the quality of our work and our general attitude towards the company. It is evident that in nearly all dimensions of a  successful business, the manager makes a significant difference. In this article we’ll look at some of the things great managers do differently.

MAXIMISE ON EVERYONE’S TIME

One of the biggest responsibilities managers have is delegating tasks. This requires great skill and organisation to ensure one has the right people on the job. For the most part, a good portion of company executives in Kenya, have humble beginnings and did not start their careers at the top. Many of them have been on the receiving end of some of the roles that they now have the responsibility of delegating. For this reason, it is important to ensure that you make proper use of everyone’s time by assigning meaningful work and maximising on your employees’ skillsets. When assigning tasks ensure that they add value to your employees’ work experience and promotes their learning and career development in the long run.

SHOW APPRECIATION & RECOGNITION FOR WORK WELL DONE

As a manager, it is important to give credit where credit is due. Especially when your employees do exceedingly well at their jobs. Giving recognition for a job well done can be done by giving an award, a promotion, a bonus etc. Showing appreciation on the other hand is about acknowledging your employees’ inherent value and worth as a colleague. As a manager it is important to show your employees that you value them as well as their work. This in turn motivates them to work harder which ensures the success of your company.

OPEN COMMUNICATION &OPEN DOOR POLICY

Open communication is one of the most important aspects of running a successful company. Openly communicatng builds trust and confidence and lets your employees know that you are willing to listen to their ideas and offer constructive feedback. When employees feel like they can freely speak to their higher-ups and contribute in matters that directly affect them, they are more motivated to work towards the success of the company. The open door policy is popular among many workplaces because it bridges the gap between senior management and general employees; It creates a culture of regular communication and trust. Open communication also improves the company’s efficiency as employers and employees are able to freely discuss the status of the company and its future prospects.

BE TRANSPARENT

Being a transparent leader means keeping employees in the know and welcoming honest feedback from them. A transparent leader aims at practicing what they preach and openly and effectively communicates with their employees. Transparency ensures that both employer and employee expectations are clear and that there is no room for false assumptions or expectations. Transparency fosters more genuine connections in the workplace as everyone is clear on what they are supposed to do and work towards a common goal. A company that prioritises transparency are generally faster in responding to new developments.

PROVIDE GROWTH & LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Employees work best when they know that their work is in one way or another contributing towards their career growth. A great manager is one who assigns tasks that enable employees to learn new skills and develop problem solving skills. This empowers employees and gives them incentive to work harder and produce quality results.

https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/4-top-executives-share-greatest-advice-they-have-received-in-last-decade.html

https://www.gnapartners.com/resources/articles/7-things-great-managers-do-differently

https://www.gnapartners.com/resources/articles/7-things-great-managers-do-differently

PROMOTING MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE

Mental health is a topic that has not been openly discussed both in our personal and work lives yet so many people are directly or indirectly affected by mental health struggles and/or disorders. To adequately address the importance of discussing mental health in your workplace, we must understand what it is. Mental health is defined as a state of well-being that gives an individual the capacity to cope with the pressures and stressors of everyday life. Great Mental Health enables a person to work productively, reach their full potential and become a ‘contributing’ member of society. Mental health, just like physical health and social well-being is an integral component of overall health that must be promoted and nurtured. October is depression and mental health awareness month and as it comes to an end we will discuss how employers can promote good mental health in the work place in this article.

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT

For the most part, mental health awareness is on the rise however we still live in a world where those who deal with mental health challenges still face discrimination and stigmatisation. This may in turn prevent them from speaking up and seeking the help the need due to shame and fear. In fact, shame and fear of discrimination are among the top reasons why people do not tell their employers and colleagues about their mental health state. It’s so important to encourage open conversations about mental health in the workplace and to foster a culture where people can be themselves. Understanding your employees – and their mental needs – enables your company to consistently adjust the road to achieving your set mission. So, make  it easier for people to speak up about their own mental health concerns without fear of judgment and discrimination.

OFFER SUPPORT

The importance and value of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) cannot be stressed enough – we will stress it again. EAP’S come in handy in providing employees with mental health hurdles , space to maintain a good standard of work with the right support from the company. Employers can also promote overall mental health in the workplace by actively engaging with employees outside of the traditional work space. Organise activities like team building, dinners to   boost morale and give employees a break from the monotony of an office setting.

