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Problem solving the right situation

July 21, 2011

“Sarah doesn’t know what she’s doing”

There are so many situations where we need to apply a bit of thinking and use our interactive skills so that we can resolve a potentially challenging situation. Most often small problems can be quickly sorted out, but at other times we need to use joint problem solving techniques to fix major situations and disruptions in the work place. But before steaming ahead and fixing every situation… be aware… Clarify the situation carefully before you resolve anything.

 “What doesn’t Sarah understand?”

IDENTIFY – is such a crucial stage to problem solving that it’s often overlooked to speed up the process of “fixing things”. Find out what the “Root Cause” is first. This will give you tremendous insight into the situation and gain clarity of the issues at hand.

For example: A manager may be confronted with a situation, of what he believes is one of conflicting personalities between two key employees who are continually “bumping heads” and unable to resolve team issues in a mature manner.

But after running through a process of clarifying the situation the manager realises that neither of the employees have a clear understanding of what the organisations overall goals are, what the key focus areas are and where each persons’ responsibility starts and ends within the organisational structure.

No wonder there’s a fight breaking out!

Because situations come in different forms and complexity, narrowing the situation down to a clear statement of concern provides a useful starting point, but it can be tough to find out what that is.

But here are a few “HR Balance Top Tips” to help.

  •  Look and listen to what is happening around you and what is being said – take note of the “here and now”
  • Allow the discussion to run freely when getting people to talk about the situation
  • Try to capture the situation in a few words free of jargon. Keep it plain and simple
  • The situation MUST capture the major concern and be agreed by those involved.
  • Then go ahead and work on jointly fixing the situation.

Acknowledgement:  Hugo Misselhorn (2011). The Head and Heart of Leadership – Joint Problem Solving.


Skills Development Reports due 30 June 2011

June 7, 2011

No extensions will be granted!

Your company’s Workplace Skills Plan and Annual Training Report is due by NO LATER than 30 June 2011!


We can help you with:

  • Completing and submitting a workplace skills plan (WSP)
  • Completing and submitting an annual training report (ATR)
  • Registering a skills development facilitator with the SETA applicable to your company

Did you know?

  • All companies with a payroll of more than R500 000 per annum are currently required to pay a skills levy of 1% of payroll to their SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority)
  • You can only claim back between 40% – 50% (SETA dependent) of the annual levy if you have submitted your ATR and WSP by 30th June each year.
  • No extensions are allowed – your penalty will be that you will not receive any portion of the 50% grant despite submitting the WSP and ATR to your SETA.
  • The ideal amount of training, as set by DTI is 3% of your payroll and 5% of your total number of employees are learners.
  •  The Department of Labour as a guideline requires that 85% of the training budget should be spent on black people, 54% on women and 4% on disabled employees.
  • Your Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) does not need to be an employee, but can be an external consultant.


For more information, contact Liz or Gia asap.


Threshold Earnings increased (Basic Conditions of Employment Act) as of 1st July 2011

May 19, 2011

Effective 1 July 2011, the threshold earnings for employees who are exempted from certain provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) (e.g. paid overtime) will be increased from R149 736 per annum (= R12 478 per month)  to R172 000 per annum (= R14 333.33 per month).

Employees who earn above this threshold are excluded from certain sections from chapter 2 of the BCEA: for example, sections (9) Ordinary hours of work, (10) Overtime,  (15) Daily & weekly rest periods, (16) Pay for work on Sundays, (18) Public holidays.

Employees earning below the threshold amount, have the full protection of every section of the BCEA. However, those earning above the threshold amount, do not have a legal right to demand anything in respect of the sections listed above. In turn, the employer cannot demand that employees earning over the threshold  must, for example, work unlimited overtime, for no extra pay. The employer and employee must negotiate and agree on working hours, overtime, and work on Sundays and public holidays; and remuneration in respect of working outside of normal hours.

When employing someone who will earn above this threshold; it is therefore advisable to discuss and agree on working hours, remuneration (if any) for any overtime and work on Sundays and public holidays; and to include these conditions in the employment contract.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Reminder: you can download a summary of the BCEA from the Resources page of our website .

