Automating Holiday Operations: Why Santa uses Tanda
The Christmas rush is upon us. Flights are being booked, recipes are being tested, and stores are working overtime to make sure everything is delivered well before it’s time to open presents. According to eBay’s head of retail insights, Gavin Dennis, shoppers are buying earlier this year and expanding online purchases beyond gifts to everyday essentials like Christmas decorations and alcohol. It’s a great time for retail. As 200 smaller retailers from Paypal said, on average, they expect Christmas sales to produce 43% of their annual revenue.
Everyone recognises the importance of the Christmas rush. Last year, Virgin Australia added 150 extra flights to cope with the holiday travel demand, even serving a traditional Christmas spread at their lounge on December 25. This year, in preparation for the surge in deliveries, Australia Post invested in a parcel processing machine that can process 10,500 parcels an hour, roughly double the capacity of existing technology. But even eBay, Virgin Australia, and Australia Post can learn a thing or two from the most efficient Christmas mogul: Saint Nick.
Gifts are a year-round commitment
At the North Pole, preparation for the Christmas rush never stops. Production for the most requested toys begins as soon as orders for the current year ends. Saint Nick, popularly known as Santa Claus, oversees all research and development. And because he values customer feedback, letters to Santa are reviewed by his dedicated staff to keep track of what kids want. His team knows that delivering the customer promise is a year-round commitment, even if the Christmas season accounts for most of the revenue.
“The mission of providing happiness to kids around the world is what keeps the Christmas industry going,” Santa said. It’s not always easy, as trends constantly change, sometimes multiple times a year. There’s a lot to keep up with, but Santa and his team enjoy working in a well-oiled organisation with a clear vision. Even during the North Pole’s coldest days, they are able to keep production going, because they never underestimate the impact of their products and services on their youngest customers.
Keeping elves happy is key
To be able to churn out millions of gifts every year, thousands of elves are employed by Santa’s toy production facility. Like every other business, elves’ rosters and paychecks need to be managed. Santa used to do it by pen and paper, monitoring his elves’ clock ins and spending hours and hours computing their pay. “It used to take up so much of my time,” he complained, “Sometimes I couldn’t go out to the production floor and check how things were moving”. That’s when Santa decided to introduce a workforce technology platform to the North Pole.
When Santa started using Tanda, he had to sell the idea to the staffs as well. “The benefits for the owner and manager like myself, were immense, but I had to emphasise how helpful it would be for the work-life balance of the elves,” he reflected. It is now easier for everyone on the team to file their leave requests from their mobile phones and swap shifts when they really need to. Ensuring there is no wage theft has also become easier because accurate, paperless clock ins/outs are quickly interpreted and exported to payroll systems. The North Pole has become a more flexible, transparent workplace as a result.
All hands on deck for the Christmas rush
One of the biggest challenges during Christmas is the increase in demand for products and services. “In the past, we needed to work overtime because we didn’t have enough elf-power,” he remarked. This year, Santa and his elves made sure to cover all shifts without overworking any of the staff. This is because delivering the customer promise always starts with keeping the staff motivated and well taken cared of. Without the backbone of the company – the elves – kids around the world will not receive the gifts that will make their Christmas truly magical.
Scheduling was easier than expected, because Tanda’s rostering software is able to build rosters to match demand, while setting a budget to make sure Santa doesn’t overspend on salaries. He still needed extra help though, and finding part-time staff during the holidays is difficult for many businesses, not just in the North Pole. Since using Tanda, however, Santa is easily able to call them in. “After rostering additional elves for the week, I send them notifications through SMS, email, and the app. We met our deadlines with no hiccups,” he added.
Why Santa uses Tanda
Santa’s operations at the North Pole are just like any other of Tanda’s clients around the world. From needing a way to manage payroll efficiently, to improving workplace flexibility, Tanda understands what it takes to make positive changes happen in whatever industry. The Christmas rush highlights the best opportunities and biggest challenges facing owners and managers, and leveraging technology to work smarter, not harder, is something every business can benefit from. Maintaining success means riding the digital workforce success revolution to benefit from reduced administrative costs, optimised rostering, and accurate pay runs.
Christmas is still a couple of weeks away, but already, Santa is planning for the year ahead. Constant improvement is central to their success, and is responsible for keeping the festive tradition alive. Using this year’s rostering and revenue data, he will build effective shifts and optimise production. His team is already looking forward to delivering better presents to children next December. So if you’re still on the fence about shifting to a workforce technology platform, just ask Santa why he uses Tanda!
You don’t have to wait for Christmas to get your Tanda demo. Book one today!
