Friday, October 21, 2011

Contingency Planning

No-one really likes to think about disaster, in fact it feels highly pessimistic to anticipate it; but in the modern business world contingency planning is not only prudent it is a prerequisite. Contingency planning is a framework for ensuring a company’s resilience with its ability to continue business in the event of a disaster, thus safeguarding the reputation of the company and brand. More and more we see the effect of natural, economic and technological disasters across the globe, and no company should feel that they are exempt from planning to negate the impact of such events on their business.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Organisational Leadership and the motivation of staff

When describing leadership it is easy to throw around words like strength, presence or even integrity; as by definition a leader is someone who sets a good example for others to follow. But when we turn to the dynamic world of organisational leadership, things start to get a little more complicated.

The 34th President of the USA, Dwight D. Eisenhower, is famously quoted as saying; “Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it”. A military man and not one to mince his words, Eisenhower had two fair points. Firstly, leadership involves mentoring people in a particular way; and secondly, it is indeed an art form.

Being a good organisational leader involves a few key tactics that are critical to how staff perform at work.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Knowing Your Crime Stats

Crime is a reality we live in; it undermines the quality of life and drives us to take extreme measures in protecting our loved ones, businesses and personal belongings. We strive to achieve maximum security to ensure content and safety in all aspects of our lives. Crime Awareness begins with knowing the statistics and using them to prevent crime in your area.

Typically crime is divided into five categories:

1. Contact Crime (crimes against people)
2. Contact-related crime (arson and malicious damage to property)
3. Property-related crime (residential and non-residential)
4. Other serious crime (commercial crime, shoplifting etc)
5. Crime detected as a result of police action (illegal possession of firearms, drug-related, drinking and driving)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Trust is a key factor in the effectiveness of Outsourcing

Trust is a pretty big word. It suggests an implicit faith in whomever the trust is being placed, and it is fair to say that in today’s business world, trust is hard earned. When it comes to utilising an outsourced business solution with your company’s interests at stake, trust is a vitally important factor.

Quite often, when a company decides to outsource work to another company they may not be 100% sure about who to choose. People rely on reputation to guide them in their choices. Even though the client is usually comfortable with their choice, there may still be reservations which can only be erased as time passes, and as services are successfully delivered and needs met.

Establishing the grounds for a transparent, communicative and positive working relationship is exceptionally important and can dictate how business relationships evolve. Generally, the relationship between a client and service provider will either stay very cut and dry or the two parties will start to work in a partnership. It is the sense of partnership that the service provider should aim to reach should they wish for a long term mutually beneficial relationship with their client.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Security Cameras: An effective deterrent

In the modern office environment, particularly in large offices with many levels and rooms, keeping an eye on what is happening at all times is near to impossible. With the use of security cameras though, potential risks are substantially minimised and recorded footage proves very useful if any criminal activity does take place.

The main purpose of security cameras is to deter would be criminals from committing offences, whether it be theft, violence or vandalism. Security cameras are typically found in any place where the public are free to come and go such as malls, but also in more formal institutions like schools, libraries and offices. Needless to say, one is less inclined to do something illegal if one can be held culpable via a recording of the act.

However, more than acting as a deterrent, security cameras are also a cost effective way to monitor big areas instead of covering the same ground with only security guards. Cameras allow a quiet eye to be cast over isolated areas such as parking lots and back entrances to buildings, and can also alert security staff in CCTV offices to threats before they manifest within a building. That way armed response can be activated, and the situation can be diffused before it escalates to harmful levels.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vehicle Safety and Security

Cars are an absolute necessity in every day life. We use them to get from A to B efficiently, we spend inordinate amounts of time in them and they are beyond useful; but they can also be a source of great stress due to the fact that they are highly desirable to criminals. Owning a car comes with the likelihood of attempted theft or damage.

With this in mind, Servest Security suggests practising defensive mindsets when opening your car, driving it, and locking it up:

Safety and security on approach
When setting out to drive, try and focus on the task of getting into your car – as opposed to where you are going. Have your car key in your hand, be observant, look around and act purposefully, particularly at night or in deserted areas.

