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How To Build The Perfect CV

5 Tips to Create a CV

Before you get to dazzle recruiters and potential employers at an interview, the first step is to ‘wow’ them with your CV.

The idea is to build a resumé that stands out from the rest and catches the eye within minutes. Highlighting all your career goals within a quick scan is not a hefty ask. With a few tricks, you can build the ideal CV that will invite you through the interview doors.

The ideal CV should run two to three pages. Remember, recruiters have received hundreds of applications and really don’t have the time to read five pages. Most will scan the first page, so the idea is to get all the important information – that is also relevant to the job – on the very first page. The rule of thumb is to include your latest position right on top, which means your first job would be on the last job.

Keep the following in mind when compiling your CV:

1. Be clear and concise

As mentioned before, recruiters don’t have time to read an entire essay. Present your information in a clear and readable layout. Bullet points with one sentence are scannable and is a dream when reading. Titles should also be very clear, so bold type font works well. Avoid bright colours and unusual colours. When in doubt, an Arial font in black should suffice.

2. Contact details should be visible

While this is an obvious step, most candidates use the footer of the page to present their contact details. Your cell phone number should be visible. Include it in a text box or below your name. Again, bold type if possible and in a clear font.

3. Remove unnecessary information

While being the lead in the school play is a great achievement, it’s not going to be much help when applying for a job in the financial department. This could be a good anecdote during the interview (if such a question arrives) but because we’re tight on space, it may be better to remove it to make way for your other achievements. Being a prefect could convey that you’re good in a leadership position or the fact that you are the treasury for the community carnival could highlight your ability to be financially responsible.  

4. Experience is best

Your CV should highlight why you’re the best candidate for the job and your experience is key. Showcase the experience that is relevant to the job. A trick? Use the job description to help you out. Match what they need to what you have done in the past to grasp the attention of the recruiter. Also, be sure to highlight any relevant training and short course completions that may help boost your knowledge of the position.

5. Personalise

Adapt the document according to the job you’re applying for. If it’s a marketing position, you can be a little creative. A standard word document doesn’t work anymore but the good news is that the Word templates include CV samples, which can be helpful.

In closing

Once you’ve created your CV, always review everything before sending it off into the world. Make sure the grammar is correct, references are contactable, and the format is legible. Also, always be honest on your CV. If it’s too embellished, the word may spread around. Remember that a well-written letter of motivation that highlights your skills and strengths goes a long way.
If you’re looking to give your CV that extra boost, browse our short courses to help you gain practical information.

The Importance of Operations Management

role of operations management in business

The Role of the Operations Manager

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the meaning of operations management is defined as the following:

The control of the activities involved in producing goods and providing services, and the study of the best ways to do this.”

In essence, the role of operations management is crucial to any business.

Imagine this: you’re a plastic manufacturer and supply various companies with packaging. You’ve just brought a new client on board and they’re looking to launch their goods within a month or so. Where do you start? Well, the operations manager will ensure that the correct budget is allocated, the right people are on the job, and to make sure that everyone involved is aware of the roles they play. This will help to ensure that the deadline is met and within budget.

Effective operations management also helps with employee engagement and defines the roles and responsibilities within an organisation. No matter what obstacle an organisation faces, a strategic operations management plan in place will ensure that employees’ workflow and company production remain unaffected.

Benefits of Operations Management

A smooth operations management process has many benefits for an organisation, including:

Product/service quality

How do you ensure that your product/service is of the best quality? Having a checklist that meets the objectives and goals of the company as well as meeting the customer’s needs.

The operations manager will have a set list of processes and a checklist to determine that everything is in order during the pre-production process. This includes making sure that everyone is aware of what the product/service needs and informing everyone of the product/service objectives.

Once the final product has been created, the operations manager will assess to ensure it meets the organisation goals and that the customer’s needs are met. Thereafter, the operations manager will review the pre-production process to ensure efficiency for the next creation.

Customer satisfaction

A customer review can make or break a business. If a negative word spreads, it could be a challenge to retain clients. This is why it’s important to ensure that your customers’ needs are at the forefront of your product or service.

