What Is Workforce Optimization? Benefits and Top 5 Strategies

In the post-pandemic era, work culture is changing, and businesses are evolving. It might seem that little is under control, but some core processes vital to business operations can still be managed. The workforce is at the center of the changes that COVID-19 put into perspective. People are looking for better work-life balance, resignations are at an all-time high, and there is an increasing need for workforce optimization. Workforce Optimization (WFO) is what "work smarter, not harder" implies. It is about enabling employees to work at their best by streamlining various business operation processes. In this post, we will explore workforce optimization and strategies and techniques you can use to increase productivity with the same workforce.

What is Workforce Optimization?

According to Wikipedia"Workforce optimization (WFO) is a business strategy that integrates business performance considerations with workforce management. The strategy involves automating processes, data visibility, compliance on legislation, and solving business problems related to staffing." In simple terms, workforce optimization is a strategic management practice aiming to improve a company's employees' efficiency, performance, and productivity. Here, the ultimate goal is to streamline every possible process to create an environment for optimizing the existing workforce and achieving overall organizational success. Industries can benefit from effective workforce optimization strategies and it is a common practice in the IT and Human Resource sectors. Today, retail, manufacturing, and financial services utilize workforce optimization techniques to improve productivity and revenues. Here the common approach is to monitor a specific position's activity to anticipate the number of employees required to meet the forecasted requirement. However, you must not confuse WFO with Lean Six Sigma, Agile, or other optimization methodologies that organizations use to make processes and people more productive. Instead, WFO combines most of these methodologies with a unique approach to streamline the workforce for boosted productivity. Software companies offer WFO in their products to help industries with workforce management through quality monitoring, eLearning, liability recording, surveying, coaching, and performance management. You can use workforce optimization to streamline many business operations, including automation, legislation compliance, customer service, and solving business problems.

What are the benefits of workforce optimization?

Workforce optimization allows companies to get the most out of the talent available and adds agility and cost efficiency needed to succeed. Let's check out some significant benefits of implementing workforce optimization strategies in your company.

1. Increased efficiency and productivity

Optimizing the workforce to keep its productivity and efficiency high is essential. With workforce optimization, you can engage talent and encourage them to deliver increased output. Through analytics and insights, you can track the performance of individual workers and prioritize ways to help them improve daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. With a streamlined work environment, straightforward onboarding process, and positive work environment, employees can perform at their best without feeling burnout. It also encourages employees to contribute to company goals with their self-motivated efforts.

2. Staff management to reduce costs and improve savings

Proper staffing is necessary to ensure that the required number of employees is always available on the floor. That being said, it does not imply that you overstaff. Both overstaffing and understaffing can be the cause of loss for a business. Work optimization offers many cost savings opportunities. The most important benefits include:
  • Flexibility in hiring the right talent can help you lower the overall payroll costs and reduce the time spent on recruiting activities. Workforce optimization can help companies discover the requirements for a position and match it against available talent.
  • With WFO, you can significantly reduce the risk of worker misclassification, avoiding costly lawsuits, fines, and penalties. It is essential if your company operates in multiple markets with varying employee laws.
  • It also creates opportunities to provide better customer service as a company can offer the best customer service with the optimal number of employees. It also creates opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling.
  • Workforce optimization techniques also automate many business processes and offer real-time guidance and actionable insights. This data helps create more revenue opportunities.

3. Improved customer service and retention

As mentioned above, when you have optimized the workforce with the correct number of staff, you can offer excellent customer service. It enables companies to resolve customer queries efficiently and faster. This is how WFO helps provide a good customer experience. WFO solutions allow companies to analyze their communications with customers to understand the root cause of their behavior. It helps them to frame strategies that retain customers in the long run. When you know your customers and their behavior, you can act faster to service their needs. When you respond to customers' complaints faster and offer them improved satisfaction, they are most likely to return. Now that you understand how beneficial it can be to optimize the workforce let's discuss some critical workforce optimization strategies to implement at your workplace.

5 Workforce optimization strategies

The strategies we picked are tested to be effective in any work environment. Whether your company is in IT or manufacturing, you can trust these techniques for a more streamlined workforce.

1. Scheduling employees efficiently

For the success of any organization, it is essential to schedule employees efficiently. Companies rely on manual workforce scheduling, which is time-consuming, prone to errors, and too tedious for HR. Software solutions like Truein provide a highly cohesive and efficient time and attendance management system for companies that can be used for scheduling employees efficiently. When a company increases operations like production and manufacturing, the staff gets busy. It makes it challenging to manage a workforce. Overtime can be expensive, and so can be regular absenteeism. You can be left with stalled production or too much workforce without proper scheduling. Scheduling employees is one of the most impactful workforce optimization strategies to ensure that enough employees are available on the floor during every shift. It will also ensure that workload is distributed optimally. Truein face recognition attendance system can help schedule employees for manufacturing, supply chain, warehouse, and retail companies. Our technology is cloud-based and uses AI to manage staff timing to keep HR managers informed of the workforce attendance in real-time. Managers and supervisors can use the Truein dashboard to assign tasks, manage leaves, and create or update shifts.