CREATE A POSITIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT

Unfortunately, in some cases the workplace can be toxic and the cause of mental health stressors for a lot of people. It’s important to create a workplace that is safe and positive and one that promotes the well-being of your employees. Happy employees have a positive attitude and are more optimistic about the company goals. Healthy employees are motivated and perform better at their jobs especially if they have a sense of fulfilment. No one wants to lose sleep on Sunday night dreading going to work on Monday morning. Create a company culture that values fun and group bonding by organising employee social gatherings which will promote friendship, collaboration and team spirit. A workplace where employees are at ease and have friendly interactions with each other are generally more conducive for mental health.

GO BEYOND YOUR LEGAL OBLIGATION

Every employer is bound by the obligations stated in the Employment Act 2012 which also states the rights of employees. These obligations include a duty to ensure that no employees are treated unfairly on the basis of race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language or birth. Employers are also obligated to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace where an employee’s mental illness amounts to a disability and that there are adequate provisions for their welfare. Beyond this, employers can allow some flexibility in the work schedule to allow employees with existing mental illness adequate time to complete their work. Employers can also assess the risks that stress in the workplace can cause in regards to mental health and find solutions for these stressors.

Click the link below for contact information on mental health help in Kenya.

New Labour & Company Laws in Kenya 2021

The law does not exist in a vacuum; it exists solely to regulate human interaction within our societies. As society grows and populations diversify, the need to amend various laws arises to fit our changing needs. Our labour laws for instance are constantly being amended in order to reflect the demands of the current labour market and workforce. Amendments ensure the promotion and protection of both employers and employees’ rights. On 30th March 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the Employment (Amendment) Act, 2021. One of three Employment Amendment Bills introduced in 2019 and the only one currently passed into law. This Act was operationalised on 15th April 2021 following its gazettement through Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 53. In this article we’ll look at some of the newly enacted labour and company laws related to your Human Resources.

  1. THE PRE-ADOPTIVE LEAVE

Section 29A has been introduced to the Employment Act. This Section provides that in the event that a child is placed in the continuous care of a person who is an employee under the Employment Act, that employee is entitled to 1-month pre-adoptive leave with full pay.

Previously, qualification for the pre-adoptive leave was based on sex and marital status. In addition, the leave period was 3 months for married female employees and two weeks for married male employees. With the new amendment, both male and female employees are entitled to 1-month pre-adoptive leave regardless of one’s marital status.

In order to apply for this leave, an employee is required to notify their employer in writing, their intention to place a child in their custody at least 14 days before the placement of the child. This notice to the employer must be accompanied by the relevant documents including a custody agreement and an existing certificate from a registered adoption society.

An employee who takes pre-adoptive leave has a right to return to the job they held prior to the leave. This amendment is a progressive move in Kenya’s employment laws with respect to adoption.

  1. HYBRID & VIRUTAL MEETINGS

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Business Amendment Act now enables both private and public companies to hold virtual and hybrid meetings where their previous articles did not allow them to do so.

  1. NSSF, NHIF & NITA PAYMENTS

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) as well as the National Industrial Training Act have all been amended under the Amendment Act. The amendment harmonised the due date for the respective payroll deductions. Both the NHIF and NSSF deductions will now be due on the ninth day of every month while the Industrial Training contributions will be due on the ninth day of the month following the end of the financial year. The NSSF Act also now provides that in the event where a contribution has not been paid on or before the ninth day of the month, a five percent (5%) penalty of the respective contribution shall apply.

These amendments aim at increasing employer compliance with respect to payroll deductions.

https://www.lexgroupafrica.com/index.php/notices-publications/161-new-changes-to-the-kenyan-business-laws-here-s-what-you-need-to-know

performance improvement plans
PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PLANS

When an employee receives a poor performance review, management can give them an opportunity to improve by providing them with a Performance Improvement Plan. This gives the employee clear guidelines and objectives to meet in order for them to avoid demotion or dismissal.  For most people, the mention of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) strikes fear in their hearts primarily due to the fact that PIPs are often equated with being fired which is most certainly not the case. Although the seriousness of PIPs shouldn’t be ignored, all hope is not lost. In this article we’ll at look Performance Improvement Plans and why they serve to benefit your company.