With reference to the ‘smash-and-grab’ culture that has manifested in South Africa, do not put laptops, handbags or anything that looks valuable on the front or backseats of the car. Take the time to put them in the boot, as many insurers will not pay out for items stolen from the interior of a vehicle.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tips to negotiating an outsourced business solution

In current times, utilising outsourced business solutions is common practice in any industry. While in some cases outsourcing is driven by the need for a specific skill set, typically it is a financially driven decision where using a contractor is easier on the company pocket. It is essential that a reputable contractor with proven credentials and a solid track record should be chosen.

Before signing on the dotted line though, it is worthwhile to consider a few key factors to make sure you’re getting a reasonable return on your investment:

1. Scope of Work
The Scope of Work, or Statement of work as it is sometimes called, is the primary document that defines what the client expects from the service provider and vice versa. The deliverables relative to the agreed upon fee should be clearly outlined, to avoid confusion and disappointment on both sides.

2. Different service levels are priced differently
Knowing what level of service your business requires determines what you end up paying. A job requiring high service levels would need multiple outsourced staff performing many hours of work, and the contractor will build this into their quote.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Managing Access: Ensuring Restricted Areas are kept that way

In our minds, offices generally feel like safe places. They’re productive spaces in which we work and interact while enduring the rigours and stress of business; so it makes sense that we would like them to be free from additional uncertainties such as crime.

Crime is essentially a human element, and to prevent criminals from accessing office buildings there are three key security areas to focus on:

1. Risk Reduction: The first way in which to keep a restricted area off limits is to ensure that every possible precaution is taken to eliminate potential risks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Importance of Middle Management

In the old-school business pyramid of ‘big boss at the top’ and ‘worker bees’ at the bottom, the half-way point of the diagram was always labelled as ‘middle management’. A fairly innocuous title, it also lends itself to not giving middle management the credit it deserves.

To use a simple analogy, middle management is the cohesive glue that sticks all segments of a business together and provides the medium through which accurate messages are relayed to correct parties.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Servest Celebrates Women’s Month 2011

To celebrate Women’s Month 2011, we are honouring six of our most valuable employees. The success of each of these women throughout their careers with Servest is testiment to their drive, commitment and loyalty to the company. We are thankful, each and every day to have women like Samantha, Mikki, Sandy, Janice, Charmaine and Cindy driving our company forward and for making Servest what it is today. Here is why we think these women deserve to be celebrated:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Key Management - Administrative Policies and Procedures

Keys provide an inexpensive, though imperfect, method of access control for access to properties like buildings and vehicles. For this reason effective Key management is essential in securing any building.

To set forth the procedures for control of keys and to provide procedures for requesting keys. To protect the facilities through strict accountability for keys issued to staff.

A functional and working key control system enhances building security. Every effort should be expended to provide convenience while ensuring that security measures are not violated. Keys will be issued to staff on the basis of need.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Importance of Security Risk Assessments

Our businesses are our livelihood and they are also where we spend a great deal of our time. Securing of our assets and the lives of our staff is serious business and should be handled as such!

At Servest Security, it is our philosophy to perform a thorough security risk assessment in order to provide a proposal for an effective solution.

We have a two-stage security risk assessment process, which starts with the initial call out by a potential client. Our experienced consultants perform a comprehensive physical survey and based on the findings, observations and information compile a security proposal that is unique to their particular needs.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Importance of Acknowledgement

Love of work is something that manifests from true passion, and it has less to do with money than the psychological satisfaction we get from doing it. Think about your favourite hobby, you look forward to it because you know you’ll feel good while you’re doing it! In the same way, if we’re enjoying our time at the office we look forward to being there.

A large part of loving our jobs comes from knowing that we are valued. It has been proven through office-based research that genuine thanks from superiors creates the right atmosphere for improving performance at work. An employee that feels their hard work is being noticed is more likely to be happy with their job and will continue to perform at a high level.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How to find true talent

The contemporary world of employment has shifted dramatically in the last ten years. While money is always going to be one of the weightiest factors determining whether someone takes a job or not, there are many other elements that will lend to the appeal of working for one company over another. In popular Human Resources lingo, this is known as Employment Value Proposition (EVP).