2. Time management and attendance tracking

For a company, time is of the essence. It is the most valuable asset to manage as it cannot be replaced or regained. All tasks and business operations must be completed on time. Managers and supervisors must know what's going on and where the employees are at a given time. Again, there are many ways to achieve this. Modern attendance software applications can track time and attendance most accurately. Truein is one such attendance system that companies across industries can use for their time management needs. If you are facing a tough time deciding if you need an attendance system for workforce optimization, then ask yourself these questions:
  • Are your employees regular with attendance?
  • Are there measures to prevent malpractices like buddy punching and time theft?
  • How easy and fast is taking time and attendance management decisions like attendance regularization?
Think of the more incredible picture here. With a time and attendance management system like Truein, HR managers can look at the scheduling numbers for the entire workforce. It enables them to use analytics to ensure all shifts are adequately staffed, and employees are allotted tasks proportionately.

3. Monitor performance and Task completion

The above two workforce optimization strategies help ensure that scheduling and time tracking is in place, but making employees punctual is not enough; you also have to optimize how they use their time during the shift. You can use task tracking tools like Salesforce, Asana, Trello, and Jira. This software as a service (SaaS) solution helps improve employee productivity by tracking their progress. Depending on your business requirements, you can pick a real-time task tracking tool to monitor performance to keep managers informed of a worker's performance at work. Monitoring the performance of the workforce is essential, but it must not feel too invasive as it can stress employees. Task tracking tools are low-stress solutions to gauge the performance of the force. Managers can control an employee's performance as they have access to insights like how they spend their time at work, whether they take longer than anticipated to complete tasks, and whether they are meeting their day-to-day responsibilities. This workforce optimization technique can help HR managers determine if someone is struggling at their job or if an employee performs better than their peers. It is an incredible improvement over old-school Excel spreadsheets for tracking workforce performance.

4. Improve communications between managers and employees

Effective communication between employees and managers is required for workplace success. It should not only be limited to just the job requirement and assignments. Genuinely productive and collaborative teams also communicate about improving the job's success. For workforce optimization, it is essential to create open channels of employee-manager communication to help understand the company's direction, goals, visions, and values. It will help them identify their work responsibilities to add value to the company. Implementing tools like Trello and Jira add value to the employee-manager communication. With such workforce optimization practices, managers can measure an employee's performance and productivity and take measures to help them overcome challenges and improve. Practical WFO tools help break down employees' strengths and weaknesses such that they can be prioritized as per the assignments. Ultimately, these tools allow HR managers to measure the outputs of the workforce and successfully increase productivity. This is not even the best part of improving employee-manager communication. More importantly, it helps managers and workers know the status of a project and eliminates the need to track down the level of individual contributions.

5. Adopt Cost-Effective Operations

Cutting costs doesn't mean implementing cheaper solutions but instead identifying the sources of wasteful spending and processes that do not align with the company's goals. When you create solutions to implement cost-effective operations, you make it possible to reallocate resources and streamline processes necessary for the business, such as customer satisfaction and retention. It will eventually improve revenues. How do you make operations cost-effective? Dissect the customer feedback data to understand how their experience can be improved. Pay attention to what's working but analyzing what's not working is equally important. Do not stick to customer service because of the status quo. Ditch old habits if they are not working anymore. Workforce optimization is about being honest while looking inward and making tough decisions to deliver results. If you find instances where workers aren't meeting all of their numbers, it's time to make some serious adjustments.

Conclusion

Workforce optimization is multiple factors working together to boost the company's productivity and help employees perform at their best. It is not an overnight task, but successful workforce optimization requires time to work out processes and systems that will serve the purpose in the long run. The objective is to streamline operations and model a sleeker workforce that will save much money and other resources. We hope this guide will serve as the right resource to initiate work optimization strategies in your company to cut costs and improve efficiency.
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Rotating Shift – A Complete Guide

As a manager, an essential part of your job is to put the best schedule to allow workers to be more productive without overworking. But scheduling can get tricky when you move beyond the standard 9-to-5 work shift to accommodate increased demand. As the demand for production is increasing, and you need to make complex schedules, many things must be considered. If you cannot correctly schedule shifts, workers might complain. Poorly designed shifts can cost physical and mental pain to the employees. Also, a few absences can fail the entire shift without proper planning. HR managers need to learn about rotating shifts and how to prepare one effectively. In this article, we are about to discuss how to create a rotating shift schedule depending on the company's nature of work. We will focus on tips on how you can create a rotational scheduling system that protects workers' health and productivity and benefits your organization in the long run.

What are Rotating Shifts?

Rotating shifts are simply schedules that regularly change over time. The most common example of rotating shifts is how workers work in the manufacturing industry in the country. Most production workers have rotating shifts in which they work six days a week between night and day shifts. In other sectors, such as construction and mining, workers work eight-hour shifts that rotate from 6 AM to 2 PM, 2 PM to 10 PM, and 10 PM to 6 AM. The workers switch between the shifts weekly, so they are not overworked, and the production continues without a break. Rotating shifts is supposed to help workers have a better work-life balance, but more often, it isolates them. An employee rotation schedule requires workers to reconfigure family responsibilities and reset sleep schedules, making it difficult to have a social life and connect with friends. This can lead to isolation and a lack of human connection. HR managers must be careful while creating rotating shift schedules as researchers suggest that poorly planned rotating shifts can cause severe mental and physical health risks such as weight gain, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Given the magnitude of the dangers involved for workers working in a rotating shift, managers must do everything possible to ensure the safety and well-being of the employees. It is interesting to note that even with such risk associated with rotating shifts, a large workforce works in such schedules. According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 2.4% of the working population works rotating shifts. Let's examine rotating shifts' ins and outs to understand why companies make employee rotation schedules.

