If you were waiting for the Post Office to pay you, don’t hold your breath waiting for the cheque: there’s a bit of a cash problem.
If you were waiting for the Post Office to pay you, don’t hold your breath waiting for the cheque: there’s a bit of a cash problem.
MSWEB services provides schools in South Africa with a web based communication platform directly to their learners parents cell phones. With over 550 schools using the service SMSWEB sends out over 1 million messages every month.
SMSWEB provides a choice of three core packages within their schools SMS service. A small administration fee applies to two of the three schools SMS packages.
For schools: The SMSWEB system increases the effectiveness of communication between schools and parents. This SMS messaging service is secure, incredibly user-friendly and is both cost and time effective. Schools can choose between subscription-based Unlimited SMS service, or prepaid service at a bulk rate per SMS.
iText enables schools and businesses to distribute information such as timetables and results quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively to users’ cell phones. iText does not require any prior set up, it is extremely easy to use and works on all cell phones, across all cellular networks. You will have a fixed, lifetime access code to your information.
Bulk SMS Messaging for Business: SMSWEB PRO provides organisations ranging from big businesses to churches and clubs with a complete communication solution. This web-based product offers bulk SMS delivery, address book merge functionality, bulk imports of contacts and many other advanced sending features.
Handling Job Stress, seeking Counselling, providing Mentoring
Over the last few decades, jobs have become increasingly demanding as employee responsibilities have escalated as a result of retrenchments and divisional changes.
Whether one is in sales and marketing, administrative jobs, manufacturing, policy making, security forces or logistics, every area of work has become more challenging. The rising competition in every area of consumable products or services has also added to the mix.
Previously whatever was produced could easily be consumed, as consumers were plentiful and choices were limited. Subsequent to the advent of information technology (IT) we are increasingly faced with access to large data loads and a plethora of networks.
Internally, we seem to face a never-ending task of accumulating data and pass it on to our seniors along a chain of information which carries on up to CEO level. Whatever the process, be it manufacturing to retail or consumer workflows we are required to expedite data at a high-rate of speed, with the added stress of fighting or keeping up with the competition, as finance departments keep a beady eye from behind.
Besides professional issues, we are simultaneously faced with the pressures of meeting family expectations, educating our children, handling later working hours and still trying to juggle compatibility with our spouses.
Those organisations who offer support to employees usually encompass a Human Resources (HR) department and many have evolved to the point of offering a gym-room, breakroom and healthy meals during working hours, financed pleasure trips and team-building event, along with regular health checkups.
Day to day, employees are faced with different interpersonal situations, and all too often some are simply unable to handle an untoward situation, problem or misunderstanding, resulting in them finding difficulty in completing an urgent task. This can have a de-moralising effect on all involved and ultimately compromises employee performance. These are ideal situations for an aware and seasoned manager to step in and offer counselling.
The objective of counselling is firstly to make the employee comfortable, and reassure him that he/she is not alone. A few specific questions and their responses will lead to diagnosing the situation. The mature counsellor can then motivate the employee to solve the situation himself by suggesting a specific action plan. This takes care of the issue at hand and also leads to the employee feeling confident enough to handle any other issue in the future.
Counselling can improve self-esteem, commitment and competence level and is an effective and cost-effective tool to correct an employee who is demotivated and is finding himself incapable of handling a situation or conflict in the work place.
Every individual who has a desirable qualification, and who has successfully emerged from their interview process has potential to perform and grow. The job of employee’s immediate superior remains in having the skills to identify the employee’s true potential areas and learning attitude in order to provide continuous mentoring on the job
Mentoring is a process which sees cohesiveness between listening and learning in order to reflect greater results. It sees a synergy in relationship among two or more individuals within a process that achieves more than any one individual is capable of.
Communication is an important attribute of the entire process of mentoring. Since mentoring is usually a time bound programme, there should be regular meetings and an exchange of views, with the mentor updating himself on the concerned employee’s work areas, so that he can answer the challenges faced by the participants in the process.
Mentees are also responsible for absorbing the learning while taking pleasure in their work and being able to discuss openly their fears and doubts.
The effective management of job stress, counselling and mentoring go a long way in enhancing on the job performance and overall improvement in employees personalities which in turn increase quantative performance.
