Softworks Blog

Get to know our Customers

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Apr 24, 2017

 

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Following on from ‘National Get to Know Your Customers Day’ that took place last week we examine how workforce management systems are employed across many different industries and companies.

Softworks customers span all industries from Healthcare to Hospitality, and from Manufacturing to Retail. Particular industries will have specific individual workforce management needs. For example, our customers in the Healthcare industry benefit greatly from our eRostering and Scheduling tools, as they can plan for anticipated staff needs.

Below we take a closer look at the various industries that softworks serve, the companies in these industires and the workforce management solutions that these companies avail of.

 Healthcare

Healthcare organisations typically require rostering software that can manage schedules across their entire employee landscape; from nurses and medics to ancillary support staff.  The Bon Secours Health System is one such of these Health Organisations. Bon Secours came to Softworks looking for an eRostering solution that would enable them to manage their complex rostering schedules and shift patterns. You can read more about their story here.

Manufacturing

In order to effectively manage their workforce, manufacturing firms have the need to record, track and analyse employee time and attendance, planned and unplanned absences and manage HR processes. Aughnish Alumina,  Europe's largest alumina refinery approached Softworks to aid them in three key areas of Workforce Management: They needed full visibility of their workforce for key decision making, implementing a system that would integrate with their existing HR and Payroll systems  and Automation of all manual processes. Find out here how Softworks provided them with an inclusive workforce management system.

Retail

For large retailers such as our Customer Clas Ohlson, full employee visibility across all stores is vital. Softworks provided Clas Ohlson with easily adaptable and flexible scheduling solutions. Softworks provided Clas Ohlson with an automated system to manage employee time and attendance as well as scheduling. Additionally, Softworks delivered custom reporting tools for each individual store. Read more about the benefits of workforce management in retail here.

Hospitality

In the Hospitality industry, a major challenge facing management is the ever adapting staff requirement. The Druids Glen Resort needed a workforce management system that could automate manual tasks such as tracking employee attendance and managing planned and unplanned absences. They also required accuracy in the collection and reporting of hours worked for compliance and legislation purposes. You can find out how Softworks helped them achieve this here.

Softworks boasts a huge range of clients, from start ups to global corporations. How can Softworks help your business? Get in touch with our Team today about implementing our Workforce Management Solutions.

Request a Free Demo Today!

 

Topics: Time & Attendance, Softworks Customers, Flexible Working, Workforce Management, Automated Absence Management

Bring Your Pet to Work Day

Posted by Jimmy English on Tue, Apr 18, 2017

 

In the ever evolving world of start ups and millenial employees, what is and what is not accpetable in the working environment is becoming an increasingly gray area. How would you feel if you came in for work on Monday morming to find a puppy or a kitten sitting on your desk?

For many of us this would be a welcome addition to our office. Who wouldn't love to entertain a baby animal instead getting stuck into their work? With 'Bring your Dog to Work Day' on the horizon we take a look at the various positives and possible negatives that could ensue from having a pooch or indeed any sort of pet in the office. pets.jpg

Positives:

  1. Employee mood is up.

Contact with animals is generally thought to improve one’s mood and sense of wellbeing. Starting off your week by playing fetch with a puppy or cuddling a kitten is a sure fire way to not only put you in a good mood but to keep that good mood going all week.

  1. Create a positive and nurturing workplace environment.

An employee’s best work takes place when they are getting positive feedback in an encouraging environment. With animals in the office, there will a natural sense of nurturing and caring. This sense of caring will transfer to the relationship between the company and employees resulting in better work being carried out.

Negatives:

  1. Not everyone likes animals.

Believe it or not, there are some people in the world who don’t like puppies! Shocking, I know. Between allergies, phobias and general unease around animals some of your employees mightn’t be best pleased to be surrounded by animals in their office. One way to combat this is to have one area of your office reserved for pets, allowing other employees to work in peace.

  1. Insurance issues.

Is your company covered to have animals on the premises? What if there’s a bite or a scratch, are you covered for that? Before planning your ‘Pet Day’ make sure your insurance is in order.