Why is a rotating shift required?

For many businesses, it is vital to maintain 24-hour operations to deliver customer service. Industries such as transportation, manufacturing, hospitality, customer service, construction, etc., usually require staffing outside the traditional 9-to-5 schedule. These organizations rely on rotating shifts to meet their staffing demands. Rotating shifts are also required when employees need to be trained about different facets of the business. For instance, in manufacturing industries, employees might need to be prepared to work on the floor, do maintenance work, and if the situation requires operating CNC machines. Making them work through rotating shifts trains them in all these domains.

How do rotating shifts work?

A rotating schedule does imply changed shifts, but it is done cyclically. Your company can schedule a morning shift, an afternoon shift, an evening shift, and an overnight shift. You can create an employee rotation schedule to allow workers to work each shift over time so you can maintain business operations 24/7. A rotating schedule means that workers will work in a particular shift over a set amount of time. It depends on the business nature and preference of how workers are rotated through the shifts. Managers can decide how to make a rotating schedule - whether they want to put employees on a rotating schedule in which they work the same shift on different days (rotation of days), or they want employees to work in various shifts (rotation of time). Here it would be best if you remembered that the more cyclical the rotating shift would be, the easier it will be for employees to balance their work and personal life.

4 Different types of rotating shifts

Over the years, human resource professionals have created several types of rotating schedules. Depending on the management practice, your company can benefit from one or more types of rotating shifts. It's a good idea for HR managers to familiarize themselves with several types of rotating shifts. This gives them a view to understand various styles of employee rotation schedules and choose one that best works for their organization.

1. The Pitman Shift Schedule

In the Pitman shift schedule, the employees get every other weekend off to have time to participate in some family and social events during regular hours. Here the ships are 12 hours long and have four teams working in rotation. To avoid overworking the employees, the workers usually work no more than three days in a row. Here is an example of the Pitman shift schedule pattern:
  • Two shifts on, followed by two days off
  • Two shifts on, followed by three days off
  • Three shifts on, followed by two days off
When the two-week cycle is complete, workers switch timing; that is, the workers start working night shifts and vice versa.

2. The DuPont Shift Schedule

Like the Pitman rotating shift, the DuPont shift schedule also involves four teams working 12-hour shifts, but the employee rotation schedule is a bit more complex. In DuPont, this shift rotates from day to night in a four-week cycle. Here's an example:
  • Four-night shifts, then three days off
  • Three-day shifts, then one day off
  • Three-night shifts, then three days off
  • Four-day shifts, then seven days off
Here you will notice that there are consecutive offs because the scheduling might be a bit hectic, but the DuPont system allows workers enough time to recharge by offering multiple days off. At the end of the cycle, these off culminate into a week-long break. Managers should be careful with the DuPont shift schedule. Here workers get more flexibility in their daily lives and spend more time with family and friends, but the trade-off is more demanding hours at work. It might suit some nation workers who don't mind working extra hard instead of more time off.

3. The 2-2-3-2-2-3 shift schedule

The 2-2-3-2-2-3 schedule is a rotating shift that follows a 28-day cycle. In this schedule, 12-hour shifts are rotated in the following pattern:
  • Three-day shifts
  • Two days off
  • Two-day shifts
  • Three days off
  • Two-night shifts
  • Two days off
  • Three-night shifts
  • Two days off
  • Two-night shifts
  • Three days off
  • Two-day shifts
  • Two days off
The benefit of this rotating schedule is that worker gets frequent time off without having to work more than three consecutive days. Examples of the rotating shift schedule of this style can be found in the construction and healthcare industry, where employees have demanding 12-hour shifts followed by multiple days off.

4. Southern swing schedule

The Southern swing rotation shift is a schedule that uses three eight-hour shifts throughout the month for four teams. Here is how this employee rotation schedule works:
  • Seven-day shifts
  • Two days off
  • Seven-day shifts
  • Two days off
  • Seven-night shifts
  • Three days off
One of the most significant benefits of the Southern swing schedule is that workers have to work eight-hour and 10- or 12-hour shifts like other rotating shift schedule examples.

