Softworks Blog

Managing Employee Time & Attendance? There's an App for that...

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Oct 4, 2016

If you find managing employee time, attendance and absences an administrative nightmare you are gonna love Softworks new app :)  Our Time & Attendance app allows employees to record their own time, attendance, absences and check work schedules via their smart phones/tablets from wherever they are. The app even includes their GPS location!  

With employees entering their own requests and managers signing off via email alerts it couldn't be easier to manage employee time and attendance. Wave goodbye to re keying data and a mountain of emails and phone calls!

With Softworks Time & Attendance Mobile App Employees can:

  • Clock In or Out (with GPS location) - Perfect for today's mobile workforce.
  • View clocking history.
  • Check flexi balance (if applicable). 
  • Book a holiday/vacation.
  • View current balances.
  • Check work schedules/rosters.
  • Update employee details.
  • Request absences including; training, sick leave, maternity, paternity, study and much more...
Dashboard.png Request_Absence.png Balance_Details.png

If you would like a quick demo of our new app, we would be delighted to show you around and get your feedback - Just fill in your details via this link and we will be in touch.


Topics: Time & Attendance, Flexible Working, Automated Absence Management, Mobile App

Many Businesses could learn from the Justice Canada Scheduling & Payroll Fiasco

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Thu, Feb 25, 2016


A CBC investigation recently reported  about a payroll screw-up at Justice Canada that credited several thousand government lawyers with as much as $50 million worth of time off that they didn't deserve due to a multi-year administrative problem dating back to 2007.

According to CBC, the problem arose due the fact that Justice Department lawyers were responsible for entering leave into two different scheduling systems.  When a lawyer entered time off into the first program, they didn’t always update the second one, which was the one that linked to payroll.  In more than 3,700 cases, the payroll software showed the lawyers had unused leave, even though they had already taken it. The situation has set off an administrative and labour-relations nightmare for the Canadian ministry.   


Since first reported by CBC, Justice Canada have issued a statement and stressed that the current value of the leave entries still to be reconciled is estimated to be no more than $3.5M for the period between 2007 and 2013. The reconciliation exercise is still being finalized and no "financial liability" to the Government has been established to date.

Whatever the final figure turns out to be, it’s pretty clear that it’s a situation that no business wants to find themselves embroiled in.  The administrative mess has tied the department in knots, threatening current negotiations for a new labour contract, prompting union grievances and forcing a massive payroll clean up that has taken more than two years. 

This has been a hard lesson for Justice Canada but I think many companies can learn from their experience and it’s worth reviewing the systems that you use to manage your employees Time & Attendance, Scheduling and Absence Management.   At Softworks we are sometimes amazed that there are so many companies out there that still rely on spread sheets, clipboards, notice boards, and from time to time a bit of sweet talking and arm twisting to schedule their employees!

While the majority of medium to large businesses have already automated their core HR functions, many are missing a trick by not automating the areas of Time & Attendance, Scheduling and Absence Management. If this is true in your situation, it’s most definitely an area that you and your organization can benefit from exploring further. The greatest financial cost for any organization is their workforce costs and you need to be all over this.  A fully integrated workforce management solution that includes time & attendance, scheduling, absence management and workforce analytics, can for starters, shave anywhere between 5% and 20% off your organizations payroll costs. Just make sure all your systems are fully integrated so you don't end up in the same situation as Justice Canada.  

Modern workforce management systems can help your organisation not only to cut payroll costs but also to improve performance, while addressing the ultimate goal of contributing to profitability. World class companies today are using WFM solutions to optimise labour planning, scheduling & modelling, respond to union and legislation requirements, track and cost projects and manage planned/unplanned absences and even to implement employee and family friendly initiatives, such as flexible working options. 

If you are thinking of researching this further you might find our free to download and impartial guide useful - Selecting a Workforce Management System - Advice and Tips before you buy

Topics: Time & Attendance, Labour Scheduling, Automated Absence Management

Super Bowl Sickies – Are you missing any employees this morning?

