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Tag Archives: Workforce

April 28, 2017

National Living Wage


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This month the National Living Wage increased and will continue to do so until 2020 when it is projected to rise to at least £9 per hour, as detailed in the initial 2016 agreement.

This will result in a significant number of implications but the primary impact will be on hourly workers. Industries such as healthcare, residential care homes, and in particular manufacturing, will experience short- and long-term consequences from the annual incremental increase. In the short term, operating costs will rise adding to an organisations bottom line, while going forward the exponential cost of overtime and the potential of increased risks will serve to only further escalate operating costs.

Regardless of how you feel about it, the harsh reality is that organisations are struggling to manage the administrative burden of their large workforces in the light of persistent upheaval.

The substantial HR challenges the National Living Wage regulations present should not be underestimated. At SumTotal, through years of experience, we know that a Workforce Management (WFM) solution can and will provide your organisation with essential assistance.

How?

WFM software provides your organisation with the data and insights which in turn empower you to better manage your workforce.

Here are just some of the ways WFM helps:

  • Tracking time – letting you know if employees are punctual in completing their schedule, thereby ensuring you are not paying employees for time not worked.
  • Prevents “Buddy Punching” – our time clocks work on a personal identification system putting an end to friends/colleagues punching in for an absent employee.
  • Scheduling – the reporting system will provide the data to ensure you always have the optimum number of employees allocated, thereby reducing overtime costs. Additionally, “shift trading” means employees can now be assigned shifts based on availability and skill thereby reducing opportunities for human bias or error.

In short, a WFM solution can reduce operating costs, reduce payroll costs and provide invaluable assistance to workforce planning.

To learn more about SumTotal’s WFM solution or get a free demo please click here.

April 26, 2017

SumTotal Advances in Nucleus Research’s Workforce Management Value Matrix to Leader Quadrant


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“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” Albert Einstein

It is with great joy and pride that we say SumTotal entered the Leader quadrant in the Nucleus WFM Value Matrix 2017; a feat that was in no small part accomplished by the fact that the new features in our SumTotal Talent Expansion Suite make us the first in the industry to bring workforce management, talent, learning, and recruitment all together into one platform.

And it is this that we are most proud of – because it is our goal to be of value to our customers and this news means we are doing this.

How?

Firstly, our SumTotal Workforce Management covers time and attendance, scheduling, absence, and leave management, giving customers the ability to conduct predictive analyses and develop workforce models, and individual managers can benefit from a holistic, real-time view of data from within their system.  Additionally, our SumTotal Core Platform provides a virtual system of record and combines SumTotal-originating data with data from any other system it integrates with to unify Workforce Management.

And how is this of value to you?

Well here’s just a sample.

  • Job/role-based scheduling which provides greater flexibility to accommodate employees’ schedules.
  • Occurrence tracking means employers can now track and auto-send warnings and communicate demerits to employees; it also helps eliminate supervisory biases, and even auto-generate messages prompted by positive events, too.
  • Our time and attendance solution can handle a high level of complexity in absence and leave management. Now an employer can get very detailed cost center position tracking, like say for example an airline manufacturer can look back and figure out who drilled any given rivet, and when.
  • Our time clocks, which cost approximately two-thirds the price of competitors’ devices, don’t force users to return to a kiosk to complete self-service actions such as absence requests.

Secondly, regardless which Workforce Management deployment model a customer chooses – SaaS-delivered via multi-tenant cloud; privately hosted in SumTotal, or on-premise, they all have access to our latest releases with new features and enhancements which, as indicated by Nucleus, is unique among vendors in this year’s WFM Value Matrix.

Because our suite is multi-tenant ready, it is possible to use the tenant model in either private cloud or on-premise to facilitate a distributed enterprise. Again, the value here is that an organization may want to have each of their business units/countries/subsidiaries in a single tenant, yet still share the same consolidated deployment. Now you can have a rapid deployment model as the initial tenant rollout, which can then be template and deployed to additional tenants delivering maximum administrative and control for each business unit/country.

And we aren’t finished. Our latest release includes even more upgrades including a new user portal, fully integrated shift trading capabilities, standardized archiving, and a major upgrade in our advanced reporting.

