Keeping Up With Minimum Wage Rates And Employment Benefits

Keeping Up With Minimum Wage Rates And Employment Benefits

At present, the beginning of April will see New Zealand’s minimum wage for adults rise by more than $1 per hour. Starting out and training wages will also be increased.

While this is great news for employees, there are sure to be some businesses that struggle to accommodate the wage increases. Especially with the ever-growing threat of COVID-19 looming over the labour market.

When the idea of the incremental wage increase was put forward by the government, they couldn’t have imagined that the proposed increase would hit businesses at such a difficult time financially.

With the economy teetering and 1st April fast approaching, you could be forgiven for really feeling the pressure, so we wanted to have a timely chat about the tangible benefits of keeping up to date with market rates and benefits and why regular remuneration reviews remain vital to a successful business.

Keeping Up With Minimum Wage Rates And Employment Benefits

New Zealand’s Minimum Wage Increase

The upcoming wage increase is due to take effect on April 1st, 2020. Several economists are already being vocal about the pressures this increase will bring to businesses when the global economy is being heavily impacted by COVID-19.

The proposed increase is a considerable jump of $1.20, bringing adult minimum wages up to $18.90 an hour from $17.70. It is estimated there are nearly a quarter of a million workers currently on the minimum wage.

The training wage will also increase to $15.12 per hour.

Similar increases are proposed for sometime in the next year as part of the government’s commitment to reach a $20 minimum wage by April 2021.

Late last year, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said in a press release, “With our economy doing well, we want to make sure that our lowest-paid workers also benefit. The rise in minimum wage is estimated to boost wages by $306 million a year across the economy. That’s a good investment in local economies where workers spend their wages.”

Unfortunately, the current economy is not looking as healthy due to the downturn in global trade. So the question is being raised of whether the increase should proceed. It is not only the minimum wages workers that need to be considered. As minimum wages increase, it’s likely that all wages across the business will have to be improved to close the margin between more experienced employees and the newcomers.

Let’s dive into the concept of wages as a whole to understand this a little further.

Keeping Up With Market Rates And Benefits

From a legal standpoint, it is essential to meet minimum wage requirements across the board. But, it’s also vital that businesses ensure they are meeting – or exceeding – market rates for their industry. As wages are often the largest cost for any business, this needs careful consideration from a legal and financial standpoint.

There are a number of positive impacts when ensuring your staff receive competitive remuneration. The first is quite simple: happy staff work harder! They are also more loyal and likely to stay with the business long term when they feel they’re being paid fairly. And don’t forget that long-serving staff can save tremendous costs on recruitment.

For example, Forbes reported that a bank in the UK voluntarily decided to pay the living wage to their cleaning and catering teams. Following this, staff turnover reduced, with impressive retention rates of 77 per cent and 92 per cent. Compared to the industry averages of 54 per cent and 32 per cent, those numbers say it all!

When you offer higher salaries, you are also more likely to attract (and retain) higher-quality candidates.

Employee well-being and satisfaction play an immense role in the success of your business. And while there’s more to happiness than just money, take home pay certainly has a role to play.

The Importance Of Regular Remuneration Reviews

NZ’s upcoming minimum wage increases are still compulsory at this stage, so it’s an ideal time to review how your business approaches remuneration reviews, benefits, and rewards.

Most organisations commit to yearly review processes. You may decide to calculate the cost of living increases across the board, offer rewards based on how the company is doing, or differentiate increases from employee to employee based on performance.

Paying people fairly for a job well done is a no-brainer. The recognition alone is enough to boost productivity and efficiency. Plus, your employees will feel valued and more likely to stick around, staying invested in the business.

Sit down and compare the wages and salaries of your team, comparing them with market trends throughout the industry to make sure they are competitive. But don’t forget that as well as the dollars on the table, company culture and the benefits provided play a huge role in creating a fulfilling work environment.

Lastly, you need to ensure that your business can sustain the wage rates in an ever-changing economy.

Is your business ready for the 1st April minimum wage increase? If you are a bit worried about how you will handle the logistics, give the Spice Gals a call and we can help you make sure your HR boxes are ticked. Get in touch with us today.