The operations manager will conduct a quality management process, a methodology uses to create a product/service that will meet the customers’ needs. If the organisation is a service provider, the customer is the lifeblood. The operations manager will have processes in place to make sure that the service quality is the best. A returning customer means more for the bottom line.

The elements used to help gain a satisfactory customer includes:

Quality management: To ensure the organisation maintains a consistent and good service.
Employee capacity: Making sure the right people are in the right roles, which helps produce a good product/service.
Planning: To make sure that there is no lapse in production and that goods/services are on time.
Enough inventory: To keep up with customer demand.

With these four elements in mind, the operations manager can meet the customers’ needs.

Revenue Increase

An organisation will have a good reputation thanks to great product/service quality and customer satisfaction. This leads to increased revenue from a new customer base. The revenue growth could help with the launch of new and innovative products/services or an increase in resources and technology.

Competitive advantage

An effective operations management plan also means a business could be ahead of its competition. If internal and external factors are managed well within an organisation, it could mean a good standing within the market.

Compliance

There are certain rules and regulations an organisation needs to adhere to. The operations manager will have certain controls in place to avoid fines and to make sure the organisation is running within a lawful manner.

Motivated employees

Overall, the operations manager ensures that employees know the roles within a company. This is important because often, employees feel left out and demotivated if they feel they’re not contributing in a meaningful way. An operations manager helps define these roles to ensure that production is maximised and efficient.

Why study Operations Management?

Understanding the values and nature of an operations manager could help you become a good manager. The skills you learn could be applied across all industries and you will likely be valuable within your own organisation.

With online learning, there is no interruption to your workday and you’ll learn in an environment comfortable to you. Studying an Operations Management course online could help you gain an effective management strategy that will benefit your organisation.

What will it take to succeed?

success in your career

An ever-changing job market requires you to constantly keep your skills and abilities sharp. You’ve been for the interviews and you know that you can do the job. But the feedback is always the same; someone else was better prepared, had more experience or they have the necessary skills required.

Don’t be overlooked and make sure you stand out from the rest.

According to the World Economic Forum, by the year 2020, over 35% of skills on your CV will have changed. So don’t be one of those skilled workers left behind. Update your skillset by doing a short course to show your current or even future employers that you are serious about your career.

Here are the 10 skills you will need to thrive in any job by 2020:

  1. – Complex Problem Solving – Developed capacities used to solve novel, ill-defined problems in complex, real-world settings.
  2. – Critical Thinking – Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  3. – Creativity – The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  4. – People Management – Motivating, developing and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
  5. – Coordinating with Others – Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
  6. – Emotional Intelligence – Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  7. – Judgement and Decision Making – Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  8. – Service Orientation – Actively looking for ways to help people
  9. – Negotiation – Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  10. – Cognitive Flexibility – The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

What skills do you need for Operations Management?

Imagine this:

You’re about to head into an important meeting with the company executives. You have been with the company for enough time to know that these meetings cannot be taken lightly.

Your boss starts speaking. He starts with a joke. People laugh. He continues:


“You know, there are certain people in a company who prove to be crucial to our success. The real go-getters. Those are the ones we keep around. They’re the few who make us who we are today.”

He pauses.

“I’d really like to commend insert your name here for displaying the kind of valuable characteristics we need for our company.”

If you’ve got the skills to make yourself a necessary cog in your company’s wheel, you might not need to imagine this scene.

What makes a great Operations Manager?

To become a remarkable operations manager, you need to be able to show that you are adept by displaying certain characteristics. These skills are important to both the success of the company as well as your own managerial position.

The necessary skills for Operations Management are:

Communication

As an operations manager, you need to communicate with numerous parties. While leading a team, you have to be able to convey a message clearly to each team member so that they know what to do and how you want it done. You also should prioritise external relationships, such as clients, suppliers, and stakeholders. For example, having a well-established connection between yourself and a supplier could give you an advantage when you need materials.

Time management

In general life, things need to get done on time. In Operations Management, it’s the same. The only difference is that others are relying on you to make sure things are done in time as an operations manager. Managing your time at work means managing your company’s time. This is a critical skill to develop as efficiently is one of the fundamental pillars of managing the operating systems in a company.

