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.