4 Simple Steps to Improve Employee Attendance and Engagement

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April 5th, 2022

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absence reporting

COVID-19 has forever altered the concept of business as usual. Many businesses transitioned to a remote workforce at the onset of the pandemic. Now, some are reopening their offices, but employees expect to have continued flexibility. The pandemic isn’t over, and employees may still need flexible hours or the option to work remotely should COVID affect their household.

Employees’ mental health has also become a top priority for companies. Businesses are implementing several changes to reflect this trend, such as:

  • Offering mental health days
  • Adding mental health services to insurance plans
  • Encouraging employees to stay home when they feel unwell
  • Increasing PTO

Employee burnout is at an all-time high, and ignoring their mental health or work-life balance needs can lead to disengagement and rampant absenteeism. Consider implementing the following trends to sustain attendance and productivity:

  1. Remove the stigma of using PTO. Many employees feel like they can’t use their PTO without repercussions unless they give ample notice, such as taking time off for vacations. However, employees can’t predict mental health challenges or burnout. Fostering a culture that encourages employees to use PTO when they need it can help employees rest when they need to and return to work refreshed.
  2. Focus on employee retention. Many companies expend considerable energy on continually improving the customer experience, and employees deserve that same courtesy. Companies that consistently recognize their employees’ value and efforts experience greater employee loyalty and less absenteeism.
  3. Trust employees. Employees resent micromanagement, particularly while dealing with the stressors introduced by the pandemic. Provide clear productivity expectations and deadlines, but trust employees to manage their schedules. Companies can ensure projects stay on track by monitoring employees’ work output rather than scrutinizing or dissecting their work hours.
  4. Invest in absence management software. Absence management software helps businesses identify attendance trends and unusual absences. Employers can use this information to implement data-driven changes to improve attendance and employee engagement.

Actec understands the attendance challenges businesses are facing as the pandemic continues to affect business operations. Our self-service absence-tracking mobile app captures all attendance data without the need to contact multiple departments or managers. Employees can also use the app to submit leave requests, either by phone, text, chat, or within the app itself. Contact us to discuss your absence reporting and tracking needs.

How to Reduce Employee Turnover with Better Onboarding

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September 14th, 2021

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The employee onboarding process has far-reaching effects within an organization. Effective onboarding improves productivity, boosts employee retention, and reduces absenteeism. If a company is struggling to retain its workforce, an ineffective onboarding experience may explain the churn of new hires.

Onboarding and Productivity

An unsatisfactory onboarding experience can hinder productivity and diminish a new hire’s performance. On average, it takes eight months for a new employee to reach their full productivity potential. Unclear objectives are part of the reason for such a long timeline to proficiency, as 60% of organizations don’t set goals for new employees. Meanwhile, 35% of companies lack an onboarding process altogether, while 63% don’t extend the onboarding process beyond the new employee’s first month with the company. Most organizations stop the onboarding process after just one week.

The focus of the onboarding process often compounds the productivity problem as well. Fifty-eight percent of companies report that their onboarding process concentrates on paperwork and administrative tasks rather than helping new employees learn their job. In addition, one-third of employees experience inconsistent or reactive onboarding. The result of these issues is a discouraged employee without a clear understanding of their role.

Onboarding and Employee Retention

Replacing an employee is a costly process. Businesses must spend money on recruitment, training, benefits, and more. It can take up to half a year or more to see a return on investment with a new hire, so companies can’t afford to have a retention problem.

Studies have shown onboarding has a direct correlation with how long an employee will stay with their company. One-fifth of employee turnover occurs within their first 45 days on the job, and nearly a quarter of new hires leave within the first year of their employment. In contrast, 69% of employees are more likely to remain at their organization for three years if they have a satisfactory onboarding experience. In addition, 58% of employees are more likely to stay at their job beyond three years if their company has an efficient onboarding program.

