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Spreadsheets serve a good purpose. And several companies use them. In fact, some of ATS financial analysts and even some, in the professional service areas like; software engineers use spreadsheets to measure results. However, this data usually comes in from outside big data tools as oppose to being keyed in manually. The potential to run into errors when manually keying data into spreadsheets is real,especially, when you are dealing with things like leave management and employee attendance.

In a recent article by Courtney Blanchard, for TLNT titled, With Paid Leave Laws Expanding, You Need to Update Your Attendance Policies there are some worthwhile advice for HR and Payroll Practitioners on how to best navigate and keep accurate records of attendance policies. They read, in part:

  •  Review company attendance policies to ensure that any mandatory notice periods (i.e., 2 weeks’ notice for a planned doctor’s appointment) do not violate the sick leave law.
  • Update hiring notices and workplace posters.
  • Educate supervisors on how to spot fraud or abuse without inadvertently retaliating against employees for using paid leave. Most laws prevent employers from seeking any verification unless an employee has been absent three consecutive working days.
  • Review payroll practices to ensure employees are receiving the proper rate of pay for the use of sick leave, and that pay stubs include any required information.
  • Develop a consistent tracking method to ensure that employees accurately accrue time, and that any time used is properly credited and deducted from the balance.

And, while this article is specific to regions in the state of Minnesota, their impact will reverberate across other US states. Also, while labour laws and leave management tracking are different in Canada they could eventually make their way north of the border.

 So, if your company is tracking employee time and attendance including, vacation, and other leave management through paper time sheets, you don’t need to anymore.

With ATS TimeWork OnDemand you can:

 Automate Tracking of Management Policies: ATS TimeWorkOnDemand helps automate the administration and tracking of paid and unpaid federal, provincial, and otherregional employer-specific leave policies. ATS TimeWorkOnDemand can be configured to match the needs of your organization to maintain balances, reduce manual process errors, and control absence costs.

Simplify and Streamline Compliance: Federal regulations and provincial and/or state laws and union policies, often have overlapping eligibility rules, benefit accruals, and notice requirements. Which makes it all the more important that companies should a time and attendance system that allows to them to accurately track employee attendance and leave management policies. ATS TimeWorkOnDemand solution allows your organization to automate laws and policies in a single solution—simplifying compliance and reducing costs, while also freeing your HR team to focus on higher priority responsibilities.

Keep Accurate Attendance: ATS TimeWorkOnDemand will make sure your leave policies are enforced consistently and accurately across your entire company. With ATS leave management automation, your employees will have access to self-service capabilities through leave eligibility, and balance tracking — available24/7, 365 days a year from any Smartphone or tablet, anytime, anywhere.

To learn more about ATS TimeWorkOnDemand Leave Management solution, go to our website. You can also register for one of our bi-weekly webinars. And to reach an account executive,call: 866.294.2467.

Benefits Of Working At A Standing Desk

May 9th, 2018 | Posted by ATS in Benefit Accruals | Careers | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Benefits Of Working At A Standing Desk)

Despite numerous published reports (including ones from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) about the health hazards of sitting for long stretches at a time each day, in front of computer screens with without taking occasional breaks, the practice continues in organizations, small and large alike. If there are no changes to these behaviours, experts predict, healthcare costs will continue to rise.

In his article, for Smithsonianmag.com, titled ‘Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks’ Joseph Stromberg, offers some suggestions that, could help curb this issue, They include:

“Reduced Risk of Obesity
Levine’s research began as an investigation into an age-old health question: why some people gain weight and others don’t. He and colleagues recruited a group of office workers who engaged in little routine exercise, put them all on an identical diet that contained about 1000 more calories than they’d been consuming previously and forbid them from changing their exercise habits. But despite the standardized diet and exercise regimens, some participants gained weight, while others stayed slim.

Benefits Of Working At A Standing Desk

Lower Long-Term Mortality Risk
Because of the reduced chance of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, a number of studies have found strong correlations between the amount of time a person spends sitting and his or her chance of dying within a given period of time.A 2010 Australian study, for instance, found that for each extra hour participants spent sitting daily, their overall risk of dying during the study period (seven years) increased by 11 percent. A 2012 study found that if the average American reduced his or her sitting time to three hours per day, life expectancy would climb by two years.

Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Scientific evidence that sitting is bad for the cardiovascular system goes all the way back to the 1950s, when British researchers compared rates of heart disease in London bus drivers (who sit) and bus conductors (who stand) and found that the former group experienced far more heart attacks and other problems than the latter.

Since, scientists have found that adults who spend two more hours per day sitting have a 125 percent increased risk of health problems related to cardiovascular disease, including chest pain and heart attacks. Other work has found that men who spend more than five hours per day sitting outside of work and get limited exercise were at twice the risk of heart failure as those who exercise often and sit fewer than two hours daily outside of the office. Even when the researchers controlled for the amount of exercise, excessive sitters were still 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure than those who were standing or moving”.

Bottom Line:
Too much sitting for long periods is bad for your health and can result in a variety of ailments. And if you happen to be in a job that requires a lot sitting through the day, it does not help. The good news- as attitudes shift, consumer demand emerges, companies will take heed. And for those companies who do not have standing desks, yet, hopefully, they will encourage employees to take more breaks and/or stand after 20 or 30 minutes of sitting. Change always moves slowly.

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Does Your Company Still Embrace The Practices Of A Bygone Era?

April 24th, 2018 | Posted by ATS in Absence Management | Benefit Accruals | Career - (Comments Off on Does Your Company Still Embrace The Practices Of A Bygone Era?)

Is it possible that in the 21st century a pregnant woman would have a hard time getting hired? You can bet every dollar you have, that this is a pervasive attitude in some organizations. Is it a bad business decision to refuse to hire pregnant women? Of course it is. The Canadian Human Rights Act reads, in part,

Women in the workplace are valued employees entitled to equality, dignity, respect and accommodation of their needs when they are attempting to become pregnant, while they are pregnant, and as they return to work following a pregnancy-related absence’.

Priyansha Mistry article for HR Digest titled, ‘What can you do when you face pregnancy discrimination? is a useful guide, for pregnant women and has some useful tips if you feel you are or have been discriminated against, because you told the boss, you plan on starting a family.

Does Your Company Still Embrace The Practices Of A Bygone Era?

“As a pregnant employee feeling you have been discriminated, there are procedures to gain justice easily. But let’s first look at your rights and protection under the U.S. federal law referred to as Pregnancy Discrimination Act before outlining the necessary procedures. This should help to identify the exact conduct that has been violated by your employer (or potential employer) and also clarifies your feeling of being discriminated.

 

  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is against discrimination in all areas of employment such as promotion, hiring, pay, firing, and all employment benefits. Corporate policies that impede women from working because they are pregnant or fertile are also forbidden by PDA.
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) only applies to workplaces with at least 15 employees. Consider visiting the office of the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau in your locality to know if there’s an agency in your state that can assist you if your office is having less than 15 employees. However, many state laws cover for employees working in companies with as little as 5 workers.
  • Your boss cannot fire you for filing a complaint against him/her, provided you believe that the employer has violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
  • Work leaves received due to maternity or pregnancy is treated exactly as other employees on leave due to disability or sickness, this includes the duration at which a position would be held open.
  • Your promotion cannot be skipped because of your pregnancy.
  • As long as you’re able to discharge the duties of a potential position, your employer cannot decide not to hire you because you are pregnant. Employers do not have the right to ask if you are pregnant or intend to be pregnant and you are not entitled to inform the employer that you are pregnant.
  • Different offices may treat pregnant employees that are not married differently. Some religious organizations with authorization from courts may discriminate employees who violate the institutions’ code of conduct, including premarital sex. Although these employers are required to show that men engaged in premarital sex are treated the same way and not different from the women. However, benefits related to pregnancy are not limited to employees that are married in most organizations.

Bottom line:
You have a variety options at your disposal if you encounter pregnancy discrimination. However, let’s face it, not all companies embrace a 50’s medieval mentality when it comes to dealing with pregnant women and, the ones who do likely have a high turnover rate anyway, because employees can’t stand to work for them in the first place.

