Re-engage your people before it’s too late

Re-engage your people before it’s too late

Inspire and connect with your employees before the fatigue and disconnect impact their work lives significantly 

The world has not yet left the COVID-19 pandemic behind and so remote working, disconnected workplaces, masks and distancing remain a constant for the foreseeable future. This means that your employees run the risk of suffering from work from home (WFH) fatigue and experiencing challenges around productivity, engagement and disconnect. According to Nicol Myburgh, Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, now is the time to gauge where people are, unpack the problem areas, and find ways of making life easier for your employees.

“It’s important to pinpoint issues and find out why your employees are struggling, what areas are impacting on their productivity, and why they feel out of touch,” he adds. “At the moment, most people are fed up and want their routines, lives and workplaces back to normal. But this isn’t going to happen any time soon so organisations need to find ways to support people throughout the next year.”

One of the biggest challenges to employee satisfaction right now is the lack of routine. WFH fatigue is caused by most people leaping from the standard 8am-5pm with lunch breaks and desk breaks to working 6am-11pm, seven days a week. The sudden removal of boundaries and work hours has meant that many employees are working harder and longer than they should, and this is now starting to affect their performance.

People are burned out and tired

People are burned out and tired, but many don’t recognise the symptoms or understand how they’ve reached this point,” explains Myburgh. “The business needs to enforce regular working hours, provide people with working structure from within their homes, and give people a chance to disengage and relax. This is really important right now, or you run the risk of losing people to long periods of mental and physical recuperation.”

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem, it’s a good idea to offer employees access to a staff psychologist who can help them unpack their issues and find their way forward. Also consider introducing social sessions on Teams or other networking platforms, as these will allow people to unwind in an informal setting while remaining connected with their colleagues. Connection is important, and can be cultivated with the judicious use of online sessions, meetings and even colleague ‘speed dating’.

“We use an app that connects people in the business to one another,” says Myburgh. “It makes appointments for different people to connect and allows people to get to know one another outside of the office and the onslaught of digital information. It’s a very easy way of helping people get to know all other employees in a company without putting pressure on them or making it too invasive. This is a great way of breaking the ice and reducing that sense of disconnect.”

From staff socials to a staff psychologist to ongoing recognition and respect, businesses need to look at inventive ways of connecting with their people and helping them through the new normal. This will help people to recognise symptoms of burnout, adjust their workstyles intelligently, and form connections in spite of the enforced distances.

 

Discriminating against pregnant women

Discriminating against pregnant women

Pregnancy discrimination can take many forms, but women need to know that they’re protected and businesses need to know that they should cease and desist 

There have been plenty of horror stories about how women have lost their jobs, been actively pushed out of companies, or treated unfairly because they’ve fallen pregnant. However, few realise that there is basic legislation in place that protects them from unfair labour practices and from being dismissed because they happen to be carrying a baby. According to Nicol Myburgh, Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, there are loops and gaps in the legislation that both company and employee need to look out for.

“An employee is entitled to four consecutive months of maternity leave that can commence any time from four weeks prior to their expected date, or earlier if mandated by a GP, and they must be offered suitable employment on terms and conditions no less favourable than those of their existing employment during their pregnancy and for six months after birth,” he explains. “However, the regulations do state that these regulations must be adhered to if it is ‘practicable to do so’ and this is what opens up the gap.”

What gap? What defines ‘practicable’? What is reasonable? A company may turn to a pregnant employee and say she cannot stay in her job because it’s untenable for her to remain in that role – she cannot fully function in her hired job in that company. The company can then state that the person is not adhering to the terms and conditions outlined in her employment contract and dismiss her on those grounds. But this is not the only risk…

Some companies still discriminate against pregnant women

“It can go a lot of ways,” says Myburgh. “A company could say that they considered a person’s role and didn’t think it was a danger to her or her child, even if it is obviously so, with the intent of pushing her to a point where she has to resign. Companies can make life very difficult for people if they want to get rid of them. The problem is that proving constructive dismissal is extremely difficult and the onus is on the employee to prove it, not the employer.”