Onboarding and Absenteeism

An employee’s onboarding experience sets the tone for their tenure with an organization. A great experience improves retention by 82%, while a poor one makes new hires twice as likely to seek alternate employment. However, turnover isn’t the only problem associated with poor onboarding. A negative onboarding experience can leave new hires disengaged and unmotivated to perform. Unhappy employees are more likely to have attendance problems, such as arriving late, leaving early, or failing to show up to work at all.

If productivity is lagging or turnover is surging among a company’s new hires, their onboarding process may be to blame. Problems with attendance are often an early warning sign that an employee is dissatisfied and considering looking for a new job. Tracking the frequency and type of absences can help companies identify struggling new hires. Businesses can use this information to offer new hires support and reduce the likelihood of turnover. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about our absence reporting solutions.

Integrated Absence Strategies to Control Costs and Reduce Risk

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June 21st, 2021

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Large corporations commonly realize tangible operational improvements utilizing a cohesive absence management strategy. A few of the notable benefits include cost reduction, improved employee communication, and increased productivity. But large corporations aren’t the only organizations that silo their absence management, disability programs, and other human resource tasks. Whether you’re an organization of 100 employees or 10,000, separating HR functions can lead to:

 

  • Duplicate forms required to satisfy regulatory requirements (more work)
  • Inefficiencies in returning employees to work after their leave expired (wasted labor)
  • HR staff struggling to track all the different types of leave (wasted time, increased risk)

These inefficiencies also lead to drop in their revenue. Numerous organizations have merged their absence reporting and absence management with disability management in order to coordinate claims tracking, integrate lost time data, and implement best practices across all HR operations. The result:

  • A reduction in overall costs
  • An understanding of employee leave and absence drivers
  • A company-wide increase in productivity

Another step in this integration process was to establish a centralized reporting center. The call center offers employees a phone number that will connect them with a representative capable of tracking all absence types and answering any absence-related questions. You don’t have to be a large corporation to leverage an integrated absence management program. Contact the experts at Actec to learn what an integrated call center can do for your business.

ESF, Catastrophe, and After-Hours Reporting in FNOL

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June 1st, 2021

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catastrophic fnolHandling events that are challenging to anticipate lives at the heart of first notice of loss. Our philosophy is that any and all customer requirements take absolute precedence. In this vein, a variety of services are pertinent when it comes to covering FNOL and Absence Management needs. Through our proprietary intake solution, we have fewer constraints than a software/ASP vendor, and can implement customizations quickly.

In addition to the various essential first notice services, we cover electronic state filing as well as call center support for catastrophic events and after-hours developments. Our custom solutions leverage a variety of features including:

  • Customer set-up profiles provide flexibility in customizing workflows, including personalized greetings, lines of business, custom questions and report types, policy, carrier and claim office assignments, distributions, etc.
  • FROI and state specific questions maintenance system
  • Catastrophic escalation identification and tracking
  • Robust distribution module
  • To learn more about what services best suit your organization and discuss implementation strategies, contact us.

    5 Techniques for More Effective Employee Scheduling

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    January 19th, 2021

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    Building an effective employee schedule is critical to every business’s success. This is true whether an organization operates 24/7, works a traditional nine to five, or spans unusual hours. While these companies have different scheduling requirements, all businesses can benefit from the following guidelines when putting together their employee’s schedules:

    1. Understand the business. Employers need to know their scheduling requirements before they can optimize work schedules. For example, 24-hour businesses will need rotating shifts, whereas companies that operate during standard business hours will do best with fixed schedules. Businesses like coffee shops or restaurants have an additional complication of peak business hours. For example, the coffee shop will need more employees to cover the morning influx of commuters, while restaurants will need to schedule more staff to cover the dinner rush.
    2. Consider employees’ needs. This isn’t as simple as knowing employee availability. Every employee has unique skills and preferences. Businesses that don’t consider these factors may schedule employees that are ill-suited to the shift. Continuing with the coffee shop example above, a new employee may have morning availability all week. However, their inexperience can become a significant bottleneck as they require more time to perform tasks than experienced employees do. It’s also best practice to try and schedule employees during their preferred hours. It may not always be possible, but it reduces employee turnover.
    3. Keep the schedule predictable. Employees appreciate having some consistency to their schedule. While this isn’t an issue for companies with standard work hours, it can be a problem for shift work or 24-hour businesses. For example, ER nurses that work 12-hour shifts won’t appreciate their schedules switching from night shift to day shift every week.
    4. Empower employees. Employees have lives outside of work, and they won’t always be able to work their usual schedule. Employers can implement software that allows employees to request time off rather than routing through a manager, then to a department head, before finally making it to HR. This allows companies to see all leave requests in one location, which facilitates better scheduling. It also gives employees some autonomy over their schedule.
    5. Invest in technology. The days of creating a schedule with pen and paper are long gone. Investing in the right software can reduce the burden of schedule building, improve productivity, and increase profits. Employers can also use software to identify trends and make data-based decisions.

