UXB: The UneXpected Benefits

With over 1,500 customers you’d expect us to hear some rather extraordinary stories and you’d be right. In our 45+ year history we’ve heard many stories about the antics that companies have uncovered through our Time and Attendance solutions. In our #ItCouldNotHappenHere series we cover our “favourites” – one in each post.

The UneXpected Benefits

When a sudden reduction of payroll costs post implementation of Time & Attendance occurred it raised serious queries about the accuracy of the automated Time-To-Pay rules. The savings were way beyond those predicted based on usual manual payroll errors.

After a complete review of the system the revelation of the error left everyone speechless; it was a bombshell!

The previous manual paper time sheets had an overtime column (double time). When someone worked four hours at double-time the staff would enter ‘8 hours’ in this column believing they needed to do the manual calculation when in fact the payroll system did this. The result; if you worked four hours overtime you would be paid 16 hours at basic.

How long had this been going on for? As long as everyone could remember.

Dead Man Clocking

With over 1,500 customers you’d expect us to hear some rather extraordinary stories and you’d be right. In our 45+ year history we’ve heard many stories about the antics that companies have uncovered through our Time and Attendance solutions. In our #ItCouldNotHappenHere series we cover our “favourites” – one in each post.

Dead Man Clocking #hfxRealStories

We have encountered many cases of staff being paid for up to two years after leaving a company until it was discovered through the introduction of a Time & Attendance system.

However, the most unusual – and innocent – but still costly, was the continued salary payments to an employee who had long been dead and buried. As the saying goes Dead Men Don’t Clock

What Does Brexit Mean for HR?

Since Freedom of Movement within the EU came into existence through the Maastricht treaty in 1992, UK companies have had access to an almost limitless pool of foreign worker to recruit into the workplace. As more countries joined the EU, this pool grew larger and filling vacancies within the company became a relatively simple task.

There was also an incentive for EU workers to work in the UK due to the favourable exchange rate bearing in mind that most would send part of their salary back home to their families (in 2015 £1 would get you €1.4). However, since the decision to leave the UK in 2016, the pound has slipped to about €1.10 to the pound for those EU nationals repatriating their earnings back home, this represented an effective 20% pay cut since 2016.

This has removed much of the incentive to work in the UK and many EU nationals have or are planning to return to their home country. In addition, the pending border controls have created uncertainty and concern among foreign workers in terms of whether they can remain in the UK and how easy it will be to travel back and forth. As a result, high numbers are returning to their native countries in order to have guaranteed stability for their families. At the same time, the number of foreign workers wanting to come and work in the UK has dropped off for the same reason – uncertainty following Brexit.

Figures from the ONS report that EU migration is at its lowest levels since 2010 and that the number of EU nationals returning home has increased by 50% since the referendum. For organisations that have relied on EU workers, this represents a significant challenge as not only are they losing workers, but also struggling to replace those workers through traditional routes. With the unemployment rate at 3.9% – its lowest level since 1974 – the available pool of workers has reduced even more significantly. The impact of these changes is likely to be felt across every HR department with longer lead times to fill a vacancy, increased recruitment budgets and inflations busting pay reviews.

However, whilst the HR department is often left with the problem, the solution may lie elsewhere. To understand the solution, we need to explore whether the limitless supply of workers diminishes the need to improve workforce productivity, since 2008 UK productivity has flat-lined. If the UK had continued to improve productivity as the same pre-2008 levels, then we would be 20% more productive. In practical terms this means that organisations could have achieved 20% more without increasing their staff headcount.

So, what went wrong? This has yet to be entirely answered, but there is a convincing argument that during the 2008 recession many organisations stopped investing in productivity improvements. When the growth did return many organisations took the expedient route of increasing the head count which was accommodated by the pool of available EU workers. Indeed, there is some correlation between the period of productivity stagnation and increased EU workers within the UK.

Regardless of what caused productivity stagnation, the solution lies within the organisation by focusing on and investing in staff productivity. If you can improve the productivity within your existing workforce by just 5% that can reduce the need to increase headcount. As always whilst the solution may not be within HR, often it is left to HR to lead the initiative.

Often productivity is considered hard to measure and organisations find it difficult to identify the areas that require improvement, but there are 5 key areas to explore;

  1. Workforce Planning: do staff rosters align to business demand? Is it such a basic question that it is more overlooked than any other factor? Often the question cannot even be answered without detailed study. In our experience there can often be a 10% productivity gain through alignment of rosters to business activity. Often the issue is that whilst the rosters were originally aligned – albeit with a bit of guess work – they were never updated to reflect the changing and evolving business activity.
  2. Process and Technology: too many manual and/or cumbersome processes that consume too much time and are inefficient.
  3. Training: poor or infrequent training results in poor quality (and increased rework).
  4. Tools: providing the right tools to do the job is essential in maintaining high levels of productivity.
  5. Staff Retention: high staff turnover impacts productivity significantly as new recruits take time to come up to speed and often require time and intervention from other colleagues.

