Mergers & Acquisitions

I recently experienced working for a business during a transition period.


Below I have shared some tips of what to expect and how to manage your employees during this stressful time…

Expect Employees to Feel Stressed

Before you can help employees adjust to upcoming changes, you must be aware of what they are feeling. From the moment the merger is first announced, your entire workforce is likely to be distracted by uncertainty. It’s disturbing to imagine one’s livelihood simply disappearing, especially for those workers who are older or who doubt their ability to land an equivalent job.

Employees may even wonder if financial pressures or job-hunting may force them to move out of their home. Relationships inside and outside the workplace may suffer, and engagement in job tasks often plummets.

Even though mergers aren’t exactly a cakewalk for your HR department, you must find time to alleviate your workforce’s stress and provide each person with the support and empathy they need to stay engaged. Glassdoor advises, “Even if an employee is losing their job, studies have shown that the worker will be more productive and more valuable in his final days if he or she is notified well in advance and provided with adequate support and guidance.”

Provide Accurate Information

HR departments are under considerable pressure during mergers, and you may find yourself called upon for answers at precisely the moment when you have least control over your workers’ situation. Be careful not to release any specifics about dates, roles, retention and so on until all those plans are in place. Telling even one manager about something that “might” happen is a way to create disruption and unnecessary rumours.

Listen to Employees

Most of the information flow during mergers move in only one direction, because workers are anxious to know what to expect. Nonetheless, this is a time when you should make a special effort to empathize with your employees. Let managers know that it’s helpful for them to meet one-on-one with direct reports so they can find out what’s on everyone’s minds. Glassdoor recommends that companies seek input from old and new employees alike regarding how the transition is going. They may have valuable suggestions and feedback that can help everything move along more smoothly.

Similarly, when you hold HR meetings to orient staff to new benefits or policies going forward, it’s important to allow time to listen to and address employees’ concerns. Sending out anonymous surveys ahead of time is another useful way to find out what’s keeping your workers up at night. Employees need to know that the company takes their questions seriously and value their input.

Thank you for reading

Chantel George

Life after GDPR – Are you really being Compliant?

A couple weeks ago, while watching a presentation at a conference, attendees remarked that they had prioritised areas of focus to get them over the finishing line with their GDPR compliance, but there was a lingering sense that there was yet more to be done. This view was confirmed by the results of research carried out which addressed participants at the recent conference. The results showed that 43% of respondents had to embark in substantial work to meet the requirements of the new GPDR legislation but 48% are still not entirely sure how these will tie in with new upcoming regulatory and legal changes, including ePrivacy. With regards to the latter, 44% of the respondents stated that they were unaware of whether new legislation would apply to them, or not.

Furthermore, 38% of respondents outlined how they are – or will be – deploying internet of Things (IoT) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) based tools, which will need to meet both GDPR and highly ethical standards.

This all leaves one lingering question – where do we go from GDPR?

Before you can answer this, it’s important to understand that the GDPR is a journey, one which only started on 25th May. As a result, companies should be reviewing their current position and focusing on some, if not all, of the following:

Third party contracts:

  • This is probably an area that many organisations have approached using a risk-based methodology, concentrating on reviewing the most relevant contracts first. However, now is the time to look at warranties and liabilities very carefully, depending on the controller / processor relationship.

Record of Processing Activities:

  • Most organisations I have worked with have put a lot of effort into this essential requirement. Ensure these tools are not abandoned but kept alive and updated.

ePrivacy:

  • Although the ePrivacy regulation is currently stalling in the European Parliament, I advise that businesses start to investigate the requirements of the proposed legislation to ensure you are ready to start embedding compliance from the get go

Training and awareness:

  • Companies must make sure staff are trained, with regular top-up sessions to ensure ongoing awareness. It is not by chance that 42% of our respondents identified this as a key challenge for the future. It is important to review the preparedness of team members and test them regularly. I always recommend that you bring GDPR and data privacy to life through real cases to make it relevant and interesting to employees.

Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs):

  • Furthermore, companies should keep an eye on the regulator (or regulators, if they operate across the EU), as they are specifying what they deem as high risk and require a DPIA to be conducted

On top of all the above, companies working at an international level need to ensure they follow local developments and pay close attention to data protection authorities at the EU Member State level. This is an important piece of work which will allow businesses to operate in full accordance with the law.

It seems that there is always something more to be done, and while no-one said that it would be easy, ensuring you are following data protection best practice is an ongoing and exciting journey. There will be bumps in the road, but those that embrace it fully will be able to gain a competitive advantage, grow their reputation and build consumer trust.

Thanks for Reading!

Chantel George

EA

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips for a Successful Interview

It’s safe to say that in my career as an Executive Assistant, I have conducted my fair share of interviews in the past in many different industries. Throughout all of these meetings, I’ve experienced the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly.

I like to keep things positive and believe with every interview even the negative ones, you can leave knowing you have always learnt something new every time.

I would like to share five things that I have learnt in my past experience that are key to success, and some tips on how to really wow the client.