Women who are concerned about their rights should speak to a human resources professional, or the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) to unpack exactly what they are entitled to when pregnant and how to achieve those rights legally. If they feel they are being discriminated against, they need to document everything and ensure they follow the internal chain of command so that they have a paper trail proving that they have tried to resolve the situation.

“It’s a controversial conversation and it is deeply unfortunate that some companies still discriminate against pregnant women,” concludes Myburgh. “Fortunately, there are also organisations out there that care about their staff, giving them full salary, putting them on light duty and offering amazing benefits. There will always be those companies that do as little as possible, but they run the risk of losing not only their reputation but also great people to other companies that do their best for their people.”

Dealing with bullying and stigma of the pandemic

Dealing with bullying and stigma of the pandemic

How to manage the bullying and toxicity that can arise in the workplace if an employee contracts COVID-19 

The pandemic has introduced an entirely new frame of social reference to the world. People are learning new ways of working, engaging with one another, and managing social interactions and engagements. These are not normal times. However, in many cases, workplaces have become toxic and unpleasant environments for people who have been diagnosed with the disease. Fellow employees turning against colleagues who have potentially brought infection into their space, and leadership discriminating against those who have presented with symptoms. According to Nicol Myburgh, Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, people are hyperaware and hypervigilant, which can lead to bullying or unpleasant workplace behaviour, but this can be managed with legislation and discussion.

“Any form of bullying in the workplace, be it due to the virus or any other reason, is a form of discrimination and the employee has legal recourse,” he explains. “Nobody is allowed to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of gender, race, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, sexual orientation, HIV status, political opinion or any other factor, including COVID-19.”

The Employment Equity Act and Disaster Management Act clearly indicate that the business has to “take steps to ensure that the employee is not discriminated against on grounds of having tested positive for COVID-19 (S6 EEA)”.  This section within the Act clearly discusses discrimination in terms of the pandemic, and indicates that employees are protected in the event of them contracting the disease. This equally means that the workplace has to put measures in place that protect people from being bullied by other employees, or managers, if they come down with the disease.

If someone is experiencing discrimination or bullying,

If someone is experiencing discrimination or bullying, then they would have a really good case,” says Myburgh. “They could lodge a dispute with the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) and the outcome would likely be in their favour. To mitigate this – both the bullying and the risk of being taken to the CCMA – organisations should run an internal investigation to determine the legitimacy of the person’s claim, and make employees aware of the risks.”

For those who are experiencing discrimination, the process is clear and is designed to try to resolve the problem at the lowest possible level first, and then move upwards through the leadership chain until either resolution is reached, or the person seeks mediation elsewhere. So, if you’re experiencing discrimination as a result of being tested positive for COVID-19, start the process with your line manager or with the company’s dedicated COVID-19 manager (if you have one), and raise your concerns.

“If you’ve exhausted all internal dispute resolution methods, only then escalate your case to the CCMA,” concludes Myburgh. “This will allow you to resolve issues internally, minimise the toxicity, and potentially ensure that you retain a comfortable working environment. While discrimination against people with COVID-19 is still relatively rare, this is still an important factor for every business to consider and plan for.”

Managing retrenchments in tough economic times

Managing retrenchments in tough economic times

The CCMA is receiving record numbers of retrenchment referrals, thanks to the pandemic 

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) received 28 000 retrenchment cases from May to June 2020 during the lockdown. In August it revealed that it had received 190 large-scale retrenchment referrals and 1 307 small-scale retrenchment referrals in that month alone. While the numbers may be slowly dropping as the lockdown eases, it is important that organisations have a clear understanding of the regulations that come with retrenchment and how to ensure that both employee and business are protected. According to Nicol Myburgh, Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, there are a lot of considerations that go with retrenchment and a Section 189 dismissal, and it is critical that these are carried out in accordance with the letter of the law.