Is There Such A Thing As Work Life Balance?

Work life balance is a concept that has been doing the rounds for decades. But as we all know, it’s easier said than done.

Advances in technology mean we are online and available 24/7. This often blurs the lines between work time and downtime. Plus, it’s really hard to shake off the “work harder and longer than everyone else” mentality of the baby boomer generation.

In spite of this, creating a work environment that supports and encourages work life balance is essential for keeping your employees – and your business – healthy.

Read on to find out why this balance is so important, and to get some ideas on how to achieve it for you and your team.

Is There Such A Thing As Work Life Balance?

Healthy Employees = Healthy Business

The people on your team need to be mentally and physically well to perform at their optimum level.

Overworked people are stressed, and stress can lead to a vast array of health issues. These can be both mental and physical. You are likely to see more absenteeism, lower morale – and overall, a drop in productivity and retention.

On the contrary, people who feel that health and wellness inside AND outside of work are not only supported but encouraged, come to work refreshed and engaged. They will be more loyal to your business because they feel understood and valued, becoming loyal brand ambassadors.

Enable Flexibility

Work life balance looks different for every individual. For some, it means being able to start or finish work at different times or work remotely. For others, it’s paid time off instead of traditional, segmented leave. For many, it’s merely being able to switch off once they have clocked out.

Creating a flexible work environment that caters to the widely varied needs of your team is critical. If your employees spend all their “life” time running around doing their off-work chores instead of truly relaxing, they are going to find it hard to focus on the job.

Enabling some flexibility during the workday to pop out for an appointment, make a phone call, or take care of their health can make a world of difference.

Foster Workplace Wellbeing

Balance isn’t just about giving people enough time away from work. It is equally important to make the workplace a positive place to be. Flexible hours and plenty of time off means nothing if your employees dread coming to work or head home feeling completely burned out every day.

Taking steps to build holistic wellbeing in the workplace will pay off in the long run. When looking at ways to improve your workplace wellbeing, remember to look to encompass the five essential elements of wellbeing – career, community, financial, physical and social. You will attract and retain top talent, and improve the bottom line of your business.

Here are some wellness in the workplace examples to consider:

  • Career pathways and opportunities – discussions and planning
  • Workplace massage
  • Healthy snacks
  • Team exercise initiatives or gym membership discounts
  • Free sessions on financial literacy
  • Quiet areas in the office for de-stressing
  • Workshops and training relevant to your team
  • Organised group activities to give back to your community
  • Social downtime as a team

Model Balance At All Levels

Make sure that managers walk the walk and lead by example!

It’s all very well for the message to filter down through the ranks that it’s okay for people to leave on time, not reply to emails after hours, and take their leave each year, but if CEO’s and managers are modelling the opposite (overworking) behaviour, THAT is the message that people will heed.

Instead of working yourself to the bone, implement good practices of delegation. Also, boost your productivity time by switching off your phone and having focused work time without interruption. If you can make the most of your hours at work, then tasks won’t have to creep over into your home life.

Looking to get better work life balance at your workplace? Then get in touch with the Spice Gals. We can help you implement great practices for the whole team so that everyone has the opportunity to strike the balance they need between work and downtime.

Why Good Communication Is So Important

Communication begins the second we’re born.

We soon discover that making loud noises usually gets us what we want! Hopefully for most of us, our communication skills become much more advanced from then on. Though, you may meet the odd person who seems to still operate on this premise.

In business, as in life, communication is essential for survival. Done effectively, it helps your team be happy, creative, and productive.

Think about all the positive attributes you want your team to possess – trust, loyalty, efficiency, passion for the job (and the business as a whole), and commitment. Good communication is essential in creating each of these factors.

Let’s dive a little deeper into why good communication is essential to your business.

Why Good Communication Is So Important

Creating Buy-In

If an employee doesn’t understand or buy-in to the values and purpose of your organisation, they are unlikely to go the extra mile in any aspect of their role. So basically, you end up with someone who clocks in and out and does the bare minimum.