    Actec understands the complexity and nuances involved in scheduling employees. Without the proper software, businesses may run into labor compliance issues, struggle to keep up with leave requests, and overlook attendance problems. Our absence tracking mobile app helps ensure compliance with labor laws, allows employees to submit leave requests, and provides actionable insight into employee attendance. Contact us to learn how our mobile app can help your organization.

    HR 101 for Small Businesses

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    December 7th, 2020

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    Many startups and several small businesses often rely on a single individual to manage human resources tasks. Some business owners make this decision due to the small nature of the company and perceived lighter workload. However, even the smallest of businesses have to comply with labor laws and other work regulations.

    When a single employee manages HR, that individual has to balance compliance with administrative tasks and ensuring all employees receive accurate and prompt paychecks. Their busy workload often means they have little if any time for other HR tasks like recruiting, onboarding, and scheduling.

    Investing in HR software can help small businesses reduce manual tasks and master the following essentials:

    1. Compliance. Federal labor laws are complex and constantly evolving. HR ensures the company complies with these laws and handles all required forms such as I-9s, W-2s, W-4s, etc.
    2. Payroll. HR ensures employees receive their paychecks on time without errors. Payroll is a complex task involving collecting timesheets, calculating pay, and accounting for taxes and withholdings. This process is prone to human error when done by hand, which can result in costly compliance fines.
    3. Recruiting. Finding the best person for an open position is a significant challenge. HR employees have to publish job listings, filter candidates, and perform background checks. Poor talent acquisition standards can result in high turnover and poor job performance, which has long term consequences for the company’s success.
    4. Onboarding. HR has more work to do once recruiting candidates for open positions. New employees have to fill out several forms, learn company policies and procedures, and meet their team. Onboarding is critical to help employees find their groove and understand their role within the organization. Without it, they may flounder, make avoidable mistakes, or struggle to engage with their team.
    5. Attendance management. HR manages employees’ schedules and leave requests to ensure the company has the appropriate staffing. This includes paid time off, sick leave, overtime, and more to comply with labor laws. They are also responsible for other areas of attendance, including tardiness and absences.

    Without absence management software, it’s difficult to track attendance. Managers from different departments may provide sick leave requests at different hours of the day, and late arrivals may go unnoticed if it’s less than five minutes. While five minutes may not seem significant, it adds up over time—especially if the employee skims five minutes off the end of the workday and extends their lunch break as well.

    Robust absence management technology allows companies to track attendance with much greater accuracy. It also allows employers to notice trends and identify attendance issues that can hurt workplace morale, productivity, and profits. To learn how mobile absence tracking software can help your business, contact the experts at Actec.

    Absence Management Mistakes Costing Your Business Money

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    November 2nd, 2020

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    A talented team isn’t enough to ensure a company’s success. Projects will suffer if critical members duck out early, show up late, or fail to show up at all. This puts extra stress on punctual employees who have to pick up the slack, but this approach isn’t sustainable for long. Eventually, those employees will burnout, and productivity will tank across the board. If you start missing deadlines, clients and stakeholders will lose faith.

