The MHC Blog

Powerful Business Insights for Succesful Leaders
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WHY CAN'T I KEEP MY TEAM?

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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HIGH STANDARDS OBSESSION

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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The BC employee trap

Anyone who has had responsibility for a team will probably have had to deal with a BC player at some time.  A BC player is someone that is performing in their role at the right level, potentially performing over and above your expectations, however, they are a square peg in a round hole.  They just don’t fit for whatever reason and because of this they are rubbing you and the rest of the team up the wrong way. 

 BC players are difficult characters to manage but manage them you must, or you will fall into the trap of showing that results are more important than the culture of your Company.

 Here are 3 traps that show how it’s easier to retain than deal with a BC player:

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When do you deal with poor performance?

Over my 30+ years of experience within the HR field, I have often been confused by Managers frustrations over their poor performing employees.  In my experience, Managers tend to hold off dealing with poor performance, keeping the issues to themselves in the hope that the employee will miraculously improve saving them the effort to have the tricky conversation to deal with it. 

The first HR tend to hear about a non-performing employee is when their Manager has been pushed to the limited of their patience and wants “them out immediately”, pushing their frustrations onto HR who simply ask about the performance management or disciplinary processes they have followed to help support this request. 

HR don’t tend to write these policies and processes for the good of our health, they are there to help deal with situations like this, protecting the Company from tribunals and the Employee from discrimination.  However, I admit these processes do require some effort from the Manager, I’ll also admit that conversations like these are not easy to have.

Here are 5 ideas on dealing with poor performance as soon as it rears its head:

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The importance of onboarding part Two

 Onboarding programs are the first touch a new Employee makes with your Company. First impressions count, if a new Employee encounters confusion and chaos during their first week on the job, they probably won’t form the most favourable opinion of you and your Company. 

 The statistics cannot be argued with:

  • 91% of employees stay for at least a year when Companies have efficient onboarding processes
  • 69% of them stick around for at least three years when companies have well-structured onboarding programs

 
To make a great impression and set new Employees up for success, you must be deliberate in creating a plan that ensures they'll be engrossed in the culture and their responsibilities in no time......

How much attention are you giving to your Company’s own onboarding program? Is it as effective as you want it to be? 

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The importance of Onboarding Part One

Imagine the picture, you have spent many months recruiting for a key vacancy, reviewing multiple CVs, interviewing questionable candidates, narrowing it down to the chosen few, arranging final interviews with key team members, conducting psychometrics, finally agreeing on the right candidate for the role and Company and preparing the formal offer of employment.

Then begins the hard work, potentially negotiating on salary and benefits, gathering all their required document, including now the need for an attested certificate of good conduct, a new requirement here in the UAE - waiting for candidate’s old visa cancelation, obtaining the new work permit, and confirming the start date once it’s through.

Phew! 

A lot of work and of course time – and as we all know, time equals money.  So, all done, time to step back, pat yourself on the back and mark this down as a job completed on your to do list! Unfortunately, not.

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In pursuit of perfection

Companies looking to fill their vacancies will already know this, currently there are a lot of potential candidates looking for a new role, it’s an Employers “buyers’ market!”

Given the luxury of a large pile of CVs arriving for each vacancy posted, I have recently noticed that Companies are becoming increasingly fussy, looking for a 150% fit to an advertised role, rejecting candidates because they don’t tick all the boxes of the job description. 

They seem happy to delay filing a role, leaving it vacant (probably doing the role themselves) until they have found the ideal candidate, taking the risk that not filling the role with the perfect employee is better than having someone in place that can do most of the tasks but needs your time and effort to settle them in.

Part of me completely understands this thought process.  In an ideal world, having someone join the Company with their running shoes on allowing them to hit the ground sprinting is utopia - however the reality does come with many challenges, perfection is hard, if not impossible, to find, meaning that the role could stay vacant delaying your Company growth while you work yourself into the ground doing 2 or 3 roles yourself.

So how do you fill key roles in todays market?  Here are a few ideas and observations:

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Can’t afford to give a pay rise?

As we were busy welcoming in January 1st 2018, businesses were, overnight, increasing their price points on everything (food, drink, clothes, services) by 5% to fall into compliance with the new VAT regulations.  This increase excludes any new year increases which were also applied.  The UAE is now 5%+ more expensive to live and work in. 