“It is a very difficult time for business – the lockdown has exacerbated an already fragile economy and many companies are struggling and going into retrenchment procedures,” he explains. “However, retrenchment is complex and there are pitfalls that need to be avoided so as to not end up falling foul of the CCMA and the law.”

The role of the CCMA is to mediate the process of retrenchment and ensure it is done fairly and correctly. The role of the business is to ensure that the paperwork and regulations are adhered to so that employees are taken care of correctly. Companies have to know how to undertake this process properly, clearly outlining the financial reasons and issues that have brought them to this point.

“Companies need to know the ins and outs of retrenchment regulations and paperwork,” says Myburgh. “Retrenchments are 99% procedural, so if you miss a step or do something wrong, you are immediately procedurally unfair and the CCMA will grant an arbitration award to the employee.”

Embarking on a retrenchment process

The first step the business needs to take is to issue a Section 189 letter that informs employees that you’re embarking on a retrenchment process. There are 21 items that have to be covered in this letter and if even one is missing, you’re putting your business at risk.

Once you’ve released the letter, you can then set a date for consultations and this is when you will need to discuss the retrenchment process with employees, and sometimes unions. Any discussions and negotiations have to be put in writing, otherwise you are opening yourself up to complications. Once these processes have been completed, you will need to make specific payments at a specific time, and you have to provide people with very clear deadlines and notice periods.

It’s a little-known fact that the principle of Last In, First Out is not one that the business is forced to adhere to. Many companies believe that they’re locked in to this method and have to get rid of the last people they hired. This is not true. There are different methods for retrenchment that do not involve you having to dismiss your top performers. You can manage this process by working with a consultant who can help you identify the best route through the retrenchment process and help you manage morale, paperwork and procedure as carefully as possible.

“As much as it’s an extra cost at a time when costs are tight, it’s worth getting a consultant to help you go through retrenchment processes so you are completely aligned with the law,” concludes Myburgh. “If you’re not a specialist, it can be daunting to follow each employee case and ensure that every box is correctly ticked and that both business and employees are protected. A specialist will not only support you in getting the paperwork right, but will help you manage your people and processes correctly.”

We also have a comprehensive retrenchment kit available for download from our shop. The kit consist of retrenchment information and procedures in accordance with the Labour Relations Act. A step-by-step guide and documentation templates are also included.

Automating transparency with intelligence

Automating transparency with intelligence

Putting a smart eye on process management to ensure that the balls stay in the air when it comes to employee, activity and customer

There has been an increased emphasis on building and managing remote workforces in the wake of the global pandemic. The remote workforce that’s dispersed across thousands of sites is now disconnected and distant, in need of solutions that allow for greater connection and communication. People need to know who is doing what, and why. Business leaders need to know what eyes sit on what project, and admin teams need to know where information lies. Which is why, according to Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies, companies should look to solutions that empower user insight across the projects and processes, and provide big-picture views that improve visibility and productivity.

“CRS Technologies has developed a product called iProcess which sits within one of our bigger solutions called iConnect,” he explains. “It’s designed to help companies manage their teams more effectively during remote and diverse working, and to track certain processes within a company.”

iProcess is exactly what the name suggests, a process management system that ensures companies don’t drop the ball when it comes to the execution of critical activities within their organisation. It also ensures seamless customer interactions, captures information in an ongoing process to ensure relevant insights and data, and is scalable across multiple company sizes. iProcess has been designed to facilitate visibility across multiple teams and locations, improving collaboration and creating customised processes that can be implemented across different silos and departments.

“It’s very easy for information to get lost in the traffic, especially if there’s limited communication between teams,” says McAlister. “Using this technology, you can set up an entire process and allow the team to work through it which means that everyone is on board and has line of sight from the outset. The platform allows people to see what needs to be done and to move things around to optimise workflows.”

iProcess was tested in the fires of real world working

The product was developed out of CRS Technologies’ own challenges. It was built to address the complexities within the company and its diverse workforce, and evolved into a platform that was capable of handling multiple requirements and could be customised to suit varied environments.