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Three Ways To Help Your Employees Deal With Stress At Work

April 10th, 2018 | Posted by ATS in Absence Management | Benefit Accruals | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Three Ways To Help Your Employees Deal With Stress At Work)

Employee stress comes in variety of forms and it can create an impact on themselves, their colleagues and your company. As a leader, managing employee stress is also part of your responsibility and to ignoring it shows a lack of regard for the well-being of your workforce. Stress in the workplace can have a negative impact on productivity and will eventually lead to company turnover, absenteeism, employee burnout as well as an increase in medical benefits and insurance claims.

Three Ways To Help Your Employees Deal With Stress At Work

In no particular order, here are three tips on how you can help your employees deal with stress from an article titled ‘Help Your Team Manage, Stress Anxiety, And Burnout’ by  Rich Fernandez for Harvard Business Review

  1. Exercise empathy and compassion:It doesn’t cost anything to be kind, and the benefits for managers are great. Empathy and compassion significantly improve employee performance, engagement, and profitability. A seminal research project at the University of New South Wales, which looked at 5,600 people across 77 organizations, found that “the single greatest influence on profitability and productivity within an organization…is the ability of leaders to spend more time and effort developing and recognizing their people, welcoming feedback, including criticism, and fostering co-operation among staff.” Additionally, the research found that the ability of a leader to be compassionate – “to understand people’s motivators, hopes, and difficulties and to create the right support mechanism to allow people to be as good as they can be” – has the greatest correlation with profitability and productivity. Empathy and compassion are good for people and good for business.
  2. Allow time to disconnect outside of work: According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, workers around the world spend 34 to 48 hours at work each week on average, and many engage in work or related activities after business hours. McKinsey Quarterly suggests that “always-on, multitasking work environments are killing productivity, dampening creativity, and making us unhappy.” And one of the most significant findings in employee pulse surveys that I’ve seen in companies large and small is that employees have an exceptionally hard time disconnecting from work.

3.Model and encourage well-being practices:  Worker stress levels are rising, with over half of the global workforce (53%) reporting that they are closer to burnout than they were just five years ago, according to a Regus Group survey of over 22,000 business people across 100 countries. And while stress can be contagious, the converse is also true: when any member of a team experiences well-being, the effect seems to spread across the entire team. According to a recent Gallup research report that surveyed 105 teams over six three-month periods, individual team members who reported experiencing well-being were 20% more likely to have other team members who also reported thriving six months later. Takeaway: understand and prioritize activities that promote well-being for yourself and your team. They could include such things as offering personal development tools, like mindfulness and resilience training; explicitly encouraging people to take time for exercise or other renewal activities, such as walking meetings; or building buffer time into deliverables calendars so that people can work flexibly and at a manageable pace.

Bottom Line:

Every job, regardless of the industry has a certain level of stress that every employee will encounter and while it’s up employees how they deal with the stress, it’s also up to you and will say a lot about your leadership.  The days of saying ‘leave your personal problems at home’ are gone. Always make time for your employees, especially when they approach you with problems, regardless if the issue is work related or a personal one.

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As a corporate executive, you can book your business travel and request your preferred seat-from the comfort of your kitchen table or from anywhere in the world by using through your smartphone or tablet. So, why it is that your employees have to call their supervisor or someone in HR to request time-off?

With ATS Employee Self-Service (ESS) employees can request time off by using their smart phone, workstations or tablets from anywhere.

Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Need Employee Self-Service

Here are 5 reasons to use ATS Employee Self-Service:

Good-Bye Spreadsheets- Your employees really hate filling out paper work each time they need time off. ATS Employee Self-Service simplifies and automates employee requests for time off. When a request for time off is made, an email alert is sent directly to the employee’s supervisor to begin the request review process. HR, payroll and managers have decision-making information at their fingertips.

No More Using Emails To Request Leave-With ATS Employee Self-Service your managers no longer have to waste time trying to find that email that was sent some time ago by the employee requesting leave.