Leadership

Leading and communicating are best friends in management. If you can communicate effectively, it is likely that leading your team well will be smooth sailing. Leading a team requires caring for the individuals in the task force and knowing how to look after them well. If a person is happy at a company, it is much more likely that they will want to work hard for the business. As an operations manager, it is vital to encourage your team to be the most efficient they can be in their roles.

Always look to improve

‘Optimisation’ is not just a buzzword thrown around in business. The task of making systems cost less, work better, and do things more quickly is a massive undertaking – one for which the operations manager is responsible. A key part of a career in operations is to either improve already existing systems or to install processes which might work better than the ones in place.

How to improve your Operations Management skills

Constantly practice optimisation

It’s a focus in the field of Operations Management. So, if this is your career, it should be one of your focuses too. In your day-to-day life, look for simple ways to do things better and more efficiently.

Whether it’s catching up on your emails while waiting for your food in the microwave or reading an important blog post while on the bus, there are ways to save yourself time with little effort.

Consider looking for feedback

We’re not saying you should constantly seek affirmation for your work. We are saying you should be open to ideas from other people, such as your employer, your team members, or even your loved ones. Another person could have a different insight into a problem which could ultimately solve the issue.

Set achievable goals

This seems to be popular in oversaid business mantras, but it is such an important concept to fully grasp as a manager. If you are hoping to change the company’s world after a week of being there, you’re setting yourself – and probably your team – up for disappointment. Aim big, but don’t for the impossible.

What should an Operations Manager do?

Now that you know what abilities you need to be a great operations manager, the follow-up question might be how exactly do these skills play out?

Although defined responsibilities depend on the exact career role and the company’s focus, the manager usually has general duties related to:

1. Production management
2. The evaluation of the efficiency of processes in place
3. Perform quality control
4. Product tracking
5. Stock and inventory tracking
6. Monitoring administrative strategies

Finally, an Operations Manager should:

1. Consider which skills they possess and should look to hone them. This will ultimately be beneficial for themselves as a manager, their team, and their company.
2. Look at which skills they don’t have and find ways to develop them. A short course in Management is an exceptional way to realise how this can happen.

Everything you need to know about Operations Management

operations management guide

A crucial part of running a business is to ensure that business operations are running smoothly. This is where the role of operations management is important. To ensure that the business reaches its financial goals, the operations manager will ensure that all processes are streamlined and mapped in order to achieve the desired outcome.

The operations manager wears many hats within an organisation. This includes helping with finance, sales, human resources, IT, and if necessary marketing. By keeping his or her hand in each of these jars, an operations manager is aware of what is happening within each of these departments.

Functions of operations manager

The operations manager has a wide range of functions that they need to perform within an organisation. Overall, the main job description of the operation manager is to ensure that all products and tasks are delivered on time, within budget, and to ensure the outcome is successful. To make sure that the job is done well, they perform the following functions:

1. Create and manage a budget
2. Define company policies and implement training
3. Project planning
4. Increase business efficiency
5. Forecasting

Create and manage a budget

Finance is an important aspect to track for an operations manager. They will receive an allocated budget to kickstart and maintain the project. With this budget, they will take a look at the cost of resources and tools. Part of budgeting includes:

Defining
Executing
Updating
Evaluation

Defining

The operations manager will receive the task and will need to allocate a budget towards resources and tools. Most organisations have policies and procedures and the operations manager will need to have a look at this to make sure he/she is following protocol.
The operations manager will need the following to create a budget:

1. Cost estimates
2. Basis of estimates
3. Scope baseline
4. Project schedule
5. Resource calendars
6. Contracts

Once these have been finalised, the operations manager can move on to the next step.

Executing

This means putting the plan into action. The operations manager will need to take a look at resources and tools. This means sitting with those involved and determining what is needed.

Updating

Along the way, there will be challenges. That much is a given in any business. Sometimes there might be an extra resource that is needed or the time during one of the project phases might need to be extended. The operations manager will need to assess the importance of the challenges and will update the budget accordingly. Obviously, this will need approval.

Evaluation

In this phase, the operations manager needs to look at the budget to see whether the allocated funds worked. This will help set a template for similar projects going forward as well as keep the project moving along as planned.