Rotating shift schedule examples

Managers are only limited by their imagination to configure rotating shifts. There can be hundreds of ways to manage employee rotation schedules. You can choose to schedule it from day to day, week to week, or month to month. However, the most common practice is to create a rotating shift schedule as eight-hour work shifts, 9 or 10-hour work shifts, and 12-hour work shifts. An eight-hour employee rotation schedule is the best for companies within staffing to create three teams that can work in rotating shifts. It allows companies to keep productivity high without compromising the health or ability of the workers. Managers can schedule eight-hour shifts in the following ways:
  • Morning: 6 AM to 2 PM
  • Evening: 2 PM to 10 PM
  • Night: 10 PM to 6 AM
  • Morning: 7 AM to 3 PM
  • Evening: 3 PM to 11 PM
  • Night: 11 PM to 7 AM
  • Morning: 8 AM to 4 PM
  • Evening: 4 PM to 12 AM
  • Night: 12 AM to 8 AM
For industries where workers must be on the floor for longer hours, 9- and 10-hour rotating shifts are good. Here there is an overlapping between two teams of workers so that the relieving team can hand over work to the reporting team in time. Here are some examples of 9 and 10-hour work shifts.
  • Morning: 5 AM to 2 PM
  • Afternoon: 12 PM to 9 PM
  • Night: 7 PM to 5 AM
  • Morning: 5 AM to 3 PM
  • Afternoon: 1 PM to 11 PM
  • Night: 10 PM to 8 AM
The simplest to manage and schedule is the 12-hour rotation shift. You can schedule it as a day or night shift only. For example:
  • Day: 6 AM to 6 PM
  • Night: 6 PM to 6 AM

Which industries use rotating shifts?

Companies that require 24/7 staffing use rotating shifts to ensure that the business operations are running smoothly at all hours without overworking the workforce. Some of the common industries that implement rotating shifts are: Manufacturing: Often, the manufacturing industries require workers such as assemblers and production managers to work shifts to increase output. Healthcare: Doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and hospital administrators are required to work in rotating shifts to ensure that medical care is available for patients around the clock. Transportation: Logistics companies require employees to work in shifts to make their services available to the customers at all hours. Retail employees: Sales and marketing staff at retail stores and 24/7 convenience stores often work on rotating shifts. Hospitality: Hotels and resorts operate 24/7, and to offer undisruptive services and accommodate guests, hospitality employees follow rotating shift schedules.

Advantages of rotating shifts

Rotating shifts can benefit both companies and workers, provided managers know how to create rotating shift schedules that can positively boost productivity. There are several benefits of rotating shift schedule, including:
  • Increased output productivity
  • Unbiased and consistent sharing of unpopular shifts
  • Efficient sharing of skill sets among various shifts
  • Better interaction and relationship between employees working in different shifts
  • Increased customer service and convenience
  • Skill development of the employees as they perform additional tasks in extra shifts
  • Increased business operations knowledge
  • More variety in tasks keeps the workforce engaged
  • Better work-life balance

Disadvantages of rotating shifts

  • Some workers prefer consistent fixed work schedules and plan their life around them. Putting such workers in rotating shifts disturb their lives.
  • Keeping track of the rotating shifts and scheduling other tasks of the day needs regular attention.
  • There are mental and physical impacts of working late shifts or frequent shift changes on workers' health.
  • Forced circadian rhythm changes due to night shifts can cause sleep deprivation and gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disorders.

How to handle rotating shifts effectively?

Rotating shifts are not a challenge for the workforce but managers as well. There are so many factors to consider. Most HR managers recommend that rather than the evening to day rotating shift schedule, turning shifts from day to evening to overnight is better. After a plan for the employee rotation schedule is made, it is essential to provide training to prepare workers for the rotating shift, such as going to bed early, taking power naps, frequent 5-minutes breaks, etc. Ask employees for their shift preferences and try to accommodate these requests whenever possible.

Use scheduling software

It is challenging to keep track of rotating shift schedules as the changes are frequent, and you must keep track of all the employees. Therefore, it is required to use a scheduling software such as Truein that can help with shift management. Truein is a complete time and attendance system with shift management that makes it incredibly easy to maintain rotating shifts. It comes with advanced features such as multiple shift management, automatically notifying employees about changes in their shift, easy access to schedules from smartphones, an easy process to switch shifts, and monitoring employee hours.

Conclusion

For some companies rotating shifts is a necessary evil. Good managers can help eliminate employee shift rotation's physical and mental side effects by adequately planning and scheduling shifts using software like Truein.
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Labor Shortage: What It Is, Why There Is A Shortage & How To Overcome It?

The COVID-19 pandemic affected businesses in the worst ways possible. Revenues stopped, inventory was lying unused, debts increased exponentially, and many companies had to lay off employees to stay afloat. Interestingly, as the lockdown subsided and business operations returned to normal, companies experienced an unexpected labor shortage. Hiring workers has become increasingly difficult because of ongoing mass resignations and employees seeking more flexibility. This article will be a helpful resource if you are looking for strategies to overcome labor shortage issues. But, before we get started with the strategies to overcome labor shortages and retain employees, let's first understand what a labor shortage is.

What is a labor shortage?

The labor shortage is a term that indicates a gap between the labor needed in industry and the number of workers available to fill in the requirement. Simply put, there are more jobs available than the workers. It can be because workers are less willing to work in a position or a scarcity of skilled labor. The pandemic accelerated the labor shortage issue as, during the last two years, 1 in 4 workers quit their jobs since the pandemic and have not returned to work. It is becoming a struggle to find workers to fill open positions. Manufacturing, construction, hospitality, transportation, and healthcare are the most affected industries. If you pay attention, there is a common factor in all these industries-they require the workforce to be available in person during work hours. Also, most of these industries employ blue-collar workers and heavily rely on laborers to operate.

Why is there a labor shortage?

The labor shortage is not only because of fewer people willing to work; there can be several other factors contributing to your business' struggle with finding or retaining the right talent. Be mindful that none of these reasons prevents you from retaining the workers.

