In tough economic times, employee morale can to take a knock, so organisations need to focus more strongly on ensuring strong motivation and employee satisfaction.

"We already face massive skills shortages in South Africa, therefore it is critical for organisations to retain the intellectual property they have within their company at all
 cost," says Lucky Ndwalaza, HR executive head at Neotel. "Organisations just cannot afford to lose the core skills and spend time and money on training new staff to fill those positions."
This, and the increased pressure from organisations to drive sales up and operational costs down, has led to a significant increase in stress levels and means that employees have even less time on their hands outside of work.
This becomes a never-ending spiral – as pressure increases, stress increases, time decreases and the employees become less productive as a result. In the end, employees are miserable.
"So how do you counteract this?" asks Ndwalaza.
Neotel has implemented an employee project, My Virtual Neotel PA, arising from the heed for employees to have access to counselling in today's difficult environment.
"Crime is on the increase, stress levels are going up and as a result of the commitment required by the organisation they work for they are unable to tend to personal needs," says Ndwalaza.  Eventually this results either in their resignation or in serious health issues.
My Virtual Neotel PA is run via the company's intranet. A team from an outside firm has been put in place to assist Neotel staff with almost everything they need from purchases to assistance in organising events and to assist employee's children with their homework through Dial-A-Teacher.
"As long as the need falls within the scope of the services rendered, it will be done," says Ndwalaza.
My Virtual Neotel PA, as a project, has succeeded tremendously in improving employee productivity. In addition, it has decreased stress levels as employees with personal errands to run can now hand those over.
"This means that they can rest assured the task will be completed within the required timeframes and they needn't worry about them any further," Ndwalaza says.