By Court Cano Case Study
November 1, 2017
The leaves are falling, morning commutes are a little darker, and November is finally here. That means for the majority of us in America, Daylight Savings Time End is just around the corner. On November 5, 2017, at 2:00AM, we will be gaining an extra hour of sleep! But what does that mean for my employees who are scheduled for the night shift and “on the clock” at 2am on Sunday morning?
Employers are required to pay employees for all hours worked. Non-exempt employees who are on the clock at 2:00am on November 5th are essentially working the 1:00 – 2:00AM hour two times, therefore they must be paid one additional hour, unless there is already anticipation of the change in time in scheduling. Keep in mind the overtime pay implications during this time change, as well. Employees may be entitled to overtimes due to Daylight Savings ending. Be sure to include the additional hours worked into both regular and overtime hours calculations.
Our timekeeping solutions are so intuitive and automatically account for these changes depending on your time zone. Contact us today for more information!
September 20, 2017
Call centers that optimize their human capital can significantly increase efficiency and productivity. This was the intent of our example company, a customer service center which had launched eight years previously with one healthcare client. Last year, when they adopted Workforce Management Suite, they provided inbound and outbound support for six health insurers, three nationwide financial clients, and two auto insurance firms.
In optimizing human capital, the business had four specific goals:
- Increase precision of scheduling to maximize employee efficiency
- Decrease overtime and better enforce employee breaks
- Keep labor costs in check while still providing a high level of service
- Accommodate associates’ scheduling preferences to increase employee morale and reduce turnover
Our case study had purchased a software-based, onsite WFM system five years before switching to Workforce Management Suite. It was fairly sophisticated when installed, but the manufacturer had not kept up with the latest technology and its value diminished as the organization evolved. Furthermore, the software updates were expensive and the system was down for days when something went wrong.
Solution – Workforce Management Suite
The forward-thinking owners were eager to upgrade to a call center Workforce Management system that made it effortless to implement the latest Workforce Management best practices to get a leg up in a crowded call center market. Though they had spent thousands on their onsite software, they knew their needs would be better met with an SaaS solution. Workforce Management Suite, which contains TimeWorksPlus, TimeSimplicity, and TimeWorksTouch, capably met each of their targets, as outlined below.
With TimeSimplicity, the scheduling solution in Workforce Management Suite, department managers can create standard schedule templates for busy and slow sales periods, which vary per department. With the standard schedule in place, managers can drag and drop to customize for each client, employee group, or other department-specific factors. The system has essentially eliminated coverage gaps, over-staffing, and departmental imbalances.
TimeSimplicity gives managers innovative tools to evaluate attendance history, identify trends, and forecast future needs. As the weeks go by, supervisors have an ever-increasing amount of key data to help elevate the accuracy of scheduling.
Overtime and Break Management
Companies that fail to control overtime, can really take a financial hit. Workforce Management Suite customizable overtime warnings have reduced labor expenses while proving to be a huge timesaver for managers.
Reduced Labor Costs
Timecard estimation was common at the business prior to Workforce Management Suite. The call center employees would estimate start and end times after the fact if they forgot to punch in. TimeWorksPlus has a schedule adherence function which doesn’t clock employee time outside of prescribed hours and enforces authorized break and meal duration. Tardies and absences are monitored and controlled and buddy-punching has become impossible. The firm is now only paying employees for time actually worked.
Accurate Time Cards and Hassle-free Payroll
TimeWorksTouch has PunchLogic, a feature that makes it ’employee-aware.’ For example, it doesn’t allow staff members to unwittingly clock into the wrong activity. It gives the employees only the options that apply to their current work status (shift beginning, break, meal, or shift ending). Time card accuracy has improved dramatically, saving managers countless admin hours previously spent fixing inaccurate time cards.
Accommodate Scheduling Preferences While Retaining Quality of Service
Call centers generally have a high attrition rate because customer service is an entry-level job for many young workers and a common short-term stint for students and men and women who are temporarily unemployed in their chosen field. Call centers that succeed are able to attract competent employees, quickly train them to be excellent service reps, pay a competitive wage, and maintain low employee turnover.
Increased Employee Accountability
The management at our example office had discovered that accommodating employee scheduling preferences let them to pay slightly less than the median rate in their metro area. The benefits were two-fold: a savings in labor costs and improved worker retention. These savings increase exponentially as they continue to expand their workforce.
Meeting Scheduling Preferences
TimeSimplicity allows supervisors to set minimum/maximum hour preferences per employee. Automated time-off requests simplify life for employees. Mobile Employee Self Service (ESS) enables employees to view their schedule, shift opportunities, and accruals from anywhere. The management team also experimented with allowing fully trained employees within the same skill set group (phone, email, or live chat certified) to handle their own shift trades. When presented with this display of confidence, the reps rose to the occasion and the policy has since become permanent. The practice has not been abused, and turnover has decreased.
Improved Employee Work/Life Balance
The management team believes that prior to the change in policy, most associates were afraid of requesting too many shift trades per week. Now that they are trusted to cover their own shifts when they make a trade, they have more schedule flexibility than ever before. The dedicated crew does not want to give up this valuable perk, even to make a slightly higher wage at a competitor’s business.
