Visible Invisibility: Are Men Discriminated Against at the Workplace?

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It is a well-documented and researched fact that women face certain forms of discrimination at the workplace because of their gender. However, when it comes to men, the research is not only scarce but there is little talk about discrimination against men in the workplace. Work-related discrimination occurs when two equal people are treated differently in aspects such as training, work and reward. The unwritten code in society with regard to discrimination against men enforces a culture of silence. As a result of this, there is prevalent wilful ignorance about discrimination against men in the workplace. Discrimination against men may be less frequent than discrimination against women but it is not negligible.

Men are often regarded as more competitive and aggressive according to stereotypical gender roles. For this reason, it is not unusual to find more professional demands placed upon men. Studies on such instances in Africa are rare but a study carried out in Europe in 2015 by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions found that men were more exposed to adverse working conditions such as atypical working days and longer working hours as compared to women. While most employers would argue that the exclusion of women from certain exerting tasks is a way of promoting the rights of women, this can have a detrimental effect on men.

There are increasing concerns about the mental health of men in the fast-paced world where career advancement is a pivotal part of life. Recently, there was a report about an audit firm manager who tragically met his death after jumping off the 17th floor of the building. Reports that emerged after his death revealed a working culture that was characterized by tight deadlines, long working hours and an unhealthy work-rest balance. While such a culture has an impact on both men and women, it is important to be cognizant of the fact that men are more likely commit suicide as compared to women.

Requests or provisions for parenthood are often drafted and implemented with women in mind. This makes it difficult for men to actively participate in the parenting of their children. The effect of the subtle bias can be seen in the maternity and paternity leave provisions in Kenya. The Employment Act of 2007 grants mothers three months of paid maternity leave. On the other hand, male employees get two weeks of paternity leave.  There are reports of requests made by fathers to attend school functions or to a sick child being ignored or being granted grudgingly. Some employees argue that fathers are not the primary caregivers of their children hence they do not grant them opportunities to participate in their children’s lives. Such stereotypes fail to recognize a father’s role in a child’s life and deny fathers a chance to be a part of their children’s lives. Men are also likely to be subjected to unwelcome remarks whenever they bring up child care matters in the workplace as a result of traditional stereotypes.

There are organizations seeking to change this such as Microsoft Kenya which grants its male employees six -week paternity leave. A Kenyan Company, Webtribe/Jambo Pay has adopted a compassionate  approach where they have amended their maternity clause to include what happens when there are stillbirth and death of the mum; for stillbirth they give the full 3 months and the mum is at the discretion to return to work at her will before end of the 3 months. In the case of death, then they extend the 3 month maternity period to the father and he, in turn, forfeits the 2 weeks paternity leave.

Men and women are discriminated against when seeking employment in certain sectors due to gender biases. For instance, women seeking to be employed in the construction industry have to crack several ceilings to get opportunities. There are forums in which such matters are discussed by professionals in sector and opportunities for change fronted. On the other hand, men experience discrimination when seeking opportunities in sectors that are considered the preserve of women. These include; nursing, childcare, beauty therapy among others. Such forms of discrimination go unnoticed and unreported hence they remain persistent. This promotes the gender imbalance in these sectors hence denying men an opportunity to put their talent and their potential to work in these sectors. Even with the changes in traditional occupational roles, the subtle stereotypes towards male employees in certain industries persist.

Men are not immune to sexual harassment in the workplace. Most cases of sexual harassment go unreported because of the perception that a man cannot be sexually harassed by a woman. We have come across candidates who had to quit their jobs because of sexual harassment by their colleagues or bosses. None of them had the courage to address it through formal channels so quitting was the best option. The problem is further compounded by men’s perception of what constitutes harassment. Due to poor socialization and internalization of toxic ideas about masculinity, some men brush off unwelcome sexual advances at the workplace and regard them as perfectly acceptable.

Combating discrimination against men and women at the workplace begins with an appreciation of the diversity that each gender brings to the workplace. This should be followed by a confrontation of hidden gender biases that are entrenched into the organization’s culture and policies. All the employees of the organization should be educated on gender discrimination often. Policies that address matters such sexual harassment and gender imbalance should be developed and implemented.

 

We at Crystal Recruitment make it our business to find the right talent for your company as we are a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya. Talk to us today and let us help you find the right talent.

Putting Her in Her Place: Making the Workplace work for Working Mothers

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Ann* did not understand what her boss meant when she was warned of “wavering” commitment during the last trimester of her pregnancy. She had been an award-winning salesperson for the five years she had worked for the organization.  That month had been hard for most enterprises because of a global financial crisis. Her entire team had had a difficult time. Ann was not the only one who was struggling with clients who were barely able to keep afloat. Ann did not understand why she was the only one who got a verbal warning for her performance. When she went for her maternity leave, she had to attend meetings over pending matters in spite handing over prior to her maternity leave.

Ann’s case is just an example of the subtle microaggressions that working mothers have to put up with in Kenya. With an increasing number of women joining the workforce in Kenya, one would expect that working mothers would have a supportive working environment regardless of the industry they work in. The Employment Act of 2007 recognizes that a working mother is entitled to 90 calendar days as maternity leave. A female employee should not be asked to forfeit her annual leave in lieu of maternity leave because the Act has clear provisions for annual leave for all employees. As compared to Tanzania which only has provisions for an 84- day maternity leave if an employee has been working for an organization for at least six months, the provisions for maternity leave in Kenya apply to all mothers who have a valid employment contract in spite of the duration they have worked for an organization.

