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Glossary of Terms

A guide to frequently used terms and descriptions:

Absence Management

Reducing absence through improved measurement.

Unplanned absence can vary from as little as 1% in a well-managed organisation to as much as 8% or 9%. This frequently leads to over-manning, which is expensive in its own right, and is de-motivating to the staff that attend regularly.

All organisations believe that it’s in the interests of employers, unions and employees to investigate patterns of sickness absence, particularly where it’s higher than average, to see if it can be reduced. Once information is available, there are several management practices that can be used to improve matters:

  • There’s the heavy-handed approach, requiring staff to make up lost time or perhaps reducing holiday or sickness benefit. Sometimes ‘return-to-work’ interviews or addressing absence within staff appraisals are also beneficial.
  • Then there’s the flexible approach, using Hours Banks or paid time off for sickness and holidays combined.
  • Or perhaps the preventative approach, where previous employers are researched about absence history or behaviour.

Whichever approach is preferred, without readily accessible and current information, it’s probably impossible to expect any improvement whatsoever. So a modern time management system, which empowers all managers and supervisors to manage departmental absence effectively, is an essential pre-requisite for a well-managed organisation.

Absence Management Solutions are incorporated into the Crown Workforce Management Suite.

Access Control

Protecting the workplace from unauthorised access.

Access Control is necessary to protect the workplace from anyone who is not authorised to enter the site or secure areas within the site. Whether Access Control is used to protect the workforce, to enforce Health & Safety procedures or to prevent casual theft, the objective is the same – the prevention of unauthorised access.

A door-entry Access Control system will not necessarily stop the professional thief, but it is a positive deterrent to casual or semi-professional crime. When aided by other crime prevention measures it’s an essential component of a modern site security system. Typically, the system would enable employees to enter through designated doors or barriers at specified times in each working day, producing statistics on both successful and unsuccessful access attempts.

Most companies would require a common ID Badge to operate all of its employee management functions, from Time Recording to Access Control. The ID Badge could be a Bar-code, Magnetic Stripe, Proximity or Smart card.

Access Control is implemented fully in Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.

Activity Management

Understanding efficiency and productivity.

Activity Management is vital to any organisation which values the importance of efficiency and productivity from their workforce. In the past, these measurements were applied mainly to manufacturing industry, where unit costs and standard costing systems were the foundation of comprehensive management accounting processes.

But now, all industries, blue and white collar alike, search for continuous improvement in their routine operations. Work Measurement supporting Activity Based Costing (ABC) principles is becoming essential in just about every industry sector within the UK. All organisations need to understand where their labour is used; how much time is productive or non-productive; and to identify where inefficiencies exist within all of their routine business processes.

Activity Management systems therefore account for all time within the working day and they routinely reconcile with attended time for completeness and accuracy.

The method of employee time booking will vary according to the industry. In certain cases, changes in Activity will be recorded dynamically, in real-time, providing an up-to-the-minute view of events within the business. In other cases, it’s satisfactory to enter retrospective work bookings through a conventional time-sheet.

Activity Management systems will create accurate data for the Labour Costing functions, if required.

Activity Management functions are supported comprehensively in Crown’s Workforce Management Suite

Annualised Hours

Flexible working for variable demand

Annualised Hours is beneficial to companies that wish to optimise attendance to match a demand for labour owing to seasonal or variable working.

Many organisations have peaks and troughs in demand throughout each working year. Traditionally, overtime or temporary labour is used to resource the peaks while during the troughs, the core workforce remains under-utilised. This is often de-motivating for the employees and costly for the organisation.

Annualised Hours is a method of flexible working that allows labour to be transferred from the troughs to the peaks, offering substantial cost savings to the employer. Employees benefit too because their income is stabilised as they work set hours over the year, albeit in a more flexible way. Peer group pressure often leads to further reductions in unit costs and some of the savings can be shared with employees in a self-financing pay increase. Furthermore, the new flexible work style usually leads to more flexible leisure time for employees.