“It has improved our own client and internal processes significantly,” says McAlister. “Not only in terms of supporting our people who are working from home, but also when it comes to project flow and performance. We’ve seen a marked improvement in how people work and deliver to their deadlines as a result of this tool – it has really stood us in good stead throughout 2020.”

iProcess was tested in the fires of real world working and has the functionality to support companies of different sizes and from different sectors. It has been developed to give users the ability to always know what is going on in the business, to optimise the every day, and to transform transparency for improved collaboration and engagement.

Nicol Myburgh

The Ethics of Employee Tracking

Tracking employee behaviour and movement online may fit in legal loopholes, but not ethical ones

There are technologies that allow organisations to monitor employees through their webcams, email and networks. On the surface, these are tools that allow companies to minimise the risks associated with remote working, preventing poor performance and abuse of company equipment. But according to Nicol Myburgh, Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, if a company has to resort to such subterfuge to get the job done, then it has far bigger problems to deal with.

“We have a very different take on remote monitoring tools and solutions,” he says, speaking at a webinar hosted by CRS Technologies. “Let’s put the criminality element aside and look at the impact that these will have on employee morale and what the company should be looking at instead.”

If you don’t trust an employee to do the job they were hired to do without being constantly watched, then the issue is less the remote working and more the relationship itself. Instead of watching and making sure that someone sits at their desk eight hours a day, from eight to five, best practice is to measure their performance based on their outcomes. If they have achieved their outcomes for the day, does it matter whether they did them from seven to twelve or six to ten? It shouldn’t.

The ethics of switching on an employee camera to watch them

“The ethics of switching on an employee camera to watch them is a big concern, especially when you don’t know what they’re doing at home,” says Myburgh. “Plus, legislation introduced by POPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act) essentially tells the business that employers can’t process personal information from employees without their explicit consent. And consent is defined as giving conscientious consent for a specific purpose – if an employee hasn’t agreed to their camera being turned on, then that would be against the Act.”

There are better ways to build a culture of committed working than to monitor, track and observe. Instead, give people clarity into their roles so they know what’s expected from them and give them KPIs that help them understand where they fit in the company and the role they play in its success.

“People need to know that they add value and what is expected of them,” concludes Myburgh. “Involve people in the company, let them see they are valued, recognise their hard work, and make them part of something, instead of monitoring their every move. Not only is the latter ethically dubious, but it’s legally risky too.”

Click here to watch the webinar.

Remote office challenges, and how to beat them

Remote office challenges, and how to beat them

Yes, remote working has its pitfalls, but they aren’t impossible obstacles on the road to business productivity 

There is one essential thing that defines a successful remote working relationship between employee and organisation – trust. Without it, there will always be concerns around employee performance, productivity and reliability. The ‘dog ate my homework’ excuses of ‘My PC has crashed’ or ‘My Wi-Fi is down’ or ‘I can’t log in’, that are trotted out when a person would rather finish their Netflix marathon than that overdue project. The problem is, these are genuine excuses for many people which makes it difficult for the business to distinguish the truth from the lies.

“It’s difficult to determine if someone is genuinely having problems or if they’re simply making excuses,” says Nicol Myburgh Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit. “Is it real? Is it fake? Many of these problems are legitimate and it’s unfair to cast a negative light on an employee who is genuinely stressed about being unable to do their job.”

Fortunately, there are some steps that the business can take to minimise the suspicion and reduce the risk while giving employees the benefit of the doubt. The first is to look at the person themselves. Have they been an exemplary performer in the past? Are they usually very good at getting the job done? Or did they work badly at the office and this behaviour is repeating itself at home? Often, if a person had no work ethic at the office, they won’t have one when working remotely either.

Work on an outcomes-based system

“You can use employee monitoring tools to establish whether or not they’re working; these can be used legally in specific situations to manage time and performance,” adds Myburgh. “You can also work on an outcomes-based system that isn’t focused on how long a person spends at their desk but rather on how well they’ve achieved their outcomes. If they’re not working today but have achieved all of their outcomes, then this shouldn’t be a crisis for the company.”