Organizations in Kenya have strived to provide supportive working environments for mothers but there are gaps that have not been fully addressed. For instance, mothers who have children with special needs or premature babies are not catered for by the provisions for maternity leave. A study carried out in 2016 by Orion Foundation showed that 91% of the caregivers of children with cerebral palsy are mothers. These mothers have to consider quitting their jobs or take on fewer responsibilities at work in order to continue taking care of their children. Similarly, mothers of premature babies often find themselves taking unpaid leave in order to continue catering for their children’s needs. The “motherhood penalty” is particularly severe for these mothers because they miss out on opportunities for career advancement or risk losing their jobs. Some of the mothers we spoke to while researching this article spoke of the difficulty of getting their bosses to give them time off to attend to a sick child. In some cases, mothers reported that they ended up being late for appointments because of the fear that has been instilled by their bosses.

The Health Bill of 2015 which was sponsored by MP Rachel Nyamai requires employers to set up nursing stations in workplaces to enable lactating mothers to express milk and store it. The implementation of the bill by organizations in the country has been slow but some progress is being made. Some of the companies that have provisions for lactating mothers as outlined in the bill include: Oserian Farm, Safaricom, National Bank of Kenya, Kenya Red Cross, Intrahealth International, PWC, Oxygene MCL, CIC Group, Liberty Life Assurance, Heritage Insurance Company, Webtribe Lt/Jambo Pay, DPO Group, Eka Hotel, Airtel Kenya and Nestle Foods, to mention but a few. Over the years, there has been an improvement in the number of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their children for six months as recommended by the World Health Organization. The National Demographic Health Survey carried out in 2015 indicated that 61% of mothers in Kenya breastfeed exclusively for 6 months. In Eastern and Southern Africa region, it is estimated that 51% of women exclusively breastfeed.  To sustain this progress, organizations who will ultimately rely on the young ones as their workforce in the future should be supportive of nursing mothers once they return to work after maternity leave.

Most working women struggle to exclusively breastfeed their children after going back to work due to lack of lactating facilities and the demands of their jobs. For this reason, there has been a proposal to increase maternity leave to 6 months, but this has not augured well with the Federation of Kenya Employers which argues that this would be counterproductive.  This provision would particularly benefit mothers who have premature babies. Premature babies have to be hospitalized for longer periods as compared to babies born at full term. By the time the mother leaves the hospital, she has very days of her maternity leave left. Most mothers end up being stressed as they try and keep up with the delicate demands of their young ones. This is compounded by the fact that most organizations do not offer flexible working arrangements.

Below are some of the steps organizations can take to make the workplace a better place for working mothers:

Identify and confront biases towards working mothers

The biases towards working mothers can be subtle but they are alive and well. It is a well-known fact that children need their mothers often but this can easily be ignored at expense of the organization’s bottom-line. These biases are supported by outdated management principles that focus on one aspect of an employee’s life at the expense of all other important aspects. An organization seeking to promote work-life balance must confront its biases towards working mothers and begin to address them

Make room for flexible work arrangements

Technology has made it possible for meetings to held using virtual platforms by people in different continents. A mother who needs to attend a sales meeting can make a phone call and conclude the sale. The changing nature of work should be embraced by all organizations for the benefit of all employees, particularly working mothers.

Support and promote working mothers

A woman does not become less competent because she is a mother. On the contrary, being a parent equips one with skills that are useful in the workplace such as empathy, ability to handle tense situations and patience.  If a promotion opens up within the organization, working mothers should have an equal opportunity for promotion.

Are you a working mother looking for a better company/organization that supports the careers of working mothers? Then do reach out to us as Crystal Recruitment Ltd is a leading recruitment agency in Kenya and we do work with amazing clients who support working mothers.

TO HIRE OR NOT TO HIRE? HERE IS YOUR FOOLPROOF CHECKLIST

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Sometimes, hiring a candidate can seem like rocket science before the era of Google. You hire an experienced sales manager only for you to realize that the manager cannot handle the changes in market dynamics. You hire a candidate who seems to have immense potential as an executive assistant only for you to realize that the assistant is tardy and untidy hence he can hardly keep up with the demands of the job. What are the indicators or clues that an employer should be on the lookout for before hiring a candidate?

Hire a candidate who has the right potential

Potential is often defined as the ability to grow and adapt to different working environments. It is easy to weed out the candidates who lack potential during the preliminary stages of an interview. However, determining whether the candidates possess the right kind of potential takes skill. Globally, jobs are increasingly subject to change due to the fast-paced nature of advancement.  A good employer knows that uncertainties are a part of the future hence he or she hires with that in mind. Look for interview questions and assessments that bring out a candidate’s inquisitiveness. Ask candidates about practical steps they have taken to learn something new and apply it in their field. Having the right potential is demonstrated through one’s eagerness to learn in order to reach one’s full potential. A candidate with the right potential is competent, curious, insightful and engaged. A candidate with a few years of experience may have more potential than a candidate with many years of experience. A candidate with the right potential does not want a new job because he/she “can no longer learn anything from their current job”. Instead, he or she wants a position in your organization because it is in line with his or her career goals.

Hire a candidate who understands their career trajectory

Some candidates are one disaster away from a career head-on collision. Their career journey is a random doodle with no goals, ambition or direction in sight. Other candidates know where they are headed, why they want to head in a particular direction and how they are going to get there. Job hopping might look like it is in vogue but from a recruitment perspective, it might also speak of indecisiveness and red flags in one’s character. There might be a shortage of permanent jobs in this economy so it’s okay for one to have some temporary jobs in one’s resume. However, if the stories behind the departure from one organization to another do not add up, then there is a problem.