Each system can be tailored to specific needs but basically, hours of work are pooled over the agreed period which is typically a full year. The organisation then charts and agrees minimum staffing levels required for planned production and the remaining hours are held in reserve, to be called upon when demand increases during unplanned peaks.

In practice, Annualised Hours stabilises manning levels; reduces premium overtime; reduces absenteeism; increases efficient production and allows for the effective use of the workforce in ever-changing situations.

Annualised Hours is implemented comprehensively in Crown’s Workforce Management Suite

Disciplinary solutions

Disciplinary procedures for absence management

In certain organisations, it’s necessary to monitor occurrences of lateness and absenteeism closely to discourage excessive absenteeism.

Disciplinary procedures are invoked according to well-defined rules based on incidences of absenteeism over a defined time period. And the procedures may define an escalation process if the absence violations persist.

One popular measure of absence is the Bradford Factor, which uses an algorithm based on the Number of Incidences and the Duration of each Incident to compute an absence score for each employee. This Bradford score can also be used to invoke disciplinary procedures if it exceeds a defined level.

The Bradford Factor can be calculated as:

S x S x D
Where S = the number of spells of sickness absence
D = the number of days of absence in that period
PERIOD
The length and unit of the period
D = Days
W = Weeks
M = Months

Examples:

1 absence of 12 days: Score = 1 x 1 x 12 = 12
6 absences of 2 days: Score = 6 x 6 x 12 = 432

Disciplinary procedures are implemented in Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.

EU Working Time Regulations

Background and Scope

A consultation document, containing draft regulations to implement the European Directive on Working Time, was issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in April 1998. In addition to maximum weekly working time, the regulations cover night work, daily and weekly rest periods, rest breaks and annual leave. The new regulations will also put in place certain protections for young workers (i.e. those who are over compulsory school age but under 18) required by the European Directive on the Protection of Young People at Work.

Excluded from scope of the working time regulations (but not those relating to young workers) are people employed in the transport industry, certain workers at sea, doctors in training and those engaged in certain civil protection activities. It is important to note that the regulations cover not only direct employees of the employer but also other workers such as casuals and freelancers. Genuinely self-employed individuals who are in business on their own account are not covered.

Key provisions of the draft regulations are out-lined below. While changes to the regulations may arise as a result of the consultation process, the core requirements of the directive cannot be altered.Terms used

In addition to collective agreements concluded between employers and recognised trade unions, the regulations also refer to “workforce agreements” and “relevant agreements”.

A workforce agreement is a written agreement signed either by the majority of the workforce or by duly elected representatives. A relevant agreement can be collective or workforce agreement or any other written agreement legally enforceable between worker and employer.

Working week

A worker’s average weekly working time, including overtime, is not to exceed 48 hours, averaged over a reference period of 17 weeks. An averaging period of 26 weeks applies to the “special cases” category. Where there are objective or technical reasons or reasons concerning the organisation of work, the averaging period may be extended to a maximum of 52 weeks by a collective or workforce agreement.

Individuals can agree to be excluded from the maximum working week requirement on a voluntary basis. Any such opt-out is to be terminable by the worker giving notice of a least seven days and no more than three months. Specified records must be kept by the employer.

Night work

Night working should not exceed eight hours in each 24-hour period, over a reference period of 17 weeks. In the case of individuals whose work involves special hazards or heavy physical strain, no averaging is allowed, i.e. there is a bar on working more than eight hours in any 24; such work will be identified by a collective or workforce agreement or by a risk assessment. Provided compensatory rest is permitted or appropriate protection given, the above rules on night working are excluded for “special cases” workers and can be modified or excluded for other workers by a collective or workforce agreement.

Workers will be entitled to free health assessments before undertaking night work and at regular intervals thereafter. Young workers required to work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. must have the opportunity of a free assessment of health and capacities before starting their assignments and at regular intervals. Confidentiality must be assured. Where a worker has health problems as a result of doing night work, the employer must, whenever possible, transfer him or her to day work.

Record keeping

Employers must keep records of weekly working hours, night work hours and compliance with health assessment requirements.

