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Two of the biggest mistakes made when firing employees

6 July 2017

The following is an article I contributed to Formfactory, who asked various experts in labour relations and labour law, “What are the biggest mistakes employers make when firing employees?” Please add your ideas to the conversation below. Since employers lose some 60% of cases referred to the CCMA, serious mistakes are being made. Two of…

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Avoiding Marikana: Four Years On

29 August 2016

The Marikana massacre four years ago, was a watershed moment in South African labour relations. The Farlam Commission into the tragedy pointed out multiple failures on all sides. For employers, the failure of management on a number of levels makes for sober reading. However, it is tempting to heave a sigh of relief at their…

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Changing Employee Benefits: Radical Steps Needed

12 August 2016

I’m taking a risk here. I’m likely to lose readers on this one either because the advice is so ridiculously obvious you’ll be bored or because it is so radical you’ll disown me. But humour me, please. It’s that important. Not many of us are brave or foolish enough to go about unilaterally changing contracts…

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Indicators: lighting the way forward

30 December 2014

It may not cause many accidents on the road, but the failure of drivers to indicate is a cause of great frustration to other drivers. I think that the problem is primarily a lack of awareness of others. We are focussed on where we are going or on the children in the back or the…

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Truth, lies and the workplace

22 September 2014

If you are a fan of detective fiction, you will know that no one tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Unfortunately, that part isn’t fiction; it is true of people everywhere, including the workplace. Not many lie outright, but most people fudge the truth. They tell you what they think…

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Customer service: lessons from the KZN South Coast

14 March 2014

Jen and I spent a few days in Scottburgh on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast a couple of weeks ago. We took a slow walk around town on the first day looking for a place to eat. Apart from the usual fast-food outlets, there are a couple of interesting places on the main shopping street, but there…

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Discipline and performance: seven questions for a manager

9 January 2014

When employees let you down, when they go against your explicit instructions or a known policy, when they fail to follow up with a customer or complete an urgent task, you are going to be angry. In a large organisation there are usually other managers to discuss the issues with, who may bring some perspective…

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Mandela secrets and your business

12 June 2013

It is frustrating that the government conspires to keep us in the dark about our Tata Madiba. They simply cannot bring themselves to trust us with information. If that frustrates you, as a grown man or woman in charge of your own business, trust me, our employees are just as frustrated and insulted when we…

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Managing discipline: a foreign country?

18 March 2013

Is the disciplinary process a foreign country for you? Owners and manager of small to medium-size organisations often keep away from discipline until an impossible employee needs to be fired. By then it’s far too late. Too much damage has been done. The employee has perhaps damaged relationships with clients, the manager has been driven…

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It’s not my fault: employees and managers missing each other

10 March 2013

 South Africans have a blind spot when it comes to understanding the difference between fault and responsibility. “It’s not my fault that my car’s brakes failed,” we say, and we think that’s the end of the story. If it’s not my fault, somehow I don’t have to take responsibility. I have found this to be…

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