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The MHC Blog

Powerful Business Insights for Succesful Leaders

The Importance of HR Compliance

Sometimes it is easy to overlook the importance of human resources and compliance. The HR department is normally one of the last functions to develop fully in a growing Company.  This lack of development and focus can create problems and issues for the Company that would not be there in the first place if you had someone focused solely on HR and compliance.

When Companies first start up, the Founder tends to look after all things “people”.  They are probably using the HR documents and policies from their last (often much larger) Company, swapping out the Company name and imported their new Company logo.  Or possibly completed a quick Google search and found something that looks right and will do.

When the Company grows, and their time is precious, the Founder probably handed over the HR responsibility to their Assistant or to Finance as an additional part time task with the remit to “just keep the Employees happy”.

Random HR processes and documents start to creep in, forming a “mismatch” of HR practices, most of which are not aligned to the Company culture or are compliant to UAE Labour law.  They often are the cause for internal Employee issues as they just “don’t fit”, are not practical to the Company culture or compliant to Labour Law.

Mistakes with Employees contracts or how their employment lifecycle is handled can cost a Company a lot of time and money.  Employees are becoming more educated as to local employment legalities and there are many “no win no fee” legal practices that are only too keen to help Employees get more from their ex-employers.

Compliance with Labour Law and implementing HR best practice reduces the chances of an Employee making a complaint, and should they try, by keeping compliant and keeping documents on Employee files gives the Company the confidence to challenge legal complaints.

Here are 5 reasons why compliant HR practices and processes are required in any Company that has Employees.

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Ever asked yourself this question?  You spend all this time recruiting, hiring, paying for visas, inducting and training new hires only to see them leave within the year.  What are you doing wrong and what are the consequences to your Company if this keeps happening? 

High employee turnover is often the first indication of an unhealthy Company.  Employees rarely stay with a Company that doesn’t treat them well, value their work or appears to be struggling.  They move into self survival mode, spending their time at work looking for new opportunities then leave with a new job to go to before they believe they will be forced to leave.

Its not just struggling Companies that can see high Employee turnover, but also those seeing their Companies scale and grow.  Growth signals success, it creates new opportunities, brings in more customers and generates greater profits.

However, expanding your business isn't without its challenges, and one of these can be increased Employee turnover as the team may;

  • Not be able to keep up with the pace
  • Be unable to stretch themselves to grow at the same pace as the Company
  • Prefer the smaller Company and dislike the informality of a growing Company
  • Be used to work on multiple roles and now are unable to settle into one specific role
  • Have decreased morale as they are asked to do more

Whether your Company is growing or holding stable, having an engaged workforce should put employee turnover on hold and allow you to plan or implement business growth.

But why is employee engagement so important and how do you measure it?

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Recruiting right first time

Recruiting for a key position within your Company is a difficult and time-consuming task.  Employers currently have the luxury of many immediately available candidates.  Vacancy adverts on LinkedIn see 1,000’s of CVs pouring in, Companies should be spoilt for choice.  However, this is rarely the case.

Gone are the days where there were huge numbers of highly experienced candidates, just many, many candidates.  Job roles are narrowing and evolving, meaning that there are a smaller number of qualified candidates available.  These “unicorn” candidates are very fussy with many options open to them, making them very demanding. 

This adds to the complexity of the recruitment task.  Recruiters need to quickly find the qualified candidates in the 1,000’s of CV, then work quickly to get them interviewed and onboard to join.  Companies are joining beauty pageants, they need to be the most attractive option available to the best qualified Employee to “win” their agreement to join.

A major drawback of this kind of pressure to hire is that Companies can get so carried away with the need to hire a specific candidate, they put all the best practice recruitment steps to one side and can end up hiring badly.

According to Forbes, the U.S. Department of Labour puts the cost of a bad hire at 30% of the annual salary for that position. In the UAE the cost of a bad hire is much higher as we need to factor in the cost of visa and potentially the relocation costs of the candidate.

McKinsey & Co. states that hiring a ‘top performer’ over an ‘average performer’ yields up to 67% more productivity and profit.

There is a lot at stake every time you fill a position at your Company. Here are six other benefits you will enjoy if you hire the right candidate the first time around.

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Why does it have to be so complicated?

There is no denying that technology has advanced at a pace, making it easier for Companies to update Company websites and Apps on their own, without the need for external professional help. 

Ordering and requesting services on line is normal, the need for human contact is minimising as the world evolves.  This is often referred to as the reason why the high street is slowly dying as customers look to simplify their lifestyles, ordering food and clothes from the comfort of their own homes.

In a study by Google in August of 2012, researchers found that not only will users judge websites as beautiful or not within 1/50th – 1/20th of a second, but also that “visually complex” websites are consistently rated as less beautiful than their simpler counterparts.

This want for simplicity and ease of use this is where Companies can miss a trick.  Their websites and Apps may be designed on aesthetics rather than customer ease of use.

Let me give you an example from this week that proves the point.  Booking seats at the cinema.

