Softworks Blog

We are Hiring!

Posted by Triona Cahalane on Thu, Jul 24, 2014
Softworks Jobs

Due to the continued success and expansion of Softworks, we have a number of job vacancies available in our Irish office. 

We believe in equal opportunities and this belief in our workforce has allowed us to become industry leaders in workforce management as to be the best; we have to hire some of the best in the business. At Softworks, everyone from new recruits to experienced managers enjoy a challenging workplace along with a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package.

Software Development Manager

The successful candidate will be responsible for the strategic direction of the companies’ products. The Software Development Manager will be the leader of the core product development team, reporting to the Managing Director. You will be involved in creating the exciting next generation of enterprise level and cloud hosted workforce management systems and delivering these to our customers.

Delphi Developer

Working with the team leader, you will be responsible for the ongoing development of core and customer specific elements of the product suite. You will also contribute to the design and development of new modules within the system. The position will also involve a certain level of business-requirements analysis and this may involve direct contact with customers.

Support Specialist

We are looking to hire an energetic self-motivated Support Specialist to start immediately. Previous Support experience is not necessary but would be an advantage. Good communication skills a requirement. Great opportunity to join a dynamic company.

Topics: Jobs, Workforce Solutions

Softworks attending the National Health Summit in Croke Park, Dublin

Posted by Triona Cahalane on Tue, Feb 18, 2014

National Health Summit 2014Softworks will be attending the National Health Summit on Wednesday 19th February in Croke Park, Dublin. The National Health Summit is established as one of Ireland's most important annual healthcare management summits and in 2014 will celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Health Care Conference

The event brings together all the major stakeholders in the Health Care Section to discuss and debate the ever-changing healthcare environment.

Softworks CEO – Andrew Ferguson will also be involved in the Panel Discussion on the topic “Transforming our hospitals: Just more cuts or can our hospitals achieve radical service transformation & deep cultural reform?” which is sure to be an excellent event.

Please click here for more information on this event or if your attending, we’ll be on hand to answer any of your questions plus we’ll have goodies to give away. Effective workforce management has never been more critical to the healthcare sector in Ireland. Softworks Time & Attendance, eRostering and Absence Management solutions provide a completely automated healthcare workforce environment with proactive, event driven actionable alerts and full reporting facilities as standard.

Healthcare Summit

Topics: Conferences, Workforce Solutions, Healthcare

Is workforce compliance a priority at your company?

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Mon, Feb 10, 2014

By Dave Schulz, National Account Manager, Softworks USA

I started my career in workforce management over 20 years ago, specifically in time & attendance. Initially, I worked for a company that built mechanical time clocks that added up the daily and weekly hours on timecards. My employer hadn’t yet gotten to a PC based solution. This is what time & attendance solutions were all about in those days.  We sold them based on the fact that we could eliminate about 80% of the manual effort of adding up timecards along with the 1-3% error rate typically made during this manual process.

As far as time & attendance solutions went, these were seen as the two key benefits. They are still key benefits of a T&A solution, however back then employers viewed these devices purely as a way to save money. Compliance was not typically a part of the conversation.

complicance

Let’s step back and look at the origins of employment compliance. While many people in the 1800s were talking about an 8 hour work day, it was only being adopted in a few rare situations, such as the tradesmen in New Zealand during a building boom, or the ship builders in Boston in the 1840s when the shipping industry was taking off.  The first major industrialist that instituted the 8 hour work day was Henry Ford on January 5, 1914. 100 years ago. At the same time, he more than doubled the daily pay of his workforce from $2.34 to $5 per day He believed that is was good for the employee, the company, and the economy. He was right. In 1926 he changed from a six day work week to 5 days, making Saturdays a day off. When it became obvious to other industrialists that this was working well for Ford and Ford’s profits were soaring, others started following this trend. Hence, the US Federal government made the 8 hour work day/40 work week law with the Federal Labor Standards Act in 1938. Soon after that, other nations began passing their own legislation regarding employment rules and regulations.

Today, legislative compliance may be the most important benefit that a T&A solution can deliver for some employers. This is especially true in “White Collar” businesses such as financial institutions, insurance companies, and other organizations with a lot of office staff. In the past, these organizations shied away from T&A systems because of the association with time clocks. Theirs was not a clocking culture. But today’s solutions offer many alternatives to time clocks, allowing a T&A solution to automate the time and attendance process for all employees in all corporate cultures. In regard to compliance, if you were to search the internet for Class Action Over Time Lawsuits, then add a letter in front of it like “A”, you will start finding very familiar names of companies that thought they were 100% compliant and then lost their multi-million dollar lawsuits. Companies like AT&T, Bank of America, CVS, Deloitte, Farmers Insurance, PWC, and Wells Fargo.