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Mon, Feb 8, 2016

An estimated 117 million people watched The Denver Broncos defeat the Carolina Panthers last night. The final score of Super Bowl 50 was Denver Broncos 24 and Carolina Panthers 10. Interest in the Super Bowl is no longer confined to the United States. The Super Bowl has in fact become one of the fastest growing global businesses in the world. This year's event was broadcast or legally streamed in 230 countries worldwide.  According to sports research company Repucom back in 2011, 8.1% of people in the United Kingdom were interested in the NFL Super Bowl but this increased to 12.3% in 2015. That's an increase of 1.86 million fans.

With the Super Bowl comes Super Bowl parties which generally equate to Hot Dogs, Nachos, Chicken Wings and Beer and more Beer! Unfortunately for employers this leads to many people waking up the next morning with a whopping Super Bowl Hangover.  The event has long been linked with late nights and drinking and with late nights and drinking comes a high level of employee absence and lateness.   So as a business how do you combat this type of absence? Here are our top 6 tips on how to manage absence and lateness after a major sporting event.


Top 6 tips on how to manage absence & lateness after a major sporting event.

Tip 1 - Turn unplanned absences into planned ones

Encourage your employees to book the day off rather than calling in sick. Some organisations now even offer “Duvet Days” where an employee gets one day a year that they can stay at home. They can plan this in advance of their absence. The only criteria being that employees can't all be out on the same day - so you might need to think about how to manage this great employee perk! 

Tip 2 - Combat lateness with flexible start and finish times

If feasible, offer flexible working start and finish times. Flexible working gives employees greater ownership and control of their own time and working hours enabling them to manage their social lives better. The are many business and financial benefits associated with offering flexible working arrangements including; better retention rates, reduced costs and improved productivity. If you would like to research this further download our free whitepaper - How to Strategically Use Flexible Working Arrangements to Benefit your Business.

Tip 3 - Use a carrot rather than a stick

Research shows that improvements in employee attendance can be achieved by making absence management an integral part of their overall company policy - by creating an Attendance Culture. Many organisations have discovered the benefits of shifting from a punitive approach of ‘absence control’, in favour of enlightened ‘attendance management’ strategies. These strategies aim to provide a working environment which maximises and motivates attendance. 

Tip 4 - Don't ignore absenteeism and ensure you managers are taking responsibility for their teams

Whether you decide to use the carrot or the stick method to manage absenteeism, the most important thing is that you have some procedure in place and that your managers are taking responsibility for managing it. Closing your eyes and hoping it will go away, will never work!  Organisations with the lowest absence rates are those where senior managers take responsibility for managing absence. Return-to-work interviews are one of the most effective absence management tools, followed by disciplinary measures. 

Tip 5 - Monitor employee sickness absence records for frequency and patterns
One quarter of all organisations do not even bother to keep absence statistics and as many as three quarters do not have any idea of the cost of absence to their organisation. The fundamental building block of any effective absence control programme is the availability of complete, accurate and timely information. Good records are vital to grasp the extent of the problem. Tightened attendance reviews have been proven to reduce employee sickness absence.

Tip 6 - Consider a new automated Time & Attendance System
Modern Time & attendance systems can help organisations manage absenteeism by providing them with the evidence needed to manage any issues. By the very virtue of what they do, time & attendance systems will store all details of hours worked, of all employees, and therefore all details of when they were not there, when they were late, left early or worked overtime. The reporting facilities enable organisations to produce reports, which can analyse absenteeism, by rating, frequency, reason, percentage, cost and the Bradford Factor, and can also create this information in graphical format if required, thereby giving the company the tools to manage any problems. They can become part of enlightened ‘attendance management strategies’ rather than the punitive ‘Big Brother’ approach of yesteryear, giving employees responsibility over their jobs and attendance.

The management of non-genuine sickness absence is about managing people. It is about their relationship to their jobs, their ambitions, their capacity and motivation to give their best, and their need for more than monetary affirmation. This is a challenge for employers when addressing absenteeism after major sporting events.  The trick is to recognise that there could be a problem and plan accordingly.  Early recognition, effective assessment and rapid intervention are key to managing these short-term absences and can prevent these absences from becoming problematic. Business owners, HR departments and managers alike need to be open to altering their approach and revising their policies to take account. 

Topics: Absenteeism, Automated Absence Management