Unusual Strategies To Improve Your Team’s Productivity

17/07/2018

Productive workers are no doubt one of the top priorities of companies today. However, good managers already know that workers are more productive when they are part of an engaging company culture or when they can enjoy a healthy dose of work-life balance.

While these strategies have certainly been tried and proven true, they should not be your only strategy when it comes to boosting your employees’ productivity. Instead, why not take your team’s productivity to the next level by considering these unusual strategies!

  1. Decorate your office with flowers

Most offices would already have some potted plants tucked away at office corners. However, the key here is to add a touch of colour to the office space by filling the office with flowers. There are plenty of research which have found that simply gazing at flowers can help people feel more energized, let their creative juices flow and feel happier – all of which will certainly help boost your employees’ productivity!

  1. Invest in quick and healthy meals for your employees

Lunch options are certainly your employees’ own individual choice, but a great way to let them beat the post-lunch drowsiness is to treat them to healthy meals every once in a while. With the plethora of affordable food delivery services such as Deliveroo, Ubereats and Food Panda, offering your employees healthy meal options does not have to take a toll on your company’s funds.

  1. Host regular comedy lunches

As the saying goes, “A day without laugher is a day wasted”. Of course, there are plenty of studies which have shown that laughter is linked to increased productivity and enhanced performance within the workspace. Be it hiring an office comedian or holding regular comedy lunches, it will certainly help to cultivate a light-hearted workplace culture and encourage humorous interactions at work – all of which will certainly make your employees happier and ultimately, more productive. 

  1. Install treadmill desks

Of course, such an option would definitely require your employees’ consent first. After all, no one will want to turn up at work the next day only to discover that they have to be marching on a treadmill the whole day. On the other hand, this idea will definitely be welcomed by employees who relish the thought of squeezing in some quick exercise while at work. Not only does this help your employees to keep in shape and enjoy greater mental alertness, it will certainly contribute to productivity within the workplace as well.

These ideas may seem out of the blue but they have certainly been proven to effectively boosting your employees’ productivity. After all, these seemingly wacky ideas are also a great way to keep your employees on their toes in anticipation as well!

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Building A Talented Workforce Of The Future

With the slew of Millennials and Generation Z joining the workforce, it is radically changing how talent is managed, developed and incentivised. In a world of changing labour markets and more demanding employee population, having basic skills are simply not enough. Moreover, this leads to a call for increased sophistication in hiring to ensure that the future will not be a continuation of the past.

Due to automation, digitisation and globalisation, the workforce today need to upgrade their skills in order to catch up with the ever-changing labour market. Additionally, Human Resources (HR) need to realign their goals to help alleviate the skills gap and groom a talented workforce of the future.

However, more often than not, we see a gap between employee and the employer and HR, resulting in lack of employee development, discontent with managers or overall lack of employee engagement. In order to bridge this gap, it will require several substantial changes from HR. This includes developing managerial capabilities to deliver a compelling career proposition to the workforce of today.

Here are four priorities for organisations to address in order to build up a talented workforce of the future.

  1. Focus on building diverse talent pools

With globalisation, talented workers are not limited to a specific industry, skills set or geographical location. Instead, rethink about the talent acquisition processes by identifying talent flow opportunities as well as innovative methods of sourcing and recruiting. Focus on sourcing from a diverse talent pool and embrace emerging competencies. These up and coming skills could very well be the skills of the future.

  1. Embrace the new work equation

It is no longer a “one size fits all” kind of workplace. Instead, the new work equation is “one size fits one”. Develop a growth culture within the organisation that supports flexibility and self-development. Providing employees with the autonomy to carve their own career paths enhances employee engagement and are likely to be more motivated to constantly upgrade and contribute more towards the organisation.

  1. Construct compelling careers

Design career frameworks around career direction and velocity that aligns the organisation’s succession goals together with the expectations of individual employees. This sets the expectations for employees on their personal career progression and ensures that it is in line with organisational needs.

