Employee Management 101

Managing your employees can be a satisfying task but equally challenging. After all, there is so much to do. Clarifying tasks, managing data, and the list goes on.

Here we try to answer the most common issues that occur when it comes to employee management and scheduling.


How to build an effective and successful team?

1. Identify goals and objectives

The first step to successful team building is to identify goals and objectives for the team. It’s important for all team members to discuss the goals and objectives collectively. This means discussing the purpose of the team, how each team member will contribute and what achievements look like for the team. Doing this will ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal. Each team member can also set individual goals that align with the team goal. This first step will get the team excited and moving in the right direction.

2. Create an action plan

Next, team members should create an action plan with milestones that need to be achieved in a certain time period. All milestones should have realistic timelines that are achievable for the team. Creating an action plan is fundamental for the success of the team.

3. Create a thriving culture

As a leader, you need to gain a good understanding of your team members. This will involve understanding the type of environment they like to work in, their preferred management style and what helps them stay focused. This will help you create a culture where your team can thrive. In the long term, it will help cultivate an environment where your team members are putting their best foot forward.

4. “Check-ins”

Once everyone starts working on the project, one of your ongoing responsibilities as a team leader will be to check-in with your team to see how they are doing. This does not mean that you need to micro-manage. Simply ask them how they are doing with their tasks and if they need help with anything. The key here is effective listening. Chances are they might be struggling with a task that you or other members in the team can resolve quickly.

5. Clear communication

Communication is key. We have all heard this before but rarely is it applied in an effective manner. Clear communication is all about being transparent with the team and ensuring they understand the information you are communicating to them. Clear communication means informing your team about successes and failures or about communicating changes in the team. Don’t forget – communication should be two-sided. As a leader, you should encourage your team to communicate about any hurdles and ask questions.

6. Reward the team

Rewards are constantly forgotten in companies and teams. You can reward team members by investing in their personal development or showing appreciation. It doesn’t have to be monetary rewards. You can introduce weekly activities or games in the team. Not only will this help relieve any stress, it will give team members an outlet to connect with each other. This step will ensure your team is content and motivated.


Who Should You Promote to Manager?

By now most organizations know that it is important to try to promote from within. Fostering career growthfor employees increases engagement and decreases turnover, as employees are more likely to stick around if a promotion is a possibility. However, it is important to promote the right people, as studies have shown that bad managers are a huge reason people leave their jobs. Therefore, promoting the wrong person can actually increase turnover rates. Here are a few ways to know who to promote to manager at your company:

They Have People Skills

When wondering who to promote to manager, people skills should be top of your priority list. Regardless of whether they have great technical skills or are the top sales person in their department, without people skills they will fail as a manager. This is not only for employee morale and engagement, as they will be responsible for a team of people that need supervision, but also for customer service and profitability. Managers need to train new employees, make sure goals are being met, and clearly communicate to both staff and customers.

They Accept Feedback, Good and Bad

Good managers have the ability to accept criticism and implement changes. As employees, they are respectful and professional when asked to do a better job, and take it as a challenge rather than a complaint. Who to promote to manager often depends on how they improve with each new task or responsibility.

They Want More Responsibility

Lots of great employees who efficiently complete their day to day tasks do not actually want the responsibility of becoming a manager. If they are satisfied with their current role but resist the thought of doing work outside their job description, management likely isn’t for them. It is also important to recognize that many people simply don’t want to become a manager.

They Stay After Close

While knowing who to promote to manager doesn’t revolve around who stays after 5 pm, it is important to have management that is willing to pitch in during especially busy periods or in a pinch. If there are lineups out the door or phones ringing off the hook, there is a substantial difference between an employee who responds with a snide “I’m on a break”, and one who says “where do you need me?”


How To Have The Right People at the Right Time?

Whether your need is based on legal reasons, customer preference, licenses, etc., you need to easily identify who the right staff member for your needs is. If you have a casual, part –time, or on call work force, this can be incredibly difficult. There are many businesses and industries that rely on rotating schedules and at some point or another, they all will come across this challenge.

First of all, you need to figure out who has the right skillset for the job. If you have a lot of employees and keep track of this information with pen and paper, or Excel, you’re in for a tough time. You need an easy to filter database that can present you with alternatives based on what you need and availability. This problem is amplified if the skill or license expires. For example, you run a catering business and need to serve alcohol – how do you know which one of your staff members’ license is up to date? If you don’t have that information readily available, have fun calling, texting, or emailing your list of employees. This gets even trickier if you are managing multiple events simultaneously.

Thankfully, you can avoid this fiasco through rules based scheduling. Rules based scheduling is the ability to schedule employees and fill shifts based on particular skills, licenses, preference, or whatever other reason you can imagine. With employee management software, you can enjoy all these benefits and more – including, saving time and money, eliminating unnecessary overtime, expediting payroll process, etc.


Should I Hire Millenials?

Millennials now occupy the largest section of the workforce compared to any other generation. With more than 80 million millennials currently employed across America, organizations cannot ignore their wants and needs. Here are a few things we know about millennials in the workplace:

  • Millennials are born after 1980. They are also called Gen Y, Echo Boomers, and Generation Me.
  • This generation is seen to have a strong sense of community, but is also thought to be more narcissistic than previous generations.
  • Most grew up with doting parents who encouraged self-confidence and told them “they could be whatever they wanted to be”.
  • Millennials expect a variety of tasks, frequent praise from their employers, and participate in a wide range of activities outside of work.

Why Should You Care?

Millennials not only account for 30% of the current workforce, but according to Time Magazine, by 2025, three out of four employees worldwide will be millennials. They also have an astonishing turnover rate, as six in ten employees leave their jobs in less than three years. It is estimated that the costs to replace a millennial employee range between $15,000 and $25,000. With these high costs, and the aforementioned turnover rate, businesses will soon learn not to ignore the needs of millennials in the workplace.

What Should You Do?

Many of the tactics you can employ to keep millennials in the workplace are the same you should use for any generation of employee within your organization. However, various studies have shown that millennials frequently cite the following employer policies as motivation to stay at their jobs:

Work-Life Balance

An astounding 37% of millennials would take a pay cut if it meant they could have flexible work arrangements, and 89% feel that work-life balance is essential to happiness at work. With flexible and collaborative scheduling more practical for employers than ever, it is a simple solution to the revolving door of millennials in the workplace.

Clear Career Trajectories

Millennials are empowered more than any generation before them to manage their own careers. If they think that there is no growth potential within your company, you can be sure that they will be looking for one that does. Some interpret this as being disloyal, but in reality they are found to take charge of their careers at an earlier stage than others.

Recognition and Teamwork

Because of their affectionate and encouraging upbringings, millennials expect frequent praise in the workplace. Employers can easily accommodate this by incorporating small daily boosts of acknowledgement into the workday. Millennials also are more likely than other generations to seek social work environments, so include them in teams and hire according to cultural fit. Try not to fall in love with a candidate’s “perfect” resume, but focus instead the attitude and work ethic of the millennial you are looking to hire.


How To Keeping Millennials Engaged in Your Workforce?

As a younger generation of employees starts taking over the workforce, employee engagement is becoming increasingly important. Millennials desire greater flexibility, higher accountability from their employers, and greater satisfaction from their job. Why should this matter to business owners and operators? Because Millennials will comprise more than one of three adult Americans by 2020 and 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.

One of the most effective ways to keep your workforce engaged is to create an easy way to communicate back and forth. Some jobs, especially ones in the hospitality industry, are casual and on call. Employees and employers must be in constant communication in order to effectively utilize their workforce. This is next to impossible if you are utilizing old school techniques like cork boards, calls, emails, or text. Often times, service industry employees work for various competing employers and are actively looking for shifts. If your competitor is more efficient at communication, then you will lose out on talent and be at a disadvantage.

One way to improve communication and engagement is to implement an advanced employee scheduling and communication system. An advanced employee scheduling can provide you with many functions such as in app text communication, time off requests, providing availability, communicating schedules, communicating shift changes, and more. This can help give you an operational advantage over your competitors.

When employees are given these types of tools, it shows that the employer is invested in providing an engaging work environment that cares about the needs of its employees. This helps foster higher engagement. When employees are engaged, everyone wins. Productivity increases, you attract and retain the best talent, your customers receive better service, and the reputation of your business is enhanced.


Why are your employees missing work?

Emergencies, sickness, unexpected commute issues, these are valid reasons for your employees not making it to work. However, a no-show is more than just an inconvenience, it is a major operational issue. The manager has to drop everything and scramble to either find a replacement or decide if they can afford to pay overtime.

Here are just a few reasons for no-shows:

  • Misunderstanding of the rules
  • Issues with scheduling
  • Poor communication about availability
  • No/inconsistent enforcement of the rules
  • Not using staff employee management software

Proactive Management: How to Prevent No Shows Before They Happen?