Define company policies and implement training

To ensure business operations are running smoothly, the operations manager will implement policies to make sure that employees are aware of their role within the company. The policies also see that staff work in a safe and harmonious environment.

Efficiency is also an important aspect for the operations manager. Training a staff to perform tasks excellently in the least time possible is a critical part of managing a team. To make sure that employees are performing the job well, constant teaching needs to be implemented. The operations manager may suggest courses or training seminars that may help career advancement and job efficiency.

The operations manager needs to ensure that policies and training meet the organisation’s overall mission.

Project planning

High-level planning is needed when running a business. An operations manager will need to become familiar with the use of schedules to help arrange project plans, resource workloads, work structure breakdowns, and setting realistic timelines.

Resources will need to be optimised to ensure that the company has an edge over competitors and to make sure the outcome is of the highest quality. The operations manager will ensure that the business strategy is in line with the company’s mission with regards to sales, capacity, etc.

Increase business efficiency

A business is only successful if all departments are working as a unit. With a common goal in mind, the outcome is fruitful. The job of the operations manager is to ensure that all objectives are met and that the business is running as efficiently as possible. What this means is that whatever support a department needs, the operations manager will make sure it happens. For example, if automation will help make a function more efficient and produce higher quality, the operations manager will assess to make sure it meets business objectives and is within budget. If given the green light, it will be implemented.

Management should look to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of support services (HR, IT and Finance) through improvements to each function as well as coordination and communication between support and business functions.

Forecasting

A big part of operations management is forecasting. This refers to product demand. By analysing, the operations manager will need to forecast to know what to produce, when to produce and how to produce in accordance with the customer’s needs.

Careers in operations management

There are many career options you could explore within the operations management field. These include:

Business Operations Manager
Quality Assurance Manager
Operations Research Analyst
Logistics Manager

Business Operations Manager

The business operations manager executes and manages the company’s operational activities. This means overseeing the day-to-day operations to ensure that goals are achieved and that business objectives are met.

This role requires an individual to have a ‘big picture’ perspective. What this means is that because they know what the business objectives are, they need to have an overview of what is happening in each department. This way, they can utilise the correct resources when needed.

The role also requires someone to be a critical thinker – someone who can analyse a situation and make a decision that is best for the company.

In larger companies, their roles include the following:

1. Creating and managing a budget
2. Oversee company policies and procedures
3. Ensure company compliance
4. Oversee hiring objectives and job description creation
5. Keep updated on employment trends and best practices
6. Keep track of resources and technology that may improve department efficiency

In a smaller scale business, this role will be slightly different. The business operations manager will supervise the finance department, staffing, policies, marketing and help create and manager business objectives.

No matter the company size, this role is crucial to a business’ operation.

Quality Assurance Manager

The quality assurance manager role needs someone with an excellent attention to detail. Products need to meet a high-quality threshold before it makes its way onto the market. The quality assurance manager will have a template in which they assess the end-product. This means that they create and manage quality control measures.

The role will include:

  • Supervising the production process
  • Leading teams
  • Training new employees
  • Managing suppliers
  • Analysing data

A career in this field means that the individual needs to be inquisitive and committed to an excellent standard.

Operations Research Analyst

People in this role are high-level problem-solvers. Through optimisation, data mining, and statistical analysis – the operations research analysts are able to provide solutions to business inefficiencies and to streamline processes. The role requires someone who is proficient in mathematics and analytics.

Job responsibilities will include:

  • Analysing data and information
  • Making decisions
  • Problem-solving
  • Gathering data
  • Using creative problem-solving skills
  • Communicating results and outcomes
  • Providing recommendations from the collected data

Companies have lately relied on data and analytics for better insight. The operations research analyst needs to turn raw data into something that will help inform the business objectives.

Logistics Manager

This role is usually found in the supply chain industry. The logistics manager is focused on an efficient and accurate work environment and output. In the supply chain industry, they’ll ensure that the products are delivered to the right location – all within a timely manner.

Their responsibilities include:

  • Managing stock levels, delivery times and transport
  • Analysing data from the systems to evaluate performance and quality
  • Managing staff
  • Negotiating with suppliers
  • Analysing logistical issues and creating solutions
  • Implementing health and safety procedures

Logistics managers will need to be effective communicators and have the ability to resolve problems fast.