Engaged employees who enjoy their jobs will just get on with it. If they’re complaining about connectivity or not joining meetings, then it’s likely that they have a very real issue and should be provided with support or the option to go into the office for the day – South Africa is no longer in the middle of a mandatory lockdown so employees should be allowed to opt into office work until their remote environment issues are resolved.

“It’s also worth asking yourself if getting worried about these problems – unless they are relentlessly consistent – are worth even worrying about,” says Myburgh. “If you don’t trust your employee to get the job done, why did you hire them? Give people the space they need to prove themselves and they may do just that.”

Myburgh also points out that the office is not exactly nirvana for work ethics and productivity either. People are interrupted constantly, they chat in tea rooms and boardrooms and they lose time to random conversations. When these interruptions are removed from the equation, suddenly people have a lot more time to do their jobs.

“More work gets done at home, if the person has the right tools and connectivity,” concludes Myburgh. “If they are late to their desk or take a slightly longer lunchbreak, this shouldn’t be cause for concern. Rather look at their output, focus on their commitment to the company, and treat people like the adults they are.”

Johann Joubert - CEO Converge Solutions

Converge Solutions added to partner portfolio of CRS Technologies

CRS Technologies, a leader in integrated and efficient human resources and payroll solutions and services in the South African market, has added Converge Solutions, a technology company committed to empowerment and growth, to its partner ecosystem. Converge Solutions offers a dynamic range of offerings focused on the healthcare industry that address very specific and relevant business requirements.

Converge Solutions is a superb addition to our alliance partner portfolio,” says Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies. “The company provides an impressive range of offerings to the healthcare industry which work seamlessly in collaboration with our Engage software suite.”

The Converge Solutions SAP for Healthcare platform addresses the needs of the healthcare organisation through a single, fully integrated cloud-based system. The company’s clinical information system, Cerner i.s.h.med is designed to ensure immediate interaction between the clinical and hospital back-office functions, which is another powerful tool for streamlining and managing operations. In addition, Converge Solutions can provide curated clinical content from Elsevier, the world’s largest medical content provider, as an optional component of its overall solution. This allows for repeatable and reliable clinical outcomes based on international standards.

Converge Solutions portfolio connects perfectly with our Engage human resources and payroll suite

“CRS provides a really good value-to-cost ratio for companies that require an end-to-end human capital management solution. It also offers ease of deployment and maintenance, aligns very well functionally and is superior to other similar offerings on the market,” says Johann Joubert, CEO of Converge Solutions. “From an Africa perspective, the CRS system already incorporates many of the localised country payroll rules and regulations, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. And where CRS doesn’t have something, they are willing to build it, which means we don’t have to worry about it.”

“The Converge Solutions portfolio connects perfectly with our Engage human resources and payroll suite, which ensures risk-free payroll, talent management and administration services for the healthcare industry,” says McAlister. “For the organisation this is streamlining, accessibility and integration in one simple partnership.”

The partnership with Converge Solutions is another step towards the CRS Technologies vision of creating an inclusive and dynamic ecosystem of relevant partners and solutions.

CRS Technologies welcomes QBIT to its partner ecosystem

CRS Technologies welcomes QBIT to its partner ecosystem

Africa, 11 November 2020: CRS Technologies, a leader in integrated and efficient HR and Payroll solutions and services in the South African market, has forged an alliance with QBIT, bringing this dynamic solution house into the CRS Technologies ecosystem.

Established in 2003, QBIT is a niche solution house that really understands how the work performed in a company should give life to strategy – how each part of a business plays a critical role in its long-term success.

The collaboration between QBIT and CRS brings to the market an integration of the organisational collective and the individual employee through organisation and work architecture and the employee lifecycle.

