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Are There Actual Dos And Don’ts When Giving Gifts At Work During The Holiday?

December 13th, 2017 | Posted by ATS in Absence Management | Leave Management | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Are There Actual Dos And Don’ts When Giving Gifts At Work During The Holiday?)

Yes, there really are Christmas holiday gifts that you can give and ones you should definitely avoid giving to your colleagues. There is nothing worse than giving a gift to a colleague at work, only to be met, with complete silence or a bewildered look on their face.

Are There Actual Dos And Don’ts When Giving Gifts At Work During The Holiday?

Here is a list of Dos and Don’ts extrapolated from an article titled Holiday Office Gift Giving Do’s and Don’ts: A Guide for Workers to Surviving the Season by Dr. Randall S. Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers. And, if you are participating in your company’s annual Secret Santa gift giving these tips will help get you on the right track.

Some of the Don’ts include:
“Don’t assume the people in your office share your tastes.
Don’t feel pressure to run out and buy a gift for the boss if he or she gives you one. But do send a thank-you note acknowledging the gift and expressing your gratitude.
Don’t assume the people in your office share your tastes”.

And some Do’s:
“Do spend time and effort to choose thoughtful gifts for each on your office list. And it’s best to stick to people’s hobbies or favorite activities when thinking of gifts. Another safe category would be a gift for the office, such as a gadget, paperweight, calendar, picture frame, pen and pencil set, etc. A last resort would be a gift card to a favorite retailer.

Do examine the company’s corporate culture for the types of gifts that might be acceptable. A gift for a co-worker at Google may not be the same thing you get for a co-worker at IBM. Rule of thumb: the more relaxed the corporate culture, the wider latitude you have in gift choices.

Do stay within your (and the office) budget for the gifts, and don’t go overboard on the gifts, especially for the boss”.

Unless you are working for a new start-up chances are you probably don’t know everyone in your company; especially those who are in different departments. Even at work, purchasing a gift is a personal gesture.  For example, don’t feel obligated to buy the female sales rep whose name you barely know a holiday gift.

Most of this information is just common sense. If you happen to be a new employee ask your colleagues who have been at the company longer than you have. They will likely steer you in the right direction.

Happy Holidays!

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The Annual Office Christmas Party And The Headaches It Can Provide For HR Managers

December 7th, 2017 | Posted by ATS in HR | Leave Management | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software | Time and Attendance Canada | Time and Attendance Toronto - (Comments Off on The Annual Office Christmas Party And The Headaches It Can Provide For HR Managers)

The annual boisterous and sometimes, boozy office Christmas party means HR has to be on high alert. This staple of corporate culture year-end party is usually seen by some, as a way to unwind, get to know our co-workers a bit better, boost our social capital or win the next promotion. Some employees might even use this time of the year to request a vacation day or two so, they can relax or use it to spend time with their family.

The Annual Office Christmas Party And The Headaches It Can Provide For HR Managers

 

And, while you might be waiting with great anticipation for your company’s annual office party take heed from this list of ‘The Do’s And Don’ts Of Any Office Christmas Party’ by Lynda O’Neal in a recent Yahoo publication.

“Don’t: Enflame The Office Drama
The Etiquette School of New York, which offers training to large companies, universities and individuals, provides a long list of optimal behaviors for workplace holiday parties and devotes a large portion of text to small talk.

Do: Expand Your Network
Mingling outside of the team you interact with on a day-to-day basis could help you take away something positive from the event — a longer-lasting benefit, at least, than free drinks and hors d’oeuvres, Susan Bryant, a contributor to job search engine Monster’s career advice section, opined.

Don’t: Try To ‘Keep Up’ With The Heavy Drinkers
No one likes a hangover, but it can be easy to go overboard at office parties, especially if an open bar is involved. Stick to one drink per hour, and two in total if you can help it, manners blogger and author Maralee McKee advised in a post”.

 Bottom-line, use common sense before you attend your company’s office Christmas party, or you can always seek the advice of someone with the HR department or a trust colleague.

And remember, to relax and have fun. ‘Tis the season to be merry.

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Can You Attest To Having A Perfect Hiring Record?