Time and Attendance Update Review-Employees can update their availability for shifts, request time off, view schedules, overtime, and trade shifts – letting them better manage their work-life balance.

Your Company’s Communication Tool Of The Future- Engage your entire workforce with a user experience that’s easy to navigate, wherever they are. Let all employees communicate and collaborate, even without a corporate email address.

Approval And Message Centre-You can tailor approval processes to your organization and, authorized users can view and audit the progress and approval status of a workflow to make sure it stays on track. Send personal messages or create and save distribution lists to message multiple employees at once. Notifications, reports and actions requiring an employee’s attention will also be delivered to the ATS Employee Self-Service Message Center.

ATS Self-Service is a powerful tool that will empower your employees and make them feel more engaged, increase their workforce productivity and free up valuable resource within your Payroll and HR departments.

To learn about ATS Employee Self-Service go to our website and download the demo. To reach an account executive by phone, call 866.294.2467.

Are Organizations Responsible for the Happiness of Their Employees?

January 16th, 2018 | Posted by ATS in Benefit Accruals | Employee Productivity | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Are Organizations Responsible for the Happiness of Their Employees?)

The happiness of employees at their workplace depends, on many factors, including; the actual jobs they are performing, and to a large degree the type relationship they have with their boss and colleagues among others. A study by the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.

 

In his article, Happy Employees Is Good For Business Damon Burton lays out 5 benefits of a happy workforce. They include:

  1. Better decision-making abilitiesPeople are better equipped to make decisions when they are cheerful. On-the-job difficulties engender some degree of fear and nervousness in most of humanity, but satisfied people can return to their original mood faster after being faced with adversity.
  2. Happy people sell more– A simple search on Google of “happy people, productivity, success, business” are better at business” returns countless articles and several studies showing happy workers are more productive.   The expression of positive emotions can be an effective bargaining tool.
  3. Greater innovation– There’s strong evidence showing a correlation between happiness and creativity. Some studies have shown that happy employees have higher levels of creativity than unhappy ones. Being happy can free up the brain, allowing for increased mental flexibility and imagination.
  4. Reduction in lost productivityHappy people are healthier. When employees take less sick leave, they are more productive, thus improving the bottom line.
  5. Better customer service– This is a no-brainer. People like happy people. And when it comes to customer service, businesses need to be cheery. When employees’ morale is high, customer interactions reflect it. Happy people are the perfect people pleasers for customer service-based roles.

And, of course there is the conventional wisdom that purports to the fact that if employees are paid well enough they will be happy. While paying employees well should not be discounted, that’s only one component of an engaged, productive and happy workforce.

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The burden of proof for hours worked by its employees is the responsibility of an employer especially in organizations that do not have an automated system. However, many companies might have employee hand books that contain language, which states, in part, that employees are required to record and report time work, and submit their time cards, to their respective supervisors for review and approval.

How Ontario’s Bill 148: Employment Standards Act Reform Could Affect Employers

 

On June 1, 2017 Bill 148, was introduced. If you operate a business in the province of Ontario, here is summary of some of the changes you should prepare for in 2018.

Benefit Accruals, Vacation, Statutory Holiday and Overtime Pay

  • Personal Emergency Leave: Rather than limiting this leave to organizations with more than 50 employees, all workers will be given 10 personal emergency leave days per year – and a minimum of two days would be paid. Further, employees will not have to provide employers with a sick leave note when requesting personal leave.
  • Overtime: The Mixed Hourly Rate (a weighted average established for employees with multiple rates) would be eliminated in favour of paying overtime at the rate of the work performed after the weekly threshold is reached
  • Vacation Entitlement Increase: Minimum vacation entitlement for workers would rise from two to three weeks per year (after five years with the same employer)
  • Public Holiday Pay: Calculation changes for public holiday pay that refer to regular wages in the pay period before the holiday divided by the days worked (rather than a four-week period of regular wages divided by 20)

Employee Workforce Scheduling

  • Three-Hour Rule: Broader application – The rule would extend to unworked on-call situations and when shifts are cancelled within 48 hours of the scheduled start time.
  • Advance notice: Employers must offer employees advance notice of 96 hours or be subject to refusal.
  • Three-Hour Rule: Removal of minimum wage component – Rather than topping up shifts less than three hours to three times the minimum wage, as proposed, eligible employees would be entitled to three times the regular rate.

