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Creating an office of problem solvers

One major key to success is the ability to problem solve. Knowing how to respond to and resolve issues that arise creates stronger, more effective businesses. Whilst employees ought be highly skilled in their given fields, one trait that is truly invaluable is that of problem solving. As an employer, there are tips you can follow to encourage and develop the problem-solving abilities of your staff:

Trust your employees
There is nothing more damaging than micromanaging when it comes to building efficient problem solvers. When employees feel trusted and valued, they are more likely to challenge themselves when seeking out new and effective ways to resolve an issue that has arisen. Set goals for your staff rather than giving them rigid instructions to follow; you will lesson your own workload and you will be amazed at what solutions they can come up with.

Always look for hidden opportunities
We often follow the mantra, ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it’. A problem arising in one area is actually a great opportunity to refine and improve existing surrounding processes and strategies. By viewing a problem arising as an opportunity to develop and strengthen the business, solving the problem often become less about what was failing to work and more about how much more efficient the process can be made.

Facilitate creativity
When employees are inspired to be creative, they are more likely to think abstractly and laterally, which is ideal for problem solving. This can be achieved through simple changes to the workplace, such as incorporating plant life, art, colourful furnishings; and providing opportunities to break up the monotony of a long day in the office through fun and quick activities such as tic, tac, toe or connect four.

Encourage effective communication
Fostering a workplace where employees are encouraged to speak their mind openly and honestly rather than one where employees only say what they think you want to hear is critical for effective problem solving. An environment where peer brainstorming and peer reviewing is encouraged is one where employees learn to think critically and build resilience.

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News

Self-managed super funds (SMSF) aren’t just about financial investment

December 3, 2020

Individuals may be looking to opt for an SMSF because these provide entire control over where the money is invested. While this sounds enticing, the downside is that they involve a lot more time and effort as all investment is managed by the members/trustees.

Firstly, SMSFs require a lot of on-going investment of time:

Data shows that SMSF trustees spend an average of 8 hours per month managing their SMSFs. This adds up to more than 100 hours per year and demonstrates that compared to other superannuation methods, is a lot more time occupying.

Secondly, there are set-up and maintenance costs of SMSFs such as tax advice, financial advice, legal advice and hiring an accredited auditor. These costs are difficult to avoid if you want the best out of your SMSF. A statistical review has shown that on average, the operating cost of an SMSF is $6,152. This data is inclusive of deductible and non-deductible expenses such as auditor fee, management and administration expenses etc., but not inclusive of costs such as investment and insurance expenses.

Thirdly, investing in SMSF requires financial and legal knowledge and skill. Trustees should understand the investment market so that they can build and manage a diversified portfolio. Further, when creating an investment strategy, it is important to assess the risk and plan ahead for retirement, which can be difficult if one is not equipped with the necessary knowledge. In terms of legal knowledge, complying with tax, super and other relevant regulations requires a basic level of understanding at the very least. Finally, insurance for fund members also needs to be organised which can be difficult without additional knowledge.
Although SMSFs have the advantage of autonomy when it comes to investing, this comes at a price. Members/trustees need to invest time and money into managing the fund and on top of this, are required to have some financial and legal knowledge to successfully manage the fund.