Industry Insights |
Taking Back Time: Solving the enduring wage theft problem in Australia
A spate of wage theft accusations has swept across Australia. It left in its wake damaged reputations and millions in back wages. From the small Barry Cafe in Northcote to cosmetics giant Lush, employment practices, especially involving overtime pay, have been called into question. Some smaller businesses have also come under fire, mainly in the hospitality industry, where experts say wage theft and exploitation are rife. In the mad scramble to resolve these accusations, two questions emerge. Why does wage theft happen, and how do we solve it? Complex Awards system blamed for wage theft In the aftermath of a street protest by the former employees of Barry Cafe in Northcote, owner Anne Petroulias said a lack of understanding about the awards system led to underpayment. She admitted they were unaware of the wage rates, and thought weekend penalty rates could be traded off for staff meals. “My brother looked on Google and got the wage rates. I know we did wrong and we want to rectify anything.” Could it be that the complex award system is the root cause? Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Greg Bicknell thinks it is a major factor. “The award system is quite complex for small businesses to use,” he said. Recent Fair Work investigations seem to support this. A cafe in Darwin underpaid three employees $4,988 in total. They apparently misinterpreted the classification descriptions under the award. It’s not just small businesses, however, as even the popular cosmetics store Lush wasn’t immune. Last month, they committed to paying back $2 million to 5,000 workers. The massive breach, according to director Peta Granger, was the result of inefficiencies in its payroll system. This occurred during the 2010 transition to the system of Modern Awards. More recently, the Super Retail group declared they will pay $7.9 million in back wages to 4,500 staff members. According to Managing Director Peter Birtles, an internal review revealed employees were not paid under the correct award. They also approached time in lieu, overtime payments and allowances inconsistently. “This was a genuine mistake that we deeply regret,” he emphasized. Dire consequences for businesses The reality, however, is that ignorance of the Fair Work Act will not shield an employer from its consequences. Last May, employees of Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio and Vue de Monde began to sue for back payments after allegedly working for more than 50 hours a week, for just 38 hours of pay, due to the incorrect application of annualised salaries. The owners of the restaurants, celebrity chefs Darren Purchese and Shannon Bennett, risk damaging not just their own brand. They also risk their many affiliations, such as MasterChef Australia. Indeed, the price is not just financial. Businesses can quickly lose their reputation in the controversies. Recall that last year, another celebrity chef and MasterChef Australia judge George Calombaris apologised after his restaurant group was caught underpaying 160 staff members a total of up to $2.6 million. Unsurprisingly, Calombaris’ professional credibility as a judge was questioned, and the incident is likely to cast a long shadow on his career moving forward. And it’s not just the owner’s personal brand at risk, because the businesses’ reputation as an employer is too. The spotlight on underpaying businesses revealed a slew of other unethical practices. The fixed pay at popular travel retailer Flight Centre, for instance, was revealed to be $4,000 below minimum wage. They made the rest of their legally mandated pay from commissions. Employees also complained of rare breaks and unpaid overtime, likely discouraging others to pursue a career with them. And without the best people, there is no way for a business to succeed. Read more: How to Serve 200 Customers Daily in an 8-seat Restaurant Beyond payment of back wages, governments are also now considering criminalising wage theft. Queensland’s Palaszczuk government began hearings last Thursday after being contacted by 169 people to detail cases of wage theft. Victoria’s Labor Government has also promised to introduce laws targeting employers who underpay their workers, with hefty penalties of up to 10 years in jail. Using tech to comply with Modern Awards While Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross admits significant improvements can be made to make understanding awards easier, businesses need to comply with the current system and fast. There is no question that the complexity of modern awards costs a lot of time, money, and effort. According to the Australian Payroll Association’s 2018 Payroll Benchmarking Report, it costs an average of $36.30 to produce a single payslip for companies with less than 200 employees. In addition, some employers cannot keep up when superannuation and tax policies change. But times have changed. Employers are no longer limited to old, unwieldy methods of complying with various laws. Automation has been introduced to many companies around the world. Businesses subscribed to automation software are able to use an impartial system that monitors time and attendance, tracks employee rosters, and applies modern awards. One such software is Tanda, whose library of modern awards automates payroll and wage calculation with minimal effort from administrative staff. Investing in time and attendance software ensures that businesses do not make the same mistakes that are now costing others millions. The revolution has begun, and it is expected that many more will follow. In fact, research from Willis Towers Watson found that workplace automation is expected to surge in the next three years. Read more: The Digital Workforce Success Revolution: Why you need to shift to cloud-based HR today Empower staff, improve business The responsibility to pay staff correctly falls squarely on the shoulders of employers. This is true whether they’re running a large retail chain or a small neighborhood cafe. And indeed, companies can insure themselves against controversy down the line by investing in time and attendance software. However, that’s not the only reason to do it. A fair system builds trust among employees. It empowers them to do their best in their respective roles. It’s a win-win situation because it maximises the bottom line without defrauding the front line and ruining the brand. When done correctly, time and attendance automation means there would no longer be a need for staff to protest on the streets, or form digital unions to fight wage theft. Employers will automatically comply with all regulations, every time. Automation can spell success for your workforce, and ultimately, your business, in more ways than one. The recent spike in accusations has already drawn attention to the weakness in how companies compute wages; now it’s time to solve it. Want to see comprehensive workforce success technology in action? We’re ready to show you – request a demo here.