  1. Simplify talent processes

Finally, realise the importance of HR in developing these talents. The HR function is imperative in developing employee experience as well as delivering strategic talent insights. Moreover, it is essential for HR to build and establish the role of top management in promoting a talent-driven environment.

These priorities are only some that organisations should look at to grow a talented workforce of the future. Additionally, with the increased investment in HR technology over the past few years, this has enable HR to focus on playing a more strategic role in developing talent. Now, it is time to upskill HR to further make use of technology such as predictive analytics to groom a talented workforce.

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Protecting Your Company Data When An Employee Leaves

15/07/2018

At some point in time, employees are bound to leave the organisation. As you bid farewell to your employee when he or she leaves, how do you ensure that they do not take sensitive company data along with them?

In an ideal situation, people will leave the company under friendly circumstances and return back to company accumulated their years of hard work. Unfortunately, that ideal world does not exist. More often than not, people leave the organisation on a rather unhappy or bad terms. If it is the latter, there is the risk that these employees would attempt to put the company in the bad light by leaking confidential information about the company.

Here are some steps and protocols which organistions should adopt to ensure that no data leaves with an employee who has resigned or was terminated.

Limit employee’s access to IT systems and premises

Steps should be taken to ensure that the leaving employee accesses’ to the company’s IT system and folders should be completely revoked. Ideally, this should be done at the earliest reasonable time, whether it is at the date or resignation, termination or at the start of their garden leave. Furthermore, while these systems may be located or accessed via the employer’s premises, do remember that other off-site items such as laptops or tablets should be wiped as well. This will minimise the risk of the leaving employee stealing sensitive information or gaining access into the company’s IT system even after he or she has left.

Enforce the garden leave

Depending on the terms of the contract, many companies grant their leaving employee garden leave, regardless of whether they are joining a competitor company or not. Essentially, a garden leave is when an employee resigns and is required to stay away from work during the notice period while still remaining on the payroll. This is extremely useful in preventing an employee from immediately joining a competitor and risk stealing sensitive information over to the new company.

Ensure steps are in place for employee to return any confidential information

Employees might be bound by contractual terms to return and not to use confidential information belonging to the employer. Such information may relate to a company’s private financial information, sales figures, customers lists and so forth. Hence, steps should be taken to identify and recover these confidential information, be it documentary or electronic. Furthermore, ensure that all off-site devices belonging to the leaving employee, such as tablets and laptops, should be return. Implementing these steps early in the process can reduce the possibility of company’s information being leaked or used by the leaving employee for their own purposes.

Communicate with your staff

In some situations, a leaving employee may approach other employees to try and persuade them to leave as well. Communicate with your employees to ensure a clear understanding that such behaviour is not acceptable and might be a breach to their own contractual obligations as well. Furthermore, be proactive in encouraging them to report any incidents a leaving employee make unlawful advances or caught stealing company’s sensitive information.

With data breaches becoming increasingly prevalent in the workplace today, coupled with a handful of potential thirsty-for-revenge employees, organisations need to take extra precautions to safeguard the company whenever an employee leaves. It might be a tedious task but it is necessary to enforce these steps. Ultimately, your company’s reputation and security of your customers and clients depend on it.

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Going Into Business With a Partner, Friend or Family Member? A Shareholder Agreement Should be Your Top Priority

28/06/2018

Going into business with someone close to you can be a smart idea and a great adventure. You may be considering launching an enterprise with a family member, friend or a close colleague and the benefits are countless. You can share the set up costs, contribute knowledge and experience, fuel each other’s ambition, bounce ideas around and support each other.

Being on the same page from day one means a collaboration should work really well, and of course you will undoubtedly enjoy celebrating in the inevitable success of your joint venture! One of the biggest advantage is that you and your trusted business partner would try hard to succeed so as not to let each other down.

What could possibly go wrong?