If a few simple, yet effective support practices were adopted by most working places, a vibrant society would emerge, which would be beneficial for families, societies, and countries around the globe.
Government has addressed the growing problem of tenderpreneurs, typically businesses and individuals that are enriched unfairly from government tenders.
The new government rules are B-BBEE-based compared to the previous government tender selection criteria and now apply to all tenders from state owned enterprises as well as government entities issued after 7 December 2012.
Now, the PPPFA has stated that a business cannot subcontract more than 25% of the contract value to a BEE entity that has a worse BEE score. This is one of the provisions providing opportunities for entities with good BEE scores.
Tenders will have prequalification requirements that are able to weed out tenderpreneurs. The rules will ensure that business owners will no longer need to sell a share in their business to gain a competitive BEE rating.
“If you ask the average business owner what concerns they have with B-BBEE, their answer will most likely be government awarding tenders only to black-owned business. Sadly this has been the case even though it was not directly part of the B-BBEE act,” says Keith Levenstein, CEO of EconoBEE, a B-BBEE advisory firm.
“However, with the changes to the tender act, all new business awarded by government must take into account the supplier’s broad-based BEE scorecard and not their ownership. Further, the tender act uses a formula to determine the winner of a tender.”
The current status is that:
A supplier who has no competition will win.
A supplier who is significantly cheaper with no BEE status will win.
A supplier who is marginally cheaper with no BEE status may not win.
A supplier who is equal with price but a better BEE status will win.
“This is good news. It provides consistency and openness. Tenderpreneurs and subsistence businesses will now be ineligible to win tenders,” he says.
“A small change to the PPPFA will mean more emphasis is placed on becoming BEE compliant. However, to gain full benefit and generate business opportunities, access new markets and maintain existing business, BEE scorecards will need to improve.”
“Businesses are now motivated to improve their overall score, thereby increasing their chances of winning government tenders. A good BEE status will now be a major advantage,” says Levenstein.
EconoBEE’s managed services offer a high quality streamlined step-by-step approach to becoming BEE compliant. Contact Keith Levenstein – email@example.com or Tel: (011) 483-1190
The Department of Basic Education and Lead SA launched the “STOP RAPE” campaign in 2013 – an initiative to raise rape awareness and educate the 10.2 million learners around our country about this important societal issue. The iSchool Africa Youth Press team took up the challenge to TELL A NEW STORY. Their press teams from NSA and Dominican Convent took a stand and produced powerful videos in support of this campaign. Take a look at these video’s produced by the learners…
See all their videos on iSchoolAfricaYPT Channel on YouTube
To find out how your school or company can be part of the iSchoolAfrica programme
The future is active
The Future. Inspire. Create. Exceed expectations. Never give up. These are a few key messages that adorn a colourful mural created by some of the learners at the Lavender Hill Senior Secondary School recently unveiled at the launch of project FUTURE CREW. The sentiments reflect how having hope and a positive attitude can be a powerful catalyst for change.
FUTURE CREW, a collaboration between Virgin Active and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), is an ambitious schools based project aimed at empowering learners in challenged communities to make positive changes in their lives through being active and with life skills training.
FUTURE CREW brand ambassador, Ashwin Willemse, is testimony to how young people can turn their lives around. Willemse, who had a troubled upbringing before being selected to play for the Springboks, encouraged learners to determine their success and future. “It is up to you,” he said. “You can change if you believe in yourself.”
Which is exactly what is happening with the learners at Lavender Hill Senior Secondary School. FUTURE CREW promotes a healthy, balance lifestyle through the establishment of fully-equipped gyms and mentorship by Virgin Active staff. By engaging learners in sport and sharing knowledge FUTURE CREW will also identify, harness and tap into raw talent to help create employment opportunities.
This model, piloted at Lavender High Senior Secondary School six months ago, is set to be rolled out to an additional five schools over the next two years. The schools that have been identified are all in disadvantaged areas where gangsterism and drug abuse is rife and alternative lifestyle choices, role models and positive reinforcement are most needed.
A demonstration of how being active can lift the spirits was proven when a group of 50 Lavender Hill learners participated in a group training and exercise session. “Having identified the need for extra mural sport coaching at schools, including basic stretching, fitness and nutrition, we grew the concept to focus beyond the gym and physical activity to incorporate life skills training,” explains Theresa Kearley, National Transformation Manager for Virgin Active.