November 8th, 2017 | Posted by ATS in Careers | HR | Leave Management | Recruitment | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Can You Attest To Having A Perfect Hiring Record?)

Seasoned HR executives will never attest to having a perfect hiring record. Why? Because no company has this record and if they claim that they do, they likely have a long nose.

Sharlyn Lauby is a highly regarded and well sought-after HR consultant and leads the HR bartender site. In one of her latest blogs what’s your Hiring Nightmare Story offers five tips that can be used by new and seasoned and HR managers alike.

Can You Attest To Having A Perfect Hiring Record?

Those five tips include:

  1. Establish selection criteria. It’s so much easier to take a few moments on the front end to discuss selection criteria than to find out after a whole bunch of interviews that the hiring manager isn’t on the same page. When an opening occurs, buy your hiring manager a cup of coffee and discuss the KSAs for the job and a sourcing strategy.
  2. Ask good interview questions. This applies to everyone in the process. Interviewing is hard. Managers who haven’t interviewed for a while might want a refresher (and they could be reluctant to ask for one). Have some pre-designed interview questions ready to help managers out.
  3. Get multiple people involved. I believe it doesn’t help employees if the only two people they know on Day One is HR and their manager. Yes, more interviews take extra time but they also allow employees to start building relationships. Exactly what they need to be successful.
  4. Don’t rush the process. The hiring process can’t drag along either. But I’ve seen plenty of managers speed up the process and make bad hiring decisions because they felt that they were racing the clock. Adding a couple of days to get the right candidate makes sense for all.
  5. And conduct a comprehensive background screening. Once you find a great candidate, verify their background. Instead of thinking that background checks are to catch deception, consider it as confirming what’s already been discussed.

Those are all useful tips and while they are not perfect (nothing ever is) following them could help your hiring averages of candidates within your company. And, the best part is that these hiring tips are free of charge.

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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.

Unlimited vacation policy has been adopted by a few companies but it still remains a rarity in much of the corporate world. The business community, at large, is currently dealing with, among other things, the recent push by some government and labour leaders to hike the minimum wage. Asking some of these companies embrace unlimited vacation policies might not be something they are eager to deal with presently.

Unlimited Vacation: Are Many Companies Eager To Adopt This Policy?

In her recent article titled Unlimited Vacation: Is It About Morale or the Bottom Line for Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Dana Wilkie writes:

“Unlimited vacation first became popular at startups in Silicon Valley and then began to seep into other industries—typically those where employees work independently and can set their own hours. Companies that have embraced unlimited vacation include Netflix, Virgin America, The Motley Fool, Achievers, Jellyvision and General Electric, which offers the benefit to senior employees.

Still, unlimited vacation policies remain rare in corporate America; just 1 percent to 2 percent of companies offer the benefit, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) 2016 Employee Benefits report. Evren Esen, SHRM-SCP, SHRM’s director of survey programs, said that statistic hasn’t changed appreciably during the past five years.

Leaders at companies that have adopted unlimited vacation laud the perk. They say there’s no more pressure on workers to plan and save days. Meanwhile, they say, employers are freed from the administrative hassle of tracking time off and the financial burden of paying out unused vacation time.”

The benefits of taking time-off is undisputed and studies including one by Oxford Economics  revealed that employees are more dedicated, productive and healthy when they take time-off. However, for several companies, unlimited vacation sounds more like a fantasy rather than reality, and so, it would be better to check with your HR department and ask about your corporate culture (if you are not sure) as it pertains to a policy like this, before getting excited about the companies that offer it.

ATS Time and Attendance Leave Management automates the administration and tracking of paid and unpaid federal, provincial, state and employer-specific leave policies and can be configured to match the needs of your company, to maintain and highlight vacation balances, reduce manual process errors, and control associated absenteeism costs. By eradicating manual tasks from the traditional leave management/time-off request process, ATS Time and Attendance Leave Management module ensures accurate data and full visibility when tracking and managing employee leave.

To learn about ATS Time and Attendance Leave Management module, go to our website.