Focusing on these 5 areas will boost productivity and ensure that more can be achieved without needing to add to headcount.

However, there is a greater prize. Companies with high productivity levels have lower costs, increased profit and are more resilient to economic cycles.

Whilst many problems end up on the desk of HR to solve, now is the time for HR to take a strategic lead and present the problem – and solution – to the wider business. At HFX our solutions are powerful tools to help you improve productivity. Contact us via email at sales@hfx.co.uk or via telephone at 03333447872 to find out how our software solutions can help your productivity. Alternatively visit: https://www.hfx.co.uk/solutions/workforce-optimisation/ to find out more.

“Don’t put profit before safety”

Says Nick Whiteley, CEO of HFX workforce management systems

“Don’t put profit before safety” says Nick Whiteley, CEO of HFX workforce management systems

For all businesses, having a profitable bottom line is the measure of success. Running a tight ship means managing operating costs – whether goods, premises or staff – to ensure there is a healthy profit margin. However, one of the lessons learned from successful businesses is that cutting costs should not mean cutting corners.

This is particularly true when reviewing staff budgets. Increasingly, staff well being has become an area where investment should be carefully planned and not automatically be reduced to save on outgoings when sales and revenue are down. This is even more important for lone workers. Often a hidden workforce, it is an area that is increasingly attracting more attention as a cost-effective way to deliver services outside of the business premises.

Lone workers at risk

However, lone working is also coming under scrutiny with new Health & Safety legislation. In recent years, the wellbeing of lone workers has been highlighted as an area of increased risk. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, commissioned by the Office for National Statistics, as many as 150 lone workers are either physically or verbally attacked every day. Meanwhile, the Royal College of Nursing noted that more than 6% of lone workers in the NHS had been physically attacked while at work.

With the numbers of lone workers increasing, whether in remote or hazardous sites or working late or out of hours, employers have a duty of care to ensure their safety. We have seen Time and Attendance (T&A) Systems come full circle, from a way to manage a large workforce on one or multiple sites, to become the ideal solution also to manage lone worker safety.

Managing the hidden workforce

Long established to keep track of who is in and who is out in fixed locations, today T&A systems offer a flexible way to track lone workers. Using the latest technology, from biometric access control (providing secure, personal identification) that can be ‘zoned’ to monitor late or out of hours, to log-in facilities that enable remote workers to clock in and out when working on a different or client site.

Cloud solutions make this possible – employers can manage ‘anytime, everywhere’ working, while being able to monitor the safety and wellbeing of lone workers. If a worker fails to clock in, a manager can be alerted, and co-workers can be quickly despatched to ‘fill in’. In the event of an accident or issue, managers know exactly the location of staff, either to send additional help or contact the appropriate emergency services, if required.

The added benefit of a T&A system is that everyone is treated equitably and transparently. Regardless of whether your staff are working on a client’s site, in your production plant, at head office or working remotely from home, all work hours are captured and tracked efficiently in one single system.

This transparency and accuracy of working hours, including tracking sickness and holidays, with no hidden late offenders or false overtime claims, has been proven to improve morale.

Happy staff means more productive staff, which in turns delivers a healthy bottom line.

With the right systems in place, you can ensure staff safety, well being and deliver a healthy return on investment. Profit shouldn’t, or need, to be at the expense of safety.

To find out more about HFX and our solutions please call 03333 44 7872, email sales@hfx.co.uk or visit http://www.hfx.co.uk

HFX partners with Cezanne HR to offer Time & Attendance and Rostering to broaden Cezanne’s full HR employee lifecycle management solution

HFX partners with Cezanne HR to offer Time & Attendance and Rostering to broaden Cezanne’s full HR employee lifecycle management solution

Cloud-based workforce management solutions support HR teams with end-to-end systems to streamline recruitment, attendance and performance management efficiently.

HFX, the market leading provider of Cloud SaaS Workforce Management Solutions, has announced a new partnership with Cezanne HR, the UK’s primary provider of flexible Cloud HR systems for mid-sized UK & international organisations. HFX’s workforce management solutions connect seamlessly with Cezanne HR’s software and provides a modern, secure cloud HR management offering that covers the full employee lifecycle. The partnership will enable the two companies to provide organisations with fully integrated systems that streamline core HR, recruitment, time & attendance, absence and performance management and career planning activities.

HFX’s generation of workforce management solutions can be configured to meet exact requirements, to support unlimited numbers of work patterns and can be integrated with all major HR and payroll systems. Cloud-based, they provide the flexibility and features to support both small and large organisations, and are quick to deploy and easy to manage, reducing the costs of a complex IT infrastructure.

Jo Hill, Director at Cezanne HR said; “At Cezanne HR our aim is provide the very best HR system and services and HFX’s pedigree and experience is the perfect complement. Their proven history of developing innovative workforce management systems that integrate with other core HR systems enables us together to provide companies with a complete, seamless end-to-end solution to manage the employee lifecycle.”