Proof of this change is already being seen at the school with the Class of 2012 achieving an 88% pass rate. Principal, Faseeg Manie, a keen chess player uses his tactical skills to ensure learners get the most out of their time at the school. It boasts a world class library, fast internet access, a feeding scheme for 250 students and now, the well-equipped gym.
“The impact the school is having on the broader community is getting noticed. Our learners know they are cared for and that they matter and that despite their circumstances they are in charge of their destinies. Every time I think of the gym and FUTURE CREW initiative and see the impact it is having on our learners’ lives, it puts a smile on my face. This project is definitely an instrument of change and transformation. I have to thank Virgin Active for being a business with a conscience and for investing in our youth.”
According to Lyndon Bouah of DCAS, FUTURE CREW ticks all the boxes in terms of being socially inclusive, creative, getting South Africans active to limit the burden of disease and help alleviate unemployment. “Public/private partnerships like these are vital for future planning,” he said.
One learner who has felt the impact first hand is 16 year old Fred Damons whose dance moves blew the Virgin Active team away. He has been given a bursary to study to become a dance instructor with a view to future employment with the company.
As an additional message of inspiration and helping facilitate change through art, saw the unveiling of graffiti style mural at the school. Since the ancient Romans and Greeks, graffiti and murals have been used as visual and provocative manifestations of personal and communal ideologies.
The Lavender Hill murals too epitomises the spirit of the learners and community and the positive steps they are taking towards a better future. Well known community artist, Mak1one was the visionary and facilitator behind the creation of the FUTURE CREW brand. He, along with professional artists, Sergio Rinquist and Claire Homewood and a ‘crew’ of learners, created the brand identity and participated in creative workshops to design the murals. One has pride of place on the second block quad wall while three smaller graffiti type murals adorn the walls of the gym. “Graffiti is not always about negativity,” explains Mak1One, “Our message is that life gives you choices. With slogans of ‘it’s a new day, make it count’, ‘in here and in life every bit counts’, and ‘don’t stop believing’ we reinforce the fact that we all have to make the choice to be positive about life. It’s up to you.”
“FUTURE CREW is about looking forward. It’s about actively providing learners will the skills to make the right decisions,” says Ross Faragher-Thomas, MD of Virgin Active SA. “We believe that with the right attitude you can rise above your circumstances and become a success. It is how to respond to challenges and turning obstacles into opportunities. We’re looking forward to working with Lavender Hill as well as the additional five schools that have been identified to assist learners and the community to fulfil their dreams for a better future.”
Source: SA – the Good News
Caption: Ashwin Willemse, Theresa Kearley and Lyndon Bouah with the Future Crew mural
Rexel’s Auto Feed shredders range was named the ‘Technology Product of the Year’ in the European Office Products Awards (EOPA) 2013. The 12th annual awards ceremony recognising commercial performance, innovation and professionalism for businesses across Europe, took place during Paperworld in Frankfurt recently.
Rexel’s Auto+ range features unique auto-feed technology – ‘Stack, Shut ,Done’. Consumers simply load the paper into the shredder, close the lid and leave the machine to do the rest – so no more time is wasted standing at a shredder feeding paper in batches.
“We are delighted to have won Technology Product of the Year” commented Chris Gaskell, European Director of Channel Marketing, ACCO Brands. “Competing against the latest revolutionary smartphone and tablet technology and ultimately winning the award within this category is a great accomplishment for us. We have redefined the shredder market and developed technology to meet our consumers’ shredding needs whilst delivering our partners improved sales and higher gross profit with increased margin per unit across the EU – this is a true commercial success,” continued Gaskell.
The Auto Feed range consists of the Auto+ 60X, 80X, 100X, 250X and 500X. The addition of Auto+ 175X and Auto+ 750X provides for a more comprehensive range serving every segment of the market – from the personal and small office (1-10 users) to a department and large offices (20+ users) needing to shred up to 750 sheets (80gsm) in one load.
In 2011, Auto Feed shredders made up a 5% of the shredder market share which increased to 17% in 2012*. Furthermore, Auto+ 100X is the best-selling model in the office equipment retail channel in Germany and France and Auto+ 250X is the best-selling model in the UK.