 

Having a workplace pet day is a fantastic way to engage with and motivate employees, but does carry some risk.  Your employees can also use their flexitime to spend as much time playing with pets as they want – one of the many benefits of flexible working arrangements.

Topics: Employee Retention, Work Team, Employee Motivation

The Good Weather Workplace

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Apr 10, 2017

The Irish weather is a constant source of debate and discussion. Our recent run of sunny weather has excited the nation into breaking out the barbecue and making a mad dash to the beach. The summer like conditions we experienced over the weekend are seemingly going to be extended for at least a few more days. And there is almost nothing worse than being stuck in the office, staring at a computer while the sun is splitting the stones outside.  So how can you counteract the sun filled daydreaming and encourage employees to remain focused during the forthcoming sunny days?

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  1. Encourage your employees to go outside on their break.

You probably won’t have to try too hard to get your employees to enjoy the sun on their lunch break. In fact you’ll probably have a much harder job ensuring that they are back at their desks on time! By enjoying some exercise and fresh air, employees will be prepared for a productive afternoon of work.

  1. Send them home early with Flexible Working Hours.

Flexible working arrangements, or Flexitime has been proven to reduce your costs and to improve employee motivation. If your employees know that they can go home earlier than normal to enjoy some of the sun, they are sure to experience an improved energy for their work. In addition,flexible working gives employees a better chance to maintain a good work life balance.

  1. Buy the office some Ice Cream!

Ice Cream is synonymous with sunny weather.  An ice cream break on a sunny day gives employees a chance to catch up with each other and the feeling that they aren’t entirely missing out on the good weather.

For more on the benefits of Flexible Working arrangements and how they positively impact both employees and employers, you can download our free whitepaper here.

Download our Whitepaper!

Do you have any suggestions for motivating employees when it's sunny outside? Let us know in the commetns below!

Topics: Employee Retention, Flexible Working, Employee Motivation

“Pawternity” leave – Barking mad or will it take off?

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Apr 4, 2017

I don’t personally have a dog which is quite surprising considering the amount of pleading I have got over the years from my kids.  I do love dogs.  As a kid there were plenty of dogs coming and going in my house, as my sister brought home every waif and stray much to my mother’s dismay.  In all honesty I’d love a dog – please don’t tell the kids though!

My reluctance is that I’m just not sure I’ve got the time between working and ferrying around my kids to Soccer, Rugby, Gaelic Football and Hurling matches, not forgetting play dates, parties and playgrounds. Dogs are a lot of work, particularly when they are puppies so I was intrigued to hear that some companies are offering ‘pawternity’ leave.

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So what exactly is ‘pawternity leave’? Apparently it’s just like maternity or paternity leave but for a new pet, instead of a new baby.   The unpaid time off is allowed in order to give pet owners time to take care of their new pet whether this is a kitten, puppy, rabbit, hamster or whatever you’re having yourself…

Looking a bit deeper into this new leave, it came as no surprise to find out that some of the companies offering this leave are pet-themed companies.  The Scottish brewery BrewDog offers a week of paid leave for employees with new puppies or rescued dogs.  BrewDog co-founder, James Watt has this to say:

 “It’s not easy trying to juggle work and settle a new dog into your life, and many members of our crew have four-legged friends at home. So we wanted to take the stress out of the situation and let our teams take the time they need to welcome their new puppy or dog into their family. We always want to raise the bar when it comes to offering our staff the best possible benefits; at BrewDog, we care about two things above all else. People and beer. We also just really really like dogs.’

BrewDog, was started by two men and a dog back in 2007, and both co founders are commonly found accompanied by canines Simcoe and Dr Gonzo.

Mars Petcare the people behind big pet food brands including: Whiskas, Pedigree Chum and Kitekat now offer their employees ten hours of paid leave for a new pet. Once their pets have settled in, they are allowed to join their owners in the office.  Mars’ HR Director Kate Menzies commented on why they have introduced this leave.

“We want to enable and ease responsible pet ownership for our employees. Dogs and cats are at the heart of our business and our policy is designed to embrace a culture that is passionate about pets.” She also had this to say;

“Having pets in the workplace comes with many great benefits including relieving stress and improving productivity, as well as breaking down barriers between employees which creates a more relaxed environment.”

