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Get Lost! Using Self-Service Technology to Strengthen PTO Processes

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Despite the seductive lure of paid time off, studies show that 55 percent of Americans did not use their earned vacation days in 2015. In addition, 80 percent of workers say that they likely would take more time off if they had their manager’s full support. While bosses do play a part in encouraging employees to take time off, the role of technology is no less significant. The right employee self-service (ESS) tool can streamline and simplify your PTO processes, which ultimately yields greater productivity.

The Importance of Taking PTO

There are multiple benefits to taking paid time off, but employees still need some convincing. They may think, “No one else can do my work.” Or, “I’ll be swamped with work after returning from vacation.” However, studies show that:

    • Employees who use all of their vacation days stand a 6.5 percent greater chance of getting a promotion or raise than those who left 11 to 15 days unused.
    • Well-planned vacations lead to a more positive, engaged brains and more happiness and energy at work, resulting in higher productivity.

Effects of Self-Service on Employee Engagement

The above-stated reasons employees don’t take PTO are based on typical scenarios. What’s not so immediately obvious is the processes of requesting and issuing PTO, and their impact on employee engagement.

Before the advent of newer HR technology, employees generally had to check with their manager or HR department for their available time off. Managers had to dig deep to see PTO histories. Employees with negative PTO balances were taking and getting paid for time off they hadn’t earned. The system was in dire need of improvement.

Now, by leveraging self-service technology, organizations can increase autonomy, employee responsibility and employees’ input into time-off decision-making, all of which drive employee engagement.

Impact of ESS on PTO Processes

Searching for insurance information and requesting PTO are, respectively, the top time-saving uses of ESS, according to a 2015 survey by Software Advice. A good ESS system saves time by providing employees with answers to time-off questions and allowing managers to respond efficiently to PTO requests. The ESS portal is essentially a “storefront” or “one-stop shop” that delivers accurate results and eliminates frustration.

Employees can:

    • see their assigned PTO accruals
    • view recorded time taken and available balance
    • easily submit and track the status of time-off requests
    • access company PTO policies

Employee self-service vastly reduces the burden of paperwork, while increasing the ability to control and approve PTO processes. In the end, the simplicity and pro-engagement nature of an ESS can make employees more confident in requesting time off.


Chad Raymond

by Chad Raymond


Author Bio: With over 19 years of experience in employee engagement, benefits administration and government compliance, Chad has unparalleled knowledge in the fields of leadership and human resources. Chad has worked in several different capacities with Paycom including leading our product development team and HCM initiatives as well as the former director of Paycom’s service department. Chad’s vision and execution helped empower executives and their teams to reach their full potential, ultimately leading to his role as Paycom’s vice president of HR.

Employee Productivity: Here’s What Really Matters

Employee Productivity: Here’s What Really Matters

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Employee Productivity: Here’s What Really Matters

Today’s business leaders are dealing with a lot.

Along with the technology-shaped elephant in the room, the increase in internal business collaboration (50 percent in the past two decades), the change in performance management and the influx of millennials have left many companies scrambling.

Despite these changes, the goals of businesses have remained constant: Generate revenue in the most efficient way possible, and no matter what industry you’re in, the productivity of your employees matters.

The Productivity Constant

However, many businesses struggle to quantify their employee productivity, and for good reason: The shift from a manufacturing to a knowledge-based economy has forced many leaders to reconsider how they measure and inspire productivity.

However, productivity is still a metric worth considering. As with any difficult task, a step-by-step methodology is typically the best place to start.

  1. Define what employee productivity means to your business, and determine the metrics you want to use to measure it.
  2. Test and retest productivity efforts on your workforce until you figure out what works.
  3. Learn from your failures, and repeat your successes.

 

Let’s take a deeper dive into these steps.

Defining and Measuring Productivity

Every business is different; therefore, how businesses measure productivity should vary. Working with team leaders to identify what it actually looks like in your business is the first step to increasing it.

Keep in mind, definitions can be deceivingly thorny, so much so that HR and business leaders have had to endure a myriad of recommendations, from the vague (“be more strategic”) to the vapid (“paint your walls yellow, make more money”). Thought leaders constantly drop words like “culture” and “engagement,” and sometimes tie them holistically to an employee’s output, placing pressure on many businesses to either adapt or disappear.

One example of this difficulty lies in the connection between productivity and employee engagement.