Poor compensation

This reason is easiest to anticipate. Workers want to be paid more, at least what they are worth. Industries like construction, mining, healthcare, and manufacturing especially face labor shortages as the pay is less than in other sectors. The limited wage is not enough to meet the increased cost of living and healthcare, pushing workers to look for positions that pay them better.

Lack of flexibility

Since the pandemic, employees have been more discerning of opportunities that allow them to have a better work-life balance. Workers now seek increased flexibility, but employers remain reluctant to offer the same. According to a survey by Future Forums of 10,000 knowledge workers, employees want more flexibility in jobs and, if possible, location. As remote working is not an option for most of the mentioned industries, an evident lack of flexibility causes workers to look for work in other segments.

A question of purpose

For many employers, it may seem inconsequential, but workers are increasingly losing their sense of purpose at work. Employees who are not connected to their workplace cannot be passionate about their jobs. It eventually forces them to leave work. If your company is facing a labor shortage, reevaluate the work environment, and if missing, try to create opportunities that will make employees feel more excited about their roles. Indeed surveyed workers who voluntarily left their jobs in 2020 and found that 92% of the respondents felt "life is too short to stay in a job they weren't passionate about." If workers do not feel connected with the company's goal and vision, they may not be inspired to stay at the job.

8 Ways to deal with the labor shortage

1. Train and cross-train existing employees

The mass exodus of the workers can leave companies in limbo if those leaving are skilled workers. You must implement training programs to help workers across domains acquire common skills to keep business operations up if there is a labor shortage. Cross-training employees can help. For instance, production staff can be trained to handle maintenance responsibilities if the situation arises. Cross-training does more than retain employees; it creates a sense of value and community.

2. Improve the work environment to reduce employees leaving the organization

As we mentioned above, the work environment is one of the main reasons why employees work or leave a job. You are walking in circles if you are wondering how to solve workforce shortage without addressing the issues causing employees to leave. Ensure that the work environment is positively inductive for employees. For example, if you are in the manufacturing industry, your employees must feel safe at work with all safety measures.

3. Recognize and reward employees

Acknowledging workers' hard work and sincerity and rewarding them appropriately will boost their morale and keep them engaged. Make sure your employees are not feeling neglected, and their efforts are recognized and rewarded. Just offering perks alone is no more an incentive good enough to keep workers; you have to make them feel appreciated and valued as part of the team.

4. Make opportunities for them to develop and grow

Pandemic has changed the workforce a lot. Everything needs improvement – skills required for the job, where and how work is performed, and what motivates the workforce. To overcome labor shortages and retain employees, you must create opportunities for them to learn and grow. Take a fresh look at the workforce and try to identify opportunities where you can introduce improvements. For instance, if your manufacturing unit relies on manual labor for production, you can introduce CNC machines for repetitive tasks and train the workers. This will present them with an opportunity to develop and grow.

5. Automate tasks

If your company has scope for automation, explore solutions for the same. The more automated tasks are, the lesser workforce will be required. In the wake of the rising cost of labor and the shortage of workers, several companies have considered automation to reduce the up-front cost of hiring or maintaining a large workforce. Partnering with consulting firms to explore automation integration in the business processes will provide an answer to how to solve the workforce shortage. For example, you can use automation to help remove infrastructure bottlenecks and free up human resources to work on operations that contribute to the revenue directly.

6. Pay bounties to employees who bring new employees

Why not turn your workers into headhunters by offering them incentives for referring talent to the company? Instead of outsourcing the hiring process or relying on the HR team to solve workforce shortages, you can introduce a referral bonus for employees to bring in new talent. At some of the most successful companies, 28 to 30 percent of the new hires come from employee referrals. If they can do it, so can you.

7. Be flexible with schedules

Flexibility is a requirement, not an option, to retain workers. Now employees seek a more positive work-life balance and opportunities that offer the flexibility to work. By creating flexible work schedules, you can let workers feel relaxed about their routine and not stressed. It will help prevent employees from leaving.

8. Use time tracking tools

Employees adequately compensated for their work time build trust in the managers and the company. Using time and attendance management tools to record attendance would be best. Such tools also free HR managers from manually managing attendance and shifts, a process often susceptible to human errors. Truein is a face recognition attendance system that can help companies schedule shifts, track timing, and efficiently distribute workloads among employees. It can automate report generation, directly integrate attendance records with payroll software, and for remote sites and field workers.

Conclusion

There is no telling when markets will emerge victorious from the acute labor shortage facing businesses today. While the HR gurus can only make predictions based on surveys and studies, business owners need to make tough decisions. The strategies we have listed here are helping companies across the globe overcome the labor shortage. We hope you, too, can recognize what's causing the labor shortage at your company and implement the appropriate measures to fill in the gaps.
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How To Manage Overtime In The Construction Industry?

The Indian construction industry is a major player contributing to the economy's growth. At the center of the focus of the government's initiatives to create world-class infrastructure in a time-bound manner, the construction industry is poised to receive investments of up to $1.4 trillion by 2025.

Without a doubt, the construction industry is crucial to driving the country's growth, but it needs some reforms too. The industry is the second-largest employer, with over 51 million workers. Furthermore, the construction industry created 45 million additional jobs directly or indirectly. It is easy to anticipate that there certainly will be management challenges with such a large workforce.