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4. How Being on Time and Being Organised Can Help You Succeed

There are a lot of different factors that come into play when it comes to being successful. Today, let’s focus on two of them (being organised and being on time) that can make a huge difference in your day-to-day life.

Think back on some of the most successful people you’ve met in your own life. The chances are they were good at both of these - organised and being on time.

There’s a reason why both of these factors will make such a big difference when it comes to being successful.

Both being on time and organised can help you make the best possible use of your time and energy. When referring to energy, it includes both mental and physical energy.

We have a limited supply of both along with being restricted to 24 hours on a given day. In other words, both time and energy are limited resources. What being on time and staying organised helps with is making the most of those resources and focusing them on tasks and activities that help us reach the goals that define success.

There are two different ways in which being both on time and organised will help you succeed. Let’s look at both of them and then briefly discuss how to get better at them.

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3. Success does not Happen Overnight – Be Patient and Persistent

I’m tired of hearing about overnight successes, aren’t you?

Sure, it makes for a great headline when an unknown band has a hit song, an author hits the bestseller list, or a guy at the office moves up into management in record time. It makes for an interesting story. 

In an ideal world, we all want to reach our goals and become smashing successes overnight without all the hard work, tears, and sweat. But there’s a problem with that narrative.

Nine times out of ten, that overnight success was decades in the making. We just don’t often hear about it because it’s not the exciting part of the story. The authors who hit it big with their first published book has spent years crafting their skill. They’ve had dozens of manuscripts and drafts rejected before hitting it big with their overnight success.

The same goes for your favorite band, actor, director, and even the guy doing what you’re doing, who seems to climb the ladder of success much faster, skipping rungs along the way.

In the business world it took Apple and Starbucks over 20 years to Scale Up!

Success doesn’t happen overnight, and you shouldn’t expect it to happen for you. It takes work and time. That’s why some of the best basic success skills you can develop are patience and persistence.

The two work hand in hand. If you can make yourself chip away and make a little progress every single day, and have the patience to wait for that work to accumulate, you will be able to reach even the loftiest goals.

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Success Part 2: Prioritisation and other Success Skills

I’m going to let you in on a secret. You can’t do it all, and you can’t have it all. We are all limited to 24 hours per day and our energy to accomplish things during that time is limited as well. It’s also why it’s important to get good at prioritisation when it comes to success. This idea of choosing what to do when and what to focus on “right now” comes into play in a few different ways.

Following last week’s blog, I want to take a look at 3 areas that we should consider when prioritising for success and suggest 10 Success Skills that are helpful for us to develop to enable us to achieve whatever success means for each of us.

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Success Part 1: Do You Know What Being Successful Means to You?

We want to be successful. We want to live meaningful and fulfilling lives and have the material and financial means to do so. It’s part of our human nature to want to be successful.

But what exactly does this mean?

How do you know if you’re successful, on your way to success, or failing?

How do you know when you’ve become successful and can start to relax and enjoy what you’ve worked so hard to accomplish?

To answer all these questions, you have to define what being successful means to you. There is no right or wrong answer. It is different for every one of us.

For some, it means getting a coveted position at work. Someone else may define success as being able to build their dream house. Another person may define success a being able to travel the world. Another person will measure it in dollars in the savings account or total net worth.

Success will also mean something different in different areas of your life. Think of success in terms of work, relationships, and health for example.

To be successful at work and to be successful in your marriage, for example, can be two entirely different things. In some cases, they may even contradict each other.

To do well at work and be considered for a promotion, you may have to be willing to put in long hours and bring home files to work on at night or in the evening.

The same holds true when you’re building your own business. These extended working hours can cause tension in a relationship if your significant other starts to feel neglected or they have to take on too many responsibilities at home.

In short, there’s a lot to consider and think about when it comes to success. At the same time, it’s essential that you do this thinking and define what it means to you to be successful, in all areas of your life.

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Love what you do for a living

Do you jump out of bed in the morning, ready to face the day and get to work? Or are you lying in bed after the alarm goes off, dreading having to face another 8-hour day, another trip to the office?

Waking up with dread in the morning doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. What makes the difference is having a purpose and finding your passion. Once you have done this, suddenly you can’t wait to jump out of bed in the morning. When you’re following your passion then work isn’t just work, it’s something fulfilling and exciting that you look forward to doing.

You don’t need the demotivation of having a boss looking over your shoulder, your colleague waiting on that report, or the Company politics.  Instead there is a strong internal motivator that helps you get things done. And it’s a lot more powerful than any pressure from your boss or the promise of financial rewards.

But how do you do this?  Here are a few considerations to help point you in the right direction:

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Distraction frustrations!

How the mind can wander.  Maintaining concentration whilst trying to work is so difficult in this world of social multimedia and open plan offices.  Everything seems to light up and make different chimes to alert us to updates, its no wonder that the Telegraph published in 2015 a report that showed Employees waste 759 hours each year due to workplace distractions – in the 3 years since the report was published, this figure will only have increased.

The worst mistake I ever made was putting “Facebook messenger” on my phone - today it’s been lighting up every 15 seconds whilst a messenger group I am in (for all the right reasons) records a gossipy conversation that should really have taken place over a coffee with just the 2 people concerned.