So, did salaries increase in line with these cost of living uplifts? The simple answer for many small and medium businesses is no, they just cannot afford to keep up with the increases in cost of living.  The VAT Companies are now charging on invoices raised and are paid back to the Government quarterly, making cash flow management a top priority, but Companies are not 5% richer, a point missed potentially by their workforce.

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How to inspire your team for a successful 2018

We are just a few weeks away from the end of 2017, you should be very close to achieving the targets and critical numbers you planned to reach by year end and in fact, you should already have written your 2018 business plan. 

2017 has been another tough business year, and with the introduction of VAT next year, 2018 is likely to provide some interesting dynamics and no doubt distractions.  The success of your Company will in the most part have been down to your leadership and management of your team and their support and commitment to you these past 12 months. 

The importance of bringing a team together to work together is something that is often talked about but rarely implemented. Strong leadership is one of the elements that will ensure a team stays together and continues to be efficient. By developing good leadership skills, you will avoid issues such as high staff turnover, micromanagement, conflict in the workplace, and low productivity. As a result, your actions and behaviour determine your team’s success. Here are five ways to inspire your team in 2018.

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Getting new business contacts

Finding new business is a constant focus for Company owners.  Depending on your deliverables and/or services, you cannot rely on repeat business alone to keep sales coming in.  Competition is tough and continuously snapping at our heels, so to keep the sales pipeline filled up is a goal for everyone in the Company to focus on, not just the Sales Team.

One of the things the Middle East is great at is networking – everyone seems to know someone in this region and so this allows you to focus your networking skills to get new connections working for you.  To do this, it’s very important that you have a clear and concise message that is easily understood and explained.

 

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What we can learn from other generations

We are a small business, with our team of 2 being born in different generations (late Baby Boomer and early Gen X).  We were both brought up by the Traditionalist Generation and, being close in years, have very similar views in our business approach.

We are also lucky to work with many Companies and across many different generations.  As their business coaches, we can install into them the habits we have learnt over many years of corporate life and the younger business leaders are teaching us business hacks that their generation take for granted.

One of the Companies we are grateful to work with are a UK based start-up Company called Upward Fitness & Wellbeing. Both owners fall into the Gen Y / Millennial generation and it’s fair to say that there has been learning from both sides.  We act as their business coach and they act as our personal fitness trainer and nutritional coaches.  We manage this business relationship whilst being based in 2 different countries, over 7,700 km apart, different time zones and working weeks!

So how do we manage the joint coaching relationship? Let us share how we do this and how this relates to our personal education from the “millennial kids”!

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VAT 101

We had such a great response to the VAT article posted on 1st October, thank you to those that took the time to email us. 

 What the response did bring to our attention that many of you are confused as to what VAT is, so we thought it would be a good idea to provide a layman’s overview to VAT, what it is and what we, as business owners, need to do. 
This article is written with our Financial strategic partner expert, Caroline Thevenot of CTC Consultancy.

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Hiring for growth

Scaling a business is a difficult and often painful process that requires a great deal of time and focus.  When you first start up a business, it’s your baby, your creation.  When you first start out you tend to be the entire workforce as there isn’t anyone to delegate to!  You work as the Sales Manager, Business Development Manager, Operations Manager, Administration Manager etc as well as being the founder, CEO and general dogsbody. 

But as your business starts to grow, you need to add to the team.  You are no longer able to do everything so it’s time to hire team members.  I have spoken previously about making sure you hire the right people to your team; this blog is covers 5 pitfalls of hiring for growth:

 

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Heads up …. VAT is coming. Joint blog by Claire Donnelly and Caroline Thevenot

I don’t know about you, but since the headline that VAT is coming to the UAE, I have basically had my head buried deep in the sand hoping it would go away or be delayed for another couple of years by which time I may be out of my denial state!

But there is no avoiding it now, VAT is coming, effective from 1st January 2018, and its time now for me and anyone else out there acting like an ostrich to get our heads out of the desert and start finding out exactly what we must do and by when.

I did attempt to find out more details and was amazed at how little confirmed information there seemed to be out there to answer some pretty basic questions.  However, I did find out the following:

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