Thinking about offering a retention bonus to encourage your staff to stay? You might want to reconsider. Find out why:

Do you ever stop to consider the consequences of your staff deciding to leave your business?

You’ve no doubt put plenty of time, effort, and money into finding and recruiting the very best people, so it makes good business sense to think about how you can continue to make a return on your investment by nurturing your employees, and doing all you can to hold on to them.

Sure, sometimes people decide to move on, and it’s often just an inevitable part of running your own team. There’s a balance to strike though, and it’s essential that you create and implement some robust people policies to ensure you aren’t just hoping for the best and leaving everything to chance.

It’s worth noting though that there are desirable and undesirable ways to improve your retention rates. In some cases, certain popular practices could do more damage to your business than good.

Here, we’ll examine some shady ways of holding on to your staff that you should definitely seek to avoid.

Making big promises that you know you can’t keep

Perhaps you know for sure that your staff want more learning and development opportunities. You know that they’re itching to take on more responsibility, and that they have the drive and ambition to succeed.

It can be oh-so-tempting to promise them what they’re looking for, but this should be avoided at all costs unless you know that you can deliver.

You need to effectively manage expectations, and you need to run your business with integrity. Be honest, but look for other solutions. In the end, your staff will thank you for it, and value the approach you take to running your business.

Offering retention bonuses

Retention bonuses have been the subject of many discussions in the world of human resources and people management, and there are people on both sides of the fence. What you really need to know here is that there is very little evidence that suggests that giving your employees a bonus for staying with your company is actually all that effective.

Some argue that paying people for their loyalty rather than earning it is never a long-term solution. The buzz created by the cash incentive will wear off pretty quickly. As well, if you’re dealing with top performers, they may well receive a sign-on bonus when they join a new business. In short, the cash won’t make that much difference to them. In many cases, people leave not because they simply weren’t getting paid enough, but for a deeper range of factors.

And finally, there are so many better options to pursue if you have a budget to help you to improve your retention rates. Think about how you could improve working practices for all, and make changes that really impact on motivation and engagement. You might have to get a bit more creative and think outside the box, but it can be very much worth it.

Taking the one-size-fits-all approach

Perhaps you’ve read a best-practice guide to retention, and you’ve gone right ahead and implemented some overarching changes to your policies and procedures. Though you do need to take a proactive approach to every facet of your people management, a textbook overhaul isn’t likely to really fulfill your needs.

Why? Because every business is different. What makes your business unique is its culture, and this is created as a result of a wide variety of factors. You often need to dive deeper into the real issues that are at play, and craft a strategy that delivers real results.

Similarly, it may be necessary to have differing approaches throughout the same business. What keeps top performers in their executive roles isn’t always what motivates staff on the operational front line, and you need to tailor your practices to take this into account.

Would you like to have a no-obligation discussion with a seasoned HR professional about what you can do to improve retention? Do you want the chance to work with someone who can get to know your business, and make recommendations that will have a real impact? If so, we’d be delighted to help.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Think teambuilding is all about organised outdoor pursuits and cocktail making classes? Think again:

We’re all pretty clued up these days when it comes to the importance of building teams that work together to drive a business forward. No one is questioning the benefits of having great work teams, but there is a great deal of confusion around what it actually means to develop a team that operates at its full potential.

There are some common misconceptions that are still holding leaders back, and it could be the case that the information that you believe to be correct is stopping you from making progress.

Let’s take a look at why everything you think you know about teambuilding may  be very wrong.

You don’t have to fork out a fortune on events

Sure, there are many, many companies out there who will organize an elaborate and carefully executed event for your employees. From outdoor pursuits to cocktail making classes, there’s an option for pretty much everyone. And often, these solutions are very good. They’re planned and managed by seasoned professionals, and plenty of businesses have used such options with great results.

Of course though, the price tag can be extremely high. Before writing off your teambuilding goals as an expense you can’t afford, take the time to look at the bigger picture and what you actually want to achieve. A different approach could save you a huge chunk of cash, and could lead to much better results. Real teambuilding often happens in the office – not off-site.