But it’s not just pet themed companies. BitSol Solutions -an IT company- in Manchester has also got on board and offers their employees a week off paid leave. According to company owner Greg Buchanan
"Pets are like babies nowadays, so why shouldn't staff have some time off when they arrive?"

So what do you think - are they all barking mad or could this really take off? Share your thoughts in  the comment section below and if you are looking for a way of managing your employees leave - whether this is maternity, paternity or even pawternity Softworks can automate this process for you!. 

Topics: Time & Attendance, Maternity Leave, pawternity leave, paternity leave, absences

Workplace Wellness

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Apr 3, 2017

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Workplace Wellbeing

 Last week saw the celebration of the International Workplace Wellbeing day, and in honour of this celebration we’re going to take a further look at the many benefits of workplace wellbeing.  Workplace wellbeing practices has benefits for both employers and employees. Employers who promote workplace wellbeing typically enjoy higher output from their employees and a reduced rate of absenteeism. For employees, workplace wellbeing programs can lead to improved morale and greater self-esteem in the workplace.  The value of workplace wellbeing can be enjoyed equally by employers and employees alike.

Benefits of workforce health for employers:

  • Increased motivation and production
  • A Happy workforce
  • Attracting top employees
  • Reduced Absenteeism
  • Reduced turnover of employees

While employers and organisations can certainly reap the benefits of introducing a  workplace wellbeing program, it is the employees that truly enjoy the advantages. For example , employees who are  a part of workplace health program enjoy:

  • Improved workplace morale
  • Increased performance motivation
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Improved physical and mental health.
  • Enhanced self-esteem.

 Workplace wellness schemes are more commonplace than ever among Irish companies. For example, companies who offer gym memberships, healthy meal options or social club subscriptions to their employees are all actively embracing workplace wellbeing and wellness.  By promoting and encouraging healthy life practices such as exercise and proper nutrition, companies can ensure that their employees are always properly fit and fuelled to perform their role successfully.

One particularly popular and effective workplace wellness practice is the introduction of flexible working arrangements. Flexible working arrangements, or Flexitime, provides benefits to both the employer and business, as well as to employees.

For employers, flexitime can lead to higher retention rates of employees as well as increasing employee productivity while they are in the workplace. For employees, flexible working arrangements allow for a better balance between work and life.  You can read more about the business benefits of flexitime and how they can be implemented as part of a workplace wellness program here.

If you decide to implement flexible working arrangements, then Softworks can help. Get in touch with us today and organise a Demo of our Workforce Management Solutions!

                                   

   Request a Live Demo

  

Topics: Employee Retention, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working, Workforce Management, Healthy Workplace, workplace wellbeing

Manufacturing the perfect Workforce Management System

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Mar 27, 2017

 linkedin_Manufacturing1_1200x627-1.gifManufacturing the perfect Workforce Management System.

 The manufacturing industry in the UK and Ireland is rapidly expanding post economic downturn. Growth in the manufacturing industry has led to a positive boost in employment levels. The growth in the manufacturing industry in the UK and Ireland has also raised a number of workforce management issues for manufacturing companies.  By identifying these issues, manufacturing companies can begin to implement workforce management solutions.  Some of the major workforce management issues for manufacturing companies include: creating easily adaptable rosters and schedules, timesheet fraud and manipulation caused by ‘buddy punching’ and inaccuracies between time and attendance and payroll.

   Do any of these issues sound familiar to you? Fortunately, they are all easily resolved. Softworks Workforce Management is currently working with manufacturing companies in the UK and Ireland to deliver them with effective and sustainable workforce management solutions.

Some of our current customers include Apple, Formica and Kerry Foods.

So how exactly do Softworks help manufacturing companies?

  1. End to End Automation

Our workforce management software helps eliminate any inaccuracies in an employee’s time and attendance and their payroll.  Automating your time and attendance will result in an automation of payroll, removing any discrepancies.

  1. Biometric Timekeeping.

By implementing biometric time and attendance systems, you remove any possibility of ‘buddy punching’ or attempted time and attendance fraud.