What You Should And Should Not Wear In The Office During Summer

June 21st, 2017 | Posted by ATS in HR | Leave Management | Productivity | Time and Attendance Canada | Time and Attendance Toronto - (Comments Off on What You Should And Should Not Wear In The Office During Summer)

Every year summer along comes summer with its high temperatures, and we all scramble for our shorts, tank-tops and other casual wear, but not wearing the right clothes in the office can send the wrong message. Many of today’s technology organizations tend to be more relaxed about employee work attire and it’s not unusual to see employees wearing jeans and tee-shirts at these companies. And, although this is usually a happy time, you should still be cautious about what you choose to wear during summer in the office.

What You Should And Should Not Wear In The Office During Summer

In a Career Builder article, summer attire taboos, here are 8 tips for maintaining your business-casual and/or professional look during those hot days.

  1. Flip-flops
    Professional or dressy sandals are acceptable in many workplaces, and you know better than anyone if you work in such a place. Flip-flops and other recreational footwear are rarely acceptable for the same reason blowing a bubble with gum in a meeting is inappropriate: You look out of place and inconsiderate to your audience. Plus, that annoying sound of the flip-flop slapping against your heel will not make you any friends.
  2. Sunglasses indoors
    You’re not Bono. Yes, the sunlight is blinding when you walk outside or drive to work, but sunglasses don’t belong indoors. People can’t tell if you’re paying attention to them when your eyes are hidden behind dark lenses, and everyone will wonder if your pupils were just dilated.
  3. Shorts
    Shorts automatically take the professional image down a notch, which could be a good thing for some places. For example, if you walk into a store that sells surfboards and wetsuits, you want to be greeted by someone in shorts and a tee, not a suit and briefcase. In most workplaces, however, shorts detract from a professional demeanor. Even nice shorts that are more suited for a day the country club than an afternoon painting your kitchen aren’t as pulled together as a pair of trousers.
  4. Tank tops
    Regardless of the season, you should be wary of showing too much skin. In the summer, tank tops are prevalent in many wardrobes, and you might be tempted to sport one to work. Don’t. From an aesthetic standpoint, tanks make people think of a six-pack of beer, not of a six-figure salary. A professional look should lean more toward the latter.
    Another issue that exists in some organizations is the idea that no one, male or female, should have bare arms. Remember when Michelle Obama took flak for her sleeveless blouses? As with many of these tips, use your best judgment. Unless your occupation involves some form of labour where sleeves affect your work, you should keep your upper arms covered.
  5. Funny shirts or shirts from your vacation destination
    Your “I’m Not as Think as You Drunk I Am” shirt might make your best friends laugh, but your boss, colleagues and customers or clients will disagree. Clothing shouldn’t announce itself, so steer clear of humor. And shirts bearing the name of your last vacation destination will probably make your overworked colleagues begrudge your time off.
  6. Not being prepared
    Even if you’re allowed to be casual during the summer, have a backup outfit or piece of clothing to dress up your attire. If you’re in jeans and a plain T-shirt and your biggest client calls a last-minute meeting, it wouldn’t hurt to have a least a blazer or nicer shirt on hand. Being prepared is never a bad thing.
  7. Anything see-through
    Another tip that should go without saying, but just in case: Skin and undergarments should not be seen through the fabric you’re wearing. Lightweight linen that’s breezy and comfortable on the beach is inappropriate at work, not to mention uncomfortable for your co-workers.
  8. Testing the limits
    If your employer gives you wiggle room with the dress code by using words such as “appropriate” and “reasonable” to describe acceptable attire, use your brain. A ketchup-stained T-shirt, scandalously short shorts and dilapidated tennis shoes are acceptable in your personal life, but not at work. And you know that. So don’t ruin summer wardrobes for everyone.

Most people are happy during summer after the dark months of fall and winter. However, you should always make sure do not go more casual than your company culture allows. And, when in doubt, look around you and observe how other people are dressing. If you are still not sure and your company does have an employee handbook, ask your boss or the company’s HR manager.

Every company wants to maintain its competitive edge by making sure its payroll costs is not too high while always looking for ways to increase its profits. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done. For example, a drastic cut to a company’s workforce or outsourcing of a department, might lead to decrease customer satisfaction and low employee morale. In other words, while it’s not impossible to achieve both objectives, it is sometimes easier on paper than in reality.