It’s not about making everyone like each other

Too many leaders think that teambuilding is all about promoting friendships in the workplace. When you employ a diverse workforce, not everyone is going to feel compelled to share their weekends together, or meet for dinner and drinks on an evening. But that’s not what you should be aiming for.

It’s about encouraging people to develop the skills required to work together towards a common goal. It’s about creating focus on the benefits of working alongside each other. These things should always be the aim of any exercises and techniques that are put into practice.

Leaders don’t hold all the responsibility

Yes, you and your senior leadership team must lead by example and demonstrate the benefits of working together. But if your efforts are all about encouraging managers to take all of the responsibility and have everyone else fall into whatever they’re told, you’re going to miss the mark.

The best work is achieved when individual team members take responsibility themselves. Do they have the skills to have the necessary conversations? Can they step up when the manager is out of the office? If not, what can you do to help them to get to this stage?

Hopefully, reading through this article has challenged what you think you know about teambuilding and has given you plenty of inspiration surrounding where you might be missing the mark, and where you can make improvements.

If you want to improve the way your staff work together and you want some help from someone who has been there before and developed proven solutions that can be tailored for any business, get in touch. We’d love to discuss how we could help you to overcome your challenges and move forward.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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If you don’t already have this HR secret weapon, now could be the time to make the change. Find out more:

Growing a business without Human Resources (HR) expertise is challenging at best, and a constant uphill struggle at worst. If you’ve ever had to tackle a people issue on your own, you’ll know just how stressful it can be.

Between trying to manage your legal obligations, and meeting your operational requirements, firefighting can become part of your everyday routine if you aren’t careful.

Of course, there’s the option to call upon help on a project-by-project basis, and there can be real value in that approach. But if you’re ready to raise the bar (and give yourself the valuable gift of peace of mind along the way), then it might be time for you to start a retainer relationship with your HR consultant.

This could be the secret human resources weapon that you need. Here’s why:

You get to know and trust your dedicated advisor so you can get straight to the heart of any issue.

If you’ve ever outsourced work to a consultant in the past, you’ll know that there’s often a steep learning curve called ‘getting to know each other’. Before you can really get down to business, the right foundations have to be laid. You have to gain an understanding of how they operate, and they need to find out what your business is really all about.

So if you have a pressing HR issue and you’re working with someone who you’ve never worked with before, it’s inevitable that you aren’t going to immediately hit the ground running. When you’re using retainer services though, this isn’t a problem. You know your consultant, you know how they do things, and you trust in their decisions and advice. It’s not difficult to see the massive difference this will make.

You don’t have to face the prospect of hunting down a skilled professional when something goes wrong.

Leaders often don’t expect to go into work on any given morning and find themselves faced with handling the fall-out of an HR issue. These things happen though, and it’s vital that you’re ready to respond ASAP. Many issues can spiral out of control if you don’t formulate a fit-for-purpose solution fairly quickly.

By the time you’ve contacted your business peers, asked for recommendations, and managed to get hold of someone who has a solution, serious damage might have already been done. When you have an HR expert who you can get in touch with at any time, there’s no panicking and no fuss. You’ve already got your plan in place, and you know that your advisor has already got you covered.

You’re probably going to save yourself a chunk of cash.

Contrary to popular (though very much dated) belief, HR isn’t all about soft tactics that can’t be measured in terms of true business success. The best HR professionals understand their role in contributing to the bottom line of your business, and play a role in helping you achieve your strategic objectives.

And we know that you have a keen eye on your costs. Yet another benefit of working on a retainer basis is that you can take advantage of some extremely savvy savings. You’ll know what you’re paying each month, so you’ll never face any nasty surprises.

Leaders who are mindful of the importance of their people practices might have an HR professional in mind who can help them when things go wrong. But leaders who have really stepped up and are ready for whatever their business throws at them are already working on a retainer engagement.

Are you ready to make the change? Talk to us for an initial chat about how we might be able to work with you.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Use your final quarter wisely. Get your HR practices up to speed with these no-brainer tips:

As we quickly roll further into the year, most business owners will be focusing on a couple of things. If you still have some big goals that you haven’t quite achieved, now’s the time to pull your socks up and make that final push. There should also be plenty of time for reflection though, so you can work out your wins, your losses, and what you need to do differently this year.