Often, the hardest part of running a business is making sure you have the right people, at the right time, and at the right place. All of this can be turned upside down when your employees fail to make it to their shift. From sickness to last minute emergencies, some no shows are often unpredictable and difficult to avoid. In those cases, you are forced to be reactive and follow steps similar to those in our previous blog “Managing Unscheduled Absences”. However, more often than not, no shows can be proactively avoided rather than reactively handled. Take a look below for some key proactive steps you can take in the employee scheduling and communication process to prevent no shows in your workplace.

COMMUNICATE

We have heard it a million times before: communication is key. This is especially important when trying to communicate work schedules between managers and employees in a timely fashion. For a salaried workforce, work hours are typically predetermined and second nature. However, when it comes to an hourly workforce, shifts often vary from week to week and even day to day. The best way to make sure your employees know when and where they are meant to be is to communicate with them clearly and often. The earlier they know shift information and details, the more likely they are to be comfortable and prepared for their shift The most important pieces of information they need relate to their hours, shift location, shift duration, and any other important shift details, including dress-code, type of service, and any client-specific requests. Providing this information early on is key to enabling your employees to plan ahead to be on their A-game for that shift. Today, many companies use automated employee management software that sends updates of shift assignments and requests through email, app-messaging, or text to ensure communication is fluid. This type of communication is key in making sure your employees show up when and where they are scheduled.

CONFIRMING SHIFTS

To be even more proactive, we recommend taking it a step further and having employees “confirm” they are able to work their assigned shift. This way, managers and employees are on the same page and can check on any details that are unclear or may be changed closer to the shift date. Employees can then add the shift to their calendar and plan any personal activities around their work schedule. With automated employee scheduling and communication tools, often shifts can be set to sync with the employee’s iCalender. Mobile app reminders are also an efficient way to make sure employees can confirm in a timely fashion that they are willing, able, and prepared to work. Confirming with their managers adds a clear line of communication and allows managers to know shifts will be covered and employees to preplan their personal lives around their work schedule. All of this can be achieved by utilizing best of breed employee management software.

OFFER FLEXIBILITY

Creating an environment of work-life balance can be key to employee happiness. With manual forms of employee scheduling, offering flexibility causes more problems rather than less and is often impractical. However, with modern technologies, from mobile apps to automated employee management software, collecting employee preferences and availability is easier than ever before. Use employee management software to collect employee availability to know when your hourly employees are available to work. They can select specific time periods they are available to work. This way, managers are not having to call back and forth to confirm availability. In the end, the additional flexibility makes employees happy while decreasing the workload for the scheduler.

OFFER AUTONOMY

Depending on your business practices, offering employees the ability to schedule themselves can be a valuable way to give more autonomy while creating a more conducive and reliable work environment. Richard Koster, CEO of Four Seasons Healthcare, a home-health care company headquartered in Delaware accounts this type of autonomy to the success of his business, “Since the caregivers are in control, they are able to pick the shifts they want each week and are not restricted to a set schedule – they do what works for them.” Richard, along with many others, find offering employees the chance to self-schedule gives them the opportunity to pick which shifts work best with their lives. This level of flexibility puts the responsibility on the employee, while giving them the opportunity to plan their work and personal life in a way that works best for them. The result is employees who are happy to work, and in turn, happy clients.


How to deal with Last-Minute Dropouts and No-Shows?

Uncovered sites, workers struggling to compensate for a missing colleague, annoyed guests waiting too long to be served – no-shows cause a huge mess and disruption for everyone involved and are costly.

No-shows happen frequently with part-time employees and can occur for different reasons, such as sudden illness or accidents, or for more trivial reasons such as oversleeping, a missed bus or simply not wanting to go to work. But there are measures employers can take to minimize the occurrence of no-shows, and compensate for last-minute dropouts.

The first step is to create policies that clearly state what counts as a no-show, and which consequences await the employee if he or she didn’t show up or didn’t cancel the shift early enough. Firing an employee is of course the last resort; however, written warnings can be an effective way to communicate misbehavior. You can set up time restrictions until when employees can cancel a shift without consequences, which would give you a time window to find a replacement.

The second step is to inform all employees about the policies and enforce these consistently. Rules that can be broken without consequences are useless, just as is favoritism. A frequent no-show that is otherwise a top-performer for example should be treated just like any other employee that breaks the rules.

If you still experience a high frequency of no-shows after introducing policies, you should search for the underlying reasons in one-on-one meetings with the employees.

Poor communication of schedules could be a factor, which could easily be resolved by switching to a different means of communication that better fits the needs of your workforce. Other responsibilities of employees, such as child or elderly care, may collide with certain shifts, or the resting period between shifts could be too short due to a long way to work.

Individual solutions to these problems have proven to show the best results. Automated employee management software can help you create schedules that observe these individual needs and preferences of employees, and also help find replacements in case of last-minute dropouts without any difficulties.


How to Handle No-Shows in the Workplace?

Although the prospect of employees being involved in no-shows in the workplace may not seem very significant at first glance, it can throw a huge wrench into day to day operations of a business. Without a simple phone call explaining why he or she may not be able to come into work that day, an unexpected, unexplained employee absence can leave managers scrambling to find replacements well past the time the employee should have actually started their shift.

No-shows can occur for a variety of reasons, some of which are unpreventable. However, you should have a plan in place for dealing with no-shows.

Develop a “No-Shows” Policy

It’s perfectly acceptable to expect employees to call into work when they are sick or have an emergency, and if they fail to do so you should go through an HR policy that documents the no-show that occurred.

  1. The first time a no-show occurs, sit the employee down and ask what happened. Before handing out discipline, find out if the employee has a legitimate excuse, such as a medical emergency. Legitimate excuses do not include broken phones or car problems.
  2. During your conversation, outline the attendance policy, and let them know that they have been verbally warned on the subject. Make sure to document the conversation in an email to the employee.
  3. If the employee is involved in a no-show again, give them an official written warning.

Ensure Excellent Communication

It seems too simple to be true, but often no-shows occur because employees don’t know that they were scheduled to work. If you rely on a system of paper schedules and manual phone calls for shift changes, you may be setting yourself up for regular no-shows. In a day of instant access to information, employees expect shift information at their fingertips.

Consider simplifying the employee communication process through automation. Most employee scheduling companies provide web portals or interactive voice response systems to relay schedule information to employees. iCalendar applications are another way that many companies communicate shifts to their employees. iCalendar enables employees to subscribe to and view their work schedules from the web or personal smart phone, alongside their own personal calendar information.


How To Handle Holiday Time-Off Requests?

Operationally, the holidays can be a hectic time of year for many types of businesses. Here are 5 tips to help you handle holiday time-off requests from your employees.

1. Communicate Your Holiday Time-Off Policies

Communicating the policies around holiday time-off requests is especially important for new employees. Although you may have a standard way of dealing with holiday time-off requests, employees who don’t know your policies may wonder all year long if they will be working on their favorite holiday. Whether or not you generate holiday schedules on a first-come-first-serve basis, or grant requests based on seniority, make sure your employees know up front.

2. Communicate Your Organizational Expectations

Depending on the type of business you are in, make sure your employees know what kind of coverage is needed over the holiday season. In retail, holiday time-off requests may be rarely granted, where as in other industries the holiday season may not be as busy. Clear communication about the essential nature of the right coverage during this time can help alleviate hard feelings.

3. Hire Extra Staff if Needed

Instead of forcing your full-time, senior staff to work each shift during the holidays, hire part-time seasonal staff to work some of these more difficult to fill shifts. Often, college and high school students look for part-time work during the holidays to make some extra cash. It will be easier to grant holiday time-off requests to your long standing employees when you have back up staff.

4. Offer Perks

If your business is open on any of the “big” holiday days such as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day, go above offering the standard holiday pay such as time-and-a-half. Gift cards, loyalty points, or cash bonuses are small ways to reward employees for being away from their families during the holidays.

5. Post the Schedule Well in Advance

Your holiday schedule should be posted well in advance to give employees an opportunity to trade shifts with coworkers or rearrange family plans. Employees will be more likely to make alternate arrangements if they are given enough notice.


How To Deal With An Employee Who Asks for a Raise?

One of the most delicate situations that a manager can face is when an employee asks for a raise. Declining the request will likely frustrate the employee, and may even cause them to leave the organization. Because their pay is closely tied to how respected they may feel by their employer, to grant or deny a raise request should be approached with care. Here are four steps to take when an employee asks for a raise

1. Listen Carefully

Let the employee explain why they think they deserve a raise. This will be important when evaluating whether to approve or deny their request, but will also ensure that the employee feels they were able to adequately explain how their skills have improved, their value to the company, and any other reasons they feel justified in asking for a pay raise.

