Pitching an idea to your boss
PITCHING A STELLAR IDEA TO YOUR HIGHER UPS

In today’s corporate arena, many employers operate on an open-door policy and even encourage their employees to come up with and share their new and innovative ideas. Proactive employees are often considered for new opportunities as they have shown their ability to take initiative when it comes to ensuring the company’s success. A major part of having a good idea is being able to sell it. You could have the most innovative idea however if you’re unable to effectively pitch your idea to those who have the resources to aid in the execution of your idea then you will find limited success. Remember ideas are useless unless action accompanies them. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the steps you could take to ensure you successfully pitch your idea to your higher-ups. 

  1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

So you’ve spent some time brainstorming and you finally have your lightbulb moment. The next step is to carry out market research and understand where your idea fits. This means you must ask really targeted questions and evaluate the possible financial benefits. Answering these questions will enable you to present a well-rounded idea.

  1. PREPARE A PRESENTATION

When sharing your idea, it is important to have a visual aid. Be creative with your presentation. This will help your audience to better understand your idea and showcase your commitment to the project. Ensure that your passion and enthusiasm shines through the presentation in order to be more persuasive. Remember that a stellar idea presented with confidence is the key to a successful pitch. 

  1. PICK THE PERFECT MOMENT

When presenting a new idea to your employer, timing is everything. If you catch your boss during a busy moment the likelihood of getting helpful feedback is low. Try to schedule a meeting with your boss when you are both free and able to discuss your ideas without any interruptions. The undivided attention you receive could help you refine your idea and point you in the right direction.

  1. EMPHASISE THE RELEVANCE OF YOUR IDEA

Before pitching your idea to your employer ensure it aligns with the company goals. You can do this by showing the impact your idea may have on the company’s bottom line. This is a great tactic to propel your career and put you on track for leadership roles as well as promotions.

  1. ASK FOR FEEDBACK

Seeking your employer’s input on your idea is important for giving you direction. remember they are familiar with the overall company goals and can contextualise your idea.  make use of the experts around you.

  1. TAKE THE LEAD

After pitching your idea be prepared to take on the responsibility of leading its realisation. This means taking up the responsibility of organising and executing various logistical plans that relate to your idea. It will be helpful to have a plan for the first few steps before your first pitch. This will increase your chances of success and give you an idea of the expectations that come with your project  This will free up your employers from the responsibility of heading the project themselves.  This extra mile usually makes the difference between an idea that gathers dust on the shelf and one that is seen through to fruition.

https://www.liquidplanner.com/blog/pitch-new-idea-boss-5-steps/

https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-successfully-present-to-a-higherup-at-work-without-freaking-out

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chriswestfall/2019/08/05/pitch-your-ideas-boss-7-proven-strategies-for-success/?sh=697bbaa0193c

6 Tips for Young Entrepreneurs
6 TIPS FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENUERS

Today, many young people are turning to business and entrepreneurship as a means of achieving financial independence. Now that we are well into the digital age, entrepreneurship is more accessible than ever and it is far easier for up and coming business owners to achieve success. Everyday more and more individuals are starting businesses on social media and offline. In this article we’ll look at some business tips for young, up and coming entrepreneurs.

  1. HOLD ON TO YOUR DAY JOB

When most young people begin their entrepreneurial journey, they are often eager to dive head first into the field, leaving everything behind for their new venture. For some this can even mean quitting their current jobs or even dropping out of school. As exciting as it may seem, it is not the best idea when one is just breaking ground on their business. The business economy can be highly unpredictable because trends change and evolve very quickly. It is safe to keep your current job while working on your business so that you can have an income to rely on and something to fall back on should things not work out as you expected. As an added bonus, funding is a main component in setting up and running  business. While receiving an income, you can fully focus on building financial structures and re-investing in your new business without withdrawing incoming revenue.

  1. PREPARE FOR LONG HOURS

Before you reap the benefits of a successful business venture, you must be prepared to put in the work. This means having to work harder than you’ve ever had to. Studies show that most business owners on average work twice as much as their employees. This means taking time to learn about the market you’re venturing into, the do’s and don’ts while, learning how to successfully manage a business. You could even sign up for short business courses to give you an extra advantage.

  1. FIND YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER BASE

When starting a business, it is essential to know your target customer demographic. This will enable you to effectively advertise your business. You can do this is by sending out surveys and questionnaires and  collect data about what your customer like, how you can better appeal to them. This way, you will be able to acquire valuable feedback and restructure your business goals accordingly.