Compliance with government rules and regulations is an international issue. In the United Stated the rules are defined by the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), in Canada it’s the ESA (Employment Standards Act), and in Europe it’s the WTD (Working Time Directive). However, compliance is not limited to large industrialized nations. I attended the Global Credit Union Conference last year in Ottawa. I found it interesting speaking about compliance issues with employers from Kenya, Ghana, Barbados, Tonga, and many other small nations around the world. Wherever you have employees, you have compliance issues to take into account.

One reason I often hear from some companies for not having an automated T&A system in place, is because it didn’t make the budget cut this year, again. Most T&A solutions still deliver the cost savings of replacing manual processes involved with time sheets or cards. Generally these solutions will pay for themselves in less than a year. For those employers that feel their manual system is adequate, they need to ask themselves what is the potential cost of not being compliant. The answer is it can be millions. I doubt if that number is anywhere in their annual budget. Why would any organization leave themselves open to the expense and negative publicity generated by not being compliant, especially when the solution will pay for itself in months? 

 


Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Compliance

Softworks Presents at Healthcare Summit in Dublin

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Wed, Nov 20, 2013

Softworks are delighted to be part of the 2013 HISI Stakeholders Summit which takes place in Dublin today.

The one day event provides an opportunity for delegates to learn from international experience and to gain a better understanding of the shared challenges and opportunities faced by healthcare providers.  Andrew Ferguson, Softworks CEO, was invited to present on how to overcome the challenges of staff schedulingrostering in healthcare. 

The healthcare sector is unlike any other sector when it comes to staff rostering/scheduling. Scheduling thousands of employees in a 24/7 organisation, with unknown and often unpredictable demand drivers is an enormous challenge. Add to this specific skills, legislative compliance, variable start and finish times, rotating patterns, contracts, employee preferences, numerous departments, teams and specialities…. It could not be more complex. 

He shared with delegates Softworks experience working with Irish and international hospitals/community & residential healthcare providers. Softworks Irish clients include; Beaumont, Bon Secours Hospitals, The Coombe, National Maternity Hospital, The Beacon, The Mercy Hospital,  St Michael’s House, Children’s Sunshine Home, Laura Lynn House.

HISI Conference

 

 

 

HISI Conference

Softworks have developed specific software to make light work of employee scheduling in healthcare.  Unlike historic hospital rostering software that was often only used by the nursing department. Softworks software manages rosters across the entire hospital from admin staff to porters, doctors, nurses, departmental staff etc. 

In an era when computers can handle almost everything, it’s incredible that some healthcare organisations still rely on spread sheets, clipboards, notice boards, and from time to time a bit of sweet talking and arm twisting to function!  

For more about how Softworks assist the healthcare sector download our free paper - How the latest in Workforce Management Technology can meet the Healthcare Sector’s Operational Challenges

Topics: Workforce Solutions, Labour Scheduling, Rostering, Healthcare

The True Cost of Employee Time and Attendance

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Nov 19, 2013

By Oliver Mitchell, ACA

‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat’ and there are many ways to record and track the cost of time. Whether it’s sitting in traffic, standing in a queue, waiting for a computer to load or simply sitting idly watching TV, almost every minute of your day has a cost that can be applied to it. It is all well and good accepting these unseen costs in your everyday tasks, it’s a given really, just part of your daily routine and most of us don’t give it a second thought. However, when it comes to the workplace, where employee’s get paid to be, it really should be a different story.

Of course, some employer’s don’t pay too much attention to the cost of time. Employees are hired for a specific role and work the hours agreed in their contract - for example 9 to 5. However so much has changed in how and when we want to work, more and more organisations are realising the benefits of measuring tasks completed rather than hours worked.  Employers record how employees spend their time throughout the day, recording individual tasks over set time intervals. These types of companies have a very good handle on the true cost of time and have excellent visibility of where efficiencies can be harnessed and real savings achieved on an on-going basis.