Independent tests have shown that users save up to a staggering 98% of time that is traditionally spent at the shredder. Testing by Intertek**revealed that shredding 500 sheets with a traditional shredder took over 14 minutes, however when using the Auto+ 500X, this time was reduced to just 14 seconds**. What’s more, users no longer need to remove staples and paper clips. This innovative technology saves a great deal of time and effort which in turn drives significant savings for businesses globally.
The larger machines feature a pin coded lid which locks the confidential material to be shredded for maximum security. This technology allows users to set up their own secure pin code which can then be used to lock the lid once the papers are stacked in the machine, ensuring that confidential papers left in the shredder cannot be accessed by anyone other than the specific user.
Mike Stranders, Director of Global Product Marketing, ACCO Brands said “These are truly game changing products driven by consumer insight. Through innovative design and technology, we will save end users’ time, and therefore businesses’ lost productivity, whilst also providing the best overall user experience. The global growth of this range has been phenomenal and we are seeing a significant shift from manual to automated shredding,” concluded Stranders.
More information on ACCO Brands products can be found on www.accobrands.com.
With regards to the latest media reports in terms of the proposed Labour Law amendments, the following is a misinterpretation of the six months clause:
“Further to that, the new Labour law amendments which are in front of parliament to become an Act, states that it will be illegal for Employers to keep Employees in their employment for more than 6 months without employing them as their full time employees and also the bill on equal pay for the work of the equal value.”
We all know that the interpretation is wrong but employers need to be correctly armed with the correct response to this.
What happens to temporary employees through the Temporary Employment Services (TES) after 6 months? Do they become employees?
After consideration of the Act and the statements made by the Department, in essence the employee will be deemed an employee of the company after the 6 month period for the purposes of the Labour Relations Act only.
What this in essence means is that whilst the employees may remain on the TES’s books, these employees may cite both the TES and their client company in a dispute and that the company would not be able to turn around and feign ignorance to avoid liability.
This amounts to joint and several liability and a company’sr risk area is around dismissals. Similarly when the employee (subject to application being limited to those paid under the threshold amount – R183 003) has completed 6 months’ service, then the principles of equal pay for work of equal value shall apply.
That is only where you have an exact comparator in your permanent workforce. Issues like length of service, quantity and quality of output, qualification and experience and any other non-discriminatory factors will justify a differential. Contact your local Express office for more information on employment services.
Express Employment Professionals
Tel: 0861 166 853
Prime located commercial property in Cape Town’s vibrant Green Point and De Waterkant areas in the Western Cape are seeing increased demand with retailers and office users wanting a piece of its upmarket, trendy and ‘lifestyle’-type destination to work in, according to Selwyn Sharon, leasing, sales and investment broker for JHI Properties.
Rental rates range from around R110 to R180 a square metre with 15 coffee shops right on its doorstep, including vibey venues such as Origin Coffee Roasting and Truth Coffee Shop, as well as the Cape Quarter lifestyle shopping centre.
Says Selwyn Sharon: “Looking back over the past two decades, it’s evident that requirements for office accommodation have changed considerably. Businesses want to be located in a pleasing environment with secure parking for their staff and clients. Features they look for include, for example, ‘green’ areas included in the workplace and generally maximum natural light – particularly for creative spaces, a spacious kitchen or recreational area where staff can relax and ‘recharge’, and perhaps even a gym for exercise.
“Having the workplace located in appealing surrounds enables staff to enjoy the convenience of safely walking to coffee shops, retail outlets and the like. An advantage of new office buildings is that they can easily incorporate ‘green’, energy saving features, which further add to the appeal,” he says. “Considering that these days, many people spend a great deal of time at work, often outside what were previously considered conventional working hours, these added comforts become even more important in retaining quality staff,” he adds.
Commenting on the market in general, Sharon says it’s positive to see that the demand for P Grade offices has been recognised by developers, who are moving forward with projects such as Portside, 22 Bree Street and the Media Quarter – the latter which is almost complete. “There has been a pent-up demand for prime office space, particularly when one considers the fact that other than a few buildings such as The Hudson and the Cape Quarter, very few new buildings have been completed in recent years. Now we are seeing major tenants taking up space – FNB has taken half the office space at Portside – which is to become Cape Town’s tallest building (on the corner of Buitengracht Street and Hans Strijdom), a large firm of attorneys is to occupy 22 Bree Street, while there is the new Allan Gray building taking shape in the V&A Waterfront. In addition to this The Atlantic building is being redeveloped in the Foreshore area. Importantly, these new developments or redevelopments further enhance the aesthetic appeal of Cape Town’s central area,” he says.