However, when you are able to effectively communicate your company’s “why,” you start to build a sense of belonging.

When employees understand how their role contributes to the bigger picture, they will take more pride in their work and serve as powerful advocates for your business. The side effects of buy-in include engagement and loyalty.

Increasing Productivity

Productivity is a key component of a successful business. Without being productive, you and your team are just wasting your own time… and company time.

One sure-fire way to increase productivity is to work on communication within your organisation. To do their job well, employees need to understand what is required of them. With the right information, they can do that job faster and more effectively.

Foster A Positive, Happy Workplace Culture

Nothing builds resentment faster than not listening to your employees – which equates to not valuing or respecting them. Communication is not a one-way street that only goes from the top-down. You must allow two-way communication. That means giving employees an avenue to voice their ideas and opinions without fear of being shut down.

It’s incredibly empowering for people to trust that if they bring a concern or idea to a manager, they will be heard. And who better to know how to improve the way things are done within your organisation than the people doing them!?

Building Cohesive Teams

Small issues can quickly develop into major HR issues in a workplace environment. Good communicators know how to listen without overreacting, which is essential in preventing misunderstandings and conflict.

Teams that work well together naturally create good morale, which, of course, is great for productivity!

Inspire Innovation and Creativity

When you encourage everyone in your organisation to openly share ideas, you foster an environment of innovation and creativity. Your employees are your biggest asset. They know the business inside out and potentially have so much to offer.

But if you make them feel as if their voices aren’t important, they’re not going to share these insights with others. Instead, foster an environment of open sharing. You never know what your team might come up with!

Building Trust

Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Trust affects engagement, culture, and ultimately, productivity, so you don’t want to lose it. Communicating clearly helps managers to be transparent, which in turn builds trust throughout the entire organisation. Down the line, this translates to transparency and trust among your customers and clients.

Encouraging multi-directional, good communication within your teams shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be one of the foundations of your business strategy. If this is an area you think needs some work, trust us –it’s well worth the time and effort to improve.

Luckily, the Spice Gals are here to help you develop great communication within your business. Get in touch with us today if you want to discuss the power of communication further.

The Importance of Team Building at Your Workplace

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will have heard about the benefits of team building.

However, when you read that term right there on the page, you might have just let out a little groan!

Unfortunately, this important aspect of creating a successful workplace culture has been incorrectly handled for so long that it has become an office cliche. Mention the words “team building” to the average group of people, and you are likely to get eye-rolling and moans of protest.

But don’t write off the process so quickly!

Done correctly, team building is an effective and powerful way to build productivity, enhance workplace culture, and create a happy, creative work environment.

Forget sitting around the office role-playing awkwardly. Today’s team building is innovative, smart, fun, and effective. Just as the right spice can elevate a dish to the next level, team building can add that extra secret ingredient for success to your business.

Excited? We hope so! Let’s start building.

 

Why Is Team Building Important?

Done mindfully, team building activities and exercises are one of the most powerful investments you can make in your business. Here are some ways it can help your workplace:

  • Build communication
  • Reduce conflict and misunderstandings
  • Grow trust in all directions
  • Make staff feel valued
  • Increase engagement
  • Facilitate collaboration
  • Develop problem-solving skills
  • Boost creativity and productivity
  • Break down barriers
  • Lift morale

Sounds too good to be true, right?

But think about it. A business is only as good as its employees and how well they work together. Happy, connected, engaged people do great work consistently and efficiently. Communication flows, people enjoy coming to work, they respect and help each other. Your fabulous work culture attracts and retains top-notch staff, and the organisation runs like a well-oiled machine.

Now flip that and imagine an environment full of miscommunication, gossip, and distrust. Most people barely stop to chat with one another, small conflicts became costly issues, and morale is poor.

Okay, so one team building session is not going to be the magic wand to transform a fractured team into a dream-team. But as part of an organisational-strategy, it goes a long way.

 

How To Choose An Activity?

The key to making the whole exercise a success, is choosing the right activity.

Your team building project can be almost anything. The options are as diverse as the people on your team. The biggest challenge will be ensuring it embraces every individual and is appropriate to your workplace culture.