 

Profit and loss

Over the years, there have been countless studies conducted to try to apportion a cost to any particular activity in the workplace, and there have been multiple methodologies devised to track and record the cost of an activity. Suffice to say, that a great starting point for any company that really wants to get valuable information and reports in relation to their true cost of time, is to start tracking their employee’s time and activities. It doesn’t have to be an onerous or cumbersome task, nor does it have to be seen as an authoritarian approach, the introduction of timesheets and time recording has come on leaps and bounds since the early days of time tracking. The clock on the wall approach whilst still in place has evolved into detailed reporting and analysis, web clocking, absence management, flexi-time and even allowing employees to manage their day through self-service time and attendance management while at the same time promoting and supporting a work life balance. In a lot of cases it can often be seen as a plus point in today’s workplace and if implemented and communicated sufficiently, time and attendance systems can be of a huge benefit not only to the company but also to the individual employee who has more control over their working hours.

Not only will a modern Time & Attendance system provide managers with a real time view of their designated workforce, team calendars, rosters and much more. It will also allow for detailed and specific reporting over a huge variety of information at various levels from employee all the way to the MD and has been proven to drive efficiencies and save payroll costs by up to 5% of an organisations total labour cost. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s certainly more than one way to evaluate and assess the true cost of time, but for any company the best starting point should be gaining a true understanding of how their workforce – their biggest cost and biggest asset spends their time.

Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Work-Life Balance, Accountants, Performance, Business Processes

Spreadsheet Errors Costing Businesses Billions - Time for Change?

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Wed, Jul 31, 2013

Spreadsheet errors are costing businesses billions, according to financial modelling company FIF9. In their eBook "The Dirty Dozen - 12 Modelling Horror Stories" they estimate that 88% of spreadsheets have some sort of error in them and that approximately 50% of spreadsheet models in use operationally in large businesses have material defects. They state that these mistakes are not just costly in terms of time and money - but also lead to damaged reputations, lost jobs and disrupted careers.

Spreadsheets resized 600

The dirty dozen spreadsheet horror stories include leading organisations such as Oxford University, MI5, The London 2012 Olympics, JP Morgan Chase and the US Federal Reserve. According to their eBook the biggest blunder came from Harvard University who had a spreadsheet error in their analysis of international Government debt to GDP ratios. The flawed research has been quoted as a basis for various European Government austerity measures, which are having profound impacts on millions of its citizens. They say that although there is some debate about the why’s and wherefores' of the economics, the discovery of the spreadsheet error has been well publicised and is highly embarrassing for the 2 eminent academics involved, Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff.  You can download the full eBook via this link   

Spreadsheets undoubtedly have their place within businesses and can be used by many areas of the business, not just finance, for data computation and reporting.  However, there is no doubt that there are limitations and errors are common. Many of the companies that use our solutions migrated from "Excel systems" I use the word system loosely!

Before installing Softworks, their HR, time & attendance, holidays/vacations and even scheduling/rostering data was managed in Excel spreadsheets. Separate spreadsheets for each, often managed by different departments and/or personnel.  Of course, not surprisingly the data never seemed to match up perfectly between spreadsheets and errors were common. I think we can learn something from this ... and certainly in our experience and our space, change has meant savings in time, money, administration and errors.

Topics: Workforce Solutions, Business Processes, Operations

MPs in the UK call for Introduction of Maximum Workplace Temperature

Posted by Triona Cahalane on Mon, Jul 22, 2013

With the recent hot weather and continuing heatwave across the UK, MPs have called for employees to be sent home if the temperature reaches 30C at work.

Softworks

“Whilst there is a legal minimum workplace indoor temperature there is no legal maximum workplace temperature, so conditions can vary greatly from employer to employer,” the motion said.

“[We] understand that employees in a wide range of workplaces - from industrial bakeries to school classrooms - are often subjected to high temperatures which can impact seriously on their health and well-being, with effects ranging from discomfort, stress, irritability and headaches, to extra strain on the heart and lungs, dizziness and fainting and heat cramps due to loss of water and salt,” the MPs said. “[We] observe that the consequent reduction in cognitive function, attention span and visual motor tracking can contribute to workplace accidents and fatalities.”

In order to resolve this issue, MPs have urged the government to introduce maximum working workplace temperature of 30C and 27C for people doing strenuous work.

Furthermore, TUC also called for the same maximum legal temperatures with TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady saying that: “Extreme heat can be just as harmful as extreme cold, and so long as there is no legal maximum working temperature, many of the UK’s workers are likely to be facing conditions that are not just personally unpleasant, but which are also likely to hit their productivity.