We will continue to strive to succeed and provide the best value to our customers. To learn more, please download Nucleus Report’s latest WFM Value Matrix.

April 3, 2017

Competency Models and Employee Development – A Perfect Match!


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As a manager, I was often asked by my direct reports for help – to tell what them what skills they needed to develop so they could be eligible for a promotion or what they need to do to become a top performer in their current role.

I usually encouraged them to work on those skills in which they were weak; but I realize now what would have been more valuable was if I had competency models – organized and structured paths that I could have used to help these employees both improve their performance and prepare for their next position.

For example, an employee who is currently a sales professional but wants to increase their performance and hopes to eventually become a sales manager, comes to you and asks for guidance. What advice would you give them?

Not sure?

That’s what competency models are for –  now all you have to do is  simply take a look at the competency models for each role – you’ll find that relationship building, product knowledge, strategic planning and decision making are among the competencies recommended for these positions.  Then think of the employee, who you know is really strong on product knowledge and relationship building,  and you offer coaching and feedback so they can develop their strategic planning and decision making skills.

They get the correct career guidance, and you, as the manager, can feel happy that you have provided the relevant L&D opportunities. A win-win.

But competency models aren’t just great for performance coaching, they help organizations unite core talent management functions: learning, performance, succession, and recruiting.  With a common language in place, competency models define what success looks like across all roles and functions.

As the desire for increased development and career mobility continues among employees, it makes good business sense to develop and implement competency models.

And here’s the good news for SumTotal customers – our latest enhancements to the SumTotal Talent Expansion® Suite include new competency capabilities which provide a self-service way to explore competencies for current and future jobs targeted as part of employee career plans. Additionally, our core and job-specific competencies make it easier than ever to identify skill gaps and build personal learning plans which will prepare for the role they want in the future.

With so many benefits to creating and implementing competency models, what is stopping you?

March 29, 2017

Unified SumTotal Suite Enables Digital Workforce to Develop, Lead, and Achieve


We just unveiled a range of new features and additions to our SumTotal Talent Expansion® Suite.

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What do these enhancements mean?

As well as supporting our mission to deliver beautiful technology, they mean we can stay true to our commitment to empower employees – allowing them to become more informed, engaged, and better able to take ownership of their own career paths.

How?

By giving you and your employees:

1.      Enhanced Career Planning and Job Matching capabilities.

Employees are a company’s single most important resource. With these enhancements, we’re introducing new capabilities which will enable employees to feel more engaged, while simultaneously making them their company’s biggest ambassador.

For instance, career maps are created which will identify the steps needed to be taken to progress and what, if any, gaps exist that could hinder such progression. We also added new dashboards, which provide at-a-glance competency metrics that highlight any areas that need developing in both the current position and any role targeted as part of their career path.

This enhancement is invaluable not only because it will help HR departments demonstrate their commitment to employee retention and progression, but it demonstrates it to their employees as well. This also feeds into the goal of encouraging internal mobility – employees will remain loyal if they can see a clear path for progression within and enabled by their organization.

2.      The full benefits of Mobility

With the new SumTotal Mobile App, managers and employees can learn, manage, and give feedback, anywhere at any time.  Accessible anytime is everything from a complete employee profile to compensation and performance details to the ability to provide continuous feedback to colleagues. What’s more, employees can now access content using Windows 10 on their laptop and Windows Surface devices either online or offline.
Gone are the days of yearly reviews. This is the era of mini-reviews.

This 24/7 accessibility means users- at every level- can easily request and provide feedback “in the moment” via a tablet, smartphone, or laptop, regardless of location or time. For managers, it means they have constant feedback at their fingertips on individuals – information that allows managers to have continuous conversations on both positive comments, but also improvements an employee can make. In real-time.  Talk about optimizing your workforce!

3.      A streamlined and unified Workforce Management (WFM) user experience

We’ve given our WFM a new appearance, making it easier to use with a single sign-on and a new unified look and feel. We’ve also made it easier to integrate daily shifts and schedule changes and given you a new single timeline for managing and completing tasks.