If your company is using a cloud-based business management software, the possibilities are endless. Today’s workforce is different from yesteryear and successful companies regardless of size or industry, know only too well, that in order to keep their position at the top they must find ways to improve productivity and streamline payroll costs. And, with the right cloud-based time and attendance solution, companies can do a whole lot more.

Want To Remain Nimble And Increase Profits? Cloud Is The Way To Go

Here are 3 ways companies can remain nimble and increase productivity and profits:

24/7 365 Days A Year-Availability:
In today’s every increasing competitive business landscape, not having access to data whenever you need it, equals lost decreased productivity and profits. The right cloud computing application is available no matter where your finance, payroll and HR managers are. As long as their device is connected to the Internet, they can gain access to data in real-time, respond to employee vacation and other leave management requests.

Adhere to compliance needs:
Changes in compliance and other workforce regulations continues to shift and companies need to ensure they are using a software application that is update all the time and meet the complexity of these changes as they occur. In a world of Big Data, cloud computing, using an application like ATS TimeWork OnDemand you get immediate compliance updates that’s pushed out automatically to the entire organization- as soon as they’re available. In short, this simplifies the process of keeping your time and attendance solution up-to-date and it also ensures that all users has access to the most current information and tools to do their jobs effectively.

The Cloud Propels Productivity:
When IT resources are focused on maintaining and fixing old Servers with existing antiquated solutions, they are essentially always playing defense. By deploying ATS cloud-based time and attendance your IT resource can focus on spending their time on other important initiatives.

In closing, when compared to on-premise solutions, cloud computing applications like ATS TimeWork OnDemand will help to grow your business profitably, and will provide your compare with more reliable information all in -real-time, drive faster decision-making, and thus, enabling you to quickly meet changing market demands to stay ahead of all your competitors.

To learn about ATS TimeWork OnDemand, go to our website. You can also register for a bi-weekly webinar or download a demonstration.

Every business wants to achieve maximum productivity, streamline cost and improve its bottom-line. If your business is not using the right time and attendance solution, that can not only prevent it from achieving its operational goals, but lead to frustration by the people who are using the system.

Here are five signs that points to the frustration your company has with its current time and attendance system and some tools to help you figure out how to obtain the right system for your business:

5 Signs You Are Frustrated With Your Current Time And Attendance

 

  1. Real-Time Data

If you are pulling employee information from paper time sheets or an antiquated punch clock that resides on a wall, there is nothing real about this. It simply means, you are getting the information after it happens. What you need is a system that shows employee information as soon as they occur- in other words, a system that can provide you with real time analytics as you need it.

  1. Your System Lacks Integration Capabilities

This is tops the list of frustration for many companies. If your company’s current time and attendance system does not have the ability to interface to your other applications you need to rethink your strategy. No company should be stuck using outdated applications, the sole reason for deploying an automated time and attendance is to make your life easier.

  1. Basic Features Should be Included

Calculation of overtime and statutory holidays across various jurisdictions should be part of the everyday basic functions of the system.  If these necessary features for your company’s day-to-day life do not exist, you are using the wrong system and filled with frustration.

  1. Streamline Costs and Improve Productivity

If your company wishes to improve efficiency, you need a time and attendance solution that has this embedded into it-otherwise, the frustration of your HR or payroll practitioner will continue.

  1. Point the Blame at the Software

If your business executives are getting inaccurate data, it’s clear you have the wrong solution. And, if your employees pay are missing hours they worked, because the software cannot adjust to your business requirements, you should starting exploring for better option.

Bottom-Line: instead of asking your current provider to make customization changes that would simply add to the complexity—of an already ineffective solution, make the switch to an ATS time attendance solution. With ATS TimeWork OnDemand 21st century cloud computing technology gives you the agility to respond to changing business needs rapidly, improve productivity, streamline payroll costs and can adjust to the ebbs and flows of an organization.

To download a demonstration or attend one of our bi-weekly webinars go to our website. To speak to an account representative call: 866.294.2467.