 

 

Present Yourself Well

I am old fashioned when it comes too how you present yourself during interviews. It does not matter if the interview you are attending is for the latest company with a laid back approach rocking hoodies and jeans every day – the vast majority of interviewers want to know that you’re taking the meeting seriously, so dress to impress!

Always come prepared, give a firm handshake and look your interviewer in the eye when speaking.

This article written by By Ari Zoldan CEO, Quantum Media Group is one my favourites on the psychology behind Dressing for success

Make Small Talk

When you are being interviewed they want you to be prepared to answer questions like, ‘tell me about yourself” and “Why are you looking for a new job?” But they also want to know that you’re someone who they would enjoy working with each day. While you shouldn’t let the interview go too far off course, make sure to small talk to show that you can be social and are an overall interesting person.

After all, whether or not the interviewer wants to talk to you every day can be the deciding factor as to whether you get the job.

Sell What You Can Offer

Too many times in the past, when I’ve been asked by the interviewer why am I interested in the job and company, I have answered, “I think this is a great learning opportunity for me” or “I could learn a lot”.

So, I’m still wondering: How exactly would these benefit the organisation?

Answer: They won’t. An interviewer can easily articulate the value you would bring to the company—not what you would take away from the job.

Do Your Industry Homework

Basic pre – interview prep includes researching the company’s history, mission statement, product offerings, and so on. But a successful candidate will also research the industry at large. What macro trends are impacting the company? Who are its biggest competitors, and what are they doing differently? Being able to confidently speak about such topics in this space will show your genuine interest and fit within the company.

Send a Thank You Note (Really)

This might seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people still don’t do it. And this tiny note can actually stand between you and your dream job.

Make sure you send it….

By Chantel George

Appreciating Your Employees Leads To A Successful Business

As a manager or a business owner, you should appreciate your employees’ dedication and hard work. This appreciation isn’t always visible to everyone though, and it can impact company spirit.

Showing your appreciation to your employees is imperative and does not have to be something extravagant. A little can go a long way…….

Below are six gestures on how you can show you value their work…

1. Say “Thanks”
A simple thank you goes a long way. Verbal praise shows more acknowledgement than none at all, and this recognition won’t go unnoticed.

When it’s due, a little thank you can be all your staff needs to hear to show their input matters and that you notice their contribution and hard work. That’s a win for everybody.

2. Build a Wall of Fame
What better way to acknowledge your staff than with a physical notice in the office? Create a wall that highlights exemplary work, similar to an “employee of the month” model. It’s a great way to boost morale and self-esteem, and it lets everyone know how well his or her colleagues are performing.

3. Give Time Off
It doesn’t have to be the entire day, but retiring early on a Friday afternoon is an unexpected treat. This is a surprise freebie your team will appreciate. Letting your staff out early, even if it’s just an hour, feels much longer.

4. Small Tokens of Gratitude……
Small acts of gratitude truly leave a lasting impression. If your employee always makes an afternoon tea, leave a packet of their favourite biscuits on his or hers desk. For that co-worker who loves chocolate, drop off their favourite chocolate bar.

Include a note with the gift, thanking them for their hard work and dedication, or leave it in person with a verbal thank you. These small gestures are a nice surprise.

5. Delegate Ownership?
A bigger way to show your appreciation for your employees is to slowly increase their duties and refer them to leadership positions. Handing over bigger tasks is a subtle way that shows you trust them.

Letting staff greenlight or manage aspects of a project shows them that you value their expertise and trust their opinions. Acknowledge their suggestions in meetings and mention their name in relation to a new idea.

6. Asking for Feedback is key!
Employees, especially those who are new or junior, will appreciate that their input is taken seriously within the company. Employee 360 feedback is a company win for management because it often brings to light issues you were unaware of, and employees get the chance to give input when they may not normally have that opportunity.

By appreciating your Employees you will build a gracious, polite, and civilized work atmosphere!

#happyworkersworkharder

The Client with Multiple Hats

Quite often, prospective clients like the idea of having a Virtual Assistant on their team, but they can’t quite figure out exactly what tasks could be assigned or how it’d help. This case study helps explain more about one particular type of client:

The Type of Client…

This is the type of successful business person who has multiple revenue streams through various businesses, and is regularly pulled in far too many directions as a result. These clients are big picture thinkers and they need to know that the team they choose to build around them is a solid and reliable one. Their time is massively in demand, so they immediately recognise the value in outsourcing tasks to a Virtual Assistant.

Types of tasks a VA can help with

Business tasks – as a PA/Office Manager

  • This client always has a jam-packed diary – meetings with potential clients, agencies, employees, marketing, senior management, and all of the associated travel. By delegating the diary management, all they ever have to know is where they need to be and when. I will always factor in travel time and add a little diary wiggle room in case meetings run over.
  • These clients also travel frequently and don’t want to faff around working out the most time-efficient route. Therefore, I work with them to establish their travel preferences (timings, class, seating, meals, baggage, etc) which I keep on file for future reference for next time, and I go away and do my research. I then succinctly present them with the options that meet their criteria, and I then book on their behalf or they go away and make the purchase themselves.
  • instance, the client also wanted me to attend the face-to-face interviews so that I could take notes while they focused solely on asking the questions.
  • But my clients say they gain the most value when we speak over the phone or meet in person as they have the opportunity to have me as their sounding board. Because I am an integrated part of their business, I understand their goals and vision, and therefore I can support them every step of the way by providing valuable and yet impartial advice.