Hire a candidate who can ask good questions

The wise man, as it is often said, poses the right questions. A candidate who asks questions for the sake of asking questions might be a disengaged candidate who is not curious. A good interview is engaging because it is a two-way conversation. Be prepared to answer a candidate’s questions with clarity and honesty. A candidate’s questions can be an indicator of the candidate’s ability to think creatively and learn. It is also an indicator of whether the candidate is eager to join the organization and bring new ideas.

Hire a candidate who is passionate and determined

Does the candidate have new ideas that can be applied in solving problems in your organization? What practical steps would they take to bring that idea to life? How would the candidate counter the legal/ economic challenges that might be encountered in the course of the implementation of their idea?

Sometimes, the most determined and passionate candidate who would be the right fit for the job does not have the academic skills required for the job. A good programmer might have coding skills that he or she learnt through open courseware on the internet while he/she was working at a restaurant to make ends meet. Such a candidate might lack some of the technical skills but their passion and determination makes them an excellent fit for the position. A good project coordinator might have the right skills and attitude but he or she studied biology as their first degree then took online courses in project management.

Do not hire a candidate who is overconfident and proud

Confidence is essential in successfully executing any role. Overconfidence, on the other hand, is a success killer. A candidate who is overconfident does not understand the importance of taking calculated risks. He or she does not know the limits of what they know and the importance of acknowledging that there is a lot to learn. Such a candidate will overpromise and under deliver, take unnecessary risks and constantly pass the buck to others instead of taking responsibility for their mistakes. Ask questions that will help you determine whether a candidate knows their limitations and is willing to seek help where it is necessary.

Do not hire a candidate who brags about other job offers

If a candidate is bragging about other job offers, then he or she should probably be allowed to pursue other job offers. A candidate who brags about other job offers is manipulative and greedy. He or she is probably trying to arm twist the organization into offering more in terms of monetary benefits by overstating the value that he or she would bring to the organization. Bragging about other job offers is also an indication that the candidate will accept other job offers using your organization’s offer as leverage.

 

Are you looking for talent with the above qualities? Do talk to us.

Crystal Recruitment is a leading Recruitment Firm in Kenya, with presence in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda and a reputation of getting the right people for your open vacancies.

New Job Offer but Low Salary? NEGOTIATE!

We all get excited at the prospect of a new career and the benefits that come with it.

So, you go through the interview stages and finally they say they like you and want to make an offer. However, when you hear the offer your heart sinks as is not per your expectations.

What to do? Negotiate.

We negotiate on a daily basis whether we realize it or not and so you do not have to be a Master Negotiator to get the salary you desire or benefits package you hoped for.

Before turning the offer down or accepting the job offer to quickly, here are a few things to consider;

Your initial salary will determine your subsequent increments;

imagesnegotiateIt is commonly agreed that you would rather get a good package at the beginning than try to negotiate for a change half way. At the onset of making a hire, the Employer wants you on board and hence they are more flexible to your demands.

Most companies offer yearly salary increment based on performance and if you are to negotiate a better salary at the beginning of your employment, it would lead to increased earnings as you progress with your career and continue being a performer.

Look at the whole package

This is very crucial when it comes to jumping ship. Do not be too fixated on the base salary that you forget to put into consideration all other benefits such as medical cover, insurance for self and family, pension, allowances, bonuses etc.

There are also other nonfinancial aspects to think of when negotiating such as the work culture, flexi-working hours, the career growth prospects, training and development and company values in general.

You want to work in a company where you are excited to be in everyday being that we spend more of our time at the work place.

Project into the future

Put your imagination to use.

What will you gain having that company in your CV in let’s say 2-3 years time?

Does the opportunity provide a spring board to propel you further in your career?

Are there new skills that you will acquire in the new job?

What type of problems are you going to solve and how will this impact your career?

These are questions to generally ask when changing career so as not to make a plateaued kind of move where you find yourself stagnated, just a different location.

In essence, if the career benefits are overwhelming, and you accept the Job Offer,  you will have positioned yourself at a place that future employers fight for your kind of skill-set.

Watch out for ultimatums

Avoid giving the Employer ultimatums and also watch out when such is given.jumpship

Don’t be rushed into accepting a job offer because they said for example, “the offer expires in 1 day”. Ask for more time. And if they are not willing to give more time, then, in my opinion, they perhaps don’t deserve you?

The negotiation period should be a time where both parties are exploring best possible compromises and as much as time is of the essence, it shouldn’t be a ridiculous ultimatum.

Talk to Someone

As much as changing jobs is an individual decision, sometimes it does help talk to those who have gone before you. If possible, a mentor or a peer or a close friend who actually knows you well especially when it comes to your career.

You could use platforms like glassdoor and pay scale to gather intel but these alone can be misleading as could be an aggrieved employee writing negative material.

Have the Employer’s Needs in mind

Different companies have different pay scales and this is determined by several factors. Some could be at the start up phase, some are medium sized, others are restructuring etc. Hence is important to do your research to know the Employer’s current position when it comes to salaries and compensation and how that compares to their industry. This means then that you have to know the Employers needs and their priorities and if their priorities do fit with yours.

To note, a company can pay high salaries but their employees operate in a high pressured environment, or a company pays relatively average salaries but with a relaxed work environment.

I usually tell candidates that I work with that choosing an Employer is the kind of relationship that you want to be of value beyond monetary gains.

In conclusion, therefore, when evaluating what you are offered, visa-a-vi your current job, compare them from all possible angles before saying a quick Yes, or a regrettable No.

 

NB// We at Crystal Recruit work with candidates by connecting them to great career opportunities with Potential Employers. Reach out to us via Email and let us talk about your next career move.

