Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to Respond When Things Go Wrong – Part Two

Every company should be prepared to face problems. The important thing is to not expect them to happen and then react. The ideal thing is to think ahead and make plans that contribute to fixing the damage before it happens so that the damage to your business is minimal, even after a serious incident.

Here is the second part of a two-part series with tips on how you can respond when things go wrong in your company.

·  Be Ready To Respond: You should already have your emergency action plan (EAP) written by now, so at this point you want to make sure that your staff know about it. It is important that each one knows what is expected of one another when an emergency pops up. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the emergency is. In fact, it is vital that you do “test runs” every month to keep them fresh on emergency procedures. You should keep in mind that no plan is ever perfect until you put it to the test.
o   Here are some areas of training you should focus on:
§  Basic first aid
§  Use of fire extinguisher
§  Emergency equipment shutdown
§  Building evacuation procedures
§  Emergency notification procedures
§  CPR

·  Recovery Procedures: Once the first the steps are in the books, it is vital that you get back in the swing of things and get your business up and running again. Make sure you have a plan for how you will recover after a disaster happens. Think about these questions:
o   Will you need another location?
o   Are you able to obtain replacement equipment?
o   Do you have someone to clean up the business?
o   Is it possible to recover any lost data on time clocks or other instruments?
o   Can your staff get to work?
o   Will your workers be able to reach you?
o   Can your suppliers still get you the goods on a regular basis?

Monday, December 10, 2012

How to Respond When Things Go Wrong – Part One

No business is ever safe, especially a small business. In today’s economy, a business can go under in a heartbeat and not always because of financial woes. For instance, employees could be injured, important information may be lost due to computer errors, or even a natural disaster can destroy your factory, office, or working space.

While it’s impossible to be prepared for every disaster, thinking ahead and having contingency plans is always a good idea. Being ready for the unexpected can help you keep your cool as well as your business. Here are some tips for planning for the worst:

1.     Figure out everything that could go wrong. This is important because it tests the vulnerability of your business. This goes well past simple things like time clock software being broken and encompasses things like mass computer failure or integral machine break-down. When looking at the risk assessment you should keep these things in mind:
·       List all the risks or threats your business can face.
·       Determine how vulnerable your business is to these threats.
·       Start prioritizing the threats.

2.     Develop a strong business plan. This will be known as an “EAP”, or Emergency Action Plan, which will help deal with everything you listed in step one. Sometimes these plans will be set by law and, at other times, you will be responsible for setting up the procedures. Here are some tips to help you through this step:
·       Write a clear written policy of your company’s chain of command.
·       List the people who are responsible for assessing risks to property and people.
·       Include instructions on how to shut down any equipment you may have.
·       Record facility evacuation procedures.
·       Include forms needed or procedures required to report any emergency.

With some forethought, you and your business can be ready for any number of incidents or accidents. While it is impossible to prepare for anything, having emergency protocol set can help deal with the unplanned incidents as well.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How to Delegate Productively

As a manager or leader in your business, you will find yourself delegating out work at some point or another. While proper delegation makes for a well-run and productive team, improper delegation of tasks can side rail and entire project. There are a few tricks that all managers can use to help make sure that tasks are proportioned out fairly, that hours on the time clock are met, and that work is set out in a way that encourages work instead of inhibits.

To reduce the risk of problems when delegating work, start by issuing smaller, easier tasks first. This limits the damage that can be caused in case someone fails. This also will help build the self-esteem of the person who took that responsibility if they succeed.

You should never limit yourself to just explaining what they should do either. When people realize how their work fits in the process, they can react better when things go wrong or when you are not present. Having a chance to innovate can sometimes bring out the best in employees.

Take a look at these other tips which will help you be a better delegator:

1.     Choose things that you can delegate “up”. This means picking things that are simple enough that you can pass off to an assistant like checking emails, picking up dry cleaning and so on.
2.     Choose things that you can delegate “down”. These are the items that you want professionals handling. For instance, you will want to hire an accountant or bookkeeper to do the numbers.
3.     Provide crystal clear instructions. Being able to delegate successfully starts with getting through to your people clearly. If someone doesn’t understand something, make sure they do by talking things over.
4.     Empower the staff. Give your employees enough responsibility to make them feel special. It goes a long way.
5.     Letting go. Some people can do tasks better than you can. Let go and let those with the strengths in that task do said step.
6.     Invest in long-term success. Choose employees that will stick around for a long time but make sure they are worth having around as well.

Do not forget the reality of the learning curve: the first task delegated does not always run optimally. Do not be tempted to take the matter into your own hands. Give your employees a chance and teach them where they went wrong. You will often be surprised at the improvement rate that shows.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Time Management at the Office

Every business is looking for a way to become more efficient while using less manpower. Each CEO wants to spend less money on manpower while increasing productivity. If you are in one of these situations, where the boss is making you take on more work in less time then you may want to continue reading.