  1. Flexibility of Rostering.

With the nature of the manufacturing industry, flexible working hours and shifts are a necessity. Softworks eRostering allows manufacturing managers to ensure allocation of adequate resources within prepopulated budgets and costs.

In the manufacturing industry, companies are always striving to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Time and Attendance solutions from Softworks can help you do just that. 

But how do you know which Workforce Management System is right for you? Our guide to selecting a Workforce Management System will provide you with an unbiased guide on choosing the perfect workforce management system for your manufacturing company.

To find out more about how Softworks has already assisted a major manufacturing company,download our case study on Aughinish Alumina.

                   

 

 

 

 

 

                             

 

 

Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Workforce Management, Manufacturing

Motivating the Modern Employee

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Mar 20, 2017

 

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Motivating the modern workforce.

It’s the Monday morning after St.Patricks weekend . The odds are that a great weekend was had by all and that spirits are currently a little bit low. With that In mind it is important to bear In mind that employee motivation is probably lower than usual. Employee motivation is a tricky area at the best of times. There are many factors that affect your employee motivation levels ; from issues within the workplace that you can control, to external issues happening outside of work.  It is important that managers focus on the workplace issues that they can control in order to maintain high levels of employee motivation.  How can managers influence employee motivation In the workplace?

  1. Lead by example: If your employees see you working hard then generally they will follow suit. By being a role model to your employees and demonstrating your passion for your work you will motivate them to emulate your behaviour and work ethic.
  2. Communicate: Communication is a vital part of any workplace. Employees must know that their manager is open and available for queries and consultation when necessary. Being available for clarification and feedback shows that managers are interested and involved with an employees work and will encourage employees to maintain high standards. Ensure daily communication with employees and let them know that they are important.
  3. Create a motivational environment: In order for your employees to succeed they must be working in an environment that is conducive to success. Set tasks and attainable progression goals that motivate your employees to work hard. Be available for encouragement and guidance. By assigning responsibility and delegating important tasks you are motivating your employees to step up and realise their potential on their own.

Remember that employee motivation is nearly always influenced by the atmosphere and internal environment of the workplace. If, however, employees are dealing with issues outside of the workplace that are impinging on their levels of motivation then it is the responsibility of the manager to identify and deal with these issues. Ultimately , employee motivation rests on the shoulders of the manager. 

A major factor in boosting employee motivation lies in giving them ownership of managing their time and attendance. By implementing Sofworks Workforce Management Solutions employees will have greater control over managing how they clock in and out, book holidays etc. which will certainly lead to higher levels of employee motivation.

 

                                  Request a Free Demo Today!

 

 

 

 

                             

 

 

Topics: Employee Retention, Happy Workers, Healthy Workplace, Work Team

Workplace Naps and Employee Productivity

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Mar 13, 2017

 

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Napping in the workplace- employee productivity

Does your workplace encourage napping during work hours? Napping is becoming increasingly common and popular in the workplace. Global companies such as Facebook, Google and Hubspot have dedicated nap rooms where employees can catch some quick shut eye during the work day. And while the Irish workplace hasn’t quite fully accepted this trend, there are many tangible benefits to employees taking naps during work. Napping during the working day has been proven to lead to better employee performance and attitude. Some of the workplace performance benefits of napping during the working day include:

-Improved employee mental performance

-Increased alertness

-Increase in drive and motivation

-Boosting Productivity

The average working day is 8 hours. That’s 8 hours in front of a computer screen. It can be challenging for companies to maintain a high level of engagement from their employees for this long period of time. Companies that have introduced napping into their workplace have found that the employees who avail of workplace naps are happier, healthier and more productive. Ultimately, an increased or improved employee output is beneficial to the company. Therefore it is in the company’s best interests to ensure that their employees can function at an optimal output.

Despite the positive evidence towards the benefits of napping in the workplace, there are still negative associations with this relatively new workplace initiative.  There are some studies that suggest that napping during the workday is a sign of laziness and lack of motivation.  However, the employee productivity benefits associated with having a quick nap during the working day certainly seem to outweigh the possible negative connotations.