Higher morale has improved the quality of service provided by the reps. Employees who are respected and trusted by management can concentrate on doing quality work and meeting production goals.
Workforce Management Suite: Essential For Continued Growth
Now that the office has optimized human capital, the owners plan to expand their services to include order processing and lead response. They are certain that Workforce Management Suite will help them successfully accommodate this growth.
August 30, 2017
Today’s post is a case study of a Chinese buffet restaurant chain that increased profitability with TimeWorksTouch schedule enforcement. The eight location restaurant chain’s margins were shrinking due to rising food costs, so the owner was searching for ways to bolster the bottom line. Competition was tight in the working class community and an attempt to raise menu prices resulted in fewer diners.
He decided to figure out how to limit the cost of labor. All of his employees were hourly except eight full-time head cooks and four managers, each of whom managed two restaurants. Several prep cooks and servers also split hours between locations.
He knew he was paying a lot in overtime and wanted an employee timekeeping system for restaurants that could automatically track and prevent overtime shifts. During busy times, the managers were juggling so many balls that checking which associates had moved into overtime hours was impossible. Few employees wanted to work overtime anyway, so he knew that proactive overtime management would be welcomed by the workforce.
Solution – Workforce Management Suite
Workforce Management Suite consists of TimeWorksPlus, TimeSimplicity, TimeWorks Mobile, and TimeWorksTouch. Each component integrates seamlessly for comprehensive restaurant Workforce Management.
Each supervisor was able to enter all their employee and shift information in less time that it had previously taken to establish just one monthly schedule in Excel. The schedule enforcement tool prevents out-of-schedule punches and sends notifications before a worker hits the customized threshold. When a warning goes off on a manager’s phone, the manager is able to send the staff member home before overtime kicks in. Accurate break tracking has also delivered a savings in labor costs.
Timekeeping Accuracy for Mobile Staff members
The mobile functionality has quickly proven to be an invaluable feature for managers and associates that split hours between locations. No more retroactively guessing punch times after the fact.
Workforce Management Suite delivered an affordable solution that quickly paid for itself in a few weeks and continues to limit the cost of labor with every single shift.
If you would like more info, please contact us at 503.968.5409.
August 8, 2017
It’s easy to see why companies have been steadily moving from premise-based operations to cloud-based, or SaaS (software as a service) solutions. Today’s message highlights 3 significant benefits of cloud-based WFM systems.
1. Saves Money
Low cost setup.
Eliminates expense of IT maintenance.
Avoid rates for software updates.
Easily grows with your organization.
2. Anywhere/Anytime Access
All you need is a web browser.
Centralized records and management.
Customize features and access per user.
Mobile access increases productivity.
Ideal solution for companies with multiple sites and mobile employees.
3. Quick Implementation
Infrastructure already in place.
With login credentials, you are ready to go.
Integrates with your payroll processing platform.
To learn how cloud-based Workforce Management Suite benefits your specific business and industry, call us today!
August 3, 2017
Restaurant Owner Owes $30,000 for a $30 Mistake
Bobbi Best owns Blondies’ Bistro in Grants Pass, Oregon. In December 2015, a man named Martin Robinson applied for a cook’s position. In the restaurant industry, it is customary for job seekers to exhibit cooking skill in a “working interview.” As Best had routinely done with previous job aspirants, she asked Robinson to sign a waiver in which he consented to an unpaid working interview.
Signed Waivers of Acceptance Don’t Supersede Labor Regulations
Evidently, Best did not understand that Oregon labor laws obligate payment of at least minimum wage for time spent in working interviews. At minimum wage, the working interview would have earned Robinson about $30. The following day, Robinson worked a standard shift but then declined the job in a text message to Best. Best paid him approximately $60 for the regular shift.
Ignoring It Won’t Make It Go Away
Robinson took Best to court where she was ordered to pay a fine for the violation. Best didn’t pay the initial fine which compounded to $4,400 in the early spring of 2016. As of October 31, 2016, she had paid over $13,000 in legal fees but still owed over $21,000 to Robinson and his lawyer.
There are numerous lessons to be learned from this story:
1. Employers need to keep accurate, comprehensive records to protect themselves in case of a labor dispute. Accurately track employee hours for working interviews, training, and regular shifts with TimeWorksTouch from SwipeClock. Customize settings to reflect state and industry-specific provisions.
2. Be aware that a or employee may exploit even a small infraction. Labor courts almost always favor the worker, even if they act rapidly to make amends.
3. Gain a comprehensive understanding of state and federal labor provisions, comply with them, and keep up with changes.
4. In the unfortunate event that you are fined, pay immediately before late penalties build up.
Are You at Risk?
Source: Based on an October 31, 2016 story written by Jeff Duewel for the Grants Pass Daily Courier, republished by the Medford, Oregon-based Mail Tribune. Jeff Duewel, “Working interview turns into nightmare for Grants Pass Bistro,” Mail Tribune, October 31, 2016, http://www.mailtribune.com/news/20161031/working-interview-turns-into-nightmare-for-grants-pass-bistro, accessed February 28, 2017