Rest periods and breaks

Adult workers are to be permitted to take a rest period of not less than 11 consecutive hours in each 24-hour period, and a weekly rest period of not less than 24 hours in each seven-day period. The weekly rest requirement may be averaged over two weeks. Where compensatory rest is provided or appropriate protection given, the regulations on adults’ rest periods do not apply to workers in the “special cases” group, and can be modified or excluded by collective or workforce agreements. If shift workers cannot take their due rest between shifts or where work is split up over the day (e.g. for cleaning staff), the rules do not apply provided compensatory rest or appropriate protection is given.

Young workers are entitled to a daily rest period of 12 consecutive hours except in force majeure situations (unexpected and unpredictable occurrences beyond an employer’s control) where compensatory rest must be permitted within three weeks. A weekly rest period of two days, consecutive if possible must be allowed for young workers in each seven-day period. This may be interrupted where work is split up or of short duration, or reduced for technical reasons, but must not go below 36 hours.

Adult workers whose daily working time exceeds six hours will be entitled to a rest break in accordance with terms in a collective or workforce agreement. Where there is no such agreement, a minimum break of 20 minutes is laid down. Concessions as for rest periods (above) are permitted for “special cases” and where collective or workforce agreements have been concluded. Young workers will be entitled to a rest break of at least 30 minutes, consecutive if possible, after four and a half hours’ work, except in force majeure situations where compensatory rest must be permitted within three weeks.

Annual leave

After workers have completed three months’ service, they will become entitled to three weeks’ paid annual holiday, rising to four weeks form 23 November 1999 (pro rata for part-time workers). The leave year may be provided for in a relevant agreement (in many cases this will already be set out in the contract); failing this, the leave year will start on the date the regulations come into force or on the date employment begins in the case of workers recruited subsequently. Leave is to be taken during the leave year and not held over. Money in lieu of holiday entitlement will be payable only on termination of employment. Subject to agreed variations between the parties various notice obligations are set out in the regulations.

Enforcement

Where an employer has refused to permit a worker to exercise his or her rights under the regulations he or she will be able to make a complaint to tribunal. It will be unlawful to subject a worker to a detriment or to dismiss an employee on grounds connected with the application of the regulations. The maximum working week and health and safety aspects will be enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities.

The regulations of the EU Working Time Directive are implemented in Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.

Flexible Working

Managing the flexible workforce

Management of the workforce through Flexible Working, is recognised as being one of the biggest single factors, that determines the success or failure of an organisation. Organisations that recognise the need for flexibility will undoubtedly be more likely to succeed.

But there are other factors too that have brought about the need for a more flexible approach. Organisations generally strive to improve customer service and to do so, must do everything possible to retain their staff in a competitive marketplace. And there are ever-increasing pressures to increase productivity and efficiency.

At present, about 25% of the national workforce is made up of part-time workers; people are generally more mobile and selective about their employer; and technology is enabling more home-working and mobile-working. Legislation now ensures that part-time employees have equivalent employment rights as their full-time colleagues.

All of these are factors that are contributing towards the move for more flexible working arrangements, across virtually all sectors of business.

Flexitime and Annualised Hours schemes are becoming routine and are contributing towards the success of the UK economy.

Crown’s mainstream Time & Attendance solutions provide comprehensive flexible working support for both Flexitime and Annualised Hours.

Flexitime

Flexible Working schemes to improve employee productivity.

Flexitime is the most popular of the flexible working schemes, enabling employees to adjust their working time to better suit their personal circumstances.

Essentially, a Flexitime scheme defines, for all participating employees, patterns of mandatory Core Attendance and flexible Boundary Times, during which employees must attend their place of work. The attended time for each day therefore operates within acceptable parameters and a rolling balance of debit or credit hours against a standard is calculated on a daily basis. At the end of each Flexitime period, which would typically be a calendar or accounting period, excess balances are regulated.

Flexitime is implemented in Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.

Health & Safety

Helping businesses to conform to Health & Safety legislation.

All organisations have responsibilities and duties under Health & Safety at Work legislation to protect the safety, health and welfare of their employees, sub-contractors and visitors. This involves the provision of safe and healthy working conditions for all people visiting or working on the premises.