  1. NETWORK

No man is an island; the saying is especially true when it comes to successfully starting and running a business because it provides an avenue to exchange ideas and learn from those who have managed to pull of this great feat. In addition, networking can open up more opportunities for growth and collaboration with other likeminded individuals.

  1. MANAGE YOUR FINANCES

Poor financial planning is one of the leading causes of business failure. This can easily happen when staring a new business due to the high cost of starting expenses. Of course you must spend money to make money when you first venture in to the business arena however, you must not let your spending get out of control. The last thing you want is to launch your business and have a tonne of debt. One way to avoid this is by raising funds before you begin or even asking friends and family to invest in your business to give you a leg up.

  1. CAPITALLISE ON YOUR PASSIONS

The fact of the matter is that the entrepreneurship journey is not easy because it is so challenging and you are likely to encounter many setbacks on your way to the top.  This is why it is so important for you to actually love what you’re doing. Focussing on your passions and areas of interest to start a business is the best motivator to keep you going despite the ups and downs. For instance, if you’re keen on environmental issues and climate change, starting an eco-friendly company would ensure that your passion for saving the environment motivates your success.  When starting you’re a small business, you want to ensure that your products are passion based as well as meeting the demands of the current market. As the saying goes when you do something you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life.

https://businessteaching.net/tips-for-young-entrepreneurs/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeslacouncil/2019/08/12/five-tips-for-young-aspiring-entrepreneurs/?sh=23d4179d155c

How to Conduct Better Performance Appraisals

Employee performance appraisals are integral part of an organisation’s management system. A performance appraisal is a process that involves the evaluation of an employees’ performance in order to acquire data and provide feedback on how employees have performed in their jobs. Performance appraisals are conducted annually and employees’ performances are evaluated according to a set line of objectives and goals they were required to meet. Performance appraisals are important because, they play a role in determining employee wage raises and promotions. In addition, they help determine employees’ strengths as well as shortcomings to provide steps on how to improve. Finally, appraisals greatly benefit employees as they provide them with feedback and guidance which in turn enable them to further develop their careers. In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways that you can conduct performance appraisals that are beneficial to both management and employees.

  • HAVE A CLEAR OUTLINE

Generally, performance appraisals are usually a bit uncomfortable and slightly stressful for all parties involved. This is primarily becuase the setting is so formal and employees are nervous about finding out how they have performed throughout the year. This discomfort and tension can be eased by having a clear outline of the task at hand. Using a job performance evaluation form will be helpful in preparing for the meeting. It will ensure that all the right questions are asked in order to get the best outline of how an employee has performed.

  • INVOLVE YOUR EMPLOYEES

Employee involvement in their performance appraisals refers to the extent in which employees participate and actively take part in their performance reviews. It’s a fact that appraisals work best when the process is transparent and fair. Involving your employees also provides an opportunity for you as an employer to listen to them and various concerns and ideas they may have. This could be a great opportunity to make improvements in your organisation. Appraisals where employee involvement is ensured, guarantees that employees are more satisfied with their reviews and will therefore work harder to ensure that they improve where they need to.

  • GIVE FEEDBACK & SET EXPECTATIONS

In most cases, companies wait until the annual performance appraisal to give reviews and feedback to employees. Essentially the performance appraisal should not be the first time that employees hear about how they’ve been performing in their work. This is why it is important to give frequent feedback so that employees have a chance to improve. In addition, always set goals and expectations that employees should meet after their appraisals this will keep them motivated and hold them accountable in future.

  • DOCUMENT THE PROCESS

Keeping proper records of the performance appraisal process is essential for both practical and procedural purposes. From a legal standpoint, documenting appraisals can easily be used as evidence for either the employer or employee in matters to do with wrongful termination or discrimination. In addition, proper documentation provides easy access to the records when they are needed. These records also play a huge role in determining salary, promotions, training as well as identifying an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • DISCIPLINARY MEASURES

Sometimes, even after a performance appraisal and a discussion on set expectations and areas of improvement some employees will continue to perform poorly. In this case, employers must be prepared to take the appropriate measures by having well-defined processes to refer to.

https://blog.vantagecircle.com/performance-appraisal-process/

https://safetyculture.com/topics/how-to-conduct-an-effective-performance-appraisal/ https://www.aafp.org/fpm/2003/0300/p43.html

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

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/

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