 

 

Some have argued that the annual performance review should have been ditched ages ago. After all performance reviews are taking into account what employees did 12 months ago and it’s a process that most managers and employees alike detest. According to a recent Washington Post article, consulting firm Accenture along with several other fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft and Adobe have decided, to do away with performance reviews and/or replace it with a easier process.

Has The Annual Performance Review Past It’s Best Before Date?

But how did a process that was so beloved by so many companies, and used as a barometer to; gauge performance, enhance benefits and employee pay premiums and bonuses elicit so much hate in recent years? Times have changed and, in most cases, the annual performance process has not. And, according to an article by Ratan Tavawala for Eremedia here are three reasons why:

Work is different-Work moves at a much faster pace today, with goals and projects measured in days and weeks instead of months and quarters. Performance reviews traditionally occur on a twelve-month cycle — which means they’re not keeping pace with production. In addition, companies are putting greater focus on team success over individual outcomes. At an organization where global teams are connected by virtual technology and work outcomes are a shared experience, individual yearly performance appraisals do not reflect the reality of how work is accomplished.

Ties to compensation– Historically, pay raises and bonuses have been directly tied to performance appraisals. This sets up a skewed power dynamic that can hinder the type of candid conversation that leads to real improvement. Separating employee performance discussions from raises allows for more focused, coaching conversation about day-to-day job performance, areas for improvement, professional development resources, and opportunities for growth.

Lack of honest dialogue-The power dynamic at play in traditional performance appraisals is top-down, with few companies focusing on assessing the supervisory and leadership skills of managers. Allowing employees to provide feedback to (or even formally evaluate) their managers not only improves efficacy, but leads to better employee engagement and empowerment.”

Traditional performance reviews have been, for many years, anxiety inducing, and have been reduced to an awkward for managers. Employees, in turn, cringe at the notion of having to sit in front of their manager to go through this process, which from their viewpoint is an exercise filled with criticism.

So, what’s the answer? Why not look at changing it. As some have suggested, instead of doing an annual review, reduce it to once a month or better yet, spend a day with your employee while they are performing their tasks and offer feedback. Whichever method you choose, one thing is for certain the old way of doing performance reviews are out of step with today’s workforce.

The Christmas Holiday season is here, which often means, your employees are fully engaged in preparing and maybe dreading for their family and other social events with friends. This is also the time of year when many companies take time to assess their sales figures of the past year and also prepare their budgets and financial goals for the New Year.

While employers expect their employees to be fully engaged at work, this can be difficult during the Holiday season since many are likely lost in the business of their lives outside of work, and will perhaps, lack proper motivation and energy to perform their best work. This is a natural and happens in many other organizations and thus, should not, however, be cause for alarm but rather seen as a way to keep your employees motivated.

3 Tips To Keep Your Employees Engaged During The Holiday Season

Here are 3 tips to help you keep your employees motivated during the holiday season:

Create a wow factor in the office– Bring some Holiday cheer to the office! Once a week during the holiday season, setup a table in the company’s cafeteria with free hot beverages and some light snacks. Everyone loves cookies and other holiday treats this time of the year. Hang up some garlands around the office and tune your radio/stereo system to a station that plays holiday music. In short, create a festive environment that your employees will look forward to each day.

Don’t be a scrooge- This is a time to embody compassion. Be cognizant that your employees will understandably be stressed during the holiday season and, for various reasons. To that end, make your employees schedules a bit friendlier, by offering flextime or and giving them an opportunity to work from home for a couple of days during the week. You will be viewed a wonderful boss and your company will reap the benefits of a happier workforce place and productive employees.

 Highlight your company’s year-end results and New Years goals- Did your company meet or exceed its financial goals of the past twelve months? If so, share the news with the employees whether your met those goals or not. Do not use this time to point out under-performers at your company. If you have an underachieving sales person, have a private conversation with them. You should however, focus on what the company’s goals were for the past year and where you fell short if, in fact, you did. Conversely share the good news if you beat expectations and discuss the targets for the New Year.

Bottom-line- This holiday, aim to create an atmosphere of acceptance, camaraderie and unity, and you can bet your employees will feel more motivated to complete their work. Remember, your employees are your greatest asset and no company can be viable without a happy and productive workforce.