Here are 9 tips on how you can increase your time management at work:

1.     Finding out which system works best. You should start out your week by writing down everything you should do that week followed by a daily calendar.
2.     Take back your calendar and what’s left of your life. Make sure you live with a purpose and ensure that technology is your slave, not letting technology enslave you. Be sure to remember that “neat” is not the same thing as “organized”.
3.     Project planning. Having the right software for planning projects is ideal. Microsoft Outlook is perfect for planning. You should also learn how to micromanage.
4.     Learn how to manage interruptions. This step will save you plenty of time. You will be interrupted every single day but how you react to it will define you as a time-saver.
5.     Get your calendar back. Taming a calendar is hard work, but it can be done. The first step is keeping the most important objectives first.
6.     Delegate a “must do” list. Every person will have things that they must do so keep these things separate so you do not forget them. Sometimes you will not be able to get around to the task and therefore you must choose someone else to do the work.
7.     Perform productive meetings. Meetings are important parts to a business. It all starts with people getting to work on time. Ensure that your time clock is up-to-date.
8.     Manage your projects, not the time. Know what is due and what can be put off in favor of something that is more critical.
9.     Create meeting templates. That way you know what to say and in what order, reducing time spent in the meeting.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Communicate Effectively With Your Employees

Your position as an owner or a manager doesn’t mean that you have to be hard on your employees all the time. You can be a listener when you need to be and caring when you have to be. Improving your manner and method of communication can help your business culture improve as well as give your employees the motivation to show up in the morning.

Look at the tips to help you communicate better with your staff so that productivity and efficiency are maintained and/or improved.

1.     Take Your Time When Building Relationships. Besides looking at job obligations, giving staff feedback and speaking about attendance concerns, a significant component of your function is to find out things about your staff. Once you understand your current employees’ individual performance styles, tastes and desires, you will gain their trust.
2.     Be A Great Listener. Very good communication is something that both parties must learn. Once you initiate interactions with staff, greet these individuals personally and listen closely and sincerely. Know about the other person’s gestures and vocal tones.
3.     Give Effective Feedback. Make sure your employees know that they are invaluable assets.
4.     Diversity.  Your workplace comprises of folks from widely different backgrounds who add up to achieve a common goal. Understand that they are all there to get treated as individuals although they also want to be judged independently.
5.     Personal Issues Do Arise. Every employee is going to have problems at home or away from work. Punching a time clock on time will not be as easy as everyone believes issues bring an individual down. Make sure you cut your employees some slack from time to time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Management Tips for Accurate, Efficient Payroll

Payroll management involves more than monitoring the time clock. Nowadays, the payroll function is as complicated as ever, especially with federal government oversight of corporate accounting practices, several different types of automatic deductions, and international staffing. In such an environment, payroll calculations are usually automated, though some smaller companies still use a manual system to compute paychecks and hours worked. However, even in the case of entities with fewer than 50 workers, automated time clock systems are very common.

The best way to make certain that there are no major errors in payroll checks is to use a reliable and consistent method of calculating all check amounts. Whether your company uses electronic time clock systems or online time loggers, be attentive to keeping accurate records of hours worked for each employee.

Some modern time clocks do a variety of calculations that were unheard of just two or three decades ago. And some old systems still work, despite their age. A punch card system works well for organizations that have fewer than 50 workers.

For large firms, time loggers work well. In these computer-based systems, workers check in via their computer terminals. In some cases, computer-timing programs use a magnetic terminal for swipe cards. Large companies are especially susceptible to time fraud due to the impersonal nature of the systems and vulnerability to hacking. Some of the higher-end programs contain subtle but effective safeguards against such activity.

Whether large or small, every business should keep a separate bank account for payroll funds. In fact, a patchwork of federal and state laws require certain types of entities to maintain separate accounts for payroll purposes. Aside from the purposes of the law, it is a wise practice to label a bank account specifically for payroll. When tax time comes, companies who have accurate records and segregated accounts will be in a better position to prepare accurate tax returns quickly and simply. When it comes down to it, a time clock is the basis for vital payroll calculations, pure and simple.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Common Payroll Mistakes to Avoid

Photo Source: bookkeeping-blog.com

The IRS has several rules and regulations when it comes to governing payroll. Your mission, whether you are a business owner or payroll manager, is to avoid running into problems with the IRS. Avoiding an audit is a goal for anyone, and can be done partially by not making mistakes with payroll.