What skills are needed for operations management

A career in operations management requires a certain skill set that will ensure the individual is successful within the role. These include:

1. Leadership
2. Conflict management
3. Flexibility
4. Critical thinking
5. Excellent time management

Leadership

The operations manager will need to implement and execute policies and procedures. In order to do so effectively, they will need leadership skills. Being a good leader means being able to communicate well, be a great motivator, and have the ability to adapt well to challenges. Creative thinking also indicated strong leadership. The operations manager needs to make plenty of decisions, some of which may require out-of-the-box thinking.

Conflict management

In any work environment, you’ll come across obstacles which are usually in the form of conflict. The operations manager will need to be proficient in conflict resolution. This means listening carefully, identifying points of agreement and disagreements, and developing a plan to resolve the conflict. The goal of the operations manager is to make sure that those involved feel heard during the resolution process and that the procedure is a stress-free one.

Flexibility

Some business environments are stressful and changes can happen by the minute. The operations manager will need to be flexible when it comes to adapting to the changes fast and ensuring that everything is communicated to the rest of the staff. At the same time, they will also need to be receptive to feedback by staff.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking means that an individual can analyse information objectively and come to a reasonable conclusion. An operations manager will need to assess all forms of data, facts, research and observations in order to draw a conclusion that will help them solve a problem or help them make a decision.

Excellent time management

Staff need to be efficient, produce high-quality work but also ensure that all work is completed within the deadline. This is done with excellent time management skills, which will help the organisation save money and increase revenue. An operations manager will encourage exceptional time management skills amongst the staff by ensuring the right skill set is paired with the right task. Getting to know the strengths of employees will help in this regard.

Operations manager salary

As mentioned above, the operations manager will need to have a high-level overview of how an organisation is run. This means having their hands within every department and business function – from IT, HR, Finance, etc.

The average salary for this position in South Africa is R 596 763 per annum.

Operations managers can expect to earn the following according to their occupational level:

Occupational levelAverage annual income
Entry-levelR247,591
Mid-career professionalR352,422
Top-end professional R474,943

A bonus remuneration within this field varies according to your experience and ranges from R16,000 – R42,000.

How to become an operations manager

There is no such thing as a Bachelor of Operations Management degree in university. In fact, the way most people advance to the job of an operations manager is by gaining work experience. The roadmap usually begins within the human resources, information technology, finance, or sales departments. This is where individuals receive a clear idea of how an organisation operates.

Once a significant amount of time has been spent in these departments, they may be promoted to a management position. This is where a whole new skill-set is developed. The management position will help develop communication, leadership, and delegation skills. This will be beneficial in an operations management environment.

The next step will be a junior entry-level position, where an individual can gradually work their way into a senior operations management position.
To speed up the advancement, most employers will encourage staff within the organisation to attend training seminars or participate in courses. These will help build the foundation and provide insight into the fundamentals of the position.

What is Operations Management?

what is operations management

You might have heard of a line manager, a logistics manager, or a production manager. All of these have a few things in common. They put the individual in a position of overseeing a taskforce and systems, they are involved in ensuring some form of business activity runs smoothly and they look to improve systems for a company to maximise efficiency and reduce costs.

Most importantly, though, these are all careers which fall under the umbrella industry of Operations Management.

What is an Operations Manager?

As implied in the name, an operations manager deals with the operations within a business. A company will hire an operations manager to supervise administration in one or more different departments in the business. The manager will also look for ways to improve any protocols or systems in the company to both save time for employees or cut unnecessary costs.

This means the operations manager needs to have an overall idea of what is happening in the business in order to oversee and improve systems. As a result, the manager usually deals with almost every department in the company, such as finance, IT, or human resourcing.

What are the different careers in Operations Management?