By giving everyone a single point to search for other employees, reports, or activities we are using technology to do what it does best – improve and increase efficiencies in workflow. This will then, hopefully, translate to a correlating improvement in the organization’s efficiencies and output. Making it a win-win for everyone.

Want to learn more? Turn here to review more of our enhancements.

November 8, 2016

Engaging a Dispersed Workforce: 3 Tips for Managers


Managing people comes with a special—but for me, worthwhile—set of challenges. And managing remote employees adds another layer of complexity. But through my experience leading staff spread across different locations, I’ve learned a few tips for keeping people engaged and connected that I wanted to share with you.

SumTotal Managing a Dispersed Workforce

1. Make it about more than the job.

We know employees (especially top performers) are engaged and driven by work that gives them a sense of accomplishment and lets them feel like they’re contributing to the goals of the organization in a meaningful way.  As an effective manager, you should be able to check the box for every member of your team on this one.

 

But what about the other stuff – the work that is not a ‘perfect fit’ for their current skills or job descriptions? It takes a conscious effort to create continuous development opportunities for any employee, but with remote workers, this becomes a crucial way to keep them engaged. Make an effort to offer your staff stretch projects that grow some of their less-advanced skills and help them connect across the organization through collaboration with colleagues they don’t typically work with. But, you won’t know which projects interest them unless you…

 

2. Pick up the phone (or turn on the webcam).

This one seems like a no-brainer, but in today’s digital world people aren’t doing it! I once had a job where a welcome email announcing me went out to the team, I emailed with my new boss about projects and introductions, but she never set aside time for a real conversation until the end of my second week on the job – I went 10 days on the job without ever speaking to my new manager. In today’s hyper-connected world of emails, texts and instant messaging we’re actually interpersonally disconnected.

 

As a manager, you can’t keep a current pulse on your employee’s development interests unless you’re having regular real-life conversations – don’t rely on last year’s performance process to be your only guidepost for keeping them engaged. Quick check-ins might work in an office environment where you’ll connect with a team member in person when you’re filling up coffee or in an afternoon meeting.  As remote workers, we might think we’re staying connected with daily messaging chats but it just isn’t the same as personal conversation. With a dispersed team, you need to make an effort to create virtual ‘water cooler moments’ to keep your team engaged – whether this means picking up the phone, or turning on video during your next team meeting.

 

3. As the manager, step aside (sometimes).

With a dispersed team, I find opportunities to remove myself from a project and explicitly ask my team members to collaborate and serve as a sounding board for each other on projects where they wouldn’t naturally connect in that way. In the right instances, removing the hierarchical component can really boost a contributor’s ownership and engagement with the project.

 

With a lack of physical workspace boundaries, high-performing remote employees can be easily susceptible to ‘brownout’: putting their heads down and plowing through work at all hours of the day because work is accessible. Silently, their level of dissatisfaction climbs and engagement plummets despite their work product staying on track. Creating informal project networks within your dispersed team is a terrific way to keep them engaged, and the teamwork often spills over into other projects or discussions.

 

Get tips for managing and motivating remote employees from other HR leaders in this Peer Insight.

 

September 19, 2014

The Fear of Paid Time Off (FOPTO)


Is the fear of missing out (FOMO) becoming a workplace epidemic? If the newest research from the U.S. Travel Association is any indication, it just might be. According to the survey, 41% of American workers do not plan to use all their paid time off (PTO) in 2014, despite it being part of their compensation plan. Yet, the bulk of people surveyed (96%) recognize the importance of using PTO.

So, where’s the rub? Why are we opting out of leisurely paid time off with families and friends?

Doggy Vacation

Why do we have FOPTO?

As mentioned above, I think a lot of it comes down to our fear of missing out. Here are a few examples from the study that back my argument.