Payroll seems so simple. Yet, one mistake can bring problems both from the government and your employees. According to the IRS’s “Employment Tax Research Project” payroll mistakes tend to fall into four categories. Whether because of wrong time clock data or deliberate fraud, payroll mistakes tend to occur in:

·       Fringe benefits
·       Worker misclassification
·       Payroll taxes
·       Executive compensation

Broken further down, common payroll mistakes made by businesses tend to boil down to:

1. Classification of Employees as Independent Contractors

2. Failure to Subject Vendor Payments to Backup Withholding

3. Failure to Issue Form 1099s

4. Not Including the Fair Market Value of Gift Cards, Prizes and Awards in Employees' Income

5. Failing to Timely Deposit Withheld Taxes

6. Failure to Timely Deposit Withholding Taxes on Vested Restricted Stock and Exercise of Stock Options

7. Incorrectly Excluding Expense Reimbursements from Reportable Wages

8. Failure to Include Nonqualified Deferred Compensation in Executives' Incomes

9. Not Including the Appropriate Value of Taxable Fringe Benefits in Employees' Income

10. Excluding Travel and Commuting Expense Reimbursements from Employees' Income.

Avoiding these mistakes can be as easy as investing in a new time clock or even hiring outside payroll management. Either way, it is always in your best interest (and your employees’ interest) to have an efficient, effective payroll system in place.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Working With Others

If you share workspace with others, there are quite a few written, and unwritten, rules you should know. Of course, not all common work areas are the same, but in general, it is best that you try to be self-sufficient.

A time clock might be at the entrance and perhaps you need to punch in or just use it for specific jobs. Know the rules about the time clock and who should use it.

It also helps to know how much talking and chatting is tolerated. Some workspaces are silent, but most allow at least a moderate hum. Try to learn the upper limits of noise and adhere to the common rule.

Keep in mind that you should not bother others with questions that pertain to your own work. If you are self-sufficient, moderately quiet, and know about time clock rules, a common work area can be your friend.

The secret to getting along in common work areas has to do with friendliness. Try to stay in the social network and do not abuse the allotted time for work in the area. Often, shared workspace is used for events in the evenings, so you need to know when to make a timely exit. A visible time clock can help with this detail. Networking with the other employees and respecting the space usage policy are two habits that will make you a good neighbor to your comrades.

Finally, remember that the kitchen area is for your use, but the food is not. Unless a food item is specifically marked as a group item, do not touch it. Bring your own food and eat it in the kitchen. If others do the same, everybody will be happy and there will be no bad feelings about ‘stolen’ meals.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Uses of a Punch Time Clock

The time clock has become a very important tool in the business. Time clocks can not only help monitor work places but can also establish a clear vision of the working time in the company. A punch clock has many benefits for all parts of an enterprise, as well as for management employees.

Punch clocks help record time in and out by employees and workers. Not only are these time cards used for payroll, but they can also be used to help monitor how much time is spent on specific projects as well as on working schedules of specific departments. In addition, punch time clocks can help provide a clearer image of what the bottom line of the company is, and is not, completing.

More modern time clocks offer other features. Building security, including management of time management, secure entry and management of movements in different spaces are just a couple of things that a time clock can do for a small business. User management with access controls for visitors whether they are customers or suppliers and parking management. A time clock can intervene to control access or entry point in a building to identify, authenticate, authorize or prohibit the attendance areas for which it is programmed.

The advantage of the time clock for various stakeholders of the company, department heads, and administrators lies in the ability of terminals to record and make available comprehensive information. Information from the time clock is pulled off as easy as it is put on. Employees will time stamp their hours simply by “clocking in”. Payroll will then break down the hours and then count log the time they clocked in and clocked out, totaling the hours up and then cutting a check.

In the end, while a punch time clock is not for everyone, there are numerous other options on the market that offer a variety of features. Do your homework and decide whether a punch clock is for your or if a different model would better suit your needs.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Implement a Time Clock System Effectively

Implementing a time clock system for your company involves a bit of thought. Depending how many employees you have, how large your facility is, and what level of security you need, you will want to invest in a time clock system that is just right. There are currently so many different systems on the market you might be confused by the selection. Keep in mind that a simple time clock can meet most of your needs if you use it correctly. Larger, more elaborate systems typically involve computer software that monitors hours worked, employees names, and dozens of other parameters.

Be sure to put the time clock in a place where every worker will see it. This is crucial. If you put the device in an out-of-the-way location, you risk losing valuable data, as some workers will not see the clock and will begin work without logging in.

It is wise to put a large, company bulletin board near the time clock in order to make it a gathering place for your personnel. When the clock is in an open location, which gets a lot of traffic, there is less chance for fraudulent behavior.