If you are considering implementing an allotted napping time for your employees then you should consider introducing it as part offlexible working arrangements. Flexible working allows employees to maximise their output within less rigid working hours, and to work when they feel they are at peak productivity levels. Workplace naps could quite easily become part of your company’s flexible working arrangements.

All in all, workplace naps would work best as part of a larger integrated plan to improve employee productivities and efficiencies over a period of time, leading to a happier and more productive workplace!

 

                                  Request a Free Demo Today!

 

 

 

 

                             

 

 

Topics: Happy Workers, Healthy Workplace, d, Work Team

What does it take to build a strong Work Team?

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Mar 6, 2017

 

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Sourcing and recruiting the right employees can be a challenge for companies. An even bigger challenge can be making these new employees feel part of the team. Once your recruiting process is complete, you then need to integrate your new employees into the company environment. A strong team atmosphere in the workplace is a vital component of any company’s success. In the past, companies have focused on developing employees as individuals. Companies are now beginning to learn that exceptional results come from exceptional teams. But what does it take to develop and maintain this team mentality and vision?

  1. An understanding of the company goal(s).

If employees don’t understand the core values and goals of the company they work for, how are they supposed to succeed? Team players work towards a common goal. In order to ensure success, you need to ensure that your employees are committed to achieving these goals.

  1. Strong communication.

The overall team environment of your company is divided into smaller teams that comprise of different departments. Different departments often work side by side on various projects and need to communicate on a daily basis to make sure projects are progressing as expected. Without communication, teams will find it harder to achieve success.

  1. Team Building Activities.

How can team members work together effectively if they haven’t ever met in person?  Particularly in larger companies of 50+, it is a good idea to bring team members together in a social environment. Barriers are down and employees can get to know each other better, leading them to work more effectively together. And while it may not be possible to bring every single member of a company together in a social setting, fostering relationships between employees will have a hugely beneficial impact on team production.

And of course at the core of a strong team environment is market leading Time & Attendance software. With Time & Attendance software from Softworks, you give your team ownership over managing clocking in and out. With your entire team utilizing the same Time & Attendance system, the team mentality is further strengthened. Read more about our time & attendance solutions here.

                                  Request a Free Demo Today!

 

 

 

 

                             

 

 

Topics: Happy Workers, Healthy Workplace, d, Work Team

Millennials in the Workplace

Posted by Jimmy English on Mon, Feb 27, 2017

 

 

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Millennials in the workplace - attracting your new workforce.

 The term ‘Millennial’ has been gaining quite a lot of traction lately. They seem to be becoming more and more prominent. But what exactly is a millennial? And how are this emerging generation affecting workplace dynamics and hiring practices?

For the uninitiated, a ‘millennial’ is a person born between the late 80’s and the early 90’s. They tend to be digital natives and as a result are significantly more comfortable with new technologies than older generations. 

Recent research indicates that by 2020 over 75% of the Irish workforce will be comprised of millennials. With this new workforce, companies and employers will be faced with a new set of challenges. For example:the average tenure of a millennial employee in a particular role is less than 2 years.

Typically, these employees view new roles as opportunities to upskill and advance in their careers as opposed to settling down. Millennial employees are driven: they want engagement and they want advancement.  On a practical, tangible level millennial employees look for flexible working environments. They place a high value on the ‘work/life balance’.  Millennial employees also want the flexibility to work from home, or to work remotely.

How can employers attract this new generation of employees?

Employers are now being faced with a difficult scenario. How can I attract top millennial talent while maintaining my company’s values? The first step is to introduce ‘Flexi – Time’. ‘Flexi – Time’ offers a number of advantages to a business. With ‘Flexi Time’ businesses can stay true to their core values, while adapting to retain employees.

By introducing ‘Flexi- Time’ companies can meet the changing demands of their employees. In meeting these demands, employer/employee relations are improved. Employees feel that they are being listened to and are receiving the recognition they deserve. When employee engagement is improved, there is a corresponding upswing in output.

Ultimately, millennial employees seek to be given the freedom of flexible working. With Flexible working, companies can increasingly attract millennial employees.

 

                                   Click here to Download our Whitepaper on Flexible Working.

 

 

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working