SAVES COMPANY RESOURCES

Every employer strives to avoid/ minimise employee turnover in order to save the company both time and money. This is why PIPs are so important as it is more efficient to help current employees improve their performance rather than having to deal with the expenses that come with dismissing employees and searching for applicants to fill the open positions. In addition, PIPs enable the company to save on money that would otherwise be spent on training new hires.

IMPROVES & STRENGTHENS COMPANY CULTURE

Company culture is all about an organisation’s values, beliefs, practices and expectations that are a core part of the way in which both employers and employees interact with each other. Most companies have a warm family-based culture and treat their employees like members of one big family all working together to achieve a common goal. For the most part, employees rely on their employers for their income but for many, their careers are a source of joy and fulfilment. That being said, many employees hope that when they experience tough times, their employers will offer them support as part of the supportive company culture. Offering PIPs shows employees that you care about their wellbeing and are invested in their improvement and success.

MORE EFFECTIVE THAN REVIEWS

In most cases performance reviews are usually done at the end of the year to assess employees’ performance throughout the year. There are rarely any consequences for low performance but instead the employee’s performance is criticised. Some employees may take this criticism negatively even though it is meant to help them improve their work. With PIPs employees are provided with a clear picture of the specific areas in which they are not performing well and how they can improve. In addition, PIPs offer employees a chance to actively take part in finding solutions to their specific challenges.

PROVIDE GUIDANCE & POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

It is not uncommon for even the best employees to struggle and feel a bit lost due to various reasons including a lack of understanding or confidence in their work. PIPs are important because they provide an open avenue of communication for employees to get guidance on how to approach various tasks and gain confidence in their work. PIPs enable the employee and the company to grow together as they work through these difficult areas. Through this process, employers have a chance to encourage and support their employees and even reward them for a job well done. This boosts employee morale while keeping the employee on track and reinforce the value of the PIP.

ENHANCE EMPLOYEE SKILLS

As your company grows and soars to new levels of success, the need for new skills and abilities among your employees will grow in order to stay relevant and keep up with the growing company. this does not mean that you have to hire new employees with these particular skills. Instead you can create PIPs that will enable your employees to get up to speed with the new market demands by offering additional training and learning opportunities that will improve their performance.

https://www.valamis.com/hub/performance-improvement-plan

https://inside.6q.io/employee-performance-improvement-plan/https://worldscholarshipforum.com/jobs/importance-of-performance-improvement-plan/

DEALING WITH DIFFICULT EMPLOYEES

In the course of work duty, as an employer/ HR manager, you will inevitably run into a difficult employee or someone who is simply unproductive. This can be someone who fails to perform at the level that they are being compensated or a person who is constantly late and always has an excuse. This behaviour is simply unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Simply because they  will end up costing the company time and resources in an effort to make up for lost time and work that is not up to standard. Managing difficult employees can be a very sensitive issue and so you must find the best approach to handle the situation. In this article we’ll look at some of the ways in which you can begin dealing with difficult employees.

  1. TALK TO THEM

The best way to deal with a difficult employee is to promptly call a meeting with them and discuss their behaviour. Low productivity, missed deadlines and even missed hiring opportunities as a result of laziness, tardiness or inability to work with others eventually negatively impacts the company. Use this time to explain to them the cost of their behaviour and the impact it has on their colleagues as well as the company. When a difficult employee understands what is at stake they are then able to understand the need for a change in their behaviour and why a particular cause of action is taken.

  1. GET TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

No one, not even a difficult employee, wants to deal with the humiliation of being called out publicly which is why it’s best to schedule a private meeting with. This will enable them to talk freely about the issue without feeling observed. Sometimes an employee’s behaviour could be a result of various issues like poor mental health, family problems or even alcohol and substance abuse. Talking to them privately and opening up an avenue for them to talk about the issues that may be causing their poor work performance will help both parties find a solution. In many cases once the root of the problem is adressed the employee’s entire attitude shifts and they are back to being productive and get on well with their colleagues. This is why it is important for companies to have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to deal with such matters (see article on Employee Assistance Programs).