Here are some tips for choosing the right one for your team:

  • Get out of the office. You don’t want this to feel like another day at work. It should be a fun way for people to connect in a different setting.
  • List your objectives first and plan the activity around those.
  • Have fun! Don’t try and force some competency-based corporate result. Instead, target the qualities you want to enhance – like communication, empathy, collaboration, problem-solving, stress-relief – and let the results happen organically.
  • Choose something unique that pushes people slightly out of their comfort zones to encourage them to bond in new ways.
  • Never force or bully anyone into participating. This will have the opposite of the desired effect. Instead, opt for inclusive activities that everyone agrees with.
  • Get feedback – ask your team for ideas on what they would like to do.

 

Making the Most of The Opportunity

Team building is not a once a year “tick-the-boxes-for-HR” activity. It should be a key factor in building positive staff morale. The practices you embody during these sessions should translate over to the workplace. Find ways to keep the connection and positive energy flowing in between your out-of-work adventures as part of an overarching strategy.

Getting people out of the office and away from their “work identity” encourages genuine connection and collaboration. It gives people a chance to share experiences and get to know and appreciate each other’s personalities, strengths, and quirks in a meaningful way. The trust, respect, and empathy that follow are priceless.

Are you ready to implement some meaningful activities to boost communication, reduce conflict, improve productivity, and so much more?

Then it is time to nail your team building. And if you need some help figuring out what that might look like at your workplace, then get in touch with us here at Spice HR. Drop us a line today!

How to Complete Effective Performance Reviews

Do you groan when the time for performance reviews roll around?

You are not the only one!

Shocked? We didn’t think so. Managers and employees alike dread the traditional annual employee review, which has persisted throughout the business world for decades.

What might surprise you is that the traditional way of conducting staff reviews is not only a total drag, but it is ineffective, if not downright bad for business.

Research shows that a whopping 30 percent of performance reviews actually decrease employee performance. Oops!

But just because the old style of review has become irrelevant to a modern workforce, it doesn’t mean the process should be scrapped entirely. There are plenty of ways to reinvent and adapt your staff reviews so that they are quick, easy and infinitely useful for your employees and the business.

Here is what you can do…

 

How to Complete Effective Performance Reviews

Give Prompt and Regular Feedback

Scrap the idea that performance reviews should only happen once a year at a formal sit down. There are so many reasons this idea just does not work, such as:

  • It is difficult to summarise a whole year in one review, especially if items you want to discuss took place months ago
  • It is stressful for all parties
  • Feedback is commonly only from one person (who may be unwittingly biased)
  • There is little feedback or follow up during the year
  • Managers suffer from “the recency effect” (only recollecting events from the last few months rather than the entire year.)

Staff reviews should be about coaching and developing your staff, not just reviewing past performance. Employees want immediate feedback – even if it is negative. The quicker you can provide feedback, the more likely it is that you can change (or reward) behaviour – resulting in a higher performing individual.

 

Mix It Up

You don’t have to trash the entire concept of the annual staff review. When combined with regular informal catch-ups and slightly more in-depth quarterly conversations, it can be a valuable tool to sit down with your employee and renew their goals and aspirations for the year ahead.

Just make sure it is supplemented with those regular catch ups!

 

Ditch the Numbers

Trying to condense an entire person’s work ethic, success, challenges, goals and behaviours into a single number or rating is not only one-dimensional, but it is also ineffective. Numbers tell you very little about the growth or development of an individual.

Instead, focus on capturing information in a more expansive way. Don’t be limited by a score. The key is providing honest feedback on all areas of their performance. You can tell very little from a number on a page. But real constructive feedback can work wonders.

 

Keep It Positive

It is no surprise that 90 percent of employees are more motivated by positive feedback than “constructive feedback.” Managers who are afraid of conflict might save up all their unpleasant conversations to have at a performance review – preferring to get it all out of their system in one go. But a staff review should focus more on the good than the bad.