Operations Management in itself is a career, but there are also more specialised fields in the industry. The most common careers of operations management and their related responsibilities are:

1. Business Operations Manager – A mainstream role in operations management. Involves planning, budgeting, scheduling, tracking of goods and products, and general oversight of operations. Usually, this person is tasked with increasing production and cutting costs.
2. Materials Manager – A role with a focus on knowing which raw materials are in stock and purchasing necessary things for production.
3. Logistics Manager – A role tasked with a focus on making sure all practical running systems in a company are smooth and efficient.
4. Manufacturing/Line Manager – A role tasked with the production of goods. This manager looks after all phases of operations from any raw materials to the finished product. The products should be up to the company’s standard and it is up to the operations manager to check this.

What are the major responsibilities in Operations Management?

The responsibilities in operations management is typically catered for the key role of the operations manager. For example, if the operations manager is focused on the logistics, the duties might look different to an operations manager who is tasked with overseeing the materials or production in a company.

Typically the general responsibilities for an operations manager involve:

Cost management

This is related to the purchasing of any raw materials or equipment or the sales of goods produced by the company. This requires insight into the finances of the company as well as expertise in logistics related to tracking products.

Production management

It is crucial that the production of goods in a company is as cost and time effective as possible. It is up to the operations manager to find ways to make sure that production happens quickly, smoothly, and cheaply.

Team management

An operations manager often needs to manage a team more than any systems used in a company. Since people are involved in the manufacturing of goods or providing services, it is important for an operations manager to know how to manage a team well.

Asset management

It is often up to the operations manager to oversee the inventory, warehouse, and any goods produced by the company. Although this is similar to the responsibility for production management, it requires the phase after. The operations manager should be able to know how many materials or goods are available at any time and where one might find them.

Take a short course in Operations Management

Taking a short course in Operations Management offers an understanding of how to tackle these responsibilities in your career proficiently. After our 8-week course, you will be a master at managing team members, an ace at asset-management, and a professional at production.

Our course also offers a clear insight into efficient business planning, forecasting, managing supply and demand capacities, and helping you gain the best idea of how to set up excellent systems for optimum efficiency.

Project engineer: Nico Jackson

A day in the life of-human-resource-management-online-course

USB-ED Operations Management online short course testimonial.

Nico grew up on a farm and attended Agricultural School. His less than domestic upbringing saw him entering into the challenging and fascinating realm of Industrial Engineering. He graduated in 2002, but saw the need to keep himself relevant in a world that is constantly changing and is currently a Project Engineer at Parmalat Head Office in Stellenbosch.

Everyone has the desire to improve their quality life.

Nico felt the same and enrolled in the Project Management online short course from MasterStart, to shift from middle management to senior management. He says that “ The Operations Management course provides a solid foundation and gives a good understanding for the requirements at senior management level”.

More and more people are opting to study online, as work consumes the majority of their time. For Nico, the choice was simple. He said that the benefits of this course were tremendous: “Very flexible, never interfered with my work or my daily routine. Participants are able to complete the course late at night when nothing else requires your attention.”

Dreaming of career growth and success? Life is a never-ending journey and if you are not learning, it means you simply aren’t growing. Nico believes that this online short course was a drastic step towards future success. He says: “The course definitely helped me to mature in the work environment and taught me great skills, which I already use in my current position.”

Nico is a firm believer in remaining calm.

He is adamant, if you stick to your notes, remain calm and stress less, the course certification is achievable. He also adds that further investigation on the internet can enhance your overall understanding of a question and its relevant answer. This is the attitude that is going to help Nico reach his career goals. He says that he would like: “To complete a further leadership course and to register as a Project Management Professional”.

Nico understands the dynamic of the South African workforce, he knows that: “Career opportunities are limited, so distinguish yourself from others, make it count.” This strong mental attitude has led Nico to career growth and success, despite being a father to two small children, which require heaps of his time and energy daily.

We are living in a new world and we need to constantly engage with the world to stay up to date in our chosen fields and industries. Nico admits that even though this was his first online experience, it was very important for him to set a career president. This, in turn, will see Nico undertaking more online courses in the future.

Grow your skillset: become a master in delegation

While operations managers have a long list of important responsibilities necessary for the successful optimisation of business operations. There’s one crucial responsibility! That of delegating work and responsibilities appropriately between team members for effective operations management.

Therefore we’ve developed a set of useful tips and techniques you can apply immediately within your role as an operations manager. Get ready to learn useful tips and techniques across a variety of industries; beginning with operations management.