The reforms to the Bill148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 will work in concert with the rise of the minimum wage that was also enacted into law as well. If your organization is still using an antiquated time tracking system or one that is no longer meeting your needs, it might be time to think about upgrading to a modern time and attendance solution- one that’s specifically, designed to comply with today’s ever changing regulatory and work-rule policies.

To learn more about ATS Time and Attendance Solution, go to our website, where you can download a pre-recorded demonstration, brochures or register for one of our upcoming live webinars.

To reach a representative, call 866.294.2467.

Here is the drill: Daylight saving time (DST) ended on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 at 2 a.m. ET. Most north Americans would have set their clocks back an hour. This makes for darker days, and for some people, it will take a few days to get used to, while for some others, it might take them a week or two to adjust to the time change.

The spring brings the arrival of daylight saving time in March 2018 and requires clocks to be moved forward one hour at 2 a.m. Employees who are shift workers and who are on duty at that time and who normally work an eight-hour shift will actually work only seven hours, unless of course, your company is using an automated time and attendance system that automatically adjusts with daylights savings time.

ATS TimeWork OnDemand Is Designed To Handle Daylight Savings Time

A blog titled As the clocks turn back this weekend, don’t forget FLSA rules authored by Pamela Deloacth for HRDive offers the following advice for companies:

“That extra hour of work can present several unanticipated challenges, in addition to an unpaid hour:

Overtime: If that additional hour puts an employee at more than 40 hours during that workweek, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires the employee be paid overtime. Employees who fall under the “8 and 80” system — or in states that require daily overtime — may be eligible for overtime for that day.

Collective Bargaining Agreements: Employers should ensure that they are following any provisions in a collective bargaining agreement that addresses wage and hour provisions for time change”.

If your company has in excess of 30 employees handling daylight savings time (DST) manually can be a challenge. Automating your time tracking system, instead of doing it manually, will make your payroll and HR managers happy and more productive, especially if they have to deal with sleep deprived employees, still adjusting to the daylight savings time.  ATS TimeWork OnDemand is a cloud-based time and attendance designed for; Payroll, Accrual Benefits, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Talent Management, and Analytics integration. ATS TimeWork OnDemand provides organizations with access to real-time data of Workforce Management (WFM) capabilities, across all domains.

To learn more about ATS TimeWork OnDemand or to attend a bi-monthly webinar, go to our website where you  can also download a demonstration from our website or contact us by phone at: 866.294.2467 to discuss your business requirements.

ATS TimeWork OnDemand is a best-of-breed time and attendance solution that helps small, mid-size and large enterprises streamline payroll costs, tackle complex workforce challenges and improve compliance.

Tracking And Managing Workforce Compliance Is Easier Than You Think

A recent article by Kate Tornone for HRDive titled Docking pay for bathroom breaks exceeding 90 seconds ‘absolutely contrary’ to FLSA states in part;

  • Employers must pay workers for breaks lasting 20 minutes or less, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled (Secretary United States Department of Labor v. American Future Systems, Inc., No. 16-2685 (3rd Cir., Oct. 13, 2017)). The opinion came in a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) suit filed by sales representatives at American Future Systems, doing business as Progressive Business Publications (PBP). The reps were paid only for time spent logged into their computers; any time away that lasted longer than 90 seconds became unpaid.
  • Federal regulations say that breaks of 20 minutes or less are compensable (see 29 CFR 785.18) but PBP argued that it didn’t provide “breaks;” rather, it maintained an arrangement called “flex time” that allowed workers to go off the clock whenever they wanted, for any reason. The court, however, was not persuaded; that’s an arrangement that “forces employees to choose between such basic necessities as going to the bathroom or getting paid unless the employee can sprint from computer to bathroom, relieve him or herself while there, and then sprint back to his or her computer in less than ninety seconds.” Docking the pay of employees who can’t manage to do that is “absolutely contrary to the FLSA,” the court said.
  • Ruling in the employees’ favor, the 3rd Circuit upheld a lower court’s summary judgment for them. That court had previously found the employer liable for least $1.75 million in back wages and damages, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The ruling applies in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Virgin Islands.