At The Foundry in Prestwich Street, another trendy office and retail development in Green Point, where Beluga restaurant is situated, two well-positioned 111 and 143 square metre spaces in the courtyard have become available to rent. Sharon reports these are attracting huge interest from potential tenants and an offer on the larger unit is currently being considered by the landlord.
For further information on commercial property to lease or acquire in Cape Town contact Selwyn Sharon on 082 825 3231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you remember the days of “service with a smile” and “the customer is always right”? The days when companies went out of their way to assure customer satisfaction out of pride for their trade and the well-known fact that a happy customer is a returning customer? Those days seem long gone now, don’t they? It appears now that if you want that kind of service you have to pay for it – or do you? This brings me to the subject of ‘tipping’ – paying for service!
Every country you visit has a different etiquette when it comes to whom to tip, how much to tip and when it would be downright rude to offer a tip. In South Africa the tourism, hospitality and service industries often employ people from previously disadvantaged areas within the local community, many of whom do not earn a large basic salary and therefore rely on tips from customers in order to survive financially, but should it be automatic or for a service rendered?
While most people tip at restaurants, many people are confused about how much they should fork out for other services – or whether they should tip at all. Tipping, and determining how much to tip, depends on several factors including the quality, frequency and nature of the service rendered. According to Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute, customers should also consider the “length and strength” of their relationship with the service provider.
When should you, if at all, tip a petrol attendant for example? Well, firstly, I feel they get paid to do a job of work – to put petrol in your car. Now, if they wash your windscreen, does that warrant a tip, or is it part of their job? If the attendant asks if they can check your oil does that warrant a tip?
To keep their job they have to offer better service than the petrol station down the road as they offer the same product at the same price.
In certain states in America for example, full service is provided to every customer at the petrol pump. But, regardless of how friendly and helpful your attendant may be, tipping authorities in US agree that no tip is necessary.
Have you ever tipped the paint salesperson at the hardware store for mixing your paint, or cutting a key? Absolutely not – that’s what they are there for – it’s their job!
One of my favourite discussions revolves around car guards. Firstly, the thought of a “Car Guard” should be the image of a WWF wrestler, or Eastern Block weight lifter, yet alas not; in my local shopping centre most of them look too frail or under-nourished to safeguard my car! I personally tip them out of sympathy – not because they have ‘guarded’ my car; I cannot imagine what they would do if a would-be car thief approached them!
However I am very impressed with a local supermarket in Durban North, who’s ‘parking attendant’ wears a bib stating ‘No tip necessary’ with the store’s name and logo prominently displayed on the bib. He gets paid by the store to watch your car and return trolleys to the store, yet the customer sees it as a free ‘car-guard’.
Back to the hardware store, where recently I purchased a drum of paint, which was carried to my car; when I offered the young man a tip he politely refused stating that it was all part of the service! (I will keep supporting that store!).
When you’re at the airport however, you really need to ensure that you keep baggage handlers on your good side. If you are in strange country, you could find yourself in the wrong terminal so don’t skimp on tips here, as your luggage is worth a lot more than a ‘tip’!
Another phrase which is often used as a cliché, ‘its all part of the Service’; but is it really? As an avid cook and foodie, over the years I have developed a ‘relationship’ with my butcher. Now everyone pays the same price for their meat here, and yes, it costs a little more than the supermarket, yet very few customers ask the Butcher for recipe ideas, suggestions for your next Braai (barbeque) or dinner party; yet this particular Butcher could assist you in making your next gastronomic occasion an event to remember, and it’s All part of the Service.
So, we can discuss the pros and cons of ‘Tipping” and ‘Paying for Service’ until the proverbial cows come home; however my take is fairly simple. If I feel I have received Excellent Service I will reward that Service, be it a few coins for a Parking Attendant, or a bunch of flowers for the Nurse at the clinic, as rewards do not have to be financial! Like my Butcher, I reward him by going back – time and again. I believe that if a business exceeds in its service levels that business will do well, and in turn pay its employees well, otherwise they will lose good people to their opposition, who in turn will grow and succeed!