Five Untruths You Need to Address Before Engaging an Offshore Recruitment Partner

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As the world increasingly shrinks and becomes a global village, most organizations find themselves grappling with the need for offshore talent. For most organizations, it is better to partner with an offshore recruitment partner than to rely on internal recruitment networks which take time to set up and manage. Making the most informed decision about offshore recruitment can be difficult because there are certain misconceptions that are associated with offshore recruitment partnerships.  Surveys that have been carried out across the globe indicate that most hiring managers are unsure as to whether they are working with the most suitable recruitment agency. This uncertainty particularly applies to offshore recruitment partnerships where the financial implications of recruitment errors are much higher. While the fears are based on valid reasons, there are certain untruths that also prevent organizations from engaging offshore recruitment partners:

Untruth #1: Offshore Recruitment Partners in Low-Cost Destinations Have Poor Infrastructure

What comes to mind when you think of an offshore recruitment partner? Offshore recruitment firms are often judged by their physical addresses. A fancy address does not always mean that an offshore recruitment firm is competent, techno-savvy and customer focused. A startup offshore recruitment firm might be the best offshore recruitment partner because of high levels of employee morale, dedication to its customers, investment in the best technological tools and data-driven decision making. For these reasons, an organization seeking an offshore recruitment partner should evaluate offshore recruitment partners based on their track record, competence and ability to make sound recruitment decisions that are backed by data.

Untruth # 2: Offshore Recruitment Firms are Not Dedicated to A Single Business Entity

Some organizations avoid engaging offshore recruitment firms because of the fear they have about the team structure. This is based on the belief that all of the firm’s employees are not dedicated to a single client hence they end up submitting the same candidates to a number of competing clients. Some organizations consider this threatening because it slows down the hiring process as a result of a low submittal-hiring ratio. While this may happen in some instances, not all offshore recruitment agencies are willing to compromise on their results and ability to deliver. Competent offshore recruitment agencies understand the organization’s culture and best practices hence they are dedicated to proper offshore candidate sourcing and screening practices.

Untruth #3: The Metrics of Offshore Recruitment Firms are Difficult to Determine

This misconception not only applies to offshore recruitment firms but it also applies to onshore recruitment firms. It is a byproduct of years of having incompetent recruitment firms that fail to develop metrics that are significant to their customers. This problem is further compounded by lack of transparency and accountability in the process of offshore recruitment. Prior to engaging an offshore recruitment firm, it is important to work with your preferred offshore recruitment partner to fine tune the metrics and align the recruitment services being offered with the objectives of your organization.

Untruth #4: Offshore Recruitment Makes an Organization Lose Control of Its Recruitment Process

Having an offshore recruitment partner can make one lose control of their recruitment process especially if the metrics are unclear. To avoid this, an organization should work closely with the offshore recruitment partner in order to give its input as the process of recruitment is going on. Unlike internal recruitment networks, offshore recruitment partners can provide an objective look into your organization’s talent needs and give a much needed fresh perspective.

Untruth #5: Offshore Recruitment Partners are Expensive

This misconception is often guided by a one-sided look at the recruitment process. Some organizations only look at the cost of engaging a recruitment partner but fail to consider the return on investment. A good offshore recruitment partner not only performs well but also provides a return on your investment as an organization. Some of the ways of evaluating an offshore recruitment partner’s ROI are:

  • Satisfaction ratings: Previously conducted surveys can give an indication of whether the firm’s offshore clients are satisfied with the services that they have been provided with.
  • Placement per recruiter: An effective offshore recruitment partnership should be measured by its effectiveness in placing candidates per recruiter.

In evaluating the cost of engaging an offshore recruitment firm, the organization should determine whether it wants to engage the firm on a permanent or on a temporary basis. It is advisable to have this in writing in the terms and conditions prior to any engagement. Your organization should also leverage the nature of the relationship it wants to engage in with the firm when negotiating the price.

To maximize on the ROI, an organization should ensure that its offshore recruitment partner provides some form of guarantee. For instance, it can offer a free replacement for a candidate who fails within the probationary period. The terms and conditions should also cover any eventualities such as waiting period for work permit approval.

At Crystal Recruitment, we make it our business to find the right talent for your company as we are a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya. We have recently started engaging candidates who would like to work abroad in Dubai.

Talk to us today and let us help you find the right talent in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zanzibar and for your offshore Needs in Dubai!

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE TERMINATING AN EMPLOYEE

 

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Firing an employee is one of the hardest decisions that an employer needs to make but it is necessary and unavoidable in some instances. Prior to firing an employee, there are a number of considerations that the employer needs to have in mind. We remind you of the top six things you need to consider before firing an employee:

  1. Consider the Reason for Firing the Employee

As an employer, it is important to be capable of clearly articulating why you have terminated an employee. Due to harsh economic conditions, it may be necessary to reduce one’s workforce in order to manage labour related costs. Some positions in an organization can be rendered obsolete or redundant as a result of organizational changes or technological advances. An employee’s less-than-acceptable performance could be a pivotal reason to let go of the employee. The reason for firing an employee should be backed up by adequate documentation. If an employee is being terminated due to poor performance, the results of previous performance reviews should be documented. If the employee is being terminated due to position redundancy, the employer needs to clearly justify his decision to fire a section of employees in the section e.g. seniority, qualifications etc.

  1. Consider Taking Corrective Actions Before Firing the Employee

In some instances, an employee needs to be given a second chance before being terminated. The employee and the employer can discuss a plan to correct the mistakes of the employee as a mitigation measure. This plan should be discussed after the employee has been made to understand his or her mistakes e.g. failure to meet performance targets. Clear outcomes of corrective actions to be undertaken by the employee should be spelt out in the plan. A meeting to review the employee’s conduct should be held after a set amount of time.