Nicola Smart, COO at HFX commented: “The HR department today is an integral and strategic part of any organisation. Whether in a large or small organisation, HR is responsible for ensuring the business has the correct number of staff with the right skills and that employees are happy and safe at work. Working together, HFX and Cezanne HR support HR departments to manage their workforce to meet business demand efficiently and ensure accurate employee compensation and wellbeing.

“Together our solutions enable the automation of key HR processes and integration of performance, attendance and absence data, which enables HR teams to focus on strategic issues, from efficient roster scheduling to meet business needs to career and succession planning.”

HFX’s workforce management solutions include Time & Attendance, 3D Rostering, Flexitime, Workforce Optimisation, Access Control, Visitor Registration with clocking both via wall/door mounted devices and via PC, laptop or mobile app. Cezanne HR’s online service includes integrated modules for core HR, recruitment, onboarding, absence and performance management, career and succession planning.

4 Steps to Protect your Lone Workers

‘Out of sight out of mind’ used to be the mantra for lone workers, but as the number increases in the UK, employers are realising that it’s important to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Nick Whiteley outlines four steps that employers can take to manage their remote workers.

According to Government statistics, working alone is a daily occurrence for almost 6 million people in the UK. Many of us may have employees that classify as lone workers – in fact, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identifies lone workers as those that work by themselves without close or direct supervision from others.

Lone workers can be working in any industry – from housing, including estate agents, housing associations, social & health, homeworkers, transport & logistics, construction and out of hours work, (security people or cleaners). This covers a wide range of sectors and regardless of which your company is in, anyone that is working alone is at risk. Failure to protect them could result in serious harm to them – and to the reputation of your company.

The risks of working alone

All employers have a duty of care to employees as lone workers, which means ensuring that they take responsibility to provide ways to ensure health and safety. There are other benefits that employers who take their responsibility seriously can gain – employees who feel looked after and valued by their employers are more likely to feel more engaged and productive.

Knowing where to start with lone worker safety can be tricky. At HFX we have over 40 years’ experience of workforce management, of which lone worker safety is a key element. We’ve put the following four steps as a guide;

 1. Identify what types of lone workers you employ.

While there are many industries that employ lone workers, we have identified three categories: public-facing, mobile and fixed-site. Once you have assessed your workforce against these types it makes it much easier to work out what sort of protection they require – whether it requires regular calling in, personal alarms or special equipment – or a combination of all three.

 2. Implement a lone working policy

Having a lone working policy means that you can provide a practical guide that employees can apply to their roles. It’s not a legal requirement, but an effective policy can help to promote a strong safety culture amongst your employees, keeping them safe and reducing the risk of potential legal issues.

Your lone working policy should be accessible and easy to understand, and you should ensure that workers are familiar with it. Issuing a copy to new employees who will work alone or to any contractors or temporary workers is a good way to start.

3. Carry out lone worker training

Training is vital to ensure understanding of the risks, consequences and practical elements to ensure lone worker safety. While providing a copy of the policy to new employees shows due diligence, often training is what makes the difference to understanding and engagement. Early training is a worthwhile investment and might include tips on actions and behaviour, for example; making sure someone knows where they are, being cautious, or sharing incidents for future learning.

4. Implement systems to manage your workforce

A Time and Attendance (T&A) system can provide real time visibility of the entire workforce’s attendance and location anytime, anywhere. It enables a company to record staff attendance by collecting data in a number of ways, so you always know who’s in and who’s out. They range from the traditional clock on the wall that uses cards, tokens or biometrics, to apps that employees can download to their mobile devices, online apps, even dialling in by telephone. ‘Zoning’ can also help, so you can see exactly who is working in which department or area of the building at any time – especially out of normal working hours.

The tracking facility within a T&A system also helps to protect lone workers from a health and safety aspect. It can alert managers if staff do not turn up in the event of an incident, to direct help quickly to the right location, whether that is extra staff or the emergency services.

It’s important for the morale of your team and the effectiveness of any department to ensure your lone workers are as much a part of the business as everyone else. As well as knowing where they are, and the hours that they are working, it’s vital to get them to check in regularly and meet up with colleagues so that they feel part of the team. Lone working should not mean working alone.

To find out more about HFX and our solutions please call 03333 44 7872,
email sales@hfx.co.uk or visit http://www.hfx.co.uk

The Tea Bag Stash

With over 1,500 customers you’d expect us to hear some rather extraordinary stories and you’d be right. In our 45+ year history we’ve heard many stories about the antics that companies have uncovered through our Time and Attendance solutions. In our #ItCouldNotHappenHere series we cover our “favourites” – one in each post.

The Tea Bag Stash

The ingenuity of employees to find new ways of destroying Time & Attendance equipment is often amazing.

Ever wondered how to recycle used teabags? Apparently they are perfect for blocking clock card devices so your employer is unable to track your attendance. We have discovered this dirty trick several times when servicing a clocking device and end up with a handful of teabags!