2. Ask for Some Time To Think

When an employee asks for a raise, even if you know right away that the employee will not be receiving it, always ask for some time to think about their request. This will allow you to put together a tactful answer either way.

3. Assess the Situation

Talk with direct supervisors and review all evidence of the employee’s performance as necessary. Review their role within the company, as you may discover their position is more essential than you first thought.

4. Explain Your Decision

Whether approving or denying their request, always be prepared to give a thoughtful explanation of your decision. If denying their request for a raise, be sure not only to give them concrete reasons why, but also areas to improve or a timeline for when they can make the request again. If you decide to grant the request, but decide to give the employee less than they asked for; still ensure you explain your reasoning in a clear and respectful way. This will assure that the employee feels appreciated, an important element in employee retention and engagement.

Regardless of your decision, be sure to thank the employee for their hard work and give them meaningful recognition and feedback on their work.


How To Improve Supervisor Productivity?

Supervisors are some of your most important employees. They are your first line of defense when disputes among employees or customers occur, and are pivotal in ensuring efficient operations. Therefore, making sure that supervisor productivity is high also helps ensure overall productivity of the company. Here are four ways to improve supervisor productivity.

1. Set Objectives

If your supervisors don’t have clear goals, neither can the employees who report to them. Give your supervisors detailed goals, targets, and objectives, so they can focus on what matters. Once supervisors are clear on their goals, it will translate to the employees that are being supervised. Setting goals can also help reduce turnover, ensuring supervisors stay for the long haul.

2. Eliminate Multi-tasking When Possible

Checklists are your supervisors’ best friend. In order to achieve maximum supervisor productivity, encourage your supervisors to stay away from trying to achieve too much at once. Instead, give them checklists and deadlines to keep them on the ball. While you don’t want to restrict every minute of their workday, knowing where they should be, and when, will help improve productivity.

3. Remove Common Barriers

Do employees frequently ask you why the company uses one process over another? If your answer is “that’s how it’s always been done”, then you should consider why. Sometimes companies follow one process or another without thinking about if it can be done better. If manual processes are time consuming, try and think about ways to automate them.

4. Improve Communication

Everyday communication with employees is one of the most common barriers to supervisor productivity. Checking the schedule, requesting time-off, and other daily employee interactions actually take up a lot of time. Valuable supervisor productivity is wasted performing tasks that could be easily automated online. Look into providing supervisors and employees with a dedicated web portal, where communication can be streamlined into one database.


Should Employees Wear Uniforms?

Many public facing industries require their employees to wear uniforms to work. Often this is to promote brand recognition and aid in identifying employees in retail, hospitality, food services, and other industries where employees have interaction with customers. However, implementing a uniform or dress code policy in your workplace comes with a few legal issues that you should be aware of.

On Forcing Employees to Pay

The Fair Labor Standards Act recommends that employers deduct uniforms as a business expense. However, it does not mandate it. Employers are only required to pay minimum wage, therefore they can require their employees to pay for their own uniforms if they pay them at least minimum wage, after they deduct the costs of their uniforms from their paychecks. Essentially, employees’ wages cannot drop below minimum wage as a result of uniforms.

However, any uniform that is required for health and safety standards must be paid for by the employer. The Personal Protective Equipment mandate states that employers must pay for include helmets, shoes, safety vests, goggles, gloves, face shields and protective clothing that are mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Uniforms to Work and Discrimination

In some cases, requiring your employees to wear uniforms to work can put you at risk of being sued for religious discrimination. Employers must also be careful of adopting uniform policies that discriminate against ethnicity, national origin, or unfairly applies to one gender over another. In order to avoid this, exceptions must be made for employees who need accommodations to their uniform for religious reasons.

Uniforms vs Dress Codes

One of the most important distinctions between a uniform and a dress code is monetary. Employers must assist in paying for a uniform if the cost would force the employee’s wage to drop below the minimum wage, where as a dress code entails clothing that an employee wears to work, but in theory could wear outside of the workplace. Therefore, employers do not have to pay for dress code items, but it can increase the burden on employees.

If you choose to pay for your employees uniforms, ensure that you have a method to keep track of who has received what. You can keep costs down by asking employees to return uniforms when they end their time at the company, as well as track any other resources that you give them. With Celayix’s Workforce Management Solutions, you can track inventory such as iPads, mobile devices, and uniforms.


How to Deal With Chronically Late Employees?

Employees who are late on a frequent basis can negatively impact productivity, lower employee morale, and affect customer service levels. Not only does it throw day to day operations off, it can set a bad precedent for others. With approximately 16% of workers late for work one or more day a week, it is important to set up a process to deal with chronically late employees.

Set up a policy

The first and most important step in dealing with and preventing chronically late employees is creating a comprehensive written policy. All employees should be made aware of the policy and it should be printed somewhere visible if possible. Your business needs will dictate a policy that is right for you, but the following should be considered:

  1. If the employee knows they will be late, which supervisor or manager to report to
  2. Acceptable reasons for being late
  3. Consequences for repeat offenders

Accurate Timekeeping

One of the most important components for dealing with chronically late employees is a time and attendance system that not only tracks when employees are late, but alerts managers and supervisors so that alternate arrangements can be made. Additionally, it will send exact information to payroll for the time worked, with the late time docked from their pay.

Address Chronically Late Employees Individually

Employees who are persistently late should be given consequences in line with your attendance policy. However, these consequences should give employees a chance to improve and clear their slate. Zero tolerance policies rarely improve matters and are often deemed unfair by most staff members, including employees with excellent attendance.

With these types of recurring problems, sometimes being a bit “flexible” is the best route. Without straying from your attendance policy, consider altering a chronically late employee’s schedule to allow them to make it into work on time. If they struggle to get in on time because of childcare or other outside commitments, adjusting their schedule by 30 minutes where possible will be likely rewarded with higher engagement and lower turnover.

If collecting this information from all staff members sounds like a big headache, consider implementing employee communication portals, where workers can input their ideal start times and availability. Then, workforce management systems can auto populate the schedule for the most efficient schedule and the least likely instances of lateness.


How To Manage Employees Working from Home?

As technology has improved in the last few decades, it is more common for professionals to work from home. Employers should consider allowing their employees to work from home, because if done right, it can benefit your company’s bottom line as well as your employees’ job satisfaction.

Business continuity

In the event of a natural disaster at your office, a fire, or even just a bad day of traffic, you want to ensure that your business continues to operate. Major disruptions to the commute happen maybe once or twice a year depending on your city, and if they coincide with an important event, it could cost you money. If employees can work from home, then they can keep working even if they are not able to go to the office.

If your technology infrastructure has all the necessary disaster recovery systems and backups, then allowing your staff to work from home is the next step to eliminating your single point of failure (your office building) in the event of a disaster.

Talent onboarding

With flexible work from home arrangements, you can hire employees that are more geographically diverse and get the best talent. It also helps with talent retention when employees must move far away for personal reasons.

Employee job satisfaction

As we discussed previously, many employees, especially millennials, consider work-life balance to be a very important factor in job satisfaction. Employee turnover costs your organization money, so it is important to consider how to promote employee satisfaction. Work from home arrangements, along with a flexible work schedule, contribute to employee well-being because many professional services that your employees need occur during working hours, such as doctor appointments.

Working from home allows your employees better control over their work environment. If someone has a task that will take them 8 hours to complete, then they can work on it from home without being distracted by coworkers. In addition, they will skip the commute which will allow them less stress.


How to get Employees to learn new software?

1. Choose the software wisely

You, the owner or manager, will undoubtedly choose the best software that fits your needs, but also keep your employees in mind. User friendliness, learning curve, convenience, etc. all should be on high on your list of importance when hunting for new software.

2. Present a compelling reason

Clearly communicate why the software is being implemented and the benefits it will offer the business and employees. Make sure your employees know that the organization and their day-to-day lives will get better and the software isn’t being implemented just for the sake of change.

3. Make sure to provide proper training

Proper training will play a huge role in the success (or failure) of your software. Your employees must be able to handle the learning curve and become proficient with the software in a proper timeframe.

4. Celebrate the wins

Draw attention to employees that quickly and successfully adopt the software. Also, highlight the positive outcomes of the software to get others on board. Your organization should be benefiting from software, so make sure everyone knows it.


Employees Stay for the Long Haul?

According to the Department of Labor, on average, hourly employees have a turnover rate four times higher than that of their counterparts. In 2011, nearly 80 million workers were paid on an hourly basis, making hourly employees the leading employee type in the United States and approximately 59% of the American workforce. With ACA implementation coming soon, this population is only going to grow, especially as part-time work base increases.

A study by SHRM determined the average turnover for hourly employees is only four months. With replacements costs upwards of $3,500 per employee, losses can add up quickly and affect your business in more ways than one.

