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New PUNCH IN alert module for COVID-19

We’ve launched a new alert module to prompt employees about COVID-19 symptoms before they punch in. This new feature will prompt them and if they respond YES, alert their manager and/or block their entry.

 

To set this up and turn on, read the HOW TO here.

Recruiting

Finding Big Talent for Small Business

10 Recruiting Tips for SMEs

Small businesses are the engine that drives our economy. Even still, since they are often without Human Resources departments, finding the right employees can be a time-consuming and frustrating endeavor, and one that’s not part of their core competencies. While it is easy for job postings from small businesses to get lost among the recruiting efforts of large companies and corporations, there are some things any company can do to up the odds of getting the top candidates.
  1. Let them know who you are.
    Most job seekers want to work for a business whose values they share, to know they’d be working together toward a greater good, so be clear as to what those values are. Also, it is important to communicate your brand mission and vision. Your mission statement is a good indicator of where you are today. An effective vision statement lets potential employees know where it is you want to go, what you want to be as a company in the future. It will let the prospective employee know if this is a company whose vision they can see themselves being invested in.

  2. Trust those who know
    (your business AND the candidate)
    Referrals from existing employees are one of the best ways to hire quality candidates. Being immersed in your company culture, current employees will have a good sense of who would fit best. Referrals can also save time as they are a good way to screen potential candidates before even interviewing them. If a trusted employee recommends a colleague or friend whose work they know well, it should give you a level of comfort, as opposed to hiring a stranger whose work ethic and potential fit are more of an unknown.

  3. Find your niche
    While it is useful and important to use the big job boards like Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc. you should do some research to find the smaller, niche job boards that cater specifically to your industry and the type of candidate you are looking for.

  4. Stay social
    Your social networks are an excellent way to speak to prospective employees. The fact that they follow your networks shows they are already interested in your company, what you do and how you do it.

  5. Show them the way
    Most people out there aren’t just looking for a job where they’ll do the same thing for the next thirty years. They’re looking for upward mobility. They’re looking for positions that offer a clear path for advancement. Be clear about what future possibilities the position offers. More money? More responsibilities? Management/skills training? etc.
  1. Fair (or better?) Compensation
    While studies show that compensation is not top of most people’s lists when considering taking a new position, it is still important. Don’t try to lowball. Pay people what the market says they are worth, or a little more. When considering the entire compensation package, get the best benefits you can afford for your employees. Medical, dental, etc. These give the employee a feeling of security and rids them of anxiety that might interfere with their performance at work.

  2. Give them a piece of the pie
    If you can afford it, consider implementing an employee profit sharing plan. Having some “skin in the game” has been shown to attract top performers, particularly if they see real potential for a small business to grow, and for them to grow with it.

  3. Stress lifestyle and flexibility
    This is another area that many job seekers identify as more important than money. And if you, as a small business owner, can’t compete with larger companies on wages etc., here is an area where you can set yourself apart if you get creative. Things like flexible work hours and the ability to work remotely can be big incentives for some job seekers, so offer them if it is practical. Come up with affordable but meaningful perk ideas; make the office pet-friendly, sponsor gym memberships, offer free, healthy snacks at the office, give everyone a paid day off for their birthday, make Groundhog day on office holiday! Use your imagination. Small gestures can have big impacts and everyone today is looking for a fulfilling life/work balance.

  4. Put effort into your recruitment ads
    Job boards are filled with thousands of ads. If you want to attract elite candidates, you need to make yours stand out. This takes a great deal of thought and effort – all of which is completely worth it in the end. The best job descriptions are specific and clear. They outline what the job entails and what they’re looking for in a candidate. Try to keep your job description succinct – studies show job seekers will spend, on average, only 30 seconds reading your ad, so make sure it is top heavy with the important information. Make sure you write reasonable job descriptions. Some companies ask for significantly too much or too little in their job descriptions. A company looking for an entry-level employee may ask for three to five years of experience in a role, which likely isn’t a reasonable request.  Be fair about what you’re asking for, and make sure the qualifications you want are specifically addressed. Writing effective recruitment ads is a real skill, and there are lots of resources on the Internet to help you out.