QBIT’s organisation and work architecture – which we refer to as the collective – provides companies with the toolkit they need to determine the most effective way of executing business strategy through people,” Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS, explains. “QBIT achieves this by deploying solutions that radically transform the way in which organisations set people strategy, manage people practices and processes, and implement and optimise human capital technologies.”

The combination of QBIT and CRS results in a holistic and fully integrated solution

CRS complements QBIT’s capabilities with solutions and services that manage the entire employee lifecycle, referred to as the individual.

“Our Engage suite of modular software leverages the benefits of cloud computing, HR and payroll to create a customised platform that supports any organisation’s unique requirements,” says McAlister. “In combination with the collective, our expertise forms an infinity loop of organisation, culture, people and potential. The combination of QBIT and CRS results in a holistic and fully integrated solution that allows for any organisation to find the perfect fit between business strategy and employee value.”

In collaboration with CRS, QBIT’s solutions allow for richer and more engaging management of the entire employee lifecycle using proven methodologies that enhance and empower the business and its people.

QBIT looks forward to our collaboration with CRS and their ecosystem, and the contribution we can make by providing clients with our flexible and intuitive job architecture platform,” says QBIT director Otto Pretorius. “We balance the need for agility versus structure, acquired versus required skills, while perfectly aligning the above to the client’s strategy. The latter then becomes ultimately evident in all their organisation, work and people data, contributing to more optimal and timeous decision-making about the workforce of the now and the future.”

QBIT is a powerful addition to the CRS ecosystem,” concludes McAlister. “Together, we provide companies with holistic and fully integrated solutions that help them to marry business strategy with employee capability.”

A Spade is a Spade. And a Payroll Platform

A Spade is a Spade. And a Payroll Platform.

Africa, 04 November 2020: CRS Technologies, a leader in integrated and efficient human resources and payroll solutions and services in the South African market, has launched its Spade campaign, emphasising the importance of fast and efficient patching and upgrades for payroll platforms in the remote working era. Designed to remove delays, mitigate security risks, ensure compliance and improve productivity, the CRS payroll platform is designed to integrate and update with leading solutions such as Sage, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, myWorkday and industry-specific ERP systems.

“Software companies are notorious for releasing patches and upgrades that shut down devices, download slowly and impact business productivity,” says General Manager of CRS, Ian McAlister. “Over the past year, through the global pandemic, we have seamlessly released two patches, four tax releases and 13 upgrades with no impact to productivity, system or time.”

The CRS Spade campaign focuses on how important it is for organisations to invest in payroll solutions and software platforms that can be easily and remotely managed with minimal interruption. As the pandemic continues to impact on business and remote working, the ability to remotely upgrade and manage systems is of immense value. The payroll and human resources situation in South Africa has become increasingly complicated during the pandemic, with legislation changing almost daily. Organisations need a reliable and up-to-date payroll system that can handle this level of complexity.

Payroll is one of the biggest business expenses

“Payroll is one of the biggest business expenses which makes it critical for the organisation to optimise spend in this area, every month,” explains McAlister. “To do that, you need a system that can updated remotely, is capable of seamlessly doing so without disrupting essential services, and is up to date with critical changes to legislation and security.”

As a leading provider of solutions and services to the human capital management industry, CRS Technologies has created a solution that not only integrates with leading ERP systems and payment platforms, but also delivers exceptional levels of operational availability. Regular patches are designed to improve functionality and catch any issues with security, changes in platform or customer requirements; changes to tax releases ensure that your systems are up to date and prepared for each run correctly; and upgrades ensure that customers always move with the times.

“We have always thrived in the hosted and cloud environment, which means we can ensure your systems are always up to date, any time and on demand,” concludes McAlister. “After more than 35 years in the business, there’s very little we haven’t seen and we’re geared up for whatever lies ahead, be it remote, regulated or required.”

For a free analysis designed to show you how your business can improve speed, functionality and capability, contact CRS Technologies for more information.

Inspired, engaged and rewarded employees
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Email: info@crs.co.za

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