Take note of all the good things that your team do. Not just their work, but their attitude around the office, how they help their colleagues, even if they pitch in to clean up the break room. Positive reinforcement is really helpful and will help make performance reviews so much more manageable.

 

Look Forward, Not Backwards

If you are providing feedback to your staff on the spot as it is needed, then reviews can be used more as “previews.” Spend time with your employee creating goals and objectives, rather than spending an hour rehashing old material.

That switches the focus from the past to the future. Talk openly about their goals for the year if they want to upskill and if there is the chance of more responsibility and progression. They will leave feeling energised and ready to take on the year head.

 

Listen Don’t Lecture

This is a conversation between two people. And part of being a good conversationalist is to listen openly. Allow your employee to lead most of the discussion, and listen more than you speak. This shows them that you respect and value their opinion. It will ensure they feel a valued member of the team.

 

Include the Rest of the Band

Studies show that often, reviews and ratings are more reflective of the person doing the rating than the person being rated. Translated, that means the manager may have biases (even if they’re not aware of them). To avoid this, and get a well-rounded, more accurate insight into a person’s performance, bring in peers and other managers, or even request customer feedback for a 360-degree review.

 

If you are still groaning and scratching your head about the performance review process then feel free to get in touch with us here at Spice HR. We can help you to establish a review process that works for your workplace. Drop us a line today.

 

Using Emotional Intelligence To Become An Inspiring Leader

Today’s work culture is vastly different from that of only a few decades ago. The old-fashioned style of management is falling from grace, replaced with a more values-based system. This system favours leadership with a strong focus on emotional intelligence.

Gone are the days where a bullying “manager” inspired obedience through fear. Good businesses now understand that to be genuinely successful, leaders need to build trust, empathy, and respect.

While managers have people who work for them, leaders have people who willingly follow them. This may sound like a subtle difference, but it has a significant impact on morale, motivation, and productivity.

Let’s explore the difference and how you can make an impact with emotional intelligence at your workplace.

 

What is Emotional Intelligence?

To be able to use it well, you first need to know what it is! So, what is emotional intelligence?

In a nutshell, emotional intelligence is the maturity, insight and empathy required to effectively understand and manage your own emotions, as well as those of the people around you. Rather than flying off the handle in sticky situations, you can take a step back and avoid making emotionally charged decisions.

It is professionally thinking with your head, as opposed to being driven by your emotions. Good leaders have this quality and inspire their team to make good decisions also.

 

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important for a Leader?

Although technology has come a long way, most workers are not yet robots. Each individual requires a different approach. A good leader aims to inspire and motivate his or her team, know their strengths and weaknesses, and understands which approach works best to unlock each person’s full potential.

This is where emotional intelligence comes in. Identifying personality types, emotions, communication styles and getting buy-in can be achieved by using your skills of empathy and intuition.

However, it is not simply all about the feelings and emotions of others. Inspiring bosses lead by example. They are not afraid of tricky conversations or situations because they have the self-awareness and confidence to handle whatever is thrown at them.

The way you handle yourself will trickle down through your teams. Your management “flavour” dictates the overall flavour of the business. If you are spicy and hot-headed, your work environment will mimic this. Whereas if you are strong, yet calming – like a soothing cup of tea – the culture will eventually feed off this vibe and start to reflect it.

 

Management vs. Leadership

Now that you understand the concept of emotional intelligence, let’s look at how you can use it as a Leader in your workplace. There are very negative connotations around “management”. Managing and leading are two very different things.  From your own experiences, you may be able to identify with some (or all) of the examples below:

  • Managers may force people into following policies and getting things done. Leaders encourage people to believe in the journey.
  • Managers often toe the line and follow regulations to the letter. Leaders can think outside the box and aren’t afraid to try a different tack for the good of the team and the business.
  • Managers can choose to use the “carrot on a stick” technique to get results. Leaders inspire success by capturing people with their vision and helping them understand their role in the bigger picture.
  • Managers often feel the need to “micro-manage” people and projects, constraining creativity. Leaders understand the need to take a step back and trust in their team. They work to people’s strengths.
  • Managers may have an ego about needing to be the expert on everything, not allowing people to grow and shine. Good leaders know that passing the ball and letting other people’s experience and insights shine is crucial for the growth of not only the team, but the organisation.