It’s therefore a pre-condition of these provisions, that the organisation is aware at all times of the names and the locations of all persons on the premises. This includes visitors and sub-contractors. Furthermore, it may be necessary to secure the premises from unauthorised access, to ensure the safety of the employees or of the public.

To assist with Health & Safety procedures, an Employee Management system would need to:

  • Keep up-to-date attendance records of all personnel, to enable an effective evacuation and Roll-Call, in case of an emergency;
  • Restrict unauthorised access to the premises and possibly to sensitive or dangerous internal areas;
  • Keep up-to-date records of the arrival, location and departure of all visitors;
  • Maintain effective records of the identity of all qualified First-Aid staff and ensure that they are adequately trained;
  • Comply fully with the E.U. Working Time Regulations that came into force on October 1998.

Health & Safety procedures are implemented within Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.

Holiday Planning

Optimising the workforce

Holidays are necessary for the well being of all employees but unless managed effectively, they can be both disruptive and unnecessarily costly.

Holiday planning is essential, to ensure that service or production capacity does not fall below an acceptable level. This means that employee skills and competencies need to be well defined and up-to-date. And that flexible working practices enable staff to be moved around to cover for holiday cover.

The administration of holidays too can be a time-consuming and expensive activity. The calculation and holiday entitlement and the outstanding balances throughout the holiday year simply add to the administrative workload, as do servicing requests from employees about their year-to-date position. This compounded further if lieu days for excess working are taken into account.

Holiday Management procedures are implemented in Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.

Human Resources Integration

In certain cases, a Time Management system will benefit from interfacing with the local HR or Personnel system, exchanging biographic data for new starters and other employees where appropriate. This process ensures that the HR and Time and Attendance systems are correctly synchronised, eliminating the need for duplicate data entry.

Interfaces to all popular HR and Personnel systems, such as Rebus, Centrefile and SAP are included in Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.

Payroll Integration

One of the major benefits of a Time Management system is that the payment calculations can be automated and the time-based details of employees’ gross pay transferred automatically into a target Payroll system. This process eliminates the need for unnecessary data entry, speeding-up and simplifying the payroll process.

Interfaces to all popular Payroll systems, such as Rebus, Centrefile, KCS, ASR are included in Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.

Resource Planning

To optimise staffing levels

Management of the workforce through Resource Planning, is recognised as being one of the biggest single factors that determines the success or failure of an organisation. Organisations that recognise the need for flexibility will undoubtedly be more likely to succeed.

But there are other factors too that have brought about the need for a more flexible approach. Organisations generally strive to improve customer service and to do so, must do everything possible to retain their staff in a competitive marketplace. And there are ever-increasing pressures to increase productivity and efficiency.

At present, about 25% of the national workforce is made up of part-time workers; people are generally more mobile and more selective about their employer; and technology is enabling more home-working and mobile-working. Legislation now ensures that part-time employees have equivalent employment rights as their full-time colleagues.

All of these are factors that are contributing towards the move for more flexible working arrangements, across virtually all sectors of business. Flexitime and Annualised Hours schemes are becoming routine and are contributing towards the success of the UK economy.

Crown’s Workforce Management Suite provides comprehensive flexible working support for both Flexitime and Annualised Hours.

Shop Floor Data Capture

Through bar-code and automated data collection systems

Although modern computer systems are now generally functional, they often fail to perform to their true potential because the entry of data is both slow and inaccurate.

The use of automated data collection techniques, usually but not exclusively involving bar-code technology, overcomes this weakness. It reduces the cost of manual data entry and removes the data inaccuracies that compromise the value of the business system concerned. When up-to-the-minute information is required, data collection at source is an absolute necessity.

But there are many hidden pitfalls with the introduction of data acquisition technology, which do not become apparent until it’s too late. Very often, the demands of the shopfloor are significant and Data Collection solutions must cope with a harsh operating environment that is often under-estimated.

It’s important therefore to recognise that a successful data collection system must comprise several key components. Not just the hardware, which must be functional and resilient but the software, which must be operationally secure, robust and allow for flexible configuration and networking.