Much of how to prevent high turnover has been covered in past blog posts, but here are some additional helpful tips to counteract the impending turnover of your hourly employees.

Hiring Right

We’ve said it once, we’ve said it twice, and we will say it again – one of the best ways to keep employees, is to hire them right the first time. For hourly workers, highly consider their recommendations, skill set, and compatibility with the existing workforce. Many employees will be working closely with each other, often at the same pay rate, making equal skill set and compatibility critical.

Sharing Corporate Strategy

With a diverse population of hourly employees, ranging from highly skilled workers such as nurses, to lower skill entry level jobs, no one set of hourly employees should be treated the same. However, what they want and what you want are the same thing; success. Share your vision with the employees to foster group responsibility. Share goals, work culture, and company mission with employees.

Set Guidelines and Procedures

Equality is a key to making employees feel secure. Set general procedures for everything from time-off request wait periods, to shift swapping processes, in order to level the playing field. By streamlining these procedures and evoking a greater sense of equality, employers will be able to make employees feel important and as valuable as others within the company.

Growing Management Relations

Encourage employees of all levels to interact with each other on a regular basis. This will grow the employee’s investment in the company and improve their work ethic and longevity with the company. Also, ensure managers are equipped with the skills necessary to build positive relationships in the workplace.


What Kind Of Workers Do Employers Want?

The Promoter

Advantage: Promoters are workers that love to share ideas and start new projects. These workers never fear change and love to ham it up at the company Christmas party. They are often popular around the workplace, and make friends with co-workers and customers. They are easy to spot and are great in customer service positions.

Disadvantage: Although promoters love to start new projects, they don’t always finish them. They often have great ideas, but implementation and follow through can be a challenge.

How to Make the Most of Them: Show your appreciation for their enthusiasm and new ideas, but implement a higher degree of supervision to make sure things get done, and axe bad ideas from the start.

The Controller

Advantage: Controllers are great organizers. They love checklists and accomplishing tangible results. These workers are clear and direct with their coworkers and are excellent at giving direction.

Disadvantage: These workers make great managers, but sometimes can stifle other employees who want to be heard. They can also be resistant to change, especially when they are not consulted in the process, and tend to work alone when they can.

How to Make the Most of Them: Nurture their ability to take control, but give them projects that force them to use teamwork.

The Supporter

Advantage: Supporters keep their commitments and stick to their word. They are the first ones to pick up extra shifts and get things done when asked. These workers are more likely to stay late and work overtime without complaint, than anybody else.

Disadvantage: Supporters will go above and beyond the call of duty, to the point where it becomes a liability. Watch for unauthorized overtime and even off-the-clock work. They also are less likely to raise red flags when needed or institute change.

How to Handle Them: Supporters could potentially be the backbone of your company as long as you compensate them fairly and watch for martyr-like behavior.


How To “Friend” Employees on Social

While the positive impacts of social media for business is obvious, it can also blur the professional and personal boundaries of employers and their employees. While friending employees on social networks such as Facebook may seem harmless, the risks outweigh the rewards. Although in some cases it may help to build cohesion and relationships in the workplace, the dangers of “friending” dwarf the potential positive effects in most cases.

Risks of Friending Employees on Social Media

Legal Issues

The most important factor to consider is the legal issues surrounding friending employees on social. Potential problems could include harassment claims, wrongful termination, or discrimination suits. If you friend only a select number of employees and not others, it could be interpreted as favoritism. Additionally, employees could claim wrongful dismissal due to information regarding religious affiliations or health problems gained via Facebook.

Awkward Tensions and Embarrassing Moments

Besides the obvious legal issues surrounding friending employees on social media, the information gained through Facebook could also lead to some potentially uncomfortable workplace situations. You could quickly learn about things you never wanted to know, and your employees could do the same. It is important to remember that your own profile’s content could be interpreted in a less-than-positive light.

Social Media Etiquette

It might be the case that your employees attempt to friend you on Facebook, and while it may seem hurtful to ignore their request, it is still in your best interest to click “ignore”. Talk to them in person after and let them know that ignoring their request wasn’t personal.

Other Networks

Twitter

Twitter is the second most dangerous network for friending, or in this case following, employees on social media. Although less personal information is shared, it could still come back to bite you. A lot can be communicated in 140 characters.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional network, and is therefore the best place to connect with employee online. However, you should be careful with endorsements and recommendations. If the company decides to terminate an employee after you have given the same employee a skill endorsement, they could sue for wrongful dismissal.


How To Attract Great Employees?

Everyone knows that outstanding employees make outstanding companies. With that in mind, your ability to hire and attract great hourly employees cannot be understated. Not only are they the key to organizational success, the cost of replacing them could put you out of business. Here are 5 tips to put you on the path to exceptional recruits.

1. Be Competitive

Simply put, if you are skimping on wages, you can expect bottom of the barrel employees. Find out what the market rate is for every position in your company and at least match it. This not only means that your employees will have more money in the bank, but it is more likely to make them feel respected than if you pay bare minimum wages.

2. Everyone Loves Perks

If you can reasonably offer a discount to your employees on whatever you are in business to sell, do it. Discounts on things like groceries and everyday items can offer a tangible benefit to an employee and even their whole family. Free treats on Fridays, discounts on gym memberships, or birthday surprises all have the power to attract great hourly employees. It doesn’t have to be trendy to be useful.

3. Offer Flexibility

People often seek hourly work to accommodate other jobs or commitments. In order to attract great hourly employees, ensure that you can offer flexibility in your scheduling. Enable employees to submit detailed availability and time-off requests online, or go one step further and implement self-scheduling. For young employees this is particularly important, as an astounding 37% of millennials would take a pay cut if it meant they could receive flexible work.

4. Opportunities to Grow

If it’s a well-known fact that your company only hires managers from outside, it’s not likely that great employees will be sticking around for long, much less lining up for a job. Make upward mobility and opportunities for growth a recognized practice and you will be more likely to attract great hourly employees and even keep them long-term.

5. Recruit Where Your Top Talent Lives

Find out who your top employees actually are. What similarities do they have? Are they are all high school students? Moms looking to reenter the workforce? Once you know, you can attend the right job fairs, post openings in the right places, and be closer to your target audience.


How To Build an Awesome Part-Time Employee Onboarding Program?

Building a successful onboarding process is particularly important for part-time employees. Not only do part-time and hourly employees experience 4 times higher turnover rates than that of full-time and salaried employees, but it is exponentially more likely to occur in the first year than in any other time of employment.

The first year, and thus an employee’s first impression of their new workplace, is therefore critical to the success of any organization. Consider these tips when building a program for part-time employee onboarding:

Do Forms Before Their First Day

If an employee’s first day is occupied by filling out countless forms and signing paperwork, their first impressions are not likely to be very rosy. Send them this kind of information once a job offer has been completed. It makes you look organized and gives them time to prepare the necessary information.

Automate What You Can

Submitting availability and finding out their schedule is one of the most important elements of part-time employee onboarding. This is because with limited hours and other commitments outside of work such as school, they are more concerned about these aspects of the job than employees with set schedules. Use technology to your advantage with employee web-portals where staff can enter personal information, contact details, availability, and time-off requests.

Create a Checklist

Security badges, company email accounts, important keys, name tags, and a uniform, should all be ready for the employee on their first day. A checklist of these items as well as any other tasks that are required before their first day is critical to a good part-time employee onboarding program.

Make the First Day Special

Ensure that existing staff will be prepped and prepared to greet the new staff member. Being introduced immediately to other team members and their manager is essential. If possible, go the extra mile and give them card or other personal touch from the company on their first day. Many companies also find it helpful to provide new employees with a mentor or “buddy” as part of their onboarding program to help answer questions and guide them through their first week

Keep the Process Going

A Part-Time Employee Onboarding Program doesn’t end after the first day, week, or month. A good program will include 30, 60, and 90 day goals, to keep employees on track and motivated. These check-ins also provide an excellent reminder to find out if new employees have the resources they need, and if they are meeting productivity targets.


What Personality Traits to Look For In Part-Time Workers?

Hiring part-time workers can be challenging. Not only do they experience some of the highest turnover rates, but with more part-time employees in the workforce than ever, selecting the best part-time workers during the hiring process is extremely important. Hiring part-time workers based on their personality traits is vital. This is because often the tasks they will perform are often easy to learn and therefore their “fit” is more important than their skill set. Here are six personality traits you should look for in part-time workers:

1: Professionalism

Professionalism encompasses a variety of important characteristics of a potential employee. Part-time workers should be on-time, polite, adhere to company policies, and have respect for both customers and their employer. Be on the lookout for red flags during the interview process such as dressing sloppily, using curse words or excessive slang, speaking negatively of a former employer, or arriving late.