    Remote employees add a layer of complexity to absence management. Many employers have a hard enough time keeping track of who arrived and at what time at their brick and mortar offices. Remote teams are even more difficult to keep tabs on due to the virtual nature of their work. For businesses that suspect or know they have an attendance problem, the following mistakes could be the cause:

    1. Insufficient attendance tracking. If a company doesn’t have a robust system for tracking tardiness, early departures, and absences, they aren’t going to know where to start to fix the problem. By collecting attendance data, businesses can see if the problem is company-wide, specific to a department or team, or an individual. This gives them a good idea of where to focus their attendance improvement efforts.
    2. Ambiguous attendance policies. Some businesses have a strict arrival time for employees while others focus more on when employees begin working for the day. If a company allows for flexible scheduling, this can make matters murky for employees. It also makes it more difficult to track without an absence management system. If employees come and go at different times, managers may not be able to keep track of who is trimming their work hours. Eliminating gray areas in attendance policies can cut down on employee confusion.
    3. Focusing on the negative. While businesses need to take action against attendance issues, they shouldn’t only focus on the disciplinary elements. Highlighting employees with perfect attendance improves morale and provides a model for other employees to emulate. Offering small incentives such as a free lunch for any employee with perfect attendance for the month can help reduce absenteeism as well.
    4. Not listening to the data. Even the best absence management software isn’t useful if businesses don’t look at the data. This information can help companies identify attendance trends before they become a widespread problem. Knowing where to start investigating saves time and money by homing in on the root of the issue.

    Manual methods of attendance tracking are outmoded and don’t help businesses identify attendance trends in time to correct them. Actec developed an absence tracking mobile app to help businesses overcome this hurdle. Our absence management solutions provide several channels for communication including telephonic, text/chat, within the app itself, or the web. Employees can report in for the day from the convenience of their smartphones or devices. This is tremendously helpful for remote teams or teams working out of numerous locations. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about absence management.

    How to Keep Your Remote Workforce Healthy During COVID-19

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    July 13th, 2020

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    With several states seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, many businesses are opting to have their employees continue working from home. However, while working from home has significantly fewer risk factors for spreading COVID-19 than working in an office setting does, it’s not guaranteed employees won’t become sick.

    Common Risk Factors in Employees Homes

    Even if a company’s employees are telecommuting, this doesn’t mean the rest of their households are as well. Spouses or adult children still living at home may have jobs that don’t allow them to telecommute. These individuals may bring illness home with them (COVID-19 or otherwise) that then may infect remote workers. Telecommuting employees still need to go out as well to pick up groceries, prescriptions, and more, which increases their risk profile of contracting COVID-19.

    4 Steps to Keep Remote Employees Healthy

    Employers should encourage their employees to utilize the following best practices to stay as healthy as possible during the pandemic:

    1. Sterilize common household surfaces. Alcohol is the great equalizer when it comes to viruses. With the proper application and concentration, employees can kill 99.99% of germs lingering on surfaces everyone touches. This can help prevent the accidental surface spread of illnesses among household members. The most effective alcohol-based cleaners have a concentration of at least 70% alcohol.
    2. Condense grocery trips whenever possible. Prior to COVID-19, making a quick trip to the store for a forgotten item didn’t pose major health risks. Now, unnecessary exposure in crowded places increases the likelihood of falling ill. Utilizing grocery pickup or delivery services can significantly curtail this source of exposure.
    3. Wear a mask when out in public. While hotly debated in some places, wearing a mask out in public is the easiest way to prevent the spread of contagion. This is particularly important if employees are visiting places where sick people congregate such as the pharmacy or at a doctor’s office. Wearing a mask is also a good reminder to avoid touching the face while out in public, as the mouth, nose, and eyes are common entry points for viruses.
    4. Wear gloves when out in public. Many people know that door handles, grocery carts, and other surfaces touched by dozens if not hundreds of people each day are likely sources of germs. However, not many stop to consider the produce and products they touch while at grocery stores. Several people have likely handled those items and wearing disposable gloves can cut down on the spread of germs.

    While employers can educate and train their employees on the best practices to stay healthy during the pandemic, it’s impossible to safeguard against every risk. In the event that employees fall ill, employers will need a simple solution to keep track of absences and leave requests from their remote workforce. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how our absence tracking mobile app can help your business.