Perhaps the most vital aspect of time clock management is making sure that every employee knows how to operate the device. Most companies hold training sessions when a new clock system is purchased. After that, try to make time clock training a standard part of each new hire’s orientation.

Some of the newer, biometric time systems are quite expensive, but are perfect for organizations that need high security. A biometric time clock uses fingerprints, iris scans, or other physical characteristics to track employee access to the building and to log the proper number of hours worked. Usually, the more expensive the time clock, the less chance there is for fraud.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How to Cut Costs and Be Efficient

As a business owner, you are probably constantly looking for ways to increase profits and increase business. At one point in time, you have most likely thought of cutting expenses to help boost profitability. Technically, it doesn’t matter if you’re having the best quarter in history because when it comes down to it, costs that are out-of-control will quickly eat up any profits that you gain.

Avoid going under by keeping a close eye on your expenses (you can use a business accounting tool). While cutting expenses can help greatly, be smart about what you cut. You don’t want to sacrifice efficiency for cost.

Here are some tips to being cost effective when making budget cuts:
  • Try out a new telecom system. This can range from Internet to landlines to wireless providers.
  • Enforce the “no splurge” business travel rule. This technically means that your staff cannot spend whatever they want when they travel. Make them accountable for what they spend.
  •  Move your IT network to the “Cloud”. Whenever you have the chance to move digital files and other software off your computer to another place- do it.
  • Cut back on overtime. Switching from a time clock that uses paper to a computerized time clock is a great move. It saves you money on multiple fronts.
  • Earning vendor discounts using credit is smart. Early payment discounts offer by a selection of vendors can save you thousands of dollars a year.

Cutting your expenses should only mean one thing: you gain more profit. By viewing these areas, you will hopefully be able to maximize your profits without losing efficiency.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Time Clocks for Business Efficiency

A traditional timesheet allows a company’s employees to record exactly when they start and end work. For a number of employees, this will amount to starting their work at the beginning of their shift and punching out whenever it ends. For the others, this could involve keeping a detailed list of start and stop times for their various projects, activities or jobs during the day. No matter what your business may need, time clock software will allow your employees the ability to record information more easily, objectively and actively.

Time clock software will help lower any operating costs that your business may have by making your payroll processing become more efficient along with making labor costs a lot more visible than they were in the past. It will also ensure attendance compliance and helps automate any invoicing or billing of your clients. Here are a few reasons how time clock software will help your business in today’s rough economy.

It simplifies your payroll

Time clock software will take every punch that your employees have accrued within a certain amount of time and it will generate timecards based on whatever your payroll is set on. Your regular hours, paid leave and overtime are all calculated for you and totaled instantly so you don’t have to do the math yourself.

It ensures compliance

A time clock is going to allow you to fully manage your attendance and employee time, even when it comes to lunch breaks or sick leave. With certain units, employees cannot punch in or out for each other, ensuring that the hours recorded are honest.

It manages the labor costs for you

Whenever you do payroll, your time clock software will figure in everything for you when it calculates the weekly attendance. Whenever you input your employees into the system, you will be asked to put all pertinent information into the software. This will allow the software to figure up everything for you. All you have to do is print out everything and take it to payroll, or even export to payroll software directly.

It automates client billing

Remember that client billing should be summarized by the job or the client so it can be accurately billed. A time clock can help with this process, lowering error by inaccurate recording as well as providing an efficient way to track multiple projects.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Keeping Telecommuters on Track

Almost 30 million American workers can do part of their work from their home or remote locations, according to a recent survey performed by the people at International Telework Association. With 1 in 5 workers telecommuting, getting everyone to punch in on the time clock, together for a meeting, or to check-in can be difficut. Fortunately, the employee time clock is one way that you can keep track of telecommuters.

Managing telecommuting technology is tough, but managing the workers can be even tougher. Telework has a habit of amplifying organizational weaknesses and if the company is already weak in the terms of management, then the policy needs to be updated before the teleworking begins. Teleworking can force a manager to sharpen simple managerial skills, not only to streamline the work force but also to make sure the job gets done when it needs to be.

Here are some ways you can create the best environment for teleworkers, and for your company overall:

Implement a great employee time clock system – A solid web-based, employee time clock will help you keep track of your employees, remotely and in-office.
Identify some tasks that are suitable telecommuting - List positions that aren’t good for telecommuting first, as this will be much easier. Then examine what’s left and decide if telecommuting is viable.
Establish ground rules - Make sure every employee is on the same page. Set rules for telecommuters in terms of what needs to be done.
Be prepared to enforce the rules - If a decision comes up to where you need to make a tough call, make sure you can do it.
Practice effective management - Calling regular meetings is a must. Be sure your telecommuters are aware that just because they are not in the office doesn’t mean they are exempt from team meetings.
Provide effective support - Always support your workers. Just as they reach out to you, reach out to them as well.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why You Should Automate the Employee Time Clock

Photo Credit: centralfloridastaffing.com
For many, running an office can become a time exhausting affair. Not only is work management a factor, but also human resources and payroll. Many small business owners can find themselves overwhelmed quickly when the office grows, particularly when it comes to keeping accurate payroll. There are several new pieces of technology that can help an office run smoothly, however, and that can help lessen the anxiety that can come with managing staff.