In the past, if employees agreed with statements like “Company X is a great place to work,” they were considered “engaged,” while those who answered no were “disengaged.” However, a recent Harvard Business Review study reported that a “yes” to the question simply could mean that particular employee matched well with the corporate culture, while employees who answered “no” just could be dissatisfied with the status quo and looking to make big improvements. In that case, “engaged” employees were no more productive than their “disengaged” counterparts were.

Both engagement and productivity are worthy business objectives, but leaders must clearly outline their goals and then understand the metrics they are using to quantify said goals. Moreover, companies ought to utilize both behavioral and survey data to measure their workforce and then inspire management to take the findings to heart.

Increasing Productivity

Because of such studies, today’s HR and business leaders should make observing and learning from their workforce a top priority. This notion aligns with practices of such successful companies as Google and Southwest, which employ “design thinking.”

According to a recent Deloitte University Press article, “Design thinking moves HR’s focus beyond building programs and processes to a new goal: designing a productive and meaningful employee experience through solutions that are compelling, enjoyable and simple.”

Design thinking begins at the base — the employee — and works from there in order to improve output.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to know that different personalities, backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses exist within a single department; therefore, the ways in which businesses inspire those individuals to work harder and better inherently will vary.

Design thinking helps HR leaders classify people into different groups or “personas,” and once businesses form an understanding of their workforce, they then begin testing measures to inspire those different “personas” to produce. Design thinking is flexible; it tests each finding to its end. If the technique does not work, practitioners view it as a learning experience rather than a failure, and then continue trying different techniques until they figure out the best way to stimulate production from their different groups of workers.

But does design thinking actually work?

According to Deloitte, “The data from our survey this year suggest that the more importance an organization places on design thinking […] the faster the organization grows.”

Business leaders should remain vigilant about the experience of their employees without losing sight of their company’s overarching goals. This precarious balancing act requires constant observation, assessment and the occasional serving of humble pie. However, the result of an empathetic and nimble business is a churning, successful workforce.

Be sure to check out our article about personal productivity and how you are truly only two steps away from inciting increased productivity in your daily life.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, Leadership, Talent Management

Katy Fabrie

by Katy Fabrie


Author Bio: Katy Fabrie is a Marketing Specialist at Paycom where she assists with executing integrated marketing campaigns. With extensive experience in both writing and research, Katy enjoys crafting content that helps HR professionals develop strategies to reach their goals. Katy has created both digital and printed content for a myriad of local and national companies, and she enjoys continually expanding her HR knowledge base. Outside of work, Katy enjoys reading, running and spending time with her husband, Colby, and dog, Fox.

What do Millennials and Today’s CEOs Have In Common?

What Do Millennials and Today’s CEOs Have In Common?

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What Do Millennials and Today’s CEOs Have In Common?

HR industry experts have devoted a lot of time and research into demystifying millennial employees, only to discover that this younger generation has more in common with mature, seasoned employees than once thought.

This is especially true when it comes to the desire for day-one productivity. The C-suite values new hires who can become contributors faster; millennial employees, who were born between 1981 and 2000, crave the opportunity to do just that.

So, the goal they share is desire to be immediately productive – to be a valued contributor as soon as they walk through the front door.

Getting an early start

Growing up when technological advances made instant gratification a way of life, millennials have come to expect it in almost every aspect of their lives, including work. Young employees want to feel purposeful in their jobs, and nothing meets that need quite like getting the chance to work on the first day, instead of filling out form after form and memorizing the alarm code.

One way to get there is by designing an onboarding process that gives new hires the ability to complete onboarding tasks efficiently, either on or before day one. Consider incorporating the following strategies into your plan:

  • “Preboard” new hires.

    Allow them to complete new-hire paperwork and train electronically, via an employee self-service portal. They can get the groundwork done before they even start in order to hit the ground running on their first day.

  • Assign goals and expand training.

    According to Gallup, half of employees don’t understand what’s expected of them at work. To prevent this type of uncertainty from affecting a new hire’s productivity, include training on his or her individual role, and what his or her job looks like when done well.

  • Introduce your culture.

    Understanding what your company values can help new hires feel confident about making smart decisions. Not only can this boost early productivity, but it can help build long-term engagement, too.

Just a few tweaks to the traditional onboarding process can help new hires devote more time and attention to the activities that will help them become a valued contributor sooner than later. And that’s something both your C-suite and millennial new hires will love.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, Leadership, Pre-Employment, Talent Management


Author Bio: Oden-Hall is an award-winning public relations, communications and marketing professional with over 20 years experience driving corporate strategy for Fortune 500 companies. Her Oklahoma roots and passion coupled with her global experience and creative flair have helped her drive numerous successful strategic initiatives. She joined the Paycom team as Chief Marketing Officer in April of 2012.