Make sure that you don’t neglect to think about your people practices and how you’ve performed over the course of the last year. It’s true that many HR changes can’t be achieved overnight, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take action. In fact, there are certain things that you can do over the next several weeks that will help you to make positive and tangible changes.

Are you ready to take on the challenge? This is what we suggest:

Assess how compliant you are with recent legislative changes

There have been several changes to employment law this year and many business owners would like to say that they know they’re fully compliant. When it comes down to it though, are you absolutely positive that you’re doing everything you should be?

We understand that the day-to-day complexities of running your business can sometimes get in the way, but if you haven’t done everything that’s required of you, you could be leaving yourself very vulnerable to future problems.

Start planning

At the moment, you might be caught up with the practicalities of recruiting or ensuring that your existing employees are ready to deliver exceptional service.

That’s great, but make sure that you’re looking a little further ahead. What key challenges will you face this year? What opportunities could you harness to help you to meet your wider strategic goals? A plan will put your mind at ease, and ensure that you don’t find yourself faced with any unwelcome surprises.

Take advantage of an HR audit

As a business grows, there will be a wider range of HR tasks and responsibilities that need to be taken care of. Keeping on top of everything can be a massive job, and savvy leaders realize that they can’t do everything themselves.

It’s very likely that your business could take many benefits away from an HR audit. Having an experienced HR professional come into your company and assess what’s working, and what needs to be improved, could be just what you need to make sure that you end the year on a high note and put practical steps in place to raise your game. Interested to find out more about this?

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Are you welcoming new staff into your business? Get it right the first time!

Recruiting a new member of staff for your growing business can be a really exciting time, but it’s something that you should definitely consider carefully before you rush into taking action.

One of the key challenges that you’re going to face is ensuring that your new recruit is welcomed into your existing team without any significant issues.

Of course, some of the basics can be covered by exercising a little common sense and forward planning. You probably don’t need us to tell you that your new member of staff will need to be able to log in to the computers, access your policies, understand their terms of employment, and know where they need to go if they want to grab a sandwich or use the bathroom.

There are wider considerations that need to be made though, and while they’re often pretty simple, they’re easy to overlook. Here, we’ll explain more:

Be sure to brief your staff on the changes

Before your new member of staff starts work, hold a briefing with the existing team so they know what’s happening. Explain a little about the role that your new recruit will be carrying out and how that fits into the bigger picture. Too many problems occur simply because there has been a lack of communication, so make sure that you keep everyone updated and involved.

It might be the case that you’re asked questions about how the changes could impact on existing roles. Staff may be concerned that they’ll no longer be able to work overtime, for example. Be prepared for questions of this nature, and try to provide detailed and honest answers wherever possible.

Know who has responsibility for the induction/new employee orientation

If it’s one of your line managers who will have overall responsibility for your new employee, you need to make sure that they’re capable and willing to step into that role and really own it. Having someone who will oversee the induction process, ensure that any necessary boxes are ticked, and solve any problems that might occur is the only way to stay organized.

In practical terms, the induction or orientation is likely to involve a varied cross-section of the team. There may be some job shadowing carried out, for example, or you might decide that it’s a good idea to ‘buddy up’ new employees with more experienced members of staff.

Carry out regular check-ins with your new employee

Getting to grips with a new role can be a big challenge. It’s likely that your new employee will have a lot to learn over the coming weeks and months. You might traditionally carry out formal performance discussions once every 6 or 12 months, but you really shouldn’t wait this long with your new recruit. Make sure that conversations are taking place more regularly.

Bear in mind that appraisals, formal or otherwise, aren’t just about telling someone where they need to make improvements. They’re about supporting the individual so they can reach their full potential, listening to their thoughts and concerns, and developing an action plan to get them to where they need to be.

Recruiting staff, and everything that goes with it, can be extremely daunting. As with all things though, you become much more confident with a little experience and a good plan to stick to.