Industry Insights |
Why employees love Tanda’s Workforce Success software
Workplace automation, including the use of artificial intelligence and robotics, is expected to surge in the next three years, according to multinational insurance broker Willis Towers Watson. This development is unsurprising, as automating HR can lead to significant cost savings for your organisation, especially when implemented in managing attendance, eradicating benefit errors, and automating compliance. With the growing demand for advanced technology use, automating HR processes is not an eventuality, it’s a necessity. But streamlining processes and lowering administrative costs is only one side of the coin. Yes, owners, employers, and managers stand to gain a lot from ensuring that the business is ready for the future. But employees, too, are benefiting from workforce technology platforms that not only ensure wages are paid accurately and on time, but also introduce flexibility and increase transparency in the workplace. Employees love Tanda’s workforce success software because it empowers them in more ways than one. Read about how Tanda is making a difference in workplaces around the world. Error-free Timesheets and Pay Runs The first and most obvious benefit of workforce technology platforms is error-free timesheets and accurate pay runs. Companies that still use manual methods for timekeeping and pay calculation can cause employees to second guess if they’re really getting paid the right amount every time the payslip arrives. In fact, Australia recently had a spate of wage theft accusations, leaving in its wake damaged reputations and millions in back wages. Owners and managers commonly cite a lack of understanding of Australia’s complex award system as the reason it happens. Read more: Taking Back Time: Solving the enduring wage theft problem in Australia Switching to the Tanda employee time clock app ensures staff that their shifts are recorded accurately throughout the pay period. Timesheets are processed with Tanda’s award interpreter, to account for modern awards of Fair Work Australia as well as other enterprise award agreements. This is then exported in a format compatible with a host of payroll integrations, making pay runs quick and reliable. This increases the level of trust and transparency between employers and employees, which in turn increase productivity and engagement in the long run. Better Work-Life Balance When employees have a healthy work-life balance, they become more fulfilled with their work, and more invested in the future of the company. There are a number of ways flexibility can be introduced into a company without hurting the bottom line. For instance, Tanda’s unavailability calendar feature lets employees tell their managers whenever they might not be open for shifts. This helps the company create rosters around each person’s unavailability. Another feature, leave management, optimises the leave request process and lets staff file requests via the web browser or employee app. For some companies, more novel solutions like shift swapping are providing employees with more options to achieve better work-life balance. It allows shift workers to trade shifts with one another when the need arises. This lets shift workers strike a balance between their personal commitments and work responsibilities. Tanda’s shift swapping feature that integrates into its time and attendance web and mobile apps. It lets staff request to drop or cover a shift right from their mobile phone, making it easy for them to start the swapping process. Read more: Achieving Workforce Success: Shift Swapping for Managers Reliable Rostering and Communication Employees need to know their schedule well ahead of time so that they can plan their upcoming week. Tanda’s web-based rostering software cuts down the time companies spend making the weekly roster. Cognitive Rosters® can be connected to your existing roster templates for the predictive suggestion of staffing requirements. Once approved, Tanda sends the roster to staff via SMS, email, or employee app. Employees can then inform their manager of any leave requests or else apply for a swap, dramatically reducing the chances of unfilled shifts throughout the week. Proper rostering is extremely important because overstretched employees aren’t productive. Too few staff on a given shift affects how they engage customers and respond to demands. Tanda’s Predictive Workforce feature uses sales data from the business’ Point-of-Sale (POS) to give an accurate forecast on how many people are needed on any given shift. During the day, Live Insights can be used to make key decisions on whether to call more people in, ensuring that the high quality of operation is sustained and uninterrupted. Read more: Introducing Live Insights: Using real-time staffing to secure your business Transparent and Engaging Workplace According to a survey done by Interaction Associates, 86% of employees say that they are more productive if they trust their employers. A separate study by advocacy group Trust Across America found that trustworthy companies outperform companies in the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index. Building that kind of game-changing trust starts with transparency within the organisation. Employees must know that their company is working in the interests of all and they are open about the information that matters to them. With a world-class workforce success software like Tanda, employees have access to a portal that lets them know their time and attendance records, time off allowances, and upcoming shift schedules. It also increases employee engagement in other ways, like clocking in by taking a selfie on the Tanda Time Clock. Starting the workday with a smile can change the employee’s whole perspective, which can lead to a better rapport with customers and fellow coworkers. And with Tanda doing most of the admin work, employees have more time to do the things that matter to them. Read more: Crafting Workforce Success at Windsor Alehouse Why Workforce Software Matters For the modern employee to do their best at work, they need to feel that the company is supporting them and is willing to adjust to their needs from time to time. They need to know that the company they’re working for pays them correctly, supports their life commitments, and effectively communicates with them at all times. Companies can make all this happen by moving on from outdated processes that bogs down human resource management. By using workforce management software, employees are more motivated to work, empowered by a platform that allows companies to drive trust, engagement, and the ultimate employee experience. Ready to find out what Tanda can do for your business? Book a demo today.