Comprehensive solutions for Bar-code and all other forms of Automated Data Collection are provided by Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.

Time and Attendance

Employee Management for improved performance and productivity

Time and Attendance is an important aspect of the way we work in today’s competitive environment, rigid working structures of the past are being replaced with more flexible working arrangements that reflect changing social attitudes and the need for efficiency and productivity.

Successful organisations have recognised the importance of managing the workforce in the most effective way, in order to maximise efficiency and minimise the cost of routine administration.

Early Time & Attendance systems, which did little more than replace old fashioned Clock Cards with an electronic equivalent, have therefore evolved to the point that they’re now essential for the day-to-day management of what is frequently a company’s most expensive resource – its workforce.

A modern Time & Attendance system embraces all types of working agreements, including Flexitime and Annualised Hours. It monitors both Attendance and Absence trends, calculating pay and advising managers of disciplinary violations and absence entitlements. But perhaps more importantly, it helps managers to plan better, so that staffing levels and the skills mix are optimised for the benefit of the business. And with the increasing focus on employment legislation, a Time & Attendance system virtually eliminates the administration around the EU Working Time Regulations and the monitoring of Parental Leave.

Time Accounting for professional services and fee based businesses

The management of time in a Professional Services or fee-based business is a time-consuming affair. It’s essential that accurate time records be kept, initially because that time has to be billed as part of the customer service process. But historical records are also necessary for customer enquiries and project analyses.

It’s important too, that time records be matched against each employee’s attendance and absence record so that time is not missed or charged inadvertently.

Because all worked time is billed to a client, it’s essential that accurate information about all employees’ activities is recorded. Each activity may need to be charged at a different rate and more detailed breakdown of say project and / or task may be required for internal analysis.

In most organisations, employee’s activities would be entered through a Timesheet Entry process. This would involve both the entry of daily or weekly activity details followed by a management review to validate or approve the chargeable and non-productive time. During the entry process, all activity time is checked against attended time for validity. All approved time would then go through a billing process where supplementary cost items could be added if required.

And finally, all billings would be passed to the company’s Financial Accounting system for routine processing.

Time & Fees and Customer Billing are supported within the Activity Management functions of Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.

Work Booking

Understanding efficiency and productivity

Any organisation which values the importance of efficiency and productivity will understand how vital it is to measure the activities of its employees. In the past, these measurements were applied mainly to manufacturing industry, where unit costs and standard costing systems were the foundation of comprehensive management accounting processes.

But now, all industries, blue and white collar alike, search for continuous improvement in their routine operations and work measurement that supports Activity Based Costing (ABC) principles is becoming essential in just about every industry sector within the UK. All organisations need to understand where their labour is used; how much time is productive or non-productive; and to identify where inefficiencies exist within all of their routine business processes.

Work Booking systems therefore account for all time within the working day and they routinely reconcile with attended time for completeness and accuracy.

The method of employee time booking will vary according to industry. In certain cases, changes in Activity will be recorded dynamically, in real-time, providing an up-to-the-minute view of events within the business. In other cases, it’s satisfactory to enter retrospective work bookings through a conventional time-sheet.

It’s normally the case that Work Booking systems will create accurate data for the Labour Costing functions, if required.

Work Booking functions are supported comprehensively in Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.

Workforce Scheduling

Team planning to optimise service levels

The general trend towards flexible working has increased pressure on employee resource planning functions which are tasked with maintaining the optimum skills mix at all times of the working day.

With the trend towards improved service levels, the matching of business demand with manpower availability is therefore a more complex planning process if labour is to be optimised. This means that information about employees, their skills, availability and needs, must be readily at hand when shift rosters are planned and constructed. This is particularly true where Annualised Hours rosters are necessary or where Part-time or Jobshare staff need to be scheduled.

The European Working Time Regulations can also have a significant effect on Workforce Scheduling, requiring that working times, breaks and the working environment are considered as part of every working day.

Effective Workforce Scheduling is essential if staffing levels are to be optimised to meet business needs in the most cost-effective way. A variety of planning methods are implemented in Crown’s Workforce Management Suite.