Building Workforce Success with Appletree Estates
“I think people would be very surprised with the number of staff it takes to deliver their home, the breadth of different skills needed to do that,” muses Richard Carmichael, Construction Director of Appletree Estates. Specialising in residential and retail new build and renovation projects, they have between 30 to 50 employees working on projects across the North West. Richard, who has been on site for a year, deals with many issues common to labour-intensive companies across the world. From processing timesheets to onboarding new staff, Appletree Estates saw a big gap in their operations. We asked Richard how Appletree Estates is eliminating these administrative challenges.
Huge administrative burden
“We’ve been trying to fix the problem for two years or so,” he shares. “We have a team of about 30 at that time on paper timesheets, paper holiday forms, and a highly inaccurate process. So people weren’t always here when they said they were gonna be here, weren’t always a hundred percent accurate in terms of remembering all the hours that they had to leave and et cetera.” Many companies that do their payroll manually experience the same roadblocks. Traditional ways of tracking attendance are inefficient and can even lead to disputes down the line.
“That was a big driver, really, accuracy,” he continues, “But also the administrative burden was huge. We were doing 10 to 20 hours of management time to deliver [payroll], plus every single member of the team was spending at least 15 minutes a week doing their own timesheets.” When it comes to administrative work, minutes quickly turn into hours. And each minute spent in the back office doing timesheets or payroll could be spent on training employees or engaging clients instead. So Appletree Estates turned to workforce technology.
“Tanda is game-changing, really, so I save tens of hours of company time used to go into doing that time sheets for between 30 and 50 guys. That now takes 30 minutes, and it is an awful lot more accurate,” he says. Given their number of staff and nature of work, Tanda was the perfect fit. “Let’s say a member of staff is contracted for 40 hours, with Tanda we make sure there’s 40 hours log there, be it the time that they had on holiday, time they were off sick, time they were working. We always have a record of who was where and when, which is important for a whole host of reasons, without a doubt.”
With these benefits, why don’t all companies shift to workforce management software? One reason is the cost. Investing in software intimidates many business owners and managers. But as Richard and Appletree Estates found, the cost isn’t high and is overshadowed by its benefits, “So we worked it out: It’s .2% of our payroll cost to operate Tanda. We see that deliver back tenfold. Minimum. So as well as just the accuracy of what we’re paying, who we’re paying, and what we’re paying it for.” And with features like GPS clock-in, staff working off-site can use their mobile phone to start their shift.
Beyond scheduling and timesheets
Tanda offers more than just rota scheduling and timesheets, and Appletree Estates is using other features to their advantage. “[We use it for] bringing in new members of the team on board. We use the employee onboarding system where we send them a text message and an email before they’ve even turned up. So before they’re here they’re already registered,” he shares. Engaging your new hire before day one is an industry best practice. It ensures that the employee feels prepared when they come in. As Richard adds, “We have all the personal details, we’re saving time and they hit the ground running.”
Tanda’s leave management system has also helped Richard and his team make sure that everything is accounted for. “We’re getting all the benefits back, like the holiday management [process]. We’re able to pick up when we’re having problems,” he shares. Another feature that clients in shift work industries find useful are shift swapping and GPS clock-in. Shift swapping allows available employees to cover for those who are going on leave. GPS clock-in lets employees clock-in for work from a job site. All these features contribute to saving time, empowering employees, and growing the business.
Free download: Planning for Success: How to build a perfect work rota
Building workforce success
“Tanda is one of a number of software initiatives that we’re rolling out because we believe using web-based software is assisting us in delivering the management of our products and making it an awful lot easier,” Richard says. And technology is certainly helping Appletree Estates take on bigger projects. “We got some exciting projects to deliver. We are well on with a number of those so over the course of this year we’ll be handed over under 20 units on one site. We’ll be bringing in 40 or 50 [staff] and another site to the table.”
With Tanda, Richard and his team won’t have a hard time building a successful workforce.