In this article, we will focus on overtime in the construction industry. We will take a look at the challenges and available solutions.

What are the construction industry overtime rules?

As the construction industry primarily has a workforce working at sites, time management is a complicated task to achieve. Keeping track of workers is a gigantic task.

It is important to understand what laws govern and protect workers' rights in the context of overtime. Here are the essential labor laws an employer must be aware of.

ActProvisions under the Act
Factories Act, 1948 Sec. 51, 54 to 56 & 59 of the Act include overtime wages.Under section 59 of the Factories Act, it is clearly instructed that a worker who works for more than 9 hours any day or for more than 48 hours in a week will be entitled to receive wages in respect to overtime work at the rate of twice his/her ordinary rate of wages.
Minimum Wages Act, 1948It also applied to construction workers. According to section 33 of the Minimum Wages Act, overtime wages must be twice the rate of the ordinary wages of the worker. Sec. 14 of the Act states that for workers, if the minimum rate of wages is fixed by the time period, such as by the hour, by the day, or by any such period, and if any worker works more than that number of hours, it will be considered overtime.
Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970As per Rule 79 of the Act pertains to the law regarding overtime calculation for contract workers. According to the act, every contractor must maintain a Register of Overtime in Form XXIII. All important details like the employee's name, overtime calculation, hours of extra work, etc., must be recorded in the register.
Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment Service) Act, 1996Under Section 28 & 29 of the Act, it is mentioned that construction workers who work overtime as per the regulations mentioned above must be remunerated at the rate of twice the ordinary rate of wages.

Companies struggling with managing overtime for construction workers can end up with losses. As the law requires to pay twice the ordinary wage rate, overtime can have substantial financial liabilities. Let's explore some measures to control overtime in the construction industry.

6 Tips to manage overtime in the construction industry?

1. Identify the issue

If unexplained overtime is reported in the company, it is essential to know why it is happening before resolving the issue. Overtime construction can result from several problems such as heavy project loads, poor time management, and staffing shortage. These are some of the issues on the management site. Audit the HR and managers' logs to understand the staffing and work distribution. It is also not uncommon in the construction industry to find employees working overtime for the extra pay.

You have to get a clear idea of the issues to decide how to manage overtime for construction workers.

2. Be aware of local overtime laws

The central government of India implements the labor laws we have listed above, but there are specific local labor laws that a company must be aware of.

For example, Maharashtra has tweaked the local labor law to allow longer working hours and overtime periods for workers. As per the rule, "With the exemption from Sections 51,52, 54, and 56, employers can allow labourers to work in two shifts of 12 hours each."

3. Track work hours with GPS construction time tracking software

As mentioned above, tracking employees' working hours is a significant challenge in the construction industry. Field workers are away from CCTVs, so there is no sure way to know if they are working or not.

Using GPS-enabled attendance systems, you can overcome this challenge. Truein is a face recognition attendance system with geofencing and GPS tracking features. It can be used to record overtime for construction workers through the app on their smartphones.

4. Cross-train employees

The skill gap is a problem that increases over time in the construction industry. If you do not have the workers with the required skills, it can slow down productivity. Also, if the company is understaffed, project tasks can take longer to complete. The solution lies in cross-training employees to take up multiple roles if there is demand.

5. Hire contractors

Building on the above issue, if the overtime construction does not seem to stop even after cross-training workers because of staff shortage, you need to hire contractors. Hiring an independent contractor workforce can compensate for the deficit, and the overtime can be eliminated.

6. Improve work allocation and management

If the HR managers regularly cram overtime at the end of projects, it indicates poor time management. When you fail to anticipate the project's timeline or resources, which will be required at the initial stages, the task becomes hard to manage as the deadline arrives.

The managers must spread out hours from the beginning of the project so that no overtime occurs later.

Conclusion

Unmanaged overtime in the construction industry can be a real nuisance. It can create revenue overheads that reduce the profits, but more importantly, it can take a toll on employee productivity and health. With efficient employee tracking software for construction idustry like Truein, unnecessary overtime can be eliminated and boost the company's efficiency.

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6 Benefits of Having An Automated Leave Management System At Your Organization

An integral part of day-to-day business operation, leave management might appear to be a simple task. Indeed, it is if you have only a few employees. As more people join your team, leave management gets painstaking and ultimately deviously complicated when more people join in.

This is why a leave management system is a worthwhile addition to your business tool to manage risks and avoid costs. In this article, we will cover all aspects of an employee leave management system so you can benefit your business as well.

What is an employee leave management system?

Leave management is more than just keeping the count of days an employee has taken leave of absence. An online leave management system is a tool to keep track of types of leaves-stipulated, medical, casual. Some leaves are planned, some are unplanned but monitoring leaves for all employees is needed for the proper functioning of the organization.

A leave management system is a comprehensive system that can entirely automate the HR task of tracking leaves consumed by employees. Employees can easily put in an application for leave along with supporting documents. Furthermore, a leave management system can be made an integral part of the whole HR Management System such that complete employee management can be done from a single dashboard including payroll, attendance, rosters, etc.