One innovation that can help keep the office efficient and functional is an employee time clock. Time clocks not only help keep the workforce on track, but can also record time worked and even time off with more accuracy than hand entry can afford. A time clock is easy to operate and often just as easy to put in. For many business owners, this automated system is just what they need to help their business run efficiently and smoothly.

While there are many types of employee time clocks, biometric and web-based are some of the most popular, and offer numerous benefits. With these units, businesses can:

1.     Minimize Human Errors - These types of tracking systems actually ensure the elimination of errors (at least the human ones) while recording work hours. Studies show that there is a 99% accuracy rate.
2.     Checks and Balances are Infallible - Simply put, with the system’s biometric features the software is impossible to evade.
3.     Productivity and Efficiency - There is an increase across the board in both these areas.
4.     Value Added to the Company - With the addition of the system, you are adding a serious money-saving addition to your business.
5.     Employees are Happier - With fewer errors in recording, your employee will be much happier with you.
6.     Efficient Processing for Payroll - Everyone likes getting paid on time and this system allows you to do just that.

There are numerous advantages to adding a time clock to the office. Be sure to find a unit that works for you and your business, so that you can take advantage of the technology that is out there.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How Fingerprint Time Clocks Help The Bottom Line

When an employer looks at their bottom line, they almost always see that payroll eats the biggest chunk of the money. It is the biggest expense business owners face. Add to that, whether white or blue collar, employees have long been involved in payroll fraud. Fortunately, the implementation of fingerprint time clocks can help steer away from fraud.

Fingerprint time clocks capture the unique fingerprint of each employee for use when he or she comes to work every day, whether on site or off site. Removing theft of time from the equation may help employers get a handle on payroll costs, as well as curtail time theft.

With this new technology, employees will no longer be able to punch the time card of a co-worker, reducing time theft. A time clock will also eliminate the time consuming task for the human resources department of having to manually calculate payroll. Additionally, there is no storage space needed like there is if you have to store time cards for tax record purposes.

To set an employee up in the fingerprint scanning system, an employer need only have the employee put his or her finger on the scanner and his or her unique fingerprint is scanned. The fingerprint scanners are easy to use and are portable and easily tied into a company’s computer system.

Streamlining the preparation of payroll, as well as taking the idea of employee theft of hours out of the equation of running a business, allows employers and their employees to focus on the job at hand – running the business. Electronic payroll systems integrate well with fingerprint time clock and can help streamline a business to an even finer degree.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tips to Help Implement a Time Clock

There’s no doubt that employee time management is a critical component of any workplace’s productivity and efficiency. Employee time clocks can be a valuable resource and vehicle when managing employee’s times and making sure those employees are spending their time wisely.

Time clocks help businesses accurately store and track employee time data. Using this data, management can assess whether or not the company is performing as efficiently as possible and if any productivity issues are present in the workplace.

An employee time clock will not work up to its potential if it is not implemented correctly. All employees, not just management, should be familiar with the time clock system and how it works. Your employees will be the ones, after all, using the time clocks to punch in and out and to track payroll and time data.

After selecting and purchasing a time clock system for your workplace, arrange an orientation session for your employees. Consider asking a representative from the time clock company from which you purchased the product to help you with the session. Take time to make sure that all employees understand the details and capabilities associated with the time clock system and answer all questions. Consider distributing users manuals or cheat sheets that detail how to use the time system.

To correctly implement a time clock system, make sure that system can grow with your business. Limited scalability systems will not accommodate company expansion and growth, so go with a system that can last with your company through such changes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Make Office Security a Priority in Your Workplace

Keeping your company’s information and client information guarded, as well as your employees safe, are all part of office security. Office theft can lead to the loss of client information, personal employee information, and valuable office possessions.

It’s absolutely vital that a workplace has a high level of office security. There are several steps a workplace can take to increase its level of office security, safeguard its employees, protect its possessions, and keep company and client information safe. Most office crimes take place in workplaces that have little or no security measures in place.

As a first step in increasing office security, consider hiring a security professional to do a full security assessment. A complete, professional assessment includes your office’s current security measures and potential weak points. Once the assessment is completed, a workplace should follow up on its recommendations and consult with local law enforcement accordingly.