  • Too much work, not enough time.
    According to the study, 40% of American workers say the heavy workload awaiting them upon return to the office is a top challenge in taking paid time off. I understand. The pre-and post-vacation frenzy is not something to look forward to. In the past, I have found myself scrambling to get everything done in order to take a few days off. The stress of a big workload should not prevent us from taking the time off we deserve. Don’t just plan for a vacation, plan for your absence at work. Get up to speed on deliverables at activities a few weeks before you head out of town, not the day before. Constantly remind your colleagues and managers that you’re taking time off so you don’t have to worry about the last minute requests.
  • No one else can do it.
    An astonishing 35% of employees will not use their time off because they believe “nobody else can do the work while I’m away.” To me, this either comes down to one of two things: 1. poor planning and communication, or 2. knowledge and information hoarding. The “no one else can do it” excuse is easily avoidable. Managers and other team members should be able to step in and cover during times of need. Proactive planning, supported by good learning and training programs, will help fill the void and lift the burden off the people feeling bad about taking PTO.
  • Fear of being replaced.
    More one-fifth of the respondents said they didn’t want others to see them as “replaceable.” One could argue that the “fear of being replaced” is what started off the vicious cycle of not being able to take vacation. Out of sight, out of mind, isn’t necessarily a good thing. Good leadership and communication can help people overcome the anxiety of being replaceable.

Why you should take PTO:
It’s time to put our fears aside, PTO is vital to our overall well-being. Time away from the office gives you the chance to reflect, relax and recharge. People who take time off have increased focus, productivity, energy and happiness. It allows you to experience new things, gain new perspectives and reconnect with friends and family.

Plus, studies have shown that people who miss one year’s vacation have higher risk of heart disease.

It’s time we reclaim the work-life balance.

What do you think?

 

September 17, 2014

#HRHangout: Our Worst Jobs


We all remember (and often talk about) the worst jobs we’ve ever had. We’re all guilty of swapping stories about bad bosses and bizarre workplace experiences.

This week was no exception.

I sat down with the funny and insightful folks over at Fistful of Talent to discuss some of the worst jobs they have had both inside and outside of HR. Joking and complaining about our shared experiences is always fun, but learning from the past is what keeps us moving forward.

Kris Dunn, Kelly Dingee and R.J. Morris dive right into stories about their worst jobs and what they learned from them during this week’s HR Hangout. Watch the recording for some funny and cringe worthy stories (as well as some great advice!) from being in a bad job situation.

Have something else to add? Tweet your experiences and advice to @SumTotalSystems using the hashtag #HRHangout to join the conversation! And, check out the past #HRHangout videos and conversations on our HR Hangout Storify!

Also, don’t forget to join us for our next #HRHangout: HARDBALL – Lessons in HR Intimidation, on Wednesday, September 24 at 2:00 pm ET.

 

July 2, 2014

Summer: Not a Vacation for Workforce Scheduling


Let’s face it. When summer rolls around, most folks are looking to cash in on their PTO banks and take some well-earned time off. And good organizations know that giving their employees vacation time pays off.

A CCH Human Resources Management study demonstrated that more than 50% of employees feel more “rested, rejuvenated and reconnected to their personal life” and that nearly 40% of workers “feel more productive and better about their job” when returning from vacation.Beach Continue reading

June 24, 2014

Millennials are Clocking In – Here’s How to Keep Them Around


The global workforce is about to experience a large scale changing of the guard. We have been forecasting the impact of Baby Boomers’ retirement for years, but it seems the younger generation has snuck up on us in a much bigger way than we anticipated.

If you pan through the news in Forbes, Bloomberg Business, HR Magazine and all publications in between, you’ll see Millennials littering the headlines. Reports claim that upwards of 90% of this generation will spend less than five years with one employer. Initial speculation might suggest that Millennials have short attention spans or are disloyal. Others color these “punk kids” as just being “whippersnappers.” Some employers say that these new workers just don’t have the skills that businesses need. Continue reading

June 5, 2014

Knowledge Hoarders vs. Knowledge Sharers


There is nothing better than a little satirical office humor to get you through the workday – especially if it pokes fun at mismanaged offices and hard-to-work-with employees.

The other day I stumbled upon a classic Dilbert comic that made me laugh and think, “the more things change the more they stay the same.” It has been nearly a decade since Scott Adams released this comedic nugget; unfortunately for us, not much has changed.

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Continue reading