There are two types of leave management system - A manual leave management system where a physical log book is maintained and employees sign in & sign out at the start and end of day. This is tallied manually at the end of the month to calculate the number of leaves that an employee has taken. The process is cumbersome and far more prone to errors.

The second is an automated leave management system where a biometric such as fingerprint or face recognition is utilized and the employee in and out times are automatically logged in & stored on the cloud. Leave reports can be automatically generated at the end of each day/month and given its efficiency, accuracy & ease of use, increasingly organizations are replacing manual leave management systems with automated leave management system.

Why leave management is important?

Employee leave management system is important to enforce a leave policy at the workplace. It helps with record-keeping to allow organizations to effectively offer benefits like paid leaves. Modern-day face recognition based attendance system like Truein can keep employee leave stats so they are aware of leave balance and entitlements right on their mobile screens.

Such systems also help companies stay compliant and get a holistic view of the trends in leaves and attendance through reporting and analytics. Essentially, a leave management system can help you take corrective or preventive measures when needed. Furthermore, the leave management system helps stop revenue leaks. Without a maintained and updated leave record, companies can end up paying for the absences. It also helps avoid confrontations between employees and the employer benefiting the brand image.

For smooth business functioning, it is important to ensure that the employees taking leaves do not become a reason for business losses. The best way to achieve this is to check the rooster to approve or reject a leave after evaluating the impact on the work.


6 Benefits of Automated Leave Management System

1. Significantly less paperwork

One of the benefits of using software tools is the reduction of dull and repetitive tasks. An online leave management system offers integration and automation that significantly reduces the amount of paperwork. A paper trail of leave management is cumbersome as well as a deterrent to the environment. Printing and filling forms is a headache for employees and record keeping of such files is painstaking for employers.

With a few clicks, the entire process of leave application till approval is completed when you have an employee leave management system at work.

2. Auto-update leave balance

There is no point in buying an HR management software if HR staff has to compute and update leave data manually. With the right attendance management system like Truein, the entire process of tracking leave history and accessibility to the managers and employees is automated.

3. Real-time information and updates

When approving leaves or applying for leaves it is important to have information if it is the right time to approve or apply for a leave. Unless there is a leave management system that provides information in real-time, it is going to be difficult. Also, outdated information can result in conflicts between the managers and employees because it can cause rejection of applications of employees who need a vacation. Real-time updates are also important to avoid situations where too many permissions are granted resulting in understaffing.

4. Save the time of administration

The benefits of a leave management system for administration are equally important. The total elimination of repetitive tasks makes leave management a lot faster and more convenient. Modern leave management systems can easily be integrated with other office tools. Such a level of automation saves a lot of time for administration and offers a more comprehensive ecosystem for employee management.

5. Transparent and accurate

The online leave management system provides a comprehensive view of all leaves, either planned or unplanned in a single dashboard. For employers, it provides a tool to have accurate data on employees abusing leave policies or underusing their vacations.

This transparency helps spot productivity leaks and tackle problems related to absenteeism.

6. Easily Manage Holidays

An automated leave management system can help employers to manage the holiday and vacations of their employees more efficiently. With the help of the leave management system, your employees will be able to mark any leave of absence like holidays, sick leave, etc. Moreover, your employees will have access to their holiday leave at any moment.

Truein: An Attendance System With Leave Management Solution

Truein is a comprehensive attendance system designed to help organizations automate employee attendance management entirely.

A cloud-based system, Truein automatically uploads and updates leave data without any need for human intervention. The data is available for the employees and employers alike. A hardware-less tool, Truein makes it possible for employees to view their leave data on their mobiles. They have access to a dashboard to check the used and unused leaves.

For employers, it offers many capabilities such as the ability to add different leave policies and update existing ones.

If your company is still using legacy methods for leave management it is high time to switch to Truein to automate and accurately track leave. As a comprehensive leave management solution, it can help to record and analyze leave patterns and resolve issues.

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Top 6 tips for efficient onboarding of your ever changing ‘contract staff’

Contract staff keeps changing and the changeover is so frequent that companies don’t bother with systematic onboarding. They are tracked through manual registers and their documents lie with the contractor agency. Sounds familiar? You don’t have to row in the same boat. There are solutions to ensure that even contract staff is onboarded efficiently. Every step in the process can be transparent and easily backtracked.

Let’s jump straight in and uncover some secrets.

Tip 1: Let the contract workers self-onboard themselves

When it comes to contract staff, you don’t really know how long they will stick around. You may want to avoid time spent on creating ID cards. Afterall, you might see a new face tomorrow at your construction site or retail store. How can you make the onboarding hassle-free? Simply ask the new staff to register their selfie on your face attendance system. Their face is their ID.

Tip 2: Register the contractor agency in your attendance system

It is a big process to get documents from the new contract staff, scan them and store them in the system. Companies outsource this to agencies but they lose transparency and efficiency. The documents are stored in an inefficient physical or digital folder system. It is not easy to pull the documents out when you need them. Are you running a risk? You sure are. You don’t know who turns up at your office everyday for work. There can be legal hassle eventually. You can have all documents handy right in your attendance system. Simply share access to your attendance admin portal with your contractor agency. Maintain just one system of truth. 