As we have mentioned in previous posts, a strong operations manager will quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals within their team, and will delegate levels of authority; or tasks, according to this measurement. This approach works because strengths are aligned to the responsibilities of a given role, or the tasks at hand, resulting in operations being more effective and efficient. It’s more likely that operations will be carried out successfully; tasks will be completed timeously, with less error and therefore at less cost if strengths are deployed.

The art of identifying strengths, and delegating skill-fully; comes with time, however, there are a few techniques managers use to assist them in this important function.

1. Identify strengths through collaboration

Team collaboration and communication is incredibly important – and thus extremely useful to you as the manager. Your team is made up of diverse individuals with diverse talents; therefore the only way to find out what these talents (and useful resources) are, is by encouraging your team to share their ideas; prompted by their skills, expertise and ultimately, strengths. The best way to get to the bottom of your team members’ strengths is by asking questions – questions such as ‘What do you think about…’ or ‘How would you handle this situation…?’, or perhaps ‘How would you delegate these tasks amongst yourselves?’. Most times the answers to your burning questions lay within your team, all it takes is effective communication to unlock them.

2. Provide clear instructions and expectations

Once you have identified the strengths within your team and have delegated accordingly, make sure you provide clear instructions; covering all the responsibilities associated with the role or task at hand, as well as what is expected of the individual or the team. Here again, communication plays a key role in the success of your delegating approach. The more transparent you are, the better the execution. It’s also important to remember that while you hand over the responsibility in a full capacity, you as the manager still need to offer support at times, and guide where necessary.

3. Evaluate progress

To validate your delegation decisions, it’s critical that you evaluate whether or not progress is being made. The main objective of delegating is to optimise business functions and processes; to improve operations and streamline practises. If this is not being achieved even after you have mapped out clear instructions and expectations then perhaps you need to consider alternative solutions. By keeping an eye on the results you’ll be able to swiftly develop an alternative approach. With this being said, it’s important to remember that progress takes time, and achieving great results is not an overnight development.

4. Get personal feedback

A great way to achieve effectiveness, efficiency and achieve operational success is through getting feedback from the very person/people involved in the day to day business operations management. Although operations are broken up into smaller tasks. Individuals or teams handling them directly will be able to spot weaknesses or inconsistencies in the chain. In fact, sometimes quicker than even you as the manager will. To create a culture of constant improvement, it’s important that you ‘get your hands dirty’; ask the right questions, find the areas of concern and make changes accordingly.

Delegation does not end with the allocation of tasks and responsibilities – it’s an operation that demands insight; through communication, support and evaluation.

3 ways to future proof your career in an online world

Read the top 10 key findings from the survey here: MasterStart Workforce Barometer Report 2018.

The world is constantly changing, with new age technology engulfing the planet. It seems like everyone is glued to some sort of screen these days. It can be daunting to keep up with the times, and the new gadgets that help make life easier.

Have you noticed the impact of artificial intelligence or robotic automation in your industry? You are not alone! Our study has shown that a majority of employees are wary of artificial intelligence and the process of automation.

Fewer than 20% felt comfortable sharing their workloads with robots or having processes automated by AI. Yes, there is a real possibility that automation will take over human tasks, as organisations look to keep abreast with the ever-changing technological environment. However, we do have access to tools to “future-proof” ourselves against this.

Future-proofing

In order to future-proof your life and your job, you need to remain current in your industry.

Our recent MasterStart South African Workforce Barometer revealed that just 23.8% of our workforce felt completely confident their current skills will guarantee them employment in 10 years’ time. This suggests that people have a high awareness of the unprecedented pace of change and need for nimbleness and adaptability.

The constant learning of new hard and soft skills will entrench the flexibility necessary to manage the breakneck pace of the workplace and ensure sustained relevancy. Given the competitiveness of the market – which will only increase with the rise of automation – having a sought-after skillset is the best way to guarantee ongoing job retention.

Anyone, Anywhere and Anytime

The beauty of online learning is that it is on your own terms. Our study has shown that almost everyone (95%) believed that lifelong learning would help them remain relevant in their careers.