Essentially, people want to love what they do. They want to like the space that they perform their work in – whether it’s accountancy or making sandwiches. They want to relate to the people they work with, and they want to feel that their lives outside of work are not coming second to ‘the office’. Money may be the employee’s green light factor, but the EVP of a company is going to determine how long they decide to stick around for and how much value they will add to the company.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Principle of Sustainability

Sustainability is a word that gets bandied about a fair amount these days. We all know it has something to do with environmental awareness - but what does it actually mean? Quite literally, if something is sustainable it is able to endure and carry on into the future without limitation. Since 1987 though, the word sustainable has been linked to the word development by a virtual iron-shackle of environmental integrity. This definition was created by the United Nations at the Brundtland Commission:

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Outsourcing Excellence

International trends point towards a growing number of organisations of every size outsourcing various business functions to companies that specialise in them. By outsourcing, companies are able to reduce overheads, offload non-core functions and focus personnel on mission-critical projects. The executive team is also freed from the day-to-day processing of problems thus increasing overall efficiency.

The quality of the outsourced company, however, is only as good as the people who comprise the team. According to Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth, “Quality human capital is a catalytic asset that can be effectively leveraged across the enterprise to generate creativity, momentum, velocity, client loyalty, a dynamic corporate culture and virtually every other positive influencing force in the corporate universe.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Business of Principles: Success Through Integrity

Honesty, accountability and trustworthiness are traits that businesses spend a lot of money advertising and promoting, but how many put as much effort into practicing the qualities they claim to posses? More than ever, transparency and accountability are qualities that businesses are measured by. Integrity is not simply a nicety, it’s a fundamental necessity.

What does this mean for business? Managers, executives and owners must practice integrity not only in their personal capacity, but inspire it in the behaviour of their employees and the impression the company leaves as a whole. Integrity is a top down trait. It’s impossible for staff to maintain a culture of integrity if they aren’t following their leader’s example.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Making a Difference on World Environment Day

June 5, 2011 sees the 11th edition of the official World Environment Day, a United Nations initiative to raise awareness of environmental issues across the planet. Sustainability and environmentalism are at the core of the Servest Group's business ethic. We believe in building a business that not only sustains the future of our people, but also our planet. For us, protecting the environment is an obligation, not a choice. We promote environmental awareness among employees, customers, suppliers and communities by monitoring our environmental impact and using resources responsibly. The Servest Group are conscious of waste management, use environmentally friendly chemicals where possible, advocate indigenous plants and focus on reducing our Carbon Footprint as well as assisting clients in reducing theirs. So in light of these values, we want to suggest ways that individuals across South Africa can get involved and make a difference.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Quality vs Price: The Outsourced Business Services Dilemma

Competition in any business environment can be beneficial for buyers/consumers, offering a range of alternatives and encouraging undercutting and thus lower prices. But in some instances this can have more disadvantages to buyers… Let's look at the instance of a competitor entering the outsourced services industry. In any environment an existing business's clients are vulnerable to competitors, and surprisingly a Harvard Business School study has revealed that many business's most valuable clients, those with the longest tenure, are often the ones most vulnerable to being poached by a competitor. (For more information, download the PDF of the HBS working paper.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Servest Group: A Level 4 B-BBEE Organisation

Over the last decade and a half very few topics within our country have generated the debate and discussion as the policy of black economic empowerment. To the man on the street the term is largely linked to affirmative action and the idea of increasing employment opportunities amongst previously disadvantaged communities. Whilst the strategy definitely includes employment equity as an element, broad based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) is more a holistic strategy for national economic growth, and aims to address the weakest part of South Africa’s economy: inequality.

An economy cannot achieve its’ full potential without the participation of all its citizens, and to this end South Africa’s B-BBEE policy aims to achieve the following:

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