Tip 3: Onboard just once

A contract worker working with you a year back may come today. Do you onboard him again? No. Save yourself and the worker this hassle. Your attendance system can have an easy deactivation - activation feature which lets you accept old employees back in the system. And guess what? It has his past attendance records so you know his track record. Besides, his documents and every other detail is handy already. You can welcome old employees back within a day. Be agile with efficient attendance systems

Tip 4: Manage their shifts automatically

Don’t let your contractor workers struggle with information on their ever-changing shifts. Nor should you suffer trying to allocate shifts to them. Try to bring in an attendance system that allows you to automatically assign shifts based on punch-in times or based on admin configurations. They can see their allocated shift in the system too. If payments are based on shifts, an automatic calculation based on records in a face attendance system can be a blessing.

Tip 5: Contract staff rules and compliances can be complicated. Make it easy for them.

You can set your face attendance system to include all the rules you want according to the company overtime policy. For example, mark half day after 1 p.m., pay overtime after 9 hours, mark late after 9 a.m., give public holiday on 26th January and so on. The attendance system can do all the tracking and provide full reports. You don’t have to ask the contract worker to manually track all of it and your admin does not have to reconcile everything manually. Onboarding a contract staff has never been so easy. They just show up everyday to work - the rest is taken care of by advanced face attendance systems

Tip 6: Let them mark attendance on day one even remotely

You don’t have to ask contractor workers to report to head office on their first day if their actual site is somewhere in the field. They can mark selfie attendance from app based attendance systems. They just need their own smartphone or a simple tablet at the site office. It is especially true in case of advanced face attendance systems like Truein.

Single source of truth

Most companies have a very clear onboarding process for new employees but they don’t apply the same rigour to contract staff onboarding. The agencies they outsource to do not have advanced systems either. Face attendance systems like Truein bring transparency, automation and compliance to the process and it can be shared with staffing agencies. One system of truth for everything from onboarding to attendance and reporting makes the entire system efficient. 

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Why do you need automated attendance system for your ‘contract staff’

Do you hire contract staff on hourly, daily or fixed contract wages? Such staff is not permanent and they change too frequently to invest in proper attendance protocols. Often companies don’t even create RFID cards. Contract staff attendance is almost always done manually with a register and pen.

It may not seem like a huge problem first. However, when you calculate the leakages it causes in the system and the financial impact of it, it becomes an issue worth looking into.

Why is manual attendance not the right way to go?

Buddy punching:

In case of manual attendance, there is no way to really check or backcheck who was present. Friends often punch attendance for each other. So, you might have only 100 contract staff present on a particular day but you may be paying for 120. If you extrapolate this for the entire year, the annual cheque for leakages may be huge. 

Manual attendance overheads:

Manual attendance is just what the name says - powered by people. People need to watch over the attendance process and be vigilant when the contract staff is signing the register. You need people to manually tally all the attendance and feed it into the computer. You need more people to compile it and create reports for the management or payroll. The entire process is tedious and takes manpower for the management of it. All these easily add up to your expenses.

Monthly report generation:

There is no way you can know attendance aggregates of your contract staff on a daily basis because somebody will have to compile it. That means you won’t be able to drive compliances or enforce rules. By the time you come to know about gaps, it will be month end. Most companies build a frequency of monthly reports for report generation. It is only at month end that you see the tally of attendance across offices and across regions. Decisions, finances - everything has to wait. 

Reconciliation:

There is a minimum loss of 5 mandays, spent only on the reconciliation or compilation of manual attendance registers across offices or regions. It is not just about time loss; it is about money loss too. Manual compilations are prone to errors and even a digit error can be an entire day’s worth salary lost or gained. 

Face attendance is the solution to all manual attendance woes

Easy onboarding:

Contract staff may change frequently. So what? You can onboard them in no time with extreme ease on a face attendance system like Truein. 

  • You can upload all contract staff in bulk using excel on the web dashboard
  • You can upload them individually on the web dashboard 
  • You can take advantage of the self-onboarding feature of Truein. The contract staff can upload their selfie and get going with daily attendance

Mobile-based selfie attendance:

If your contract staff is always travelling for sales-like roles, you can ask him to lock his attendance through his very own phone and the Truein app. If you have a construction site, the workers don’t need a kiosk to mark attendance. Outdoor sites can ensure compliance through selfie-based mobile attendance. Remote site? No problem. Truein works offline too. 

Extreme transparency:

You know who is in and who is not on a real-time basis on your Truein app. You don’t have to wait until the month-end to see loopholes or compliance issues. Take action now and on a daily basis. Because the system records face attendance, there is no scope for buddy punching. Face is the best ID, afterall.

Contract agency tracking:

You can track agency-wise attendance of contract staff. That way the hiring agency can be held accountable for meeting the required numbers and sending sincere staff. It is possible to share the tracking with the agency through user-level access and app access. There can be meaningful discussion around real numbers.

Quick deactivation:

If a contract worker is absent for too long, he can be deactivated from the system. You can easily blacklist or block troublesome workers too. If a worker is on vacation and comes back later, you don’t have to go through the onboarding process again. His previous profile can be reactivated.

Switch to face attendance systems

There is no entry barrier to this upgrade. You don’t have to install large machines or set up any infrastructure. Truein works on any mobile or tablet. Say goodbye to age-old manual attendance. Manual attendance costs you more than you think!

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