Personal tasks – as a Private PA

  • Researching holidays – from family breaks to something for a special occasion, this often involves flights, hotels, and activities.
  • Advertising, telephone interviewing and reference checking household help such as chefs, cleaners and dog walkers.
  • Dealing with property on behalf of the client for selling & purchasing of a house
  • Securing table reservations and noting dietary and dining preferences in line with requirements.

Thanks for reading!

Chantel George

 

How do you manage your emails..?

 

So how do you manage your emails?

Do you put off your emails until you receive a notification that your storage has no available space left?

 

Are you aiming for a zero inbox? Either way, the end result for both is unmanageable.

Aiming for a zero inbox is an unsustainable way to manage your incoming messages.  You will spend too much time trying to keep the number of emails down that you will be distracted and you and waste too much time on checking your inbox, which will take your focus away from other projects and tasks.

So how do you stay on top of your inbox?

Below are a few simple methods to try:

ADFD Method 

This is simple and manageable method, which can take away those hours you have spent on managing your emails! The ADFD method – action, delegate, file or delete?

If it is something that is not straightforward and will take some time, then you can still action it – the action will be to advise the sender you have received and will come back to them, whilst you then schedule the time to complete it.

Turn email notifications off

If you have a pop up or a sound notification set up to notify you every time you get an email, I’m pretty sure most of us will act upon that sound or pop up every time we hear or see it. Whilst this may seem like an obvious thing to do, it actually means we end up distracted from whatever task we are working on at that time. So, turn the notification off and check your inbox in the time you’ve allocated!

Unsubscribe

You are probably signed up to loads and loads of mailing lists without even realising it! So, once you have deleted what you don’t need and moved want you want to keep, it would make sense to remove yourself from the mailing lists that you no longer want or need to be on. There is a fab app called Unroll Me that you can use, it allows you to see a list of your subscriptions and you can easily unsubscribe from whatever you don’t want – it’s totally free and a great tool to use.

These are my preferable methods I practice and would recommend to avoid inbox clutter:

Managing your inbox on a daily basis:

Allocate time for checking mail

Allocate specific times of day to check your inbox and try not to dip in and out of your emails at any other time. For example, check your emails around 9am, 12ish, 3ish and once more before switching off for the day. If you prefer to respond instantly you could perhaps set up an auto responder and then reply properly in the time you’ve allowed yourself to check your emails. If you can follow this simple rule, you won’t lose concentration or be drawn away from the other important tasks that you are working on.

Create templates for regularly occurring emails

If you send the same email often, set it up as a template. I have several saved for things such as my rates, my terms and conditions and information to accompany my invoices. Being able to select and modify the template instead or creating a whole new email saves me quite a lot of time each week.

These simple steps should make clearing and managing your inbox simple, however, if you just can’t find the time to follow these steps, drop me a line and see how I can help. I can help create and implement the systems that you need to organise and manage your inbox.

Thanks for reading!

Chantel George

Contact Me

 

 

 

When you know it’s time to hire a virtual assistant! 

Your business is growing, and you are busier now more than ever. You could use an extra set of hands, so someone suggested that you should use a virtual assistant. However, you have no idea what a virtual assistant is or for that matter, how they can help you. If that is the case, it is time for you to become virtual and hire a virtual assistant.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is a highly skilled professional who offers business support services virtually. This consists of an individual located off site and working remotely. Virtual Assistants are independent contractors and entrepreneurs who specialise in providing an array of services such as administrative, creative & technical support.

Benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant

  • Valuable Skill Set – We are highly skilled independent contractors who have a broad range of experience. Most of us work in a specific niche, meaning we will understand your industry better than someone who doesn’t focus on a niche.

 

  • Saving on Hiring a Full-Time Employee – A key benefit to using a virtual assistant for your business is the saving aspect. By working with a virtual assistant, you will save on costs such as the amount of time and money spent on interviewing and training a new employee. This also includes the cost of employee benefits such as health insurance, employee-related benefits, and tax savings. As  virtual assistants, we are responsible for our own bookkeeping and taxes. You will not have to worry about incurring such costs.

 

  • Save on Office Space – As contractors, we work off site. This allows you to save on expenses such as ordering a new desk and purchasing a computer. As a matter fact we use our own resources,  So you save on the space that a new employee would incur. This is a win, particularly if you happen to work remotely or independently yourself. You can work remotely and at the same time have the additional assistance you need.

 

  • Only Pay for Time Spent on Projects – This is a great benefit for your business budget. When you utilise a virtual assistant, you only pay for time spent on projects. So, you can budget for the projects that have a high priority for your business.