Predicted trends for 2011

May 11, 2011

As we move swiftly through the year, companies still have time to review some organisational elements that may enhance or affect employee performance during the 2011. Here are some of the 2011 focus areas:

  1. Increase in job vacancies – Companies will likely start to move into an active hiring space again, as 2010 was slower in the turnaround time in which companies made decisions when it came to hiring. This may have been caused by the global recession and as a result, financial spend was tightened. Many organisations used 2010 as the year of “spring cleaning” allowing them to tidy up policies and procedures and formal structures within their organisations.
  2. Employee mobility – Employees tended to also be a little more conservative in their decision making to make career moves without drastic improvements to their current situations. Will 2011 be the year where employees will actively start to seek alternative employment and employers will need to have effective retention strategies in place?
  3. Salary changes – Salary increases will still be very conservative. CPIX aligned increases will probably be what companies budget for.
  4. Extra benefits – Organisations will still need to address benefits that meet each individual’s motivational needs. This requires more frequent and less formal conversations with employees allowing companies to understand what intrinsically motivates each employee.
  5. Increased performance feedback – Managers will need give more consistent feedback on each employee’s performance, as opposed to just the formal annual appraisals. Open, clear and timely feedback. The more closely the feedback is given to the actual event/ situation the more impactful to enhancing performance.
  6. Mentorship – Increase effective leadership by working closely with individuals to guide and coach them on making effective decisions and delivering results which meet business goals.  This requires companies (management and employees) to have a clear understanding of what the individual needs to achieve and what their goals are.
  7. Leadership development/ successor development –  Many companies do not have a upward flow of strong leadership skills within their talent management stream and therefore there appears to be a gap in the level of next leaders in companies. Yet, nearly every company now has, or potentially can have, four generations of employees under their brand; and so the waiting to train an employee until they are in a position to manage others is no longer desirable or practical.  The Millennial generation (typically born 1980 – 1995) which are the youngest employees in any organisation, requires early and ongoing leadership development training as they prepare to take on retiring Baby Boomers’ (1945 – 1965) responsibilities at a younger age. Companies need to identify dual-career paths which either develop individuals on a technical level or on a management/ leadership level. But will need to move away from promoting their best technical employee into the next leadership role; or promoting the employee who has been there the longest into the next leadership role.
  8. Change in day-to-day management – Managing employees and their projects keeps getting more complex, as global mobility and the number of virtual working teams increase.  As there is an increase in the number of employees working out of their homes, there will need to be a careful maintenance of balance between micromanagement and neglect. Consider flexible working hours and allowing staff to work remotely as employees are increasingly looking for flexibility and being able to work from wherever in order to maintain work-life balance.
  9. Social media – Organisations will need to use social media tools to increase communication with potential employees/ customers and existing customers.
  10. Legislation – Companies will be faced with the effects of new SA legislation eg: Consumer Protection Act and proposed amendments to Labour legislation.

18th May 2011 declared South African Public Holiday

March 16, 2011

The 18th of May 2011 (Wednesday) has been declared a public holiday in South Africa in order to allow voters to participate in local government elections on that day. President Jacob Zuma is permitted to make such a declaration in terms of Section 2A of the Public Holidays Act, 1994.

Reminder – Annual UIF Payment Due

February 21, 2011

Just a quick friendly reminder, that if you pay your Employees’ or Domestic Worker’s UIF annually, it is due before the 7th of March.

For more information on annual UIF payments click here.

Professional HR is within your reach

February 6, 2011

HR Balance offers human resource consulting services and the expertise necessary to develop and fully manage the human resource function within an organisation, while creating a balance between achieving organisational goals and ensuring that employees are feeling connected with their employer.

HR Balance is the perfect alternative for businesses wishing to be compliant with South African labour legislation while maximizing the effectiveness of its human resources to meet business objectives. We can provide all the HR advantages available to the large company, at a fraction of the cost.