2: Motivation

The best part-time workers are those that actually want the job, and preferably have a desire to move up in your organization. They should have a demonstrated interest in the company or the position, and have a natural desire to exceed expectations. Not only should they be motivated for the job itself, but ideally should be self-starters who can perform tasks and learn new things without being asked.

3: Organization

The most motivated and professional person can be a bad employee if they are very unorganized. Forgetting shifts or tasks, or misplacing important materials can seriously impact day-to-day operations; therefore a basic level of organization is a crucial personality trait of part-time workers.

4: Positive Attitude

Often overlooked as a personality trait that is important for employers to look out for, a positive attitude can make or break a good employee. Part-time workers with positive attitudes are more likely to take a bad customer in stride, and be less likely to quit over a bad day. A positive attitude promotes resiliency, as well as good customer service and good workplace behaviors.

5: High-Energy

A go-getter mentality makes for the best part-time workers. Employees who come into work energetic everyday are overwhelmingly more productive and efficient than those who are not as dynamic. Upbeat and optimistic part-time workers foster a fun work environment as well as new ideas.

6: Strong Work Ethic

Often the most difficult to determine in the interview process but no less important is the significance of a strong-work ethic. Part-time workers who are willing to put in overtime or work weekends when needed are often good indicators, and be sure to ask about work ethic when calling references.


Should You Create Consistent Schedules for Part-Timers?

Managing part-time hourly workers is challenging. Part-time workers are usually students, parents, and others who are managing other responsibilities in their lives where their job may not be the most important thing. With these other demands, ensuring that you have happy part-timers becomes imperative to the success of your business. One thing that you can do is to provide them with a consistent schedule allowing these workers to manage other parts of their lives.

As their employer, you will see notable benefits by creating consistent schedules. Some of the benefits are:

  • Less stress for your employees as they know exactly when they are scheduled to work rather than having to worry about last minute call-ins
  • Higher chance of people showing up for their shifts, especially if you provide shifts well in advance of the start date
  • Employees that are happier and more loyal knowing that you take into account their unique circumstances
  • Employees that can manage school, their kids, or other tasks while still being able to earn a living

The challenges that you will face is that where in the past you may have had a few full-timers, you may now have two or three part-timers for each full-time equivalent. This obviously puts pressure on the resources and time that you have available in managing multiple employees and your business. For example, whereas in the past you may have been able to easily create schedules in a spreadsheet, this may no longer be feasible when taking into consideration the varying availabilities of your part-time staff. Rather than spending time managing many employees in a spreadsheet, it may be better to look for productivity tools such as:

Giving your employees a consistent schedule provides many benefits for your business and your employees. There are many simple things that you can do to gain these advantages without adding more work on to yourself which ultimately leads to having happy part time workers.


How to Deal with Scheduling Part-Time Employees?

Dealing with scheduling part-time employees can be more than just frustrating. It can waste valuable management time, leave your organization with gaps in daily operations, and when improperly done, leave customers in the lurch. Scheduling part-time employees is significantly more complex than scheduling full-time employees with static schedules. Think about these tips the next time you consider revamping the scheduling process in your organization.

Enable Web Based Availability and Time-Off Requests

Rather than having hundreds of slips of paper detailing all of your part-time employees’ availability, make submission of availability easy with a web portal. Scheduling part-time employees is a breeze when everyone’s availability is built into the system, and can even be automated with the click of a button. A good web portal will allow employees to input detailed availability and preferences, as well as time-off and vacation requests.

Make Accessing the Schedule Easy

Give part-time employees plenty of ways to access the schedule. Because they do not always come into work on a regular basis, posting a paper schedule is not an effective way to make sure that your employees know when they are working. Properly scheduling part-time employees includes clear and efficient communication, which is often overlooked when building complicated schedule. Make it available over the web, use email, or even a telephony portal to make sure that everyone has the right information.

Think Outside the Box

For employees without reliable access to internet, enabling a telephone based time and attendance or scheduling solution can make your life a lot easier. A telephony portal like Voice Xpress enables employees to call in and hear their schedules automatically, without having to speak to a supervisor at the office.


How to keep your staff morale high during the holiday season?

If it’s the holiday season and you’re worried about the decreasing productivity in your office, we are here to give you some tips! Many companies go through a decline in employee morale and productivity. This is because employees have a lot of personal goals to accomplish during the holidays. Whether it’s buying gifts, decorating or hosting parties, employees have a lot to cover. During this time, work might be one of the last things on their mind. What do you do during this time? We are about to give you some tips to keep productivity high and staff morale boosted during the holiday season!

1. Office dynamics and the holiday season

It’s important to recognize that employees will be thinking differently in the holiday season – this is the time when the holiday mindset kicks in. Your office dynamic will change and it’s important for every employer to understand this. Failing to acknowledge this will result in lower productivity and negative feelings towards the company. Since you’re reading this blog, you have already covered this first step so give yourself a pat on the back because this is the most important step!

2. Work schedule flexibility

Offer flexible work schedules, longer lunch hours or the option of telecommuting. People have a lot going on during the holiday season and they don’t have a lot of time once they get off work to accomplish personal goals. Allowing them to work in a flexible manner will create positive sentiments for the employer. Employees will feel less stressed and be more productive in the hours they are working.

3. Employee appreciation programs

The holidays are a great time to introduce some employee appreciation programs. It’s important to recognize and appreciate employees for the hard work they have put in during the year. How do you do this? Get some gifts cards for local retailers, coffee shops, restaurants, spas, movies and hand them out to your employees. If that’s not something that will work for your company, how about raffle draws or gift exchange? Those are fairly inexpensive and allow the employees to mingle with their colleagues as well as feel appreciated.

4. Social events

Speaking of mingling, social events are big during the holiday season. Yet, somehow, not all employers get it right. It doesn’t have to be a big Christmas party in the nicest hotel in your city. It needs to be a place where employees can socialize with each other and basically, not be working for a little while. This can be in-house or in a community center. What matters is that employees are able to mingle and relax

5. Food and drinks

The other great way to get your staff excited is by bringing in free lunches to the office or taking them out for lunch. Food and drinks are the best way to get your employees to de-stress at work and get them motivated. It doesn’t have to be a fancy meal with tapas and sangria. It could be as simple as some donuts and coffee.

6. Getting creative

Decorate the office space with some holiday cheer! This is encouraging and joyful! Another good way to get creative is by having meetings at coffee shops or even walking meetings. It allows employees to get out of the work space and refresh which is very important during the holidays!

These tips will help you show that you care about your employees and value their input in the company. If you want your employees to be at their best productivity levels during the holiday season, you should put these tips into practice. You certainly don’t need to employ every single tip and not all of them will work for your company. Pick and choose the ideas that will work best for your company size and culture!


How To Schedule Event Staff for Fun and Profit?

Staffing an event can be complex and time consuming. If you don’t get it right, it’s the one variable that can mean the difference between success and failure.

 

 

• How to reduce the amount of time spent gathering staff availability and streamline or automate the process of creating staffing schedules for your events.

• How to prepare for and address Affordable Healthcare Act requirements by creating and applying business rules that prevent casual staff from accidentally being scheduled for more than 30 hours a week.

• How to ensure that staffing budgets for events are met by taking the guesswork out of shift planning and using time and tracking techniques to report on actuals for payroll or billing.

Presented By Warren Dietel (Puff ‘n Stuff) and the International Catering Association


How To Manage Part Time Workers

Although the number of part-time workers in the US has been steadily decreasing since the 2009 recession, it does not appear that the numbers will ever get back to pre-recession levels any time soon and in fact this may be a new norm.

Part-time Scheduling

Given this potential new norm, businesses will need to adjust. Whereas in the past you may have hired one full-time person for an open position, you may be hiring multiple part-timers. To ensure that you do not have unnecessary turnover, besides competitive wages, what can you provide this group of employees so that they remain satisfied?

This blog looks at some of the things you can do.

Scheduling

One of the key things that you can provide is schedules created as far in advance as possible. As part-time employees are likely managing multiple jobs, giving them as much advance notice of their work schedules will allow them to manage their other jobs. This requires gathering availability including the day’s people can and cannot work. If you can create schedules quickly and efficiently and well in advance, you may be able to increase their availability, ensuring your business is not left with shifts that are unfilled. It will also help you build loyalty with your employees.

Be Fair

Although you may have an internal bias to provide your full-timers with the best shifts, try to be fair in allocating shifts. Give all of your employees the opportunities to select shifts that can fit into their schedules. Also, give all of your employees the opportunity to learn and advance as you never know when you will lose a full-timer. Having equally trained, competent employees will make the transition to another employee that much easier.