If you’re looking to build your workforce and you feel like you’d benefit from working with a professional to ensure that you get things right, feel free to connect with us.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Your guide to ensuring that your line managers are improving performance:

It doesn’t take a business guru to tell you that if you want your company to thrive, you need to make sure that your staff are firing on all cylinders. Of course though, as is often the case when it comes to the tricky business of managing people, this can be much easier said than done.

If you want to achieve big things, you need clear and effective processes in place to help you to get there. Your line managers play a huge role in creating a productive and high-performing culture, and you need to ensure that you’re driving them in the right direction.

Here, we share some of our tips for encouraging your line managers to step into their roles and play an active part in improving performance.

Create procedures that underpin your objectives

Your line managers can often only operate within the constraints that you provide them with. If you want them to excel in particular areas, you need to create a framework that allows them to do so. For this reason, it’s important that you consider what you already have in place that helps staff to reach their full potential.

Do you have a policy that outlines how often and in what format performance discussion should happen? Is there something in place that ensures the work is being carried out? Who ultimately chases things up to ensure that procedures are being followed? It’s not necessarily about ticking boxes, but you do need to create systems that encourage the day-to-day tasks to be carried out.

Give your managers the confidence and skills they need to have meaningful discussions

Unfortunately, making sure that performance discussions are taking place is only the first hurdle. It’s not so much about frequency, as it is about the quality of the conversations that are happening.

At the end of the day, talking about performance and addressing areas of concern can be daunting, even for the most experienced line managers. It’s important that you give them the opportunity to hone their skills, and to keep developing them on a regular basis. Consider how you can do this within your business. It may be the case that you need to roll out some training sessions, or perhaps you need to have your own one-on-one discussions with your management team so you can better understand how you can support them.

Encourage your managers to facilitate career development in their teams

Performance management isn’t just about fixing problems and making sure that the work gets done within a specified frame of time. It’s about looking ahead towards the future and ensuring that your business has the right kind of talent to drive operations forward and achieve growth.

The key takeaway here is that if your employees aren’t being given a chance to flourish, they’re likely to start looking elsewhere. Do you really want to lose your talented members of staff to your competitors? Be sure that your line managers are having open and honest conversations with their direct reports about where they see themselves in the next five years, and that information is taken seriously and considered when it comes to planning the direction of the business as a whole.

If line management capability is something that you want to improve, we can help. We believe that successful businesses are created when leadership teams are given the tools they need to excel. Contact us for an initial discussion about how we could bring our practical approach to your business.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Your appraisals probably aren’t fit for purpose. Here’s what to do about it:

Recent research from PwC revealed that two thirds of larger companies are thinking about revamping their appraisals processes. The 2015 Performance Management Research found that businesses are becoming increasingly eager to ditch the once-a-year approach and instead concentrate on developing practices that create a continuous feedback culture.

It’s often suggested that it’s time for appraisals to be scrapped in favor of more business-focused solutions, but it’s unlikely that savvy leaders will be taking them completely off the agenda anytime soon. After all, if you want your staff to achieve great things, you’re going to have to ensure that you’re giving them the right kind of support. Appraisals still have a very important role to play.

But it’s true that it may be time to update your approach, and consider how you can make your performance management systems really work for your business. Read on to find out more about the directions that you might want to take in the future.

How can you harness technology?

Technology is changing the way that we work and the way that we carry out our everyday tasks, so it makes sense to think about how it could be used to provide a better solution to facilitate effective performance management. Some leaders will see this as a headache, but once you get past the teething issues, it could prove to be one of the best things that you ever do.

A system that’s accessible on the go could be just what you need to make sure that assessing performance is something that happens on a regular basis, and not just at the end of the year as a last-minute activity. The beauty of turning to technology is that you can create a system that meets all of your needs. Want the ability to hold discussions remotely? Want staff to be able to quickly upload evidence of their achievements? Anything is possible. The prospect of having less paperwork will certainly appeal to many!

How can you provide value for your employees?