  1. Consider Individual Employment Contracts Entered into with the Employee

There may not be any clause in an employee’s contract that guarantees perpetual employment but there may clauses that indicate that the employee can only be terminated after the fulfillment of certain conditions. In organizations where the workers are part of a union, it may be necessary to show cause in order to demonstrate that an employee engaged in behaviour that is contrary to the organization’s code of conduct. Termination due to economic reasons could be limited to seniority by a collective bargaining agreement which is a legally binding agreement between the union and the employer. Such factors need to be carefully considered before terminating an employee.

  1. Consider the Needs of the Clients

Most organizations depend on the relationships established by their employees with their clients. The sudden termination of an employee can have a devastating effect on the relationships that have been established with clients hence the need for a transition period. If proper checks and systems are not put in place, an organization can make serious losses due to failure to manage client’s relationships that had been established by terminated employees.

  1. Consider When to Fire the Employee

Is it better to fire someone on Friday afternoon or on Monday morning? The answer may seem obvious but it is not always a black and white affair. An employer needs to fire someone as soon as the decision to do so has been unanimously arrived at by the top management. However, failing to determine an appropriate time might lead to involving the employee in key projects, much to the detriment of the team’s needs. For some positions, there might be a need for handing over crucial information or instructions. A clear timeline should be set and adhered to once the decision to fire someone at your organization has been arrived at.

 

Did you terminate an employee’s contract recently and need a replacement? We at Crystal Recruitment help you with your HR policies and Recruitment needs.

Talk to us today and we shall be happy to assist. 

5 Resolutions Every Organization Must Make about Talent

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The New Year is beckoning even as the lights go up in preparation for the Christmas festivities.  Making New Year’s resolutions is a tradition that dates back to the Babylonians about 4000 years ago. During a ceremony known as Akitu which coincided with the crop planting season in mid-March, they would make promises to the gods to pay debts and be on their best behavior in the New Year. Romans had a similar ceremony at the beginning of the year. It was based on the belief that Janus, the two-faced god after whom January is named had links to the future and insight into the past.

Many of us look back and wonder why we made New Year’s resolutions in the first place because we have nothing to show for it. Some of us quit before we fulfilled our resolutions. Others are proud of the milestones made after making their resolutions. Regardless of your take on resolutions at a personal level, every organization that is keen on growing and sustaining its growth must make resolutions. Your talent strategy must be carefully considered as you make your resolutions at an organizational level. You do not have to wait for January to consider your resolutions when it comes to talent.

Having worked with hundreds of successful organizations over the past year, we have identified a few of key resolutions that organizations need to make and keep in the New Year:

Resolution#1: Review and update your employee handbook

This may seem trivial at first but it is not. If you have an employee handbook, now would be a good time to carefully review it and consider what needs to be revised or updated. During the review, consider any changes that have been made to the laws or regulations in the course of the year. Work with your legal counsel during the process.

Do you have flexible working arrangements for some of your employees? Include it in your employee handbook.

Do you have guidelines on how your employees need to use social media platforms? Let it be clearly articulated in your employee handbook.

Do the policies and guidelines in your employee handbook support your recruitment and employee retention efforts? The employee handbook should have them.

Are you clueless about what you need to include or exclude in your employee handbook? Talk to us today.

Resolution #2:  Foster a learning culture

Are your employees keeping up with emerging trends? Successful organizations encourage their employees to learn continuously and come up with innovative ways of doing their work. Encourage the employees who have been working for the organization for long to acquire new skills or upgrade their skills. Provide them with opportunities to learn about new technologies in their field. Provide new employees with opportunities to up-skill or work in other areas of the organization in order to enhance their skills. These efforts will boost the morale of the employees, promote productivity and business growth.

Resolution#3: Avoid delays in acting on employee performance

Delays in acting on employee performance are a result of a variety of factors. Sometimes, the organization wants to find a replacement before firing an employee.

In other instances, the organization might not have the financial muscle to compensate an employee after giving him or her a promotion.  Regardless of the reasons for the delay, organizations end up retaining underperforming employees for longer periods than they should. In other instances, organizations lose their talent to competitors because they failed to provide them with career development opportunities. This does not mean that the decision to terminate or promote an employee should be rushed. However, the decision should not be delayed as long as there is sufficient information.

Resolution#4: Review your benefits program

Millennials are looking for more than a salary. They are seeking opportunities to grow and develop in their careers, advance in their education and work in an environment that supports work-rest balance.

Are you content in offering traditional benefits such as retirement, health insurance and annual leave? It is time to reconsider the benefits you can offer to your employees.

There are other benefits that help in retaining employees such as flexible working schedule, training and friendly maternity and paternity leave packages. An organization could reap immense benefits from its employees by including some of these benefits in its benefits program.

Resolution #5: Review your annual appraisal process

In most organizations, annual appraisals are considered mundane tasks that everyone simply wants to get over and done with. As a result of this attitude, most organizations miss out on opportunities to get feedback from their employees and to give feedback that will help them become more productive. Resolve to ensure that employees do not only hear about their good performance or areas of improvement during the annual appraisal at your organization. Effective managers have regular discussions with their team members about their good performance and areas of improvement. This can be done on a monthly or quarterly basis. The performance appraisal tool should be shared with the employee prior to the appraisal. This will enable the employee to understand what he or she is expected to do in order to be considered a performing employee. Develop a 360-degree feedback mechanism by obtaining feedback about the employee from his or her colleagues or immediate boss.