It’s widely known throughout the business world that employees don’t quit companies, they quit managers and bosses! Take a look at your business and ask yourself: are you merely telling people what to do, or are you inspiring them to follow your lead?

Answering this question alone can be tricky. That is where the team here at Spice HR can help. Building a great workplace culture will encourage emotional intelligence and excellent team contribution. And that is exactly what we can help you do at your workplace. Get in touch with us today.

Christmas Parties – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly!

Love them or hate them, work Christmas parties are an important part of the end of year festivities. Often, they turn out to be some of the most memorable occasions of the year. Though not always for the right reasons. Office parties are infamous – both in movies and real life – for being the scene of scandals and hijinks that turn into office gossip well into the new year.

They don’t have to be that way. There are many options for end of year celebrations that don’t result in hangovers and photocopying random body parts!

An office party is a great occasion to relax a little, give thanks to your team for a great year and relate to one another as people, not just colleagues. It doesn’t have to get messy or downright damaging. Approached correctly and planned well, everyone can enjoy a work Christmas party with just the right amount of spice!

Let’s dive right in and holler at the good, the bad and the ugly side of work Christmas parties!

 

Christmas Parties – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

The Good

Don’t underestimate the importance of hosting an end of year gathering for your team, even if it is just a beach-side BBQ or a bowling night.

A Christmas party is the perfect way to celebrate and acknowledge the year of hard work that has been put in by every employee. It wraps the year up on a positive note and motivates staff to bigger and better achievements for the coming year!

But it is not just about a celebration. Giving your team a chance to socially mingle out of the office environment helps to build strong team relationships. It gives managers a chance to see their employees in a different light, and shows employees that their managers are real people too.

To keep it a positive experience, plan a celebration that the majority of your team will enjoy. Get creative about what you could do – painting artwork, rock climbing, a city scavenger hunt, an exotic cuisine, or even an escape room. Keep in mind the capabilities of your team members, you don’t want to choose something that will isolate certain people.

Recognition, rewards, and the chance for some fun will build staff engagement, loyalty and create a fantastic work culture.

 

The Bad

As much as you want to be all about fun and positivity, there is no denying that work parties can be dangerous territory. The mixture of alcohol and the chance to drop some of those rigid office personas may come with some unwanted side effects.

In advance of any festivities, make it clear to your team that the same standards of behaviour are expected at office functions as within the workplace.

It’s important to remind your employees ahead of time that sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, drugs, and health and safety policies are still in place and they need to keep these things in mind. In fact, it may be a great idea to do some refresher training on some of these issues before the silly season hits.

At the same time, set everyone up for success. If you are serving alcohol, make sure consumption is closely monitored and provide healthy and hearty food to soak it all up. Make sure you provide non-alcoholic options and lots of water to keep things under control.

Arrange for transport options or encourage carpooling with a sober driver on the day of the event. Be a responsible host, as you would with any party.

 

The Ugly

With the correct planning and foresight, it doesn’t have to get ugly! When planning your Christmas party, put some thought into the kind of team you have, the culture within the team, and what event is best suited to encourage team building for a great night out – without any nasty hangovers of any kind.

If things do start to get out of hand, ensure any undesirable behaviour is dealt with swiftly and appropriately. It is also really important to follow up with any problem team members when you are back to work after the event. Take any disciplinary measures required. Just because it is a Christmas party, it doesn’t mean there is a free pass for rule breaking!

One final spicey thought… don’t forget to add one or two classic Spice Girls tracks to your dance playlist – we guarantee there are a few closet fans who will love it, or at the very least, people can bond while complaining about the music!

 

If you have any concerns about the HR aspect of planning your end of year function, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Spice HR. We are happy to help you nail the red tape side of things!

Stop. Collaborate and Listen …

 

Stop.  Collaborate and Listen … Spice is back with a brand new invention.

Got an HR problem yo, we’ll solve it. Check out our skills while the Spice Gals resolve it!

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