One of the main reasons appraisals are sometimes so passionately disliked by employees is because they fail to see the value that they can offer, not just to the business, but to themselves as individuals. Performance management mechanisms can be seen as a way of ‘checking up’ on them, and bringing to light the areas in which they aren’t hitting the mark. When you think about it like this, it’s no wonder that you’re struggling to get your staff on-board.

Consider what kind of changes you might be able to make to turn the tables. How can you ensure that the process helps employees to reach their own career goals and get to where they want to be in your business? And importantly, what happens after the discussions have taken place? Your workers are much more likely to feel that the process brings value if they can see that changes are being made and that they’re being enabled to sharpen their skills.

Keep your eye on the bigger picture, but also try delving deeper into the aspects where you can make a real change. Need a little help with getting off to a great start? Get in touch. We’d be happy to discuss how we might be able to assist when it comes to getting your appraisal processes up to speed.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Are your staff too busy thinking about the holidays at the moment? Here’s how to turn things round:

That time of year is here again. Holidays are being booked, the weather changing, and workers across the country are looking forward to a bit of well-deserved time away from their desks.

But while many people will be worrying about how much they can squeeze into their luggage allowance and whether last year’s clothes still fit, many business owners will have a more pressing concern. As temperatures start to change, how do you ensure that the season doesn’t have a negative impact on productivity?

As always, we’re here to help with some practical suggestions. Read on to find out more about what you can do to ensure that you’re doing all you can to avoid any problems.

Organize the holiday schedule in advance

If you find yourself in a situation whereby 50% of your employees are off at the same time, it’s quite likely that you’re going to run into difficulties.

Obviously, it might be a bit late to get this sorted out for this year, but it’s definitely worth taking the time to think about how you’ll approach the working calendar next year. As well, it won’t be long before you’ll have to start thinking about how you’ll manage your staff over the next holiday period, so you can probably take away some very important lessons.

Bring the holiday feeling to your office

When the weather changes and there are – let’s face it – many other things that your employees would rather be doing than sitting in the office, it could be worthwhile to think about how you can raise spirits and inject a bit of oomph back into proceedings. If some members of staff are away on holiday, you can ensure that those who are left behind aren’t feeling deflated and demotivated.

Your approach here needn’t cost you a fortune, and there are many options for you to choose from. Could you contact a nearby personal trainer and ask them to lead an indoor or outdoor workout for your staff? Small gestures can make all the difference.

Give your HR processes an overhaul

It’s natural that there will be certain times of the year when you notice a change in productivity. Sometimes, slight fluctuations are unavoidable, and you need to simply do all you can to minimize the impact. If reduced productivity has become a longstanding problem though, it’s time to address the reasons why, and do something about it.

Your people processes and procedures will often provide you with clues, and they can also be the remedy. Is your business suffering as a result of poor management practices? Are you using outdated systems? Are your employees dissatisfied with certain aspects of their roles, or the way in which the business is being operated?

An overall HR health-check could be exactly what you need to start making some positive changes. We’d be delighted to have an initial chat with you about how we could help.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Are you really getting the most out of your HR practices? Find out here how to raise the bar:

As a small business owner, you probably started your own business because you’re passionate about bringing your product or service into the world, and providing a much-needed solution for your customers and clients.

This people management stuff – it’s not necessarily what you signed up for. Call it a necessary evil if you like, but the fact remains that if you want to grow a thriving business, you can’t get away from it. You need practices, procedures, and policies in place that ensure that you’re hitting the mark and developing the right kind of team to guarantee your future success.

If you take your finger off the pulse or let the grass grow under your feet, you could find yourself with problems that have been deeply embedded into your company’s culture, and these can be extremely difficult (not to mention expensive) to fix.

Wondering whether this might apply to you? Recognizing that you might not be firing on all cylinders is the first step towards fixing any issues and turning things round.

Here, we ask some questions about where you currently are, so you can start to establish where you might need to make changes.

Are you suffering from high turnover rates?

Recruiting good staff can be expensive. Giving them the skills and developmental support that they need to excel in their roles can prove to be costly, too. In an ideal world, this is an investment rather than a cost. But if your staff are deciding to move on to new pastures, this can be a huge problem.