We at Crystal Recruitment make it our business to find the right talent for your company as we are a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya. Talk to us today and let us help you find the right talent.

5 Reasons Why the Best Employees Leave Organizations

pexels-photo-1563355.jpegEvery organization takes pride in having an employee who is passionate, disciplined, industrious and keen on going the extra mile. Most organizations would want to keep such an employee for life because their performance at work is guaranteed. It often comes as a surprise when one of your best employees decides to leave the organization. While most bosses will not admit it, a notice from such an employee can be devastating news. It is common for managers to blame everything and everyone under the sun whenever a good employee leaves. A manager who is keen on learning from such an experience will take time to critically examine the reasons why his or her best employee is leaving.

If your organization is struggling to retain its best employees, here are some of the most common reasons why this might be the case:

Lack of work-rest balance

We call it work-rest balance because referring to it as work-life balance would be an indication that work is not part of life. In a quest to maintain healthy bottom lines, some organizations push their employees out of their jobs. They demand more than is humanly possible within unrealistic timelines. Even the best employees struggle to keep up with the workload as the managers demand more and more from them. A job that is supposed to be done from 8am -5pm with breaks for lunch and tea ends up becoming a twelve-hour job with no breaks. The employees barely have time to eat, interact as normal human beings or even take breaks that would enable them to acquire a new perspective on the tasks that they are handling. The overall effect of this becomes visible in their physical, social and mental well-being. An organization that treats its employees as mere “resources” without taking their well-being into account will end up losing its best employees.

Overworking employees is counterproductive. A research study carried out by Stanford University showed that the productivity of an employee decreases sharply as the working hours per week exceed 50 hours. It is important for all the leaders in an organization to create a realistic workflow that will help the organization meet its goals while ensuring that the workers are not overworked. It is equally important for line managers to learn how to respect the personal boundaries of the employees they work with. An employee does not have to be on call on weekends, holidays and after working hours unless it is utterly necessary. Organizations seeking to maintain the productivity of their employees should insist on creating a culture in which working late is not considered an indicator of good performance. This will ensure that all employees manage the tasks for the day effectively hence maintaining a healthy work-rest balance.

Failure to Tailor the Talent to the Tasks

going.pngSome of the most talented employees in organizations end up using only 10% of their potential because their talent has not been matched to their jobs. As a result of this, the best employees gradually become discontented and begin to seek other avenues where they will realize their full potential. The mismatch between an employee’s tasks and talent happens as a result of “straight line” mentality. This mentality believes that an employee who is employed in one department should stay in that department. It fails to have a comprehensive view of what the employee is good at and finding ways of providing an opportunity to make use an employee’s talent.

Lies, Lies, Lies

There are organizations that have perfected the art of dangling carrots in front of their employees. For instance, employees can be told by their manager that they will receive a bonus once a certain project has been completed or if they meet their sales target. Employees strive to attain the goal but once they do, the goal post is shifted. Then, the management of the organization provides a long, winding explanation as to why it cannot keep its promise. There are organizations that give their employees contracts that enumerate several benefits but once the employees start working for the organization, the benefits mysteriously fail to show up. Whenever an employee tries to find out why he or she is not getting the benefits as promised, the explanation that is provided is barely sufficient. An organization that lies to its employees loses credibility among its employees. This eventually demotivates the best talent and makes them leave the organization.

Unaddressed Concerns

Addressing the concerns raised by employees is an essential aspect of ensuring that the employees can trust their organization to look out for their best interests. In some organizations, leaders have created a culture in which they remain detached and unapproachable. Issues such as discrimination, unethical practices and sexual harassment can remain unaddressed in such an environment. This leads to widespread fear among the employees. Eventually, leaving the organization becomes the best option.

Poor Pay and Benefits

employee leavingAn organization does not have to offer an employee a bucket load of money in order to retain the employee. An organization just needs to work towards offering fair compensation in line with market rates for a particular type of job. Additional benefits such as flexible working hours for young mothers help in retaining an organization’s top talent. An organization that does not pay its employees on time or fails to pay after several promises is setting itself up for failure because it will eventually suffer from talent drain. It may be easy for an organization to get away with failing to compensate its employees as expected but in the long run, it ruins the organization’s reputation and has an effect on its bottom line. Employees need to know that their financial well-being is not secondary to the company’s profit. They need to see the results of their productive days become tangible benefits.

Do you need help with identifying and retaining talent in your organization? Talk to us at Crystal Recruitment, a leading talent solutions provider in Kenya.

Age is a Number, not a Sentence

One of the questions that was raised following the tragic accident involving a bus at Fort Ternan, Kericho was the age of the driver. According to reports in the newspapers, the driver of the ill-fated bus was 72 years old. He had, according to his employer, been a competent employee until then. Questions as to whether his age affected his capacity to perform his duties will remain unanswered. Every organization has to consider the age of its employees. Section 58 and 59 of the Employment Act of 2007 recognize that the minimum age for any industrial undertaking is 16 years. Most employees are required to retire by the age of 55 years but in some instances, an employee can continue working up to the age of 70 years.

As technological advances shift the nature of work, jobs are continually evolving. There are jobs such as digital asset manager which did not exist twenty years ago while there are others such as typists that have become obsolete. The ratio of Kenya’s youth to the population stands at 20.3%, which is above the world’s average of 15.8%. A 2016 World Bank report stated that the unemployment rate in Kenya among the youth stands at 17.3%.  This is higher than the unemployment rates in Uganda and Tanzania which stands at only 6%. It is against this backdrop that organizations have to find the right balance in order to attain diversity in terms of age in their organizations.