Its my own fault, here I am, working from home trying very hard to concentrate on complicated spreadsheet, I should have the phone turned over, or put in a different room, but as its virtually an extension of my left hand that’s not possible and plus, if I am honest, I am looking for a distraction to blame to relieve the brain ache. 

Result, its taking me a lot longer to complete the piece of work plus on rechecking I keep finding silly continuity errors.

So just how do you avoid the distractions that surround us?

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From Founder to CEO

You took the decision to quit your full time corporate job to become your own boss.  To make this life changing plan, you probably had an entrepreneurial sprit that was restrained in your salaried job - you took the risk and it worked out!

Today you are now a business owner, taking the new company from an employee of one (you) working out of your spare room or a corner reclaimed in your bedroom and now have grown the Company to include employees, an office, clients, a P&L, VAT returns and a whole heap of additional responsibilities. 

Congratulations, you have succeeded where many have failed.  The challenges do not stop here though.  You are now at the helm of a growing business and quickly approaching a crossroads. At some point in the not too distant future, your business will become too big and will require you to rethink how you direct the Company.

Your leadership style will need to change to keep growing the Company, you can no longer manager the team as a Founder, working in the business by getting hands deep into the day to day work.  You now need to step back, take a breath and start leading the Company onto your intended vision.

But how do you do this? 

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Recently Amazon founder Jeff Bezos published his annual letter to shareholders.  After commending Amazon employees for their commitment to excellence and Amazon customers for pushing him and his team to continue raising the bar, he delivered a lesson in how to stay ahead of customer expectations. 

It all comes down to maintaining high standards. 

In fact, Jeff seems obsessed with high standards, reading his memo in full, he repeats this phrase so many times I lost count!  But you cannot argue with facts.  As Jeff states:

“The American Customer Satisfaction Index recently announced the results of its annual survey, and for the 8th year in a row customers ranked Amazon #1. The UK have a similar index, The U.K. Customer Satisfaction Index, put out by the Institute of Customer Service, for the 5th time in a row Amazon U.K. ranked #1 in that survey.

Amazon was also just named the #1 business on LinkedIn’s 2018 Top Companies list, which ranks the most sought after places to work for professionals in the US. And just a few weeks ago, Harris Poll released its annual Reputation Quotient, which surveys over 25,000 consumers on a broad range of topics from workplace environment to social responsibility to products and services, and for the 3rd year in a row Amazon ranked #1.”

Results to be proud of, but how does Amazon do this?


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Employee engagement drives great customer service


When you think of marketing, you more than likely think of marketing to your customers, how can you persuade more people to buy what you sell? But another “market” is just as important are your employees, the very people who can make the brand come alive for your customers through their engagement with their Company.

Why is employee engagement so important? It is the best way to help employees make a powerful emotional connection to the products and services you sell. Without that connection, employees are likely to undermine the expectations set by your advertising.

When the purpose of your company is "to help create a world where you can belong anywhere", your employees ought to feel they belong in your Company. At least that's what the leaders of Airbnb believe. And this belief explains why they place so much importance on the Employee Experience (EX).

EX is the critical strategy that Airbnb relies on to build its brand and pursue its purpose. In 2016, the company adopted the slogan "Belong Anywhere" to express its brand identity and launched the "#belonganywhere" brand campaign. Airbnb’s leaders believed these efforts needed to represent more than an external idea, the concept of belonging needed to apply inside the company as well.

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Keeping your promises

Promises matter to customers. If your brand doesn’t deliver what you promise, in time you won’t matter. More importantly, in our social media crazed world, disgruntled customers have open media to spread the word over resulting in instant ramifications to the credibility and trajectory of your brand’s perceived value.

Have you ever been promised a level of service from a Company only to be hugely disappointed when they don’t follow through?  The Company may even have incorporated the brand promise into their corporate advertising which may have been the reason why you choose them over the competition. How did you feel when that promise was broken? Upset, disappointed, angry?

For the Company involved, is a broken brand promise that big a deal? You got the business, does it matter if you didn’t quite come up to expectations?  What’s the worst that can happen if you delivered a bit later than you said you would or your customer didn’t quite get the results they expected?

Why is a brand promise so important?

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Personal data management

In an age of social media, our new ease with over oversharing and giving personal information to complete strangers without thinking about it, never has personal data management been more in the spot light.  

We think nothing of shouting to the world what used to be deeply personal information.  How many of us have posted how excited we are to be at the airport heading on holiday for 2 weeks, giving no thought to the fact that we may have previously posted photos of our homes or may even have put into Facebook set up screens our home address, homes that are now empty and open to social media searching burglars to empty at their leisure – they know where you live, where you are now and when you are back, by the time you are posting that you are back at the airport heading home your house is an empty shell.

 When was the last time you checked your social media security settings and just how safe is the data we give to sites and Apps?  How much data can Companies gather from our innocently accessing Wi-Fi in coffee shops? Will the introduction of GDPR close down data mining loopholes?

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