General measures that a workplace can take to increase office security range from the physical make-up of the office to communicating policies with employees. It’s essential that employees are not only aware of the office security policies and procedures, but that they strictly follow these policies and procedures. Measures to help increase office security include:

·      Installing key card access and security cameras around exterior areas.
·      Creating a security system for accessing computer systems and online data.
·      Securing and locking important paperwork and data.
·      Keeping employees informed on what to do in the event of an emergency.
·      Install a fingerprint time clock.
·      Arranging office spaces so that unwelcome visitors are easily spotted.
·      Instituting a company badge policy so employees are easily identified.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How Fingerprint Time Clocks Help The Bottom Line

When an employer looks at their bottom line, they almost always sees that payroll eats the biggest chunk of the money. It is the biggest expense business owners face. Add to that, the idea that whether white or blue collar, employees have long been involved in payroll fraud. To steer away from this, the implementation of fingerprint time clocks can help.  

Fingerprint time clocks capture the unique fingerprint of each employee for use when he or she comes to work every day. A fingerprint time clock can be used with employees that work either on site or off site. Removing theft of time from the equation may help employers get a handle on payroll costs. 

With this new technology, employees will no longer be able to punch the time card of a co worker and it also eliminates the time consuming task for the human resources department of having to manually calculate payroll. Additionally, there is no storage space needed like there is if you have to store time cards for tax record purposes.

To set an employee up in the fingerprint time clock system, an employer need only have the employee put his or her finger on the scanner and their unique fingerprint is scanned. The fingerprint scanners are easy to use and are portable and easily tied into a company’s computer system.

Streamlining the preparation of payroll as well as taking the idea of employee theft of hours out of the equation of running a business, employers and their employees can focus on the job at hand – running the business. Electronic payroll systems integrate well with fingerprint scanners.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Interview Etiquette

After hours of work submitting resumes and covers letters, you finally are invited in for the interview! Yet for many the interview is one of the most nerve wrecking parts of any job search. You want to make a good impression and may arrive early in your best suit to make a good impression.
Remember, however, that etiquette in interviews goes a long way to impressing an employer. There are some things you should remember to do the next time you head into an interview for your dream job. Here are a few tips that may be helpful in the interview process.
Listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying and ask plenty of questions.
The interviewer first presents the problem. Take time to organize your thoughts, ask clarifying questions and then explain to the interviewer your thoughts. The interviewer will give you important information and help so be sure you listen!
Structure the problem and then work out a plan to solve it.
Often interviewers will give a scenario and ask how you’d handle it. Think for a moment about the case. Place for a structure and a concept firmly in order to clarify each step and determine which analysis you want to do in order to arrive at a solution.
Think before you speak…
Take time to organize your thoughts and avoid jumping to conclusions.
Concentrate on the essentials.
Focus on the issues that really matter and give reasons for your decisions. Be able to clarify your reasoning clearly.
Generate hypothesis and then examine possible options.
Make suggestions and then do the calculations of these major problems when solving them. The interviewer looks to the same things as any client: innovative approaches that can be changed by the company’s rules and thus creating a sustainable and competitive advantage.
Summarize your thoughts together and draw conclusions from your analysis.
Sum up your key points at the end of the interview and the hypotheses developed by your options and make the final push to show that you are the best option for the company. Show why you want to, and should be, punching into the company time clock every day. You want to ensure that the business does not think about any other prospective employee except for you after you leave and following these simple steps is a great way to start.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Making A Smooth Transition to A Biometric Time Clock System

Human resource professionals are faced with many decisions on a daily basis, not the least of which are the items that relate to payroll. In some companies, especially those with telecommuting or other off-site employees, the switch to a biometric time clock is becoming more of the norm than in the past. It’s difficult and time consuming to track hours with the use of an old style time clock and also these card-based time clocks can lead to employee hour fraud. 

While your employees may be resigned to the fact that they have to punch a time clock, they may balk at the idea of a biometric time tracking system and might consider it an act of Big Brother checking up on them.

The introduction of any kind of new technology, especially a time tracking one, needs to be done with grace and tact and most importantly you need to show the employee how this new system will benefit them on a daily basis. The chief employee benefits are that they can rest assured they won’t have to worry about mistakes in the calculation of their hours. They will also be better able to track not only hours worked but also time off, comp time earned and they may even be offered the option of going online to schedule vacations. This will make it easier for them and easier for the human resource professional that used to juggle vacation schedules manually. 

With a biometric time keeping system you can have it programmed to recognize fingerprints or you can give your employees unique pass codes so they can log in to their own system and begin tracking their workday as soon as they start work. The system can also be set up to log in when they start, log off for breaks and log off at the end of the day. A biometric time clock eliminates the chance for employee fraud of having a fellow co-worker log them in and out for hours they might not have even worked. Open lines of communication between the human resources department and the employees will make the switch more palatable but the bottom line is the implementation of a new time and attendance system is the company’s decision. 