Time Tracking Software

Although managing many part timers can seem challenging, if you have staff employee management software that can collect information automatically, scheduling employees will not take any longer than if you had less employees. In fact, the right employee management software will collect this information and automatically generate a schedule. Providing your employees with the ability to see their schedule whenever and wherever they are is especially beneficial for part-time employees as they can view their schedule from their phone or on any computer. If you want to reduce the scheduling burden from yourself, advanced scheduling tools allow you to publish shifts and have your employees do their own scheduling. This would allow you to focus on growing your business so that you can hire more employees.


How To Manage The Holiday Rush

Staff employee management software

For some, the thought of preparing for the holiday season in October is just too early. But if you’re a business owner or operator, this is the time for you to prepare and optimize for the most wonderful time of the year.

The December holiday rush is mostly known for the outrageous amounts of money spent in the retail sector; but if you work in any aspect of the service or hospitality business, you know how crazy it’s about to get. Catering, food services, event staff, security, the list goes on and on. For B2C businesses, this will be the time of year when your scheduling process is most vital, and complicated.

Seasonal employment, part time workers, on call pool, etc. You will likely be utilizing all of these resources to meet your staffing needs. The question is, how do consolidate this scheduling process?

You will need to figure out availability, individual staff skillset, demand, shift communication, and much more. This is in addition to actually running your business and trying to take advantage of every business opportunity you can. Your team will play an important part of your holiday rush’s success, or failure. Your reputation can be damaged if you don’t have the right people at the right time.

You can save time and schedule effectively by utilizing staff employee management software. Software specifically created for scheduling staff members addresses all of the aforementioned concerns. You can use this efficiency tool to streamline many different pools of employees and schedule them according to your fluctuating needs.

There will be busy days and others will be relatively slow. If you under-schedule, you risk presenting a less than ideal experience for your customers. On the other hand, by over-scheduling, you are taking dollars right out of your bottom line. Staff employee management software gives you the ability to easily communicate shift availability with your staff, and they can communicate their availability to you. Your employees can even self-schedule with this software.


Managing Unscheduled Absences

Unscheduled absences are a fact of life in the work place. Regardless of why an employee misses a shift, the impact of an unscheduled absence and how an organization handles the situation is important.

For those in event-based industries such as concerts, sporting events, performing arts, conventions, and catering, unscheduled absences (or “no shows”) are a fact of life. This makes having a policy in place even more important. By the time you realize someone is not going to be showing up, things may already have reached a critical stage. When you call a replacement  it’s imperative that the person will be available to work immediately. When time is of the essence, you don’t have time to work your way down a list of people who potentially won’t be available.

Here’s our pick of three key ways to handle unscheduled absences in your workplace:

Three Ways to Handle an Unscheduled Absences

Run Short: Use the resources you have

Make do without the absent worker by having existing employees pick up the slack where necessary. Run short works best in an office situation where responsibilities are often shared. In this situation, unexpected absences are likely to have minimal immediate impact in the short or long term. In this type of environment, existing staff are able to cover for the missing person. Run short can also work in situations where there are multiple other employees working one particular shift. If those employees are able to pick up the slack of the missing person for the time being, no harm will be done. In dire situations, the only option is to call in a Temp/Staffing Agency, or use our second recommendation: hold over.

Hold Over: Keep employees from the previous shift on for another.

Hold overs are typical in organizations where multiple shifts are scheduled in a day. In hold overs, employee(s) from a preceding shift work overtime to cover the missing person in a following shift. The extra cost of overtime outweighs the potential loss of an empty shift. In considering if a hold over is the right option, consider these two aspects:

  • Employee Fatigue – try to make sure the substitute is going to have an appropriate and safe level of alertness throughout the shift.
  • Overtime Hogs – those employees that “pig out” on overtime, even sacrificing alertness, safety, and job performance in order to collect the maximum amount of overtime possible.
Call-In: Call other employees as a replacement

Find a qualified employee who is not currently working and is available to cover the missing worker’s shift. In a perfect world, you will have a roster of employees who have volunteered to be available for extra shifts. This system gives preference for overtime to those who want to work more hours. This “call list” can be organized by seniority – giving long-term employees fist shot at overtime can be viewed as a benefit. Alternately, you can rotate employees through the list, thereby giving everyone an equal shot at overtime.

Automating Absence Management

One way to ensure that your replacement pool only includes employees that are available and qualified to work is to use an advanced scheduling solution. As an example Celayix Software’s eTime Xpress includes an employee communications web portal, Web Xpress. Web Xpress allows employees to check their schedules, confirm shifts and state their availability. Although not every available employee will get scheduled for a shift, you now have a collection of who would be available in case of a no show.

Let’s give an example of when this will be critical. It’s the day of your event, a major banquet, a sporting game, a catering gig, or a security job. Right before the shift starts, you realize you have no-shows and now you’re in a panic to replace them. With eTime Xpress, you would have immediate access to a “Call List” that includes only employees who have previously stated they are available to work that day, but were not already scheduled. With Celayix’s rule based scheduling, you can filter for things such as skills, overtime, or particular budgeting rules. Within a matter of seconds, chances are very high that the first person you call will be available to fill the vacancy. All of a sudden, your panic is gone and the shift is filled.

Final thoughts:

Whether through automating the process, or manually dealing with employee absences, it is important to think about implementing a formal policy that uses one of the three recommendations above. If you’re in an industry that requires full staff for each shift, it’s critical that you have a policy in place to cover those absences. Coming up with and implementing a policy to cover unscheduled absences means finding a way to meet the needs of the organization without alienating the needs of the workers.


Reducing Employee Frustration

Time is the one thing that we value the most. You can’t buy it, rent it, steal it, or make it. You simply have to allocate it as best as you can. Following that train of that, anyone or anything (work related or in your personal life) that wastes your time likely makes you furious. If you are an employer, wasting your employees’ time is the last thing you want to do, but you may be unknowingly doing so by using inefficient scheduling practices.

Even in today’s technology driven age, there are still countless employees at the mercy of a paper schedule. Every time these unfortunate employees want to schedule their time, they have to physically go to a cork board and look at a paper schedule. If the schedule is not ready on a day they are at work, they have to come all the way to work just to check their schedule. How inconvenient is that? This process becomes much more frustrating if your employee is a casual or part-time worker whose availability rotates week to week.

It is common knowledge that a happy employee is a productive employee. Unsatisfied employees can be very costly to your business; especially if you operate in a service oriented industry in which an unhappy employee might not put their best foot forward when dealing with customers. Also, if you frustrate a high performing employee, you might see them walk away to a competitor, taking experience and training with them.

All these employee frustrations can be eliminated by using staff employee management software. Software created specifically to schedule your staff members will give you the ability to share schedule information through the web, mobile app, or phone. Your employees can check their schedule from anywhere in the world. Also, you can collect employee availability, time off requests, shift switches, and more online. Staff employee management software goes beyond just scheduling, you can also communicate back and forth with employees right in the software.


How To Manage Meal Breaks

While the California Labor Code guarantees employees meal breaks based on the length of shift and type of work, in certain instances employees can choose to skip mandated meal periods. Many organizations have chosen to use on duty meal break agreements to document a worker’s choice to take a meal period on duty without the organization running afoul of the law and incurring penalties.

However, the use of on duty meal agreements can create an administrative challenge for the organization, including finding ways to manage the paperwork and keeping accurate records of employees’ time and attendance information. Additionally, there have been several recent cases that change the way an organization should manage the on duty meal process.

View our informative session led by Gary Bradley, a prominent expert in California wage and hour law to learn more about the issue and find ways to mitigate meal break liabilities.


Top Down vs Bottom Up. Which is Better?

There are primarily two different approaches that companies can take with scheduling: top-down or bottom-up. Both have their advantages and which one to use depends on the complexity of your schedules.

Top-Down Scheduling

Top-down scheduling is typically the more traditional way of scheduling. It basically works by having the person responsible for scheduling (scheduler, manager, owner, etc.) create it for all of the employees. This is done by taking into account time-off requests and in some cases availability and preferred shift times.

Bottom-up Scheduling

In contrast, bottom-up scheduling is where employees manage their own schedules by picking shifts. This is a much newer way of scheduling and requires employees to select shifts that fit into their overall personal and business lives.

Which one is better?

This is a much more difficult question to answer and is going to find supporters and detractors in each camp. A top-down approach gives more control to the company. They can ensure that the right people are being assigned to the right shifts. Most employee management software programs will have rules ensuring that people’s qualifications are considered before the shift is assigned to them.

What this approach allows is for the scheduler to include “human” knowledge such as employee preferences and past experience which a system cannot incorporate. However, this requires someone knowledgeable within the company to take responsibility for the scheduling. employee management software tools can help by providing automation and helping to reduce the overall effort in scheduling.