There are stereotypes that are associated with both the young and the old that do not necessarily apply to everyone in these groups. Many hiring managers consider millenials a good fit for certain roles because it is often assumed that they are “energetic,” “digital natives” and “agile learners.” These assumptions have driven a shift in terms of considering the criteria for labelling an employee as “too old.” In certain industries, anyone above the age of 40 years is considered “too old,” hence certain roles are reserved for employees below the age of 40 years. In other organizations, those who are below the age of 40 years do not stand a chance because most positions are occupied by those who are 40 years and above. Both extremes create an imbalance in the work place and stifle the rich experiences that would be created as a result of having a diverse workforce comprised of workers of different ages. Organizations can take the following active steps towards ensuring that they create a diverse workforce:

Have a talent acquisition strategy that spells out skills/background required for each role

Having a talent acquisition strategy ensures that you hire the right talent for the right job. It forecasts the organization’s need for talent in line with its growth strategy and helps in planning in advance for talent acquisition. Having such a strategy in place can help in eliminating some of the age inclined biases because the skills and background of the required talent is clearly outlined in the strategy. Some cliché words used in describing talent are regarded as ageist. For instance, “highly energetic” is regarded as a euphemism for “young”.  Avoid using such words in your strategy. Instead, focus on attributes that would make a candidate valuable regardless of their age. The talent acquisition strategy should be shared with external recruiters to ensure they understand the organization’s needs when it comes to talent.

Create interview templates that are related to candidates’ skills and work experience

A good interview should be an opportunity to delve deeper into a candidate’s competencies and work experience. All the questions that the interview panel intends to pose to the client should be geared towards ensuring that the hiring team has a clear picture of the value that the candidate would bring to an organization if given an opportunity to do so. Experience is valuable and it often comes with age but this does not mean that a candidate who does not have many years of experience would not be of value if given an opportunity to put their skills to use.

Make training opportunities available to all employees

Learning, as they often say, is the only way to avoid rusting. Training is an essential part of your organization’s growth hence it should be offered to all employees on a regular basis. Organizations often assume that they will not benefit much by offering their older employees opportunities for training since the older employees are on their way to retirement. This assumption results in a huge skills gap between the older and younger employees.  Training offers an opportunity for the older employees to share the wealth of the experience they possess with the younger employees. It offers the younger employees an opportunity to share the new developments in the field with older employees in an environment that is interactive and friendly.

There are three ages to consider according to psychologists. Which age are you focusing on?

Psychologists argue that there are three “ages.”

Chronological age is determined by one’s date of birth. It is subject to the clock and seasons on earth hence there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Biological age is determined by one’s lifestyle. A 20 year old can have the heart of a 90 year old due to bad eating habits, lack of exercise and a bad attitude towards life. A 60 year old can have the heart of a 30 year old due to proper eating habits, regular exercise and a good attitude towards life.

Psychological age is determined by how an individual views himself or herself as he/she advances in age. As Henry Ford, the American business magnate and founder of Ford Motor Company rightfully observed: Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

Are you stuck in a rut when it comes to talent acquisition? We at Crystal Recruitment make it our business to find the right talent for your company as we are a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya. Talk to us today and let us help you find the right talent.

7 Intelligent Steps Towards Gracefully Quitting Your Job

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For every story about a successful transition from one job to another or a business opportunity, there is another story about a stressful job transition. Contrary to popular belief, quitting your job is not as easy as the movies make it look. It can be terrifying, exhilarating, uncertain or all of these at the same time. Sometimes it is the product of days, months and years of agonizing over whether the decision to quit is the right decision. For other people, it can be the product of a whim, a gut feeling that the grass is greener on the other side. There is no right or wrong way to arrive at that decision but there are intelligent steps you can take as you work towards your transition. The key thing is, that once you make up your mind to leave the job, have the courage to follow through with your decision.

Find your “why” before you leave

Difficult bosses have been known to be among the leading reason as to why people quit their jobs. While it is true that there are bosses that are impossible to work with, there is another side of the coin. Some employees place unreasonable expectations on their bosses making the work environment stressful. Before you leave your current position, you need to ask yourself the hard questions:

  • Why do you want to leave your job?
  • Are your reasons detached from any pending emotional matters that you have not dealt with?
  • If there are steps you could take towards improving your experience at your current position, would you take them and evaluate the outcome before making your decision?

Draft a transition plan

I have met candidates with noticeable gaps in their CV’s which is often as a result of leaving a job without having a proper transition plan in place. A typical transition plan answers the following questions:

  • Are there any pending projects/ tasks you need to complete before your final day at your job?
  • When will each of these projects or tasks be handed over to your successor?
  • What are opportunities are you eyeing after you leave?
  • Do you have a proper plan with clear objectives and set timelines to help you pursue other opportunities?
  • Do you have a financial plan in place to cater for your pursuit of other opportunities?

You may not be able to cover all the bases but you can anticipate as much as you can and plan ahead. If you have a mentor, let him or her help you with this process.

pexels-photo-796602Give notice to your employer

If you have a contract with your employer, go through it and find out if you are supposed to give a certain amount of notice before you quit your job. In some organizations, failure to serve sufficient notice can have a direct impact on your terminal benefits. It is important to serve notice as it allows your employer to have sufficient time to find a replacement. If there are specific skills you acquired through experience, the notice period allows you to transfer those skills to your successor.

Hand in your resignation letter

Forget about those cheesy videos of employees who made emotional videos and sent them to their bosses as a resignation letter. They only work if you are out to become an internet celebrity after you quit job. Your resignation letter should be a precisely drafted legal document that informs your employer that you will no longer be offering your services to the organization after a certain date. You do not have to delve into the details as to why you quit your job. Keep it short, polite and formal. Outline any transition plan you are willing to make and implement. Express your gratitude to your boss for the opportunity.