It is now time to up your game and start delivering Excellent Service in all facets of your business if you want my business!
Company’s that offer loyalty programmes to their customers ensure a baseline of repeat business.
According to Inc., the price of acquiring a new customer can be about 5-10 times more costly than it would be to sell to an existing customer.
The question therefore is: What are you doing to keep your existing customers coming back for more?
THE POINTS SYSTEM
Whether a discount, a gift or some kind of spoil, frequent customers earn points which translate into some kind of reward or a version of cash. Where companies fail at the point system, however, is when the reward system becomes too difficult and tedious to work out.
The national airline carrier South African Airways offers frequent flyer miles to those who use their credit cards for purchases, incentivising their customers to spend by using their card facilities.
Tip: Opting for a points-based loyalty system? Keep the conversion simple.
Most companies struggle to find a balance between attainable and desirable rewards concerning their loyalty programmes.
The tiered system allows businesses to offer small rewards as a base offering for being a part of the programme, and then encourage business from repeat customers by increasing the value of the rewards as the customer moves up the loyalty ladder.
With the tiered system, members do not forget to make use of their points and cannot lose their accumulated points between purchases.
Discovery Vitality is a wellness programme that rewards its members for getting healthier. Every step in the healthy direction improves an individual’s Vitality status and in turn the benefits are received.
Loyalty programmes are meant to break down barriers between customers and your business, and you need to seriously think about charging them a fee.
In some circumstances, customers can bypass common purchase blockers because of a one-time or annual fee, which can prove beneficial for business and customer alike.
eCommerce giant Amazon found a way to combat issues such as “sticker shock”, the after tax and shipping prices, with their loyalty programme called Prime. For US$79 annually, Prime users get free two-day shipping on millions of products with no minimum purchase, among other benefits.
Your customers could possible find more value in rewards that are non-monetary or discounted. It is easy for a company to offer up vouchers and points but the opportunity also exists to really connect with an audience, if the company can provide value to the customer in ways different to money.
Shoprite previously pioneered a sort of nameless loyalty programme which awarded instant airtime for purchases of marked products. Now they’ve done it again, with SA’s first workable mobile couponing initiative, EeziCoupons.
Shoppers can view coupons on their cellphones, purchase those products and enter their WiCode on the pin pad at the till. The total discount is then deducted and the savings revealed at the bottom of the till slips. The WiCode allows punters access to thousands of bucks worth of discounts at once. It also gives Shoprite access to absolutely scads of data about which shoppers want what.
An extremely effective loyalty programme to retain customers and grow the company would be a strategic partnership for customer rewards. These are also known as coalition programmes and can be good for customer retention and company growth.
Tip: Understanding a customer’s habits, lives and their purchase process will help determine which company is a good fit as a partner.
FNB’s reward system, eBucks, is a multi-partner rewards programme. As an eBucks member you can enjoy a variance of rewards for performing every day, mundane tasks. Up to 40% is discounted on a selection of flights, gadgets, shopping vouchers, movies and more. The value added here is that eBucks never expire so saving them could afford you something special.
A cool way to encourage repeat business and guarantee customer retention would be to turn your loyalty programme into a game. It really depends on the game but this type of reward system could solidify your brand’s hip and funky image.
Tip: It needs to be understood that the company is not conning customers out of rewards. This type of loyalty programme has the potential to backfire if customers feel like your company’s messing them around to win business. Executed properly, however, this type of programme could work for almost any type of company,
DITCH THE REWARD PROGRAMME ALTOGETHER
Considering the amount of loyalty programmes that are on offer, one innovative concept would be to scratch the concept completely.
Loyalty can be built by providing awesome benefits to first-time users, hooking them, and offering those benefits with every purchase.
Too simple? Consider one of the most innovative companies on the planet – they implement this strategy: Apple.
Even the most loyal Apple customers are not privy to special rewards or discounts. Why? Because they do not offer them to anybody.
Apple charms, captivates and fascinates customers by delighting them with a product or service the first time. Let’s face it – the product is THAT good. Therefore customer loyalty is usually long-lasting.
Tip: This minimalist approach works best for companies whose products or services are unlike any other. m