You’re likely to notice the impact on the bottom line, and it may well be the case that you’re also damaging your employer brand. If too many people are leaving, the word will get around, and people will start to ask why. This could lead to you struggling to attract top talent in the future.

Are you unsure about whether you’re really meeting your legal obligations?

All business owners know that they need to be compliant with relevant employment legislation. When push comes to shove though, are you confident that you’re meeting your obligations? If you’re not, the nagging concern that something could go wrong is likely to constantly be at the back of your mind.

If you found yourself in a situation in which you weren’t fulfilling your requirements, it could prove to be devastating. Often, all it takes to ensure that you’re where you need to be is some advice from a professional. The peace of mind that this can bring can be worth its weight in gold.

Are you struggling to meet your overarching business goals?

HR is no longer about handing out cups of tea and sympathy. Robust HR practices will always be in line with wider company objectives, and they’ll actively help your business to get to where you want it to be. Take a second to think about what HR looks like in your business, and whether it’s really fulfilling its potential.

Do your practices improve productivity? Do they encourage your staff to be the best that they can be, and reward them accordingly? Do they play a significant role in facilitating business growth? If not, you’re missing out.

Though the points we’ve discussed here are really just the tip of the iceberg, they’ll hopefully give you plenty to think about. If you’re falling behind, the main thing to remember is that action is the only thing that will help you to remedy the problems. The sooner you decide that enough is enough, the better.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Mental health in your workforce needs to be at the top of your agenda. Find out why:

Recent news has highlighted the issue of mental health in the workplace, and the need for employers to ensure that such matters are right at the top of their agenda.

If one thing is for certain in light of tragic circumstances that are highlighted in the news, it’s that we can no longer view mental health problems as a taboo subject that can be pushed to one side. Owners and managers in businesses of all sizes need to ensure that they fully understand the impact that illnesses like depression can have on their workforce, and take a proactive approach to fulfilling their responsibilities.

Mental health problems cost employers a huge amount of cash every year. Promoting good mental health can have a multitude of benefits. So isn’t it time that you started giving it the careful thought that it deserves? Let’s take a look at some key areas where you can start making improvements and fulfilling your obligations.

Create policies and processes that are supportive, not restrictive

There are always going to be events that take place in an employee’s private life that a business has no control over. From relationship breakdowns to financial worries, there’s a broad spectrum of issues that can impact a person’s mental health and cause them difficulties.

Just because it’s not related to work though, doesn’t mean that managers can’t play a positive role in ensuring that individuals are suitably supported. Think about responsibly managing workloads, creating a positive working environment, and facilitating happy workplace relationships. The benefits of this can be far-reaching, and include increased productivity and morale, boosted staff engagement, and higher staff retention.

Handle personal data sensitively

There may be times when you gather information from your employees about any mental health issues that they may be facing. It may come to light in the recruitment process, for example, if they require any reasonable adjustments to be made so they can attend interviews, or further down the line if the employee needs to take time off work due to their illness.

It’s really important here that you handle the date sensitively, keep it confidential, and inform the individual how the information will be used. Never assume that you have their consent to discuss their problems with third parties, and keep them involved at every stage of the process. This is not only a right of your employee, but a legal obligation that you need to adhere to.

Encourage communication

It’s important to promote awareness of mental health problems at work, and of course, communication is essential here. Be prepared to talk about the big issues, and encourage employees to sit down and talk with their managers if they feel like they’re struggling. This is sometimes easier said than done, and can involve a culture shift, but ultimately will help you to reap the best rewards.

Be sure that your line managers have the skills to handle these conversations. It’s likely that they may need some extra training, and regular refresher sessions are a wise choice when you’re dealing with such a sensitive subject.

Of course, it isn’t possible to discuss all the complexities of mental health in the workplace in just one post. A cookie-cutter approach isn’t necessarily going to give you the results that you need, especially if there are problems already deeply engrained in your business’s culture.

Want to speak with a professional about how you can make real progress in terms of promoting employee well-being and effectively handling mental health problems? We’d be happy to discuss strategies with you, and the practicalities of implementing them.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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