Bottom-up scheduling takes a different approach. The person responsible for creating the schedule would create open shifts without assigning employees to the shifts, and then make all shifts available for selection. Team members then login into an application that would allow them to select the shifts that are available to them based on their qualifications.

This approach puts the onus on the employee to understand when they are available and then make a selection, freeing up the time that a scheduler would normally take in filling in the shifts with the correct staff member. This approach gives employees empowerment over managing their own schedule and increases the amount of collaboration with the employer.

Once the schedule is complete, regardless of the approach taken, managers will get requested changes due to unexpected emergencies, people calling in sick or other HR related matters. Your chosen employee management software should be able to manage and communicate these changes to your team.


What Are The Effects Of Poor Staff Scheduling

It may sound silly at first, but poor employee scheduling can destroy your business. Think about it, your employees can make or break your business. After all, they perform essential tasks, represent your brand, and interact with your customers. You want them to be happy, efficient, and put their best foot forward at all times. If you have a dysfunctional scheduling system, it could have huge consequences.

Poor staff scheduling practices has consequences including:

  • Employee dissatisfaction: Happy employees are productive employees. Conversely, an unhappy employee will not be performing to the best of their abilities. Poor scheduling practices will also cause high employee turnover, which will cost you a lot of money. You will be spending time and money training new employees and watch all your hard work walk away time and time again. This can lead to your company receiving a bad reputation in the job market, which will scare away the best talent.
  • Scheduling errors: Understaffing, overstaffing, wrong credentials, the list goes on and on. Your bottom line is severely impacted if you do not have the right people, at the right place, and at the right time.
  • Lost revenue: If your business is not properly staffed, your customer will not appreciate the lack of service and will take their business elsewhere. This is true for any industry that operates in competitive landscapes, like hospitality, retail, food services, etc.

These are just a few of the many concerns you should have if you are not following scheduling best practices. Luckily, you can alleviate all those concerns with staff employee management software. employee management software can help you optimize your workforce so you can run your business without worrying about the little, but important things. Please reach out to the Celayix team to learn more about our staff employee management software.


What Are The Staffing Challenges Of The Holidays

As the holiday season rolls around, staffing patterns change. More staff is needed to handle the upswing in business. Replacements are needed for staff who have days off.

An advanced scheduling system can provide the tools to accommodate these changing requirements.

Increased Business Volume

In the case of retail, for example, longer opening hours and increased business means that more staff is needed in sales, service, inventory control and delivery. Often, part-time staff is brought on board to fill the extra demand. Part time and occasional staff have varying availability, sometimes working around other jobs and family or school obligations. By having these workers enter their available times into an employee scheduling app, a scheduler can take their availability into account when filling shifts.  This eliminates the need for calling employees to see if they can work particular shifts – they have already indicated they can work.

An employee scheduling tool gives the scheduler the power to fill multiple shifts at once, taking into account employee availability, skills and qualifications, while avoiding overtime and minimizing payroll cost. Advanced auto-fill can help balance the hours allocated to staff so that there is no favoritism – everybody gets the same number of hours. Conversely, the auto-scheduling system can allocate hours based on seniority to ensure that the employees with the most experience get first consideration.

Staying on Budget

By allocating a time budget to each store and department, the scheduler is sure not to overallocate shifts and exceed the allotted time for the day or week. The system will ensure that the time budget is not exceeded, as well as provide information comparing the schedule to the budget.

Time budgets can also be applied to employees. This can be useful for scheduling young employees to ensure compliance with labor standards, preventing the young employee from working too many hours on a school day, weekend, or week.

The Weather Outside is Frightening

Some businesses may be affected by outside conditions such as the weather, which could cause some shifts to be cut or adjusted because of the expected reduction of business volume. The advanced employee scheduling system can automatically notify workers of changes in their schedule by email, text message and in-app messaging. They are immediately aware of the change and do not report to work unnecessarily. Similarly when the weather clears and business picks up again, adding shifts to the schedule will notify employees of their newly-added shifts automatically.

Filling Days Off and Vacation

Finding replacements for staff that have time off during the holidays is equally easy. A search for eligible replacements offers the employees who meet the qualifications, do not exceed budgets and overtime thresholds. If a staff member will be gone for more than one day, the scheduling tool can offer eligible replacements who are capable of working all the shift rather than just a few. This ensures continuity when there is an expectation of seeing the same employee instead of a different person each day.

Afterwards

The turkey is gone and the football games are over. Once the holiday shifts have been worked, the Time & Attendance features pick up the ball and run with it. That’s the subject of the next blog.


When Do I Need More Staff

Your business is growing nicely, and things are going well, but you have a nagging feeling that you can use some help with employee scheduling. You may have heard of automated staff employee management software, so here are some signs that perhaps now is the time to look for a solution specifically designed to handle the needs of scheduling an organization’s workforce.

You are Spending Too Much Time Creating and Distributing Schedules

OK, Excel worked just fine in the early days of your company, but as your business has grown, so has the time needed to schedule your growing workforce. What once took a short time to do, now takes many hours; getting everything organized and employees scheduled into their shifts is now a drawn out process. Staff employee management software makes it fast and easy to build shifts and find the right staff to work those shifts. With a spreadsheet-like intuitive interface, an underlying database of employees, shift requirements, and a rules-driven engine to fill the right shifts with the right employees at the right times, employee management software makes your job as simple and fast as possible.

Another way a scheduling system can save you time is by distributing the workload. Instead of having staff send time-off and vacation requests to your office for someone to manually enter into a spreadsheet, many scheduling systems provide web interface and/or a mobile app for staff to enter these requests directly into the employee management software, taking this part of the workload away from your busy office staff, and saving everyone time in the process.

Overtime Costs are Rising

Every business wants to run as efficiently as possible, so finding the right number of staff to fill shifts is very important. Too few staff members means employees are overworked and clients suffer as a result of poor service. Too many staff members means employees are being underutilized, and you are paying for staff that is not needed at those times. Staff employee management software can help you in smoothing out the supply of staff to meet the changing demand for their work. Sometimes, it is necessary to have staff work overtime during especially busy times, but having an automated scheduling system can easily highlight instances where there may be available staff to fill shifts, while keeping overtime to a minimum, and alert you when scheduling staff would result in an overtime situation. An investment in a scheduling system that minimizes avoidable overtime can produce savings that far outweigh the cost of the scheduling system itself.

Scheduling Mistakes are Happening More Often

Did you ever schedule an employee and they didn’t show up? Or two employees showed up when only one was needed? Scheduling mistakes cost money and make employees upset when they show up for times when they are not needed, or prevented from working when they are needed. This causes more work for the schedulers, too, in correcting mistakes and communicating this to employees and clients. employee management software makes it almost impossible to double-book staff, or have unfilled shifts.

Employees are Grumbling

Employees want to know what their shifts are well in advance, and want to be updated in a timely fashion if changes to their schedule are necessary. Communication is crucial as an organization grows, but it can be a lot of work to get all the right information to everyone concerned as soon as it is needed. Modern staff scheduling systems have built-in features to alert staff of new schedules and changes to their existing schedules through automated email, text, and/or in-app messages. Features also ensure confirmation that the messages are successfully delivered and read. When everyone knows where and when they are required, morale and productivity improve.

There are many companies that develop and sell workforce scheduling solutions, for organizations of all sizes. For the smallest of companies with the simplest of scheduling needs, there are low-cost systems that are easy and affordable. As companies grow and their scheduling demands become increasingly complex, there are more robust solutions with comprehensive, sophisticated rules-based features. When choosing a system, it is important to look not just at your immediate needs, but also consider how your needs will change as your organization grows.


How To Become More Efficient At Scheduling

In today’s fiercely competitive markets, customer service is not just a component, but what successful companies are building their business decisions upon. Having the right people servicing your customer base is important, but all that time and money spent finding, hiring and training will be for nothing if those “right people” are not in the “right place”.

Have you taken a look to see what employee scheduling errors or poor employee scheduling practices are costing your company? When purchasing or using workforce management software, consider how improving upon the following staff scheduling practices can increase customer satisfaction.

Employee Missed Shifts

Don’t leave your customers unattended, waiting in long lines or worse completely abandoned because of a lack of employee communication. Be sure to implement systems that effectively communicate and hold employees accountable for knowing their schedule and changes to that schedule.

Employee Shift Coverage Not Matched to Business Needs

Be sure to understand when your customers need you. Set clear business rules that define and communicate, when breaks can be taken and how employees move to and from workstations or locations throughout their day. Having too many people on a break at the same time or not at the right location makes you look unorganized in the eyes of your customer.

Excessive Overtime Incurred by Employees

Your employees may be happy to pick up that extra shift now and again, or stay that extra hour here and there. Too much overtime leads to a tired, overworked and overstressed employee, who offers a lower level of customer service. Be sure to use your workforce management reporting tools to analyze where your incur overtime and how you can effectively schedule employees to avoid overtime.