Of those surveyed, who have studied online, listed the following as the “big gains”:

1. Tangible results:

A salary increase, promotion, skills (to be more marketable), more experience and more opportunities.

2. Higher performance:

Better knowledge, keeping up-to-date, a better understanding of the way the workplace works, faster completion of tasks, and having to employ fewer people as they had the skills themselves.

3. Better motivation and soft skills:

Being better at dealing with people, the ability to explain concepts to clients, and overall improved communication skills.

The team here at MasterStart is dedicated and invested into a life of learning. We believe that the secret to current success and future wealth, lies not in the piece of metal in between your fingertips, but in the knowledge and experience, you gain from your life.

Professional facilitators make learning a breeze and continue to support you throughout your journey with us. Stamped with an honourable seal from the University of Stellenbosch Business School.

Read the top 10 key findings from the survey here: MasterStart Workforce Barometer Report 2018.

Managing operations in small businesses: 5 essential techniques to learn today

managing operations

Big businesses don’t struggle in the same way when it comes to certain operations, as sometimes small businesses do. This is because you’ll often find big businesses have various departments with many skilled individuals who have extensive experience in managing specific business functions.

The role of operations management within a big business, for example; is a streamlined process headed up by one, or perhaps a few, experienced and highly knowledgeable operations managers. Most times there’s a team of people supporting the managers’ operational objectives by constantly seeking out ways to improve business operations. With a core team, it becomes a lot easier to find solutions and fully optimise operations.

The role of operations management in small businesses on the other hand often lacks a clear-cut process, usually developed through trial and error, and often managed by the business owner themselves, or a manager who is less knowledgeable on how to effectively manage operations. Unfortunately, this is usually because small businesses lack funds, especially during the startup phase.

With the role of operations management being a critical function within a business, what are small businesses to do if they’re unable to hire an experienced operations manager, but want to improve business operations and achieve a streamlined process? Well, the trick is, in fact, going back to basics, and finding a logical step by step method of managing the operational processes.

Take a look at these 5 essential techniques you can learn and implement today, to better manage operations within your small business:

1. Assess each task

The best way to assess a task is by breaking it up by asking vital questions. Firstly, find the source of the work – where does the work come from? Is it from a client, is it from the supervisor, the vendor? This will give you an idea of the nature of the task and how it should be handled.
Secondly, evaluate the process of that specific task. If it’s a work order for example; break down the process of how this task is managed by detailing each step: add up the charges of the work order, enter the values into the computer and hold it for payment from the customer etc. Creating a process is an incredibly important step.

Then, decide on how the work is stored. Is it filed in a personal client folder? Should it be stored away? Through assessing tasks it’s easier to create a process and identify the kind of person suitable for the job; as well as to better create job descriptions and worker manuals.

2. Prioritise tasks

Prioritising tasks is not just about creating a deadline – that comes later on. This covers the sequence of the task; which is also concerned with the creation of the process. Thereafter, tasks can be prioritised according to importance as well as the deadline – which can be managed by the employee themselves. When people have a clear indication of timelines and are aware of priorities they are able to streamline the process for themselves; resulting in a more efficient operation – even without much help from the operations manager.

3. Delegate accordingly

After you, as the manager, have assessed the task and have prioritised the sequence of workflow, you’ll have a good understanding of the perfect type of employee who will be able to carry out the task effectively and efficiently. You’ll know the skills and strengths that the task demands, and you’ll need to align this with those of the employee. Assigning the task to a person within the team who you think will best fit the requirements is called delegating.

4. Evaluate outcomes

Once the task is complete, it’s important that you evaluate the outcomes – especially in the beginning. Be careful not to look like you are micromanaging – it could come across that way if you continue evaluating results every single time after a task is complete, for months on end. Spot evaluations work more effectively as it does not threaten the employee.

5. Find solutions to areas of concern

After evaluating the outcomes, you will have a good idea of where the weak areas in the processes are. It could be a weakness in the work sequence, or even in the employees’ ability to carry out the job. Whatever the concerns are, you will need to find alternative solutions for them; which will hopefully better the operations. Remember that you should be committed to constant improvement – even a solution could prove to be ineffective.