  1. SET EXPECTATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES

Once you’ve spoken to your employee, it is important to set expectations and consequences for failing to adhere to these expectations. Give a specific timeline by which the employee’s behaviour must change and be sure to give them adequate time to implement these changes. It is important to note that consequences do not mean threatening your employee with job termination if their behaviour does not change. You should however, ensure that your employee is aware of the repercussions that they could face if they do not change in the agreed upon time. These consequences could be in the form of a formal warning letter, a demotion or dismissal as a last resort.

  1. FOLLOW UP ON PROGRESS

While your employee is working towards improving their behaviour, ensure that you check up on their progress regularly. This will hold them accountable and help them stay on track. Be sure to document each problem you have with an employee, the disciplinary measures taken as well as the resources you connected them with in order to help them improve. This is important because in some cases an employee’s behaviour might lead to the filing of legal action and this documentation will be useful.

  1. RECOGNISE A HOPLESS CASE

In some cases, an employee will simply not be able to comply with the company’s code of conduct despite your best efforts. No employer wants to fire their employees however in some cases contract termination is the best and only option. Not everyone is capable of change and keeping a difficult/ disruptive employee will only serve to hurt the company in the long run. If you have gone through the company disciplinary process in order to find a solution and even carried out an intervention then it may be time to cut your losses and let the employee go.  

https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2013/11/21/9-ways-to-deal-with-difficult-employees/

Importance of job satisfaction
IMPORTANCE OF JOB SATISFACTION

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.

Aristotle

Job satisfaction refers to how content or satisfied employees are with their jobs. Job satisfaction goes beyond an employee’s daily duties and their satisfaction with their colleagues and managers. It also encompasses the impact their jobs have on their personal lives and whether their work aligns with their own career goals. In addition, the concept of job satisfaction varies from person to person even if these people are working in the same environment. Surveys are often used to determine employee’s job satisfaction. In this article we’ll look at why employee satisfaction is important.

  1. HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY

When employees are happy and satisfied with their work the produce better work results. Employees who are happy with their jobs are more focused on their tasks and work hard to ensure the success of the company. This is because they find their work genuinely engaging and hold themselves responsible for achieving organisational goals. In addition, creating a team of employees that demonstrate a strong work ethic establishes high standards for productivity and output that becomes engrained in your company culture.

  1. LOWER ABSENTEEISM

It is not uncommon for employees to occasionally miss work due to various circumstances such as illnesses and family emergencies. Unsatisfied employees however, may tend to miss work more often due to a lack of motivation and enthusiasm for their work. When employees are satisfied with their jobs, they make an effort to show up because they are authentically satisfied with their work. This improves the company’s output.  Employees who are happy with their jobs are less likely to leave which in turn saves the company time and money which would otherwise be spent on recruiting and training new workers.

  1. STRENGTHENS EMPLOYEE LOYALTY

Employee loyalty refers to employees’ commitment to the success of the company and the willingness to keep working for said company. It is no secret that employees are among the most valuable resource for all organisations and the longer an employee works for a company the more valuable they are. This is due to their invaluable knowledge and skills as well as tenure acquired from their work and cultural experience. When employees feel that the company they work for supports their goals and interests, they are motivated to work harder and stay on with the company.

  1. IMPROVED CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Happy employees lead to happy customers. Employees who are happy and satisfied with their jobs lead to customers who are happy and satisfied with your product. This is because employees who are satisfied with their jobs provide better customer service and demonstrate a higher degree of empathy, a key part of customer retention and brand loyalty. In addition, employees who feel that their company has their best interest at heart are more likely to tell their friends about your company and services which further increases the company’s goodwill.

  1. PROMOTES A POSITIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT

A positive work environment is one where employee safety, growth and development is nurtured and promoted. This environment is conducive because there is mutual respect among colleagues and a hearty desire to achieve a common goal. In order to achieve peak productivity, increase efficiency and job commitment, employers must provide good, safe and healthy working conditions. This in turn leads to an increase in employee satisfaction and branding.

https://www.marketing91.com/the-importance-of-job-satisfaction/

https://positivepsychology.com/job-satisfaction/

https://www.custominsight.com/employee-engagement-survey/what-is-employee-satisfaction.asp

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