  5. Hire slowly
    Finding talented employees, the kind that have the qualifications you need, the kind that will fit in the culture of your company, doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to sort through resumes and to do your due diligence, particularly if you don’t have an HR department to help you out. You are in it for the long haul with your small business so you want the talent you hire to be on the same page. Your staff represents one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your business, and one of the most expensive. And hiring new employees is significantly more expensive than retaining the ones you have. So take the time to get it right.
Recruiting will always be a challenge for small businesses.There’s no perfect recruitment strategy, and the recruitment process will vary by business. But using these 10 tips will help you attract the best potential candidates on the job market. Being a small business doesn’t mean you can’t hire great talent, but it might mean you need to work a little harder at it.

Attendance Tracking

The Importance of Attendance Tracking

For Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), their employees are often their biggest asset, and also their biggest expense. So when employees miss work for long stretches of time – possibly due to injury, illness or mental health concerns – their absence can have serious effects on company performance. Absenteeism can lead to reduced productivity, lower grade goods or services because of understaffing or overtime fatigue, safety issues resulting from inadequately trained employees to fill the void, and even poor morale from employees who had to do extra work. To really understand what these effects are, and the costs associated with them, it is important to have an employee attendance tracking system in place.

What is an attendance tracking system?

An attendance tracking system manages and monitors employee attendance by tracking their actual working hours, absences, time off, breaks, login & logout time. There are many types of attendance management systems but not all provide equal results. For the smooth functioning of HR process, you need to look for an effective attendance management system that includes the following features:

  • Clocking in and out –  the most obvious and important feature. Options can include card readers, PIN numbers and biometric scanners.
  • Flexible employee scheduling – the software should allow you to create and manage multiple schedules and rosters. It should also come equipped with features that alert you of any tardy or AWOL employees .
  • Leave Management – a missed day shouldn’t automatically register as “absent”; instead, the employee should be alerted to apply for leave or make any special attendance requests (such as half-day).
  • Payroll Integration – assuming your payroll process has been automated, your time and attendance module should also be able to integrate seamlessly into your payroll functionality. It can provide accurate attendance data for the payroll cycle that can be used to rapidly and accurately calculate salary and other benefits. Without a full HRMS in place, there is the possibility that data will be lost between steps from timekeeping to payroll.
  • Mobile – these days, an organisation’s workforce is much more likely to be scattered, with some employees working in the field, from home, or elsewhere. A mobile version of your time and attendance software should allow employees to clock in through their mobile devices.
  • Centralized Data – the ability to view your company’s entire attendance log in one place and track all your employees’ attendance & leave activity from that spot.
  • Reporting – your time and attendance software should be able to provide tailored reports and analytics using the system’s data and offer insights into hours worked, shift patterns, and so on with a view to constantly improving productivity.

Benefits of Employee Attendance Tracking

It sounds a bit “Big Brother-ish”, and a lot like micromanaging but really, it’s not. And it has benefits for both the company and the employee. It is beneficial for the employers because of improved time recording, and it’s beneficial for the employee as it guarantees that they are paid properly. And it’s beneficial to everyone with improved transparency. Read on to see even more benefits of Employee Attendance Tracking:

  1. Prevents Pay Errors – ensures employees get paid in full and on time, and that no one skips a week of pay or gets overpaid when they are taking unpaid time off. Proper software should also simplify the creation of reports. The right reports and the correct information regarding employee leaves and absences will ensure that there are no pay errors.
  2. Helps Managers Understand the Financial Impact of Absences – reports providing information such as the average number of consecutive sick days taken, and the average duration and cost of employee absences helps managers create more effective budgets and plans for their business operations.
  3. Boosts Employee Attendance – when people know that there is a reliable employee tracking system in place, and they know that they can request leave, vacation time or a half day to take their child to the doctor’s, they are less stressed. Hence, they are less prone to burnouts and sick leaves.
  4. Information to Make Better Hiring and Scheduling Decisions – productivity depends on the availability of real-time attendance data. A realistic view of productivity levels allows better hiring and scheduling in departments. Further, a big picture analysis identifies trends that may reveal payroll savings.
  5. Prevent Buddy Punching and Other Time Theft – time theft can include everything from taking a longer lunch than allotted or clocking in for a friend when they’re late to work, otherwise known as “buddy punching.” Whether intentional or not, time theft is costly, and automated time and attendance systems prevent it altogether.
  6. Managers Can Identify Potential Attendance Issues – a primary reason an employer tracks attendance is to find out whether there are any issues that need to be addressed. Effective attendance tracking reveals trends that can help managers make the proper business decisions. Beyond taking scheduled time off, an employee’s adherence to arrival, leaving and break times is essential to ensuring work hours are not being abused. It is important to monitor planned and unplanned absences, as well as enforcing attendance policies.
  7. Easily Tracks Remote Workers – with a flexible cloud-based time tracking feature, employers can easily track the working hours of employees working from anywhere. They can also enable GPS tracking for location monitoring.
  8. Keeps Employees Informed – Employees are always asking, “ how much time off do I have left?”, or “have I used all my sick days?” Good time and attendance software will allow them to access that information on their own at any time. Seeing their records might help them see how well they’re utilizing their time at work. Seeing how much time is spent on particular projects or at certain sites could help them eliminate inefficiencies.
  9. Provides Proof for a Wage and Hour Audit or Lawsuit – It pays to always be prepared. If you have a claim filed against you, accurate attendance tracking of employee hours and time off will support your argument against it. Also, if you have a difficult employee, having a history that they can see laid out in front of them makes it easier to correct their behaviour, or terminate them if need be.
  10. Makes it Easier to Schedule Vacations – Having a centralized place where vacation schedules are posted helps ensure employees get their preferred dates, and gives managers advanced notice to prepare for planned absences and monitor the amount of vacation time each employee takes.