At the beginning it may seem inconceivable that the relationship may break down or one of you would want to quit the business. Yet even in the most trusted business relationship, circumstances and priorities can quickly change. To just think it might never happen to you is merely burying your head in the sand. It is therefore imperative that the collaboration is supported by the correct official legal documentation. This formalises your business agreements and ensures that all parties are suitably protected.

What Legal Documentation do I Need as a Co-founder?

In order to protect everyone who is involved in the collaboration it is crucial to put a Shareholders’ Agreement in place from the outset. This contract enables the founders of a company to regulate their rights as shareholders of the company.
What is a Shareholders Agreement?

A Shareholders’ Agreement, also known as a Founders’ Agreement is a formal contract between the company founders. The details of the contract, which are agreed upon by all the shareholders, outline everybody’s intentions and obligations as well as their rights, responsibilities and liabilities. It includes details on share transfer, management structure, exit strategies, dividend distribution and policies and procedures.

Why is a Shareholders Agreement so Important?

Putting a Shareholders’ Agreement in place creates a vital legal foundation for your business or start-up and minimises risk. It ensures all investors are on the same page from the very beginning of the enterprise and is also an important way to manage potential future disputes that may arise.

When you are starting out it may be hard to imagine what kinds of disputes could materialise in the course of launching and growing your business. Differences of opinions are however inevitable and can unfortunately lead to severe and damaging clashes. Having your Shareholders’ Agreement already in place is much more beneficial than trying to negotiate terms when parties are aggravated.

What needs to be included in a Shareholders Agreement?

In a Shareholders’ Agreement, the founders are protected by agreeing on a set of rules for the future transfer of shares and the level of consent required for making major decisions. The agreement stipulates what happens if a shareholder decides to leave or if there is a falling out. If one founder leaves, the sale of his shares could be subjected to other founders’ consent. Alternatively, the remaining founders could also have the chance to buy his shares before someone outside the company does.

A Shareholders’ Agreement is specifically tailored to the needs of your business. Information required includes shareholders’ names and various stakes, who is on the board of directors, roles of the directors and how profits are to be distributed. It also details what happens in adverse situations when a director passes away, resigns or files for personal bankruptcy.

The document also sets out the level of consent required (majority or unanimous) for key business decisions such as adopting a business plan or approving a transaction above a certain value. Also how fundamental company decisions are to be made such as changes to share capital and winding up the business. It can also include a non-competition clause and identify any confidentiality obligations.

The agreement is a private document and as such does not have to be made public. This means that a Shareholders’ Agreement does not need to comply with any set form or procedure, but must be completed in a manner that is enforceable at law.

So Should You Take the Plunge?

In a word, yes! As long as you have the correct legal documentation in place then there is no reason why not to go into business with a friend or family member. Get your Shareholders’ Agreement prepared from the outset and make it a priority to do so. Then no matter who you are in business with, you will have the added confidence that your risk is minimised giving you the freedom, security and peace of mind to concentrate on growing your new business venture. Good luck!

You can easily create a Shareholders’ Agreement with Zegal along with all your essential business and legal documentation.

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White Paper: Understanding the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

24/05/2018

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on Friday 25th May but what do you need to know and what steps should you be taking? Don’t be fearful of the looming deadline. The most important thing is that you can demonstrate you are taking steps towards compliance when the law changes.

Why and how is the law changing?

This new privacy law replaces the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. At 20 years old, the old laws are well past their best. Technology has evolved at such a fast pace that these new regulations are necessary to align the tech with the law.

The new regulations are not a complete change, rather they are an evolution of the existing laws. Indeed many of the GDPR’s main concepts and principles are much the same as those in the current DPA which you should already be complying with. These principles remain valid under the GDPR so you should already be on the path to full compliance. There are however a some improvements and new elements to consider and therefore you may need to make some changes and take some additional steps.

The main concern is how personal data is collected, processed, stored and shared. Personal data is any information that can be used to identify a person. This could be anything from name, contact info, religious beliefs and even information on cultural background and mental health history.