Mobile Learning Technology

LMS 101: Mobile Learning Technology

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Learning Management Systems 101 is a weekly blog series exploring how employers can rethink traditional employee training and move toward e-learning solutions, which are faster, easier to access, and more cost effective. “Mobile Learning Technology” is the fifth post of the series.

LMS 101: Mobile Learning Technology

Mobile learning, (m-Learning) offers a new education channel in which learners can access content on demand, regardless of time or location – all they need is a mobile device and internet connection. A subset of eLearning, m-learning is rapidly evolving in many regions and sectors of the world, including the U.S. corporate sector.

How Fast is M-Learning Growth?

By 2020, the mobile workforce will represent almost 75 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to the International Data Corporation. Also, Chief Learning Officer magazine reports that mobile learning has become the leading workforce trend to look out for in 2017. According to elearningindustry.com, approximately 47 percent of businesses now use mobile devices to deliver online training – and that number is sure to rise.

Why Is Mobile Learning So in Demand?

Studies show that the main appeal of m-learning is its access. Employees can obtain training or take courses from their smartphone or tablet whenever and wherever it suits them. They can learn at home, while commuting or in their spare time. This scenario wasn’t possible many years ago, when employees had to learn in physical locations at their employer’s discretion. Now, learning can occur anywhere.

Another reason for m-learning’s popularity is cost. Since mobile learning is applicable only to distance learning and not face-to-face classroom learning, employers do not incur costs associated with physical learning – such as consultants, venue and paper document costs. There is also no hardware cost or connectivity charges. Since many employees already have mobile phones or tablets, employers typically don’t have to purchase these devices.

A third reason is ease of use. Mobile learning – which is delivered through a learning management system (LMS) – is easy to administer. Customizable courses can be presented in bite-sized lessons, in the form of videos, podcasts, PowerPoint slides, surveys, quizzes, spreadsheets and more. Simply record the information on your mobile phone, upload it to the LMS, then assign the training or course to relevant employees.

Mobile learning is also a boon to productivity. Employees don’t have to be pulled away from work to participate in training – which is especially helpful to employers with multiple locations.

Case in point:

A growing electric motor company with 380 employees saved a substantial amount of time and money, strengthened client relationships, reached its goal of consistent training, and is on track to be ISO-certified because they implemented mobile learning through the LMS tool, Paycom Learning. The organization’s new hire productivity rate has jumped 80 percent, mainly due to new employees being able to take courses at their convenience during onboarding. This on-demand functionality has also benefitted approximately 50 field employees working on wind turbines – who were able to access training on their mobile device. The company, which has reported saving $270,000 annually through Paycom Learning, was able to:

  • Salvage four client relationships via nonconformity training
  • Deliver consistent training to nine locations
  • Remotely train 50 field employees
  • Provide on-demand training to 380 employees

 

Why Should Employers Consider Mobile Learning?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that millennials will account for 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2030. Further, according to a survey by PwC, 41 percent of millennials said they prefer electronic communication at work over face-to-face and telephone communication. The study also ranks excellent training/development programs among the top three things that millennials believe contributes to an employer’s attractiveness.

While the decision to adopt mobile learning should not be based solely on the preferences of millennials, this generation deserves much consideration because technology dominates virtually every aspect of their lives.

To learn more about the evolution of corporate learning, how to refine your approach to employee training, why technology is crucial to onboarding and how an LMS can boost your company’s employee’s engagement, be sure to check out the first four posts of the LMS 101 series.

 For more information about how to propel your business growth through employee learning, download this free white paper: Learning Management Systems: Fueling Employee Knowledge and Propelling Business Growth. Or, to learn more about how Paycom’s HR technology can help your business grow, contact us today.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, Leadership, Learning Management

Holly Faurot

by Holly Faurot


Author Bio: Faurot, vice president of client relations, has served in a number of roles during her tenure at Paycom, including regional vice president, sales training manager and sales consultant. A born leader and a 2012 honoree in Oklahoma’s 30 Under 30 awards, she has helped a number of individuals and clients achieve success through her energetic spirit. The product of a dairy farm in Kenefic, Okla., Faurot was taught at a young age the importance of working hard, being honest and having a desire to help others.

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