There is likely more than meets the eye to this issue which prompted the DOL to intervene, if you are using the honour system and/or some paper-based time sheets to track employee time.

Managing employee schedules, overtime and work hours should not be a complex issue, if you using a solution like ATS TimeWork OnDemand.

Some of the benefits include:

  • The automation of time tracking and reporting capabilities, while giving employees self-service access to Internet-enabled devices like smartphones and tables.
  • Transforming human resources tasks from an administrative function to a strategic asset with powerful integration tools to; HRIS, Payroll and ERP.
  • Improved accrual benefits management- this embedded module gives you the tools to track and monitor employee vacation and other absences, thus eliminating the types of errors that occur in a manual-based environment.

ATS TimeWork OnDemand application is designed to help you grow your business by automating routine tasks and providing power analytic tools to better manage your workforce.

To learn more about ATS TimeWork OnDemand, go to our website. You can also register for a bi-weekly webinar or download a demonstration. To reach an account representative by phone, call: 866.294.2467.

Your Employees Are Slacking Off At Work: What Should You Do?

August 31st, 2017 | Posted by ATS in Benefit Accruals | Business Software Automation | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Your Employees Are Slacking Off At Work: What Should You Do?)

So, your employees is slacking off. Perhaps, they are bored with their daily tasks or your work environment is not fun. Bridget Miller’s blog for the HR Daily Advisor titled, How to Get Employees to Goof Off Less at Work reads in part,

“Reducing employee time spent “goofing off” is probably a reasonable goal. But the idea of “goofing off” is probably not the main issue—the real issue is productivity loss. That productivity loss may come from a variety of employee activities, such as spending excessive of time talking about nonwork things with coworkers, doing personal things like browsing online articles or social media, or even taking care of personal errands (like buying gifts online or spending time away from work without taking paid time off (PTO). It could also come in the form of frequent personal calls and texts. Regardless of the specific activity, the concern is that too much time is being spent not working.”

Your Employees Are Slacking Off At Work: What Should You Do?

The article has a few suggestions for employers looking to engage its workforce and increase productivity. In no particular, order here is three out of the seven suggestions:

Invest in good tools for employees. If employees are frustrated at work, or even if they’re overworked, they may be more likely to need to take (too many) breaks and feel more justified in doing so. Conversely, giving employees good tools to enhance productivity can allow them not only to be more efficient but also to have a greater sense of satisfaction because the employer invests in its employees and cares about how well things get done. Likewise, good tools can increase productivity and can offset some of the otherwise “wasted” time.

Consider implementing more flexible working arrangements whenever possible. When employees have options that allow them to handle the demands of their personal life at the most opportune time, they’re less likely to be distracted when they’re working. They’re also less likely to be sneaking in personal calls if they have the flexibility to handle such issues without causing problems. Flexible working arrangements might include things like allowing employees to work nonstandard hours (which could allow for personal matters to be handled at better time of day) or allowing employees to make up time taken away from work on other days.

Ensure employees know where their role fits compared to the big-picture organizational goals. If the employee can clearly see his or her role and how it impacts the bottom line (directly or indirectly), he or she will be more likely to spend spare time on activities that work toward achieving the big-picture goals instead of just wasting time. The employee will feel that his or her contributions make a difference.

Today’s workforce wants flexibility, freedom, and equality. And that includes, work-life-balance and telecommuting opportunities. What they don’t want is to be told that they have to respond to work e-mails at all hours of the night, on their days off or while they are on vacation. And, as for micromanaging employees, it’s both archaic and demoralizing and the quickest way to have turnover. The best and more resourceful managers can always find ways to keep their employees engaged and at that same time, ensure productivity is also high.

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