Effective employee attendance tracking is an important part of getting the most out of your employees and your company – no matter what the size. And it is to the benefit of both you and your staff. At Time Well Scheduled, we would be happy to help you implement the right system for your company and its specific needs.

Raise vs. Bonus

Is it Better to Reward Performance with a Raise or a Bonus?

(Depends which side of the cheque you’re on.)

Hiring the best employees is a difficult task, and an essential part of running a successful business. Retaining these employees is every bit as important. You want to keep the best working for you, and employee turnover can be costly. One key to keeping your employees, and keeping them happy, is ensuring you are giving them fair compensation. This includes increasing compensation when the situation merits it. Two ways to increase employee compensation are through a salary increase, a raise, or with bonuses. So which way is best, and for whom?

Any increase in compensation is a good way to incentivize employees. From an employers point of view, bonuses are often the best way to do this. They can be easier to handle financially since they’re a variable cost, with payment tied to specific outcomes, like increased sales or production volumes, for example. Since the payout varies according to the success of the company, and in some cases the individual employee, a bonus can be reduced or eliminated if business conditions make it difficult or impossible to pay them. The variable cost structure of a bonus package helps business owners during times of low sales or production volumes. Pay raises are permanent, but bonuses keep payroll costs lower when the revenue isn’t there to pay them. Also, bonuses can be set up as a short-term incentive, for example a sales campaign. A three-month sales initiative to bring in new business or a business with seasonal production increases, for example, could be tied to a bonus system. By incentivizing employees during specific periods, a company can maximize its revenue and profits during a critical time of the year.

From the employee’s perspective, there are a couple of things to keep in mind about bonuses. First, and most positively, if the bonus system is structured on individual performance, this essentially puts the amount they can earn in their own hands. They control their own destiny. However, before they go spending this new found cash, they should find out how it will be taxed as bonuses are generally taxed less favourably than regular income whether it be salary or hourly wages.

Raises

In contrast to bonuses, raises can be riskier for the employer because once workers get an increase in salary, companies are committed to paying them more for as long as they work there. Even if a company decides not to give raises in future years, they are still required to keep up with preexisting salaries. Also, because certain benefits, like pension-matching dollars, are often tied directly to salary, increasing salaries can cost companies in other ways. But let’s keep in mind you’re looking to retain your best employees. Besides helping them plan and budget for their monthly expenses, and helping them keep up with the cost of living, an annual raise helps boost morale and ensures that long-time employees are rewarded as they should be compared to more recent hires. And if there are bonuses tied to salary, an increased salary results in a bigger bonus.

Well that depends on a bunch of variables and the unique situation of every company. While bonuses may be attractive to an employer due to their variable cost structure, they may not be enough to retain your top performers due to tax issues and uncertainty year to year. On the other hand, a small percentage raise each year can be less costly than paying bonuses that may fluctuate with sales or production numbers. But remember this, annual raises are a permanent increase in the cost of doing business. Because payroll is often the largest expense for a company, it’s important that business owners determine whether the company generates enough revenue and monthly cash flow to meet the increased payroll expenses. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. The secret is in finding a balance that works for you and your employees.