“As soon as the temperature starts to soar and begins to nudge 24OC, employers should be allowing their staff to dress down for summer and make sure that plenty of fans, portable air conditioning units and cold drinking water is available to reduce the heat in offices, factories, shops, hospitals, schools and other workplaces across the country,” she said.

Workers denied this support will feel lethargic, and lack inspiration and creativity, the TUC warned.

Read Article in Full

Topics: Employee Retention, Workforce Solutions

Selecting a Workforce Management System - New Guide

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Thu, Jun 20, 2013

Many organisations are replacing their stand-alone, often manual systems used to manage staff hours, schedules and working patterns with fully integrated software-driven workforce management solutions.

Modern Workforce Management systems assist organisations to more efficiently manage and optimise workforce planning, labour scheduling & modelling, facilitate flexible working options, respond to legislative compliance and best practice obligations, and manage planned and unplanned absences.

But with so many systems on the market, that are often poles apart in terms of costs and functionality, it can be difficult to navigate what does what. More and more, we are coming across organisations who have invested in systems, that don't actually fit with their requirements.  Think sledgehammer cracking a nut...

With this in mind, we have just published an impartial guide to assist you in the decision making process of choosing a Workforce Management System. We offer advice and tips before you meet suppliers so you can be 100% confident that you ask the right questions and make the right choice for your organisation. 

Selecting a WFM system
In this free guide you will gain advice and tips about:
  • Best practices when purchasing a system
  • What to expect from the product & supplier
  • Questions to ask potential suppliers
  • Common pitfalls and how to avoid them
http://blog.softworks-workforce.com/selecting-a-workforce-manage

Topics: Workforce Solutions

Softworks invited to speak at eHealth Week 2013

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, May 21, 2013

Softworks CEO, Andrew Ferguson was chosen to present at eHealth Week that took place in Dublin last week. eHealth Week brings together two main events the; High Level eHealth Conference co-organised by the European Commission and the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and WoHIT (World of Health IT Conference) organised by HIMSS Europe. The event brings industry partners and providers, government and regional decision makers from across Europe. The event attracts approximately 2,500 delegates each year.

Andrew Ferguson Softworks

Andrew’s presentation, Over my dead body will I "clock", sound familiar? We review "life" in a Healthcare clocking environment. was a hugely popular session. Andrew shared with delegates his 20 years’ experience of assisting healthcare providers with Workforce Management solutions including time & attendance/flexitime, labour scheduling and absence management He demonstrated how the latest in Workforce Management Solutions can assist the healthcare sector build a clear picture of employee time through detailed data and reports on attendance, absenteeism, overtime, flexible working, scheduling and leave. Furthermore he revealed how today's solutions can make a positive difference to both the organisation and their employees.

Softworks also recently published a new whitepaper that examines - How the latest in Workforce Management Technology can meet the Healthcare Sector’s Operational Challenges. You are very welcome to download this free paper.

Topics: Time & Attendance, Conferences, Workforce Solutions, Labour Scheduling, Healthcare

Employee Burnout Common in a Third of UK Companies

Posted by Triona Cahalane on Thu, May 9, 2013

30% of UK HR Directors say employee burnout is common within their organisation according to new research from Robert Half UK with the figure rising to more than 35% for those based in London, the South East and publicly listed companies.

Employee Burnout

The report goes on to reveal that two thirds (67%) of UK HR directors highlight “workload” as the primary reason for employee burnout, although this figure rises to 75% for large and 73% for public sector companies. Over half (56%) mention “overtime/long working hours” as the second reason followed by “unachievable expectations” (35%), “economic pressures” (32%) and “inability to balance personal and professional commitments” (27%)

According to Phil Sheridan of Robert Half UK, “Employee burnout can affect almost any professional, from top boss to rank and file employee. Many employees who have been tackling increased workloads while putting in long hours are beginning to lose their motivation at work and this is particularly challenging for accounting teams as they prepare for fiscal year-end.”

In terms of implementing initiatives to counteract employee burnout, HR directors are mainly looking at promoting a teamwork-based environment (50%), reviewing job function (45%) encouraging team-building activities (34%), providing flexible working options (34%) and encouraging employees to take time off (31%). 

Click here to read this article in full. 

Further Resources

Free White Paper: Top tips on introducing Flexible working into your organisation
Top Reasons Why US Employees Stay on the Job
Employers ‘missing a trick’ by not offering flexibility
Extension of flexible working rights is good for business

Topics: Employee Retention, Workforce Solutions, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working