    5 Best Apps to Help Employees Manage Stress During COVID-19

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    June 29th, 2020

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    For many employees, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached a turning point. As many states scale back their stay at home orders, certain employees will return to the workplace while others may remain remote depending on the situation. Regardless, it represents yet another change in an already turbulent time. With so much uncertainty, it’s highly likely that the majority of employees are struggling with stress. High levels of tension can tank productivity and morale as well as lead to problems with attendance.

    The following apps can help employees manage their stress and anxiety as they enter into a new phase of working during the pandemic:

    1. Stop Panic & Anxiety Self-Help. This self-help app is useful for reminding employees of their strength and ability to overcome panic. It includes a diary to help employees identify and challenge thought patterns that precede panic or anxiety attacks. The app includes reading and audio resources as well to cope with panic as it occurs. Employees can download this app free of charge; however, it’s only available on Android devices.
    2. Headspace. This free app focuses on improving sleep, mood, productivity, and mindfulness through targeted meditation. The app aims to enhance focus, reduce stress, and recognize stress trigger to limit their control over the user’s reactions and emotions. It’s available for Android and iOS users.
    3. Rootd. Similar to Headspace, this app introduces exercises to improve mindfulness as well as tactics to help reduce stress and anxiety. The app also incorporates a handy feature that allows users to call a confidant or emergency service with the press of a button if they’re in distress. This app is free for individuals to download on Android or iOS devices as well.
    4. MyLife (formerly known as Stop, Breathe, & Think). This mindfulness app differs from the above by tracking the user’s mood and making recommendations to help them at that moment. Once the user checks in with how they’re feeling, the app may recommend specific relaxation exercises, meditation, and more to help achieve a more positive frame of mind. This app is free for Android and iOS users.
    5. Dare—Break Free From Anxiety. Avoiding stress and anxiety often makes the situation worse. This app helps employees to exist alongside their stressors, worries, and fears without being consumed by them. Employees can follow along with guided content as they face their stress head-on.

    Managing employee stress will be vital to resuming business operations, sustaining productivity, and keeping absenteeism in check. To learn more about absence management, contact the experts at Actec.

    Absence Reporting During and Beyond the Pandemic

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    June 22nd, 2020

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    COVID-19 has created new challenges for businesses in several areas, one of which is absence management. As many businesses begin a phased return to the office while others are maintaining their remote staff, keeping track of absences and leave requests can quickly become confusing. Prior to COVID-19, it was common practice to urge sick employees to stay home. Now, it’s less a matter of should symptomatic employees stay home and more an issue of when it’s safe for them to return to the workplace and how that affects leave and absence policies.

    Federally Protected Leave and Emerging Programs

    Federally protected leave programs like FMLA, disability leave, and so on still apply during COVID-19. However, the U.S. Department of Labor issued two new forms of leave to address the challenges created by the pandemic: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

    Both fall under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which grants up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees who have to quarantine due to a government order or at the recommendation of their physician. Employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking treatment also qualify for this kind of leave.

    FFCRA also offers up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at two-thirds of employees’ regular income if they are unable to work because they have to care for a quarantined individual or child due to school and childcare closures. Employees can seek an additional 10 weeks of paid leave at two-thirds of their regular income if their child’s school/care facilities remain closed due to COVID-19 so long as they have been employed for at least 30 days. FFCRA is available through the end of the 2020 calendar year and employers can acquire a payroll tax credit for 100% of the amount.

    Tracking Employee Leave Requests

    Tracking leave requests, remaining compliant with shifting Federal and state employee leave laws, all while keeping the workforce healthy will quickly overwhelm HR departments. Actec developed the app Absence 365 to meet businesses’ absence management needs during these stressful times. This customizable app allows employees to submit leave requests and centralizes all absence notifications in one location. In addition to remaining compliant, the app can also help employers recognize trends to enact effective change within their company. Contact us to learn how we can help meet your business’ absence management needs.