How does it affect you and how do you ensure that your business is compliant?

The new GDPR affects any business that collects and stores customers’ personal data. You will need to make sure that you manage your data in a way that is lawful, fair, secure and accurate. Only data that is absolutely necessary for the completion of business duties should be held and processed. It may be necessary to appoint a ‘Data Protection Officer’ who will be responsible for all internal record keeping. If there is a data breach, this must be reported within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach. You will also need to ensure your terms and conditions and privacy policy are up to date, adequate and clearly visible.

So What Steps do you need to take?

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), there are 12 steps that businesses need to take to prepare for the implementation of the GDPR into UK law:

  1. Awareness: Ensure that decision makers and key people in your organisation are aware that the law is changing to the GDPR.
  2. Information you hold: Document what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share with it.
  3. Communicating privacy information: Review your current privacy notices and put a plan in place for making any necessary changes in time for GDPR implementation.
  4. Individuals’ rights: Check your procedures to ensure they cover all the rights individuals have, including how you would delete personal data or provide data electronically and in a commonly used format.
  5. Subject access requests: Update your procedures and plan how you will handle requests within the new timescales and provide any additional information.
  6. Lawful basis for processing personal data: Identify the lawful basis for processing activity in the GDPR, document it and update your privacy notice to explain it.
  7. Consent: Review how you seek, record and manage consent and whether you need to make any changes.
  8. Children: Assess whether you need to put systems in place to verify individuals’ ages and obtain parental or guardian consent for any data processing activity.
  9. Data breaches: Ensure you have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach.
  10. Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments: Familiarise yourself with the ICO’s code of practice on Privacy Impact Assessments and the latest guidance from the Article 29 Working Party, and work out how and when to implement them in your organisation.
  11. Data Protection Officers: Designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance and assess where this role will sit within your organisation’s structure and governance arrangements.
  12. International: If your organisation operates in more than one EU member state, determine your lead data protection supervisory authority.

For more resources for preparing your organisation for the upcoming changes to the data protection law, check out the ICO’s Guide to the GDPR.

What happens if you don’t comply?

The important thing now is to make sure you can demonstrate that you are actively taking steps towards compliance. Non-compliance comes with a hefty fine which could be up to 4% of your company’s annual global turnover. You will also be breaking the law which isn’t the best idea for the reputation of your company. Customer loyalty will certainly be adversely affected if you are fined for non-compliance. Remember, if you hold or process and personal data of any citizen of the EU then you are compelled to comply with the GDPR, even if your business is based outside of the EU.

Zegal can help you prepare.

So are you ready for the biggest change in data privacy regulation in 20 years? Remember It is your responsibility to demonstrate your compliance to the new regulations.

Zegal can help you keep ahead of the regulations. Our document library has been updated with lawyer-reviewed changes to ensure GDPR compliance. These documents now include clauses which are relevant to the GDPR.

  • Privacy Policy: to inform your customers what you do with their personal data
  • Information Audit Form: to help you map data flows in your organisation
  • Security Audit Form: to let you document your technical and organisational measures to ensure data security
  • Data Processing Addendum: to ensure your existing data processors comply with applicable data protection laws
  • Employee Privacy Notice: to inform your employees and contractors of their privacy rights
  • Letter to Amend Employment Contract: to bring employment contracts already in place in line with data protection requirements

We also have some new documents available to help you address GDPR requirements (available to all Professional and Premium Plan users):

  • Data Processing Addendum to ensure your existing data processors comply with applicable data protection laws
  • Data Protection Policy to inform employees about the company policy they should follow to ensure the protection and security of personal data when employees handle the data in job-related activities.
  • Information Audit Form and Security Audit Form to help you map data flows in your organisation

Click here to learn more about our GDPR compliance toolkit.

If you have questions or concerns about how your information is handled by us, please contact us at privacy@zegal.com

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