Biometric time clocks offer your employees the chance to log in and track hours worked, whether they’re close to overtime, whether they have time available for a day off and how many sick days are left. These time clocks offer employees peace of mind and eliminate their need to go to the HR office to see if they have time available. Instead, they can look it up themselves and that offers them autonomy.

Biometric time clocks pay for themselves in the long term by offering employers the benefit of freeing up human resource employee time from not having to manually calculate hours worked. It also virtually eliminates the possibility of inaccurate time keeping and mistakes in paychecks.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pitfalls in the Hiring Process

Hiring is the most important function for any business, and if it is not done correctly your firm could end up wasting thousands of dollars and valuable time. People who punch a time clock make the company work, so it is worth your time as a manager to avoid the most common errors that plague the personnel process.

Time clocks are great for measuring hours worked, but when it comes to hiring, it is quite difficult to measure human qualities that match a specific job opening. Quality is not as clear-cut as quantity. These days, nearly every company uses its website to screen job seekers. Be careful not to overdo the use of the internet, as you might just end up with too many candidates. If you are not set up to interview dozens of people for a given position, then go easy on the recruitment efforts, especially online. Too many personnel managers overestimate the ability of the internet to bring in job seekers. So be careful what you wish for, as the old saying goes.

Many studies have pointed to the fact that well over 70 percent of all managerial hires are found through personal contacts. That’s why it is wise to spend a few days each month keeping up your face-to-face contacts, attending trade shows, and speaking with others in your field of endeavor. Never rely solely on impersonal job forum listings unless you are trying to gather together a large number of candidates for a mass screening.

Never, the experts tell us, rely on your gut to make a final decision about a candidate. This can lead to a really disastrous situation, where a hire drains significant resources during a training period, which ultimately goes to waste. Hiring based upon charisma, personality, or looks is an accident waiting to happen. Better to use quantifiable parameters to measure skills, interests, and background experience.

In addition, before you bring in that new person, who will eventually be punching the company time clock, have a specialist do some of the interviewing. That way, a person who truly knows what the job requires will get a chance to sit down with the applicant and get a feel for his or her abilities. Time clocks are a great way to measure hours, but sometimes it takes a professional, even a specialist, to ferret out the best job candidates for a particularly demanding position. Avoid the pitfalls of the hiring process, and you will have a healthy company.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Power of Praise

When it comes to motivating employees, praise is a great way to do just that. Positive reinforcement works much better than negatively pointing out mistakes and it’s been shown that employees respond better to earning perks rather than having items taken away – much as children and your pets do. To have a team that truly performs, rather than one that simply comes in and punches the time clock, you need to foster a positive working environment.

Research has shown that organizations will see an increase in employee productivity and even in sales if employees are offered praise and a sense of personal fulfillment. Employee recognition programs are also great motivators when it comes to increasing productivity and job satisfaction. When you’re putting an employee recognition program in place, look for buy in from them and make the program have a specific start and end time. Consider posting results on a board in a central location so that employees can track their progress.

Praise and recognition should be offered for truly achievable and measurable results in order to be meaningful. Simply handing out “gold stars” to employees can be de-motivating if the results they are expected to achieve are easy to achieve. Make the results earned worth the recognition received. Your employee recognition programs could be as simple as naming names in the employee company wide newsletter to small gift certificates or a good parking space or even a floating day off.

Having a specific goal for employees to reach – whether through an interoffice competition or by reaching specific sales numbers or goals or even having a team with the least amount of employee sick days punched in on the time clock - are items to consider. Choose the goals that make the most sense with your department or organization that will be worthwhile to the employee that receives it.

Walking through the office handing out “atta boys” may be the way you handle employee recognition but if you’re not seeing the results you’re hoping for, you might need to change your employee recognition methods. Why not ask your employees for suggestions on what they see as valuable ways of being recognized. Their idea of praise and rewards might be different from yours and would help make the recognition program be something they would strive to achieve. If your organization doesn’t work to single out employees, consider hosting a recognition lunch for a department that achieves results over and above a department in another part of the company.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How a Time Clock Can Improve Payroll Accuracy

If your company uses a time clock system to record hours worked, you probably already know how prone the system is to error. Because the time clock does just one thing, the data collected from the system is liable to be entered incorrectly, mislabeled, entered twice, listed for the wrong employee, or any number of other mistakes. You get the idea. For their own purposes, time clocks do a great job, but they are very limited in their function. As a result, the mentioned mistakes, along with countless others, are waiting to befall to the manager who does not use time clock software.