Schedule a meeting with your boss about your exit

This may be the most difficult part of exiting from your current position but it is necessary. Have a short meeting with your boss and inform him/her that you will no longer be working for the organization. Future employers may seek a recommendation from your former boss so it is important to leave in good terms.

Handle pending administrative matters

If your organization has a well-established HR department, you may be required to attend an exit interview. Attend the interview and keep your criticism concise and constructive. Fill in the paperwork that you may be required to fill in to cater for things such as your retirement benefits and your health insurance. Clear with all the departments you need to clear with. Let your colleagues, particularly your successor, know that you are leaving. You may not have a good experience at the organization but that does not mean you cannot positively influence those who still work for the organization. Share the lessons you have learned from your job with your colleagues.

pexels-photo-704767Forge ahead!

The only way to move forward is to step forward. Once you have left your job, embrace what’s ahead of you. It will be terrifying at times. It will be heartbreaking and exciting at other times. It may not work out after the first, second and third attempts. However, it pans out, embrace it, learn from it and go for it. There is no loss in trying and failing but failure to try due to fear of loss is the biggest loss.

Good luck with your exit!

Do you mind taking a short survey about your previous exit from your job? It would mean so much to us. Click the link below and answer the questions.

Survey on Leaving Your Job

If you are on verge of changing careers, do check out our website, Crystal Recruitment a leading recruitment agency in Kenya for opportunities that we have and apply today!

Top five questions you should stop asking candidates during interviews

FIT

An interview is, in simple terms, a question and answer session between the employer and the candidate who is a potential employee. As an employer, an interview is an opportunity to determine whether a candidate’s qualifications are a good fit for the organization. An interview enables you to sift through the fine list and get the finest candidate for the position you are seeking to fill. Candidates, on the other hand, spend hours preparing for the interview and work even harder to deal with the anxiety that comes with being interviewed.

With today’s cut-throat competition for talent among employers, it is only natural that an employer would go out of their way to prod the candidates and find the best. However, this enthusiasm can easily be tainted by biases which come to the fore in the form of questions posed to the candidates. As a best practice, it is advisable to avoid posing the following questions to candidates:

“Where are you from?” Or “You have a strange accent. Where are you from?”

This may seem like an innocent question but it is laden with hidden meanings. This question boils down to a candidate’s ethnicity or first language. It can mask underlying biases towards candidates on the basis of their ethnicity. Unless the candidate’s ethnicity has a direct impact on the candidate’s ability to perform the job, it is advisable to steer clear of a candidate’s ethnicity during an interview. Instead of asking a candidate why he or she has a strange accent, you can pose the following questions:

  • This job requires you to speak ______ fluently. What languages are you fluent in?
  • This position requires you to represent the organization in forums with audiences drawn from different ethnicities. Are you good at handling such audiences?

We have always had a man/ woman for this role. Can you handle the challenges that come with this position?

images (6)Men and women possess different abilities which enrich the workplace in unique ways. For decades, ill-informed notions about what a woman can do have been used to lock out women seeking certain opportunities. The effect of this discriminatory practice has resulted in huge gaps between the number of women and the number of men in certain fields. Fortunately, most organizations are beginning to recognize the critical role played by women in the workplace and are taking active steps to close the gaps. Your organization will benefit immensely from providing both men and women with equal opportunities. Do not lock out women on account of their gender. Open the field for them and level the playing field for them.

“Are you married?” Or “Do you have young children?”

As the workplace is changing, young people find themselves committing to their careers in favour of starting a family early. Unlike in the past, marriage is delayed as one pursues higher education, career opportunities or business opportunities. A good employer recognizes that a candidate’s marital status is an important part of his or her life but does not use this against the candidate. Some jobs may require a candidate to work overtime or work long hours but this should not be a reason to lock our candidates who have families. An employer’s working hours or policies should support work-life balance because studies have increasingly shown that employees who have a balance in their lives perform better. Instead of asking about a candidate’s marital status, the interviewer can pose the following questions:

  • This job may require you to work overtime hours. What days/hours are you available for work?
  • Are you available for work-related travel occasionally?
  • This job may require you to relocate to another city or country. Would you open to this?

“Which religion do you practice?” Or “Who is your religious leader?”

pexels-photo-1407278.jpegReligion is increasingly becoming a dicey topic. While we cannot ignore the role of religion in one’s life, it can be a hot button topic in the workplace. Asking about a candidate’s religion can open the door for discrimination on account of one’s religion or lack of religious affiliation. Organizations that are religiously affiliated may find this question necessary when determining a candidate’s alignment to the organizational values. However, given that religion is deeply personal and private, it may be hard to determine if a candidate’s convictions are actually as stated. To avoid this, it would be better to determine if a candidate’s religious affiliation has a direct bearing on the position. If not, it is better to steer clear of this question.

“What is your greatest weakness?”

As an employer, you know that candidates invest a considerable amount of time in preparing for interviews. Asking a candidate to tell you about their weakness may not be useful considering the candidate has already rehearsed an appropriate answer that gives the best impression. If you are keen on finding out about a candidate’s weakness, talk to their referees. No one can openly admit to being addicted to social media or online gambling during an interview. Alternatively, ask the below questions;

  • When was the last time your Supervisor/Manager gave you constructive criticism with regards to your job? Tell us more.
  • What areas are you working on for Personal Development?

Do you need help with recruiting top talent for your organization? Crystal Recruitment is a Leading Recruitment Firm that specializes in targeting the right people for open vacancies. Check out our website today and get in touch with us.