Over, or Under-Staffing of Employees

Having an extra employee scheduled to cover for tardiness and sick calls may be an effect way for coverage, however having too much staff can lead to staff over socializing and neglecting your customer. At the other end of the spectrum, you need to avoid situations where your customer isn’t being attended to due to a lack of staff. Be sure to use your employee management software to make notations on staffing levels as to what works and what doesn’t.

Your customers tend not to be forgiving, and do not understand the struggles you may be having with managing your workforce. Your only defense is to take a proactive approach. By taking advantage of the latest technology in employee scheduling and employee time & attendance software you are on the right path to not only meeting but exceeding your customers expectations.


How To Know Staff Availability?

Scheduling is a challenging task. You try to build the schedule in a fair manner that supports the needs of your business. However, what invariably happens is that as soon as you send out the schedule, your staff asks for changes to be made because of something that may have come up in their lives. In addition, with new legislation proposed or in place in many states mandating that schedules be provided sooner (typically 2 weeks), this will likely lead to even more changes being made once the schedule is published.

Depending on the sophistication of your staff, you may give them the opportunity to drop shifts they don’t want and have others pick them up, or you may allow them to switch shifts amongst each other. The challenge is that if there are specific qualifications or credentials required to do the job, this may end up increasing your costs. Of course, managing this manually using a spreadsheet complicates it even more. One approach to limiting the changes is to incorporate staff availability before the schedule is built.

Collecting staff availability can be done by creating a simple company process. If you are using a manual process, create an availability form and have them fill it out in advance. Once this form is submitted, you can review the availability of the employee and assign shifts accordingly. Of course, depending on the size of your workforce, this could complicate your manual process further. The key info you want to include in the availability form is: Employee Name, Availability, Preferences and Notes. You will need to remind the staff that the availability form should be updated as their schedule changes.

If you are using spreadsheets to manage the process, this can complicate the building of schedules. Using an automated tool will make the process of collecting and then incorporating this into the building of schedules no more additional effort. For example, when looking for a scheduling solution ask:

  • How will staff be able to specify their availability? Do they need to fill out a paper form or can it be done online?
  • How will staff modify their availability
  • How will the scheduler use this availability when trying to fill shifts
  • If the scheduler has to manually enter in the availability into the system for it to be considered.
  • How the availability can be overridden in cases where someone who has indicated they are not available, but still can be scheduled in rare circumstances? This is especially important if someone calls-off and you need to find a replacement.

Having a solution that allows staff to manage their own availability online without having to fill out paper forms is ideal as it saves the scheduler time when creating the schedule. The goal should be to find a solution that reduces the effort required to prepare the schedule and ideally create it many weeks in advance allowing your staff to organize their personal lives around their work lives.


How To Implement Time And Attendance For Your Employees

Time and Attendance systems have existed for decades for a simple reason; they save businesses money. Because businesses owners are only required to pay for time actually worked, the five or ten minutes that an employee clocks-in late over the long term can add up to thousands in payroll costs saved.

However, if you are thinking about implementing time and attendance in a workforce that has not traditionally used one; you may find yourself facing some resistance. Employees may feel that you do not trust them, leading to conflict and higher turnover. Here are some tips for implementing time and attendance that your employees may even like.

Make Sure It Works

The most common pain that employees state with time and attendance is that the systems often don’t function as promised. Swipes are missed by the system due to “errors” or biometrics can’t get a clear read on a hand or finger. Ensure that when implementing time and attendance you include hardware that has positive reviews and has been thoroughly tested.

Reward People

Many employees will find that they have slightly smaller paychecks as a result of clocking in a few minutes late. To help combat some of the negative feelings concerning this, reward those who do clock-in on time. For employees who make a consistent effort to clock-in and out on time, institute a program to further incentivize others.

Educate Them

Let your employees know that your reasoning for implementing time and attendance goes beyond tracking a few minutes here or there. A good time and attendance system will make payroll processing more efficient and eliminate manual entry, decreasing errors on pay cheques. The elimination of manual entry of time and payroll data will also decrease the time it takes to pay staff.


What is Shift Bidding?

Often referred to as self-scheduling, shift bidding is an operational process in which a large part of employee scheduling is put into the hands of employees.

How Does It work?

Shift bidding occurs when management or administrative staff create open shifts with predetermined business rules, and allow employees to schedule themselves into applicable shifts over the web. Essentially, employees select shifts they want to work, instead of being assigned shifts. Good employee management software with shift bidding or self-scheduling capabilities will take into consideration various work rules, such as seniority, overtime, location, qualifications and training, and other business requirements. Of course, employees only view and book open shifts for which they are qualified to work.

Shift bidding or self-scheduling is often used successfully by hospitality organizations and other types of businesses that rely heavily on a large part-time, casual, or on-call workforces. It can drastically improve both the efficiency of your operations and the morale of employees.

Why Employees Love Shift Bidding

  • Employees can create schedules that fit with their personal lives, second jobs, or schooling. This type of flexibility is vital for part-time and hourly employees who do not have the option to work from home or implement other types of flex work schedules.
  • The essence of self-scheduling involves employees in the scheduling process, empowering them to take control of their work lives.
  • Employees often believe that shift bidding is fairer than if a supervisor had done up the schedule.

What It Can Mean For Your Company

  • Reduce the amount of time scheduling through elimination of collecting employee availability and preferences.
  • Communicate the schedule in a more efficient way, eliminating the need for employees to wait for their schedules.
  • Improve turnover and retention rates due to improved employee satisfaction and engagement.
  • Reduce phone costs and administrative costs of manual scheduling.

How To Be More Efficient With Scheduling

In today’s fiercely competitive markets, customer service is not just a component, but what successful companies are building their business decisions upon. Having the right people servicing your customer base is important, but all that time and money spent finding, hiring and training will be for nothing if those “right people” are not in the “right place”.

Have you taken a look to see what employee scheduling errors or poor employee scheduling practices are costing your company? When purchasing or using workforce management software, consider how improving upon the following staff scheduling practices can increase customer satisfaction.

Employee Missed Shifts

Don’t leave your customers unattended, waiting in long lines or worse completely abandoned because of a lack of employee communication. Be sure to implement systems that effectively communicate and hold employees accountable for knowing their schedule and changes to that schedule.

Employee Shift Coverage Not Matched to Business Needs

Be sure to understand when your customers need you. Set clear business rules that define and communicate, when breaks can be taken and how employees move to and from workstations or locations throughout their day. Having too many people on a break at the same time or not at the right location makes you look unorganized in the eyes of your customer.

Excessive Overtime Incurred by Employees

Your employees may be happy to pick up that extra shift now and again, or stay that extra hour here and there. Too much overtime leads to a tired, overworked and overstressed employee, who offers a lower level of customer service. Be sure to use your workforce management reporting tools to analyze where your incur overtime and how you can effectively schedule employees to avoid overtime.

Over, or Under-Staffing of Employees

Having an extra employee scheduled to cover for tardiness and sick calls may be an effect way for coverage, however having too much staff can lead to staff over socializing and neglecting your customer. At the other end of the spectrum, you need to avoid situations where your customer isn’t being attended to due to a lack of staff. Be sure to use your employee management software to make notations on staffing levels as to what works and what doesn’t.


How To Deal With Employees Forgetting To Clock In?

If you have implemented a time and attendance solution in your workplace, chances are you were pretty excited the first time the data started rolling in at the end of the pay period. Instead of punching in time-sheet information, you can now input it all the hours worked straight into your HR and payroll systems. A good time keeping system will streamline operations processes and make your life easier.

What should you do?Although time and attendance solutions do save time and effort, there will still be employees who for whatever reason, forget to actually use it. Depending on what kind of system you have in place, they may leave their badges for the system at home, or just plain forget to clock-in that day. In these cases, you will likely find a note on your desk the next day, explaining the mistake.

What the Law Says

The Fair Labor Standards Act states that employees must receive pay for all time worked. This means that it is illegal to dock an employee’s wage for clocking-in late or if they forget to clock-in if they actually worked during the time the system missed. It is also illegal to do this as a disciplinary measure. Basically, hourly or exempt employees must get paid for the time they worked, regardless of what time they actually clocked-in. If they showed up and started working at 9:00, but forget to clock-in in until 10:00, they must be paid from 9:00 onward anyway.

Although time and attendance systems are an effective way to track time and attendance information, unfortunately sometimes human error forces manual intervention.

What You Can Do

Although you can’t dock an employee’s pay, you can implement other disciplinary measures. Ensure that you have a written company policy on timekeeping. If employees fail to use it correctly, follow a system of verbal and written warnings, and even termination if the situation calls for it.

If you are interested in learning how you can use time and attendance tools for your business, contact us for a demo today.