Time clock software immediately eliminates the typical errors that crop up with all measurement systems. For one thing, software will automatically include paid time off, which a time clock will not do. By using an automated system that includes time clock software, you can easily apply the paid time off hours to any worker’s paycheck. Not only will your employees be happy to get accurate checks, you will be free to perform other managerial tasks that often are postponed due to “payroll time.”

Rounding errors are the bugaboo of payroll, and have been for over a hundred years. In the old days, this category of mistake was the most common paycheck error, and accounted for many managerial hours spent trying to correct the problem. Whether you are skilled or not with mathematics, rounding takes time, and time clocks cannot do it. Software does the chore automatically and accurately.

One of the other common errors in the world of time clock payroll accounting has to do with duplicate entries. If you manually enter data of any kind, you know all too well how this occurs. The reason is human fatigue and inattention. The numerical version of a typographical error, duplicate entry causes a cascade of errors in payroll reports. Because payroll software instantly eliminates this error, you can say goodbye to the nightmares of finding and correcting mysterious duplicate entry errors.

The time clock is a wonderful invention, and has allowed small and large businesses to measure something that used to be utterly time consuming and frustrating. By centralizing the chore of recording and stamping total hours on an individual card for every employee, the time clock truly revolutionized the industrial revolution. Today’s time clock software is just as important as that long-ago invention, providing yet another leap ahead in the world of business technology.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Integrate Time Clocks With Payroll

When you’re in the midst of calculating your employee payroll do you ever step back and take the time to determine just how much it is costing you to have your human resources department calculate the payroll? If you’re looking for a way to save money on payroll and enhance not only your efficiency but accuracy of the payroll calculations you should look to integrate time clocks with your payroll department. Time clocks make payroll calculations quick and easy for all involved and make the payroll process more systematic. Consider an automated payroll system with time clocks to take the guesswork and errors out of payroll duties.

Integrating your time tracking software into your payroll processing system frees up valuable employee time on payroll duties. When you decide to use an integrated time clock and payroll system you also allow your employees the peace of mind of knowing that there will not be errors in the paychecks. Automated time clocks also offer employees access to their time sheets so they can not only look and see the number of hours they’ve worked but they can also track their accumulated days off and vacation time used.

Another time and money saver with an integrated time clock is the idea that you will not only save the time and money on having to buy and maintain the time clock but you will also save money on purchasing the physical time cards themselves. Keep in mind that a company has to store all time records for up to seven years and you can see that if you have a lot of employees, the storage of time cards could be an issue as well.

Here are other reasons for using an integrated time clock system is that you no longer need to manually input time cards and time worked – this is also problematic for companies that have off site employees and work from home staff. No longer will you have to worry about inaccuracies in your employees “clocking in or clocking out” for other employees. With integrated time clocks your employees have a unique log in and this prevents inaccuracies in employees punching someone elses time card.

When it comes time to performing the payroll task it is almost as simple as punching a few numbers and pulling all of the employee information into the integrated time clock system and running the payroll for the time period specified.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Steps To Hiring Quality Employees

Hiring employees is a skill and an art. As an employer you need to ask some basic questions and here are some to consider: What skills do you bring to the table? Do you feel your training meshes with what we’re looking for? Are you committed to a long term working relationship? What are your salary and benefit expectations? Carefully screen employees and to assure you don’t have to keep hiring as it is a pricey proposition for any company. There is no magic cure for hiring but as a business owner you probably have good instincts and you should let that carry you through the hiring process.

You need to hire employee that have the best skills but you need to be able to afford their payroll. The art of hiring is more than having bodies to punch a time clock. Keeping payroll as little of a variable as possible is a goal of business owners – you need to make payroll regardless of the ebb and flow of receivables. It’s a difficult balancing act.

Company owners need to focus on long term hiring goals. Don’t hire out of panic because you have a sudden influx of work. It’s a more efficient business model to hire employees that will stay long term – unless you have a purely seasonal business model. Ask potential employees their long term goals for employment and what skills they bring to the position. 

Track customer trends and business income and expenses and look at the work flow of your current staff. Turn to them for input on whether they’d like to take on additional roles at the company and whether they may have hidden talents you’d never considered tapping into. You may find you have employees with skills you’d not utilized and their skills could help get you through without needing to hire.

The idea of hiring employees and having an additional person punching the time clock is something that strikes fear into the hearts of many a business owner. It is something that you need to look at seriously and also find a new employee who has the personality to fit in with your company culture. While you can’t learn everything about an employee in the brief span of an interview, you can certainly get a feeling for how they may fit. If you have a very rigid business structure or a very laid back one, see how the potential employee interacts with you and if you feel they will be a good fit with the rest of your staff.