Radical Candour: How it can transform your work environment

One of the best books I read in 2018 was recommended to me by a friend and coach. It was called Radical Candor: How to be a great boss without losing your humanity. It’s a framework for managing a team effectively. As the title suggests the author Kim Scott proposes that there is a path to being a great boss without having to be an a**hole.

There has been a trend over the last couple of decades that has linked effective management to being ruthless and lacking compassion. One could argue that Steve Jobs was a good example of such a leader, an opinion that I can understand but personally disagree with. Donald Trump or Alan Sugar on the Apprentice both come across as bosses who are susceptible to monstrous outbursts. Regardless of whether this is a true portrayal of their management styles that is what our expectation of a leader is. In our pop culture being an a**hole is synonymous with being an effective leader.

This is why Radical Candour immediately resonated with me. It finally provided a framework as to why this style of management is effective and at the same time provided a logical path to how you can be nice and a great leader at the same time. As one of my idols Gary Vaynerchuk likes to say frequently the fact that “nice guys finish last is just not true”.

Image from @kimballscott twitter

The argument put forward is that it takes two traits to be an effective boss. You must challenge directly and care personally. She uses a great example in the book of someone to illustrate the diagram above.

Imagine you walk into a crowded room with your trousers undone. If someone cares and is willing to challenge you directly they might take you aside and say “Hey, I just thought you’d want to know your fly is open.” You can then discreetly solve the problem. This is Radical Candour.

Imagine you walk into the same room and someone who doesn’t care but is willing to challenge you directly says something instead. They shout across the room “Hey your trousers are undone.”

Everyone hears and looks at you. You’d probably be a bit embarrassed but you are now able to solve the problem. The person could have handled the situation in a more compassionate way, but at least the matter is resolved. This is the a**hole boss right here. They might be an a**hole about how things get done but they get done. This is called Obnoxious Aggression.

Now imagine that you walk into the same crowded room and someone does care but they don’t want to challenge you directly. They “don’t want to upset your feelings.” Your fly stays open and everyone notices. Everywhere you go for the rest of the day people notice. The problem never gets resolved and when you do finally realize you think “why didn’t they tell me.” This is Ruinous Empathy. They are trying to protect your feelings but it’s actually to your detriment.

Last of all we have the people who don’t care and don’t challenge directly. They are the ones that tap a friend on the shoulder and say “hahaha look at that person they left their fly open.” That’s called manipulative insincerity.

Hopefully this analogy makes sense as it made a ton of sense to me. It really shows why challenging directly, even without caring, is way more effective than caring without challenging. Yet none of us, I hope, want to be obnoxiously aggressive.

So how do we achieve radical candour? It’s really simple, you have to care about your employees. If you read that sentence, want to manage people and think that’s not within the realms of possibility for you; please seriously reconsider your chosen career path. 😃

If you read that sentence and think “well no sh*t Kieran” or “yes that’s something I can do” then awesome! You are a considerable part of the way to being a good manager.

Communication and understanding is critical

The challenge directly aspect comes down to how you provide feedback and understand the needs of your employees. Ultimately that means having structures in place to allow you to communicate with your staff on a frequent basis. This should be a two way street. You want to provide feedback about performance in a timely fashion whilst the feedback is relevant and you want to stay up to date with what’s important in your employee’s lives.

Imagine your employee drops the ball on a certain task. If you wait until their quarterly review they could keep making the same mistake and create more issues.  You may have lost 3 months where they could have been getting better at that task and not just compounding the issue.

Why is it important to know what’s going on in an employees lives? Context. Imagine if an employee’s performance is slipping. You know that they have a sick relative, maybe you’ll give them some time off to deal with that and understand the reason why they are not meeting your expectations or goals. Alternatively, an employee finds out they are expecting a child. Their career goals might shift fundamentally in the short/medium term and you will want to adjust with them to support.

Key takeaways

Whilst I strongly recommend reading the book to get a good grasp on of the framework. Here are some immediate actions you can take in your business today that I took away from the book.

  1. Create weekly feedback structures for your employees.
    It’s important for employees to have a regular feedback loop with their direct superior. One to Ones are a great avenue for you to course correct and provide feedback. The lack the formality of a quarterly or annual review. If you don’t have these in place at your company start today. They don’t need to be complicated.

    I don’t use the exact structure they advise in the book. We have a spreadsheet where the employee or myself can write down agenda items. We then meet for 20-30 minutes once a week and we discuss the most important items on the list.

  2. Limit the number of direct reports any manager has.
    If your managers are responsible for a team of 100 employees how can you expect them to care on a personal level with each employee and still carry out the operational aspects of their role? You need to create capacity for your managers to manage.
  3. Create a growth management plans for all of your employees.
    Knowing what your employees want to do in life allows you to help them fulfill on their dreams. You can align the goals of the company with their own and create mutually beneficial situations that encourage win/wins.
  4. Be specific.
    Whether you are providing praise or criticism you need to focus on exactly what you want the employee to know. Think about a time when your boss has said to you “good job.” It doesn’t land on you as praise. You’re often left thinking “for what?” When you point out what you are praising it allows the employee to keep refining that good work.

    Being specific encourages growth instead of sounding like a vague platitude.At the same time for criticism it allows the employee to focus on the problem and work to improve it. If you just tell someone “that sucks” it generally leaves them feeling demotivated and disengaged. You want to encourage the people who work for you and being specific can help do that.

  5. Promotions are not the only reward for good performance.
    A lot of companies cultures have evolved to encourage the best performers to take management positions as the only way for them to increase their compensation packages. The best players rarely make the best coaches.

    We should have opportunities in place that encourage people who want to lead to do so. At the same time, we should allow people who are amazing at what they do and love doing it to keep doing it. Career progression doesn’t just mean getting a promotion.

  6. Don’t make it personal
    Regardless of whether you are giving praise or criticism don’t make it about the employee. “You are terrible” is a vastly different statement than “Your work is terrible.” Whilst I would never encourage either statement the former attacks the person whilst the latter acknowledges you are only referring to a certain piece of work they have done.

It’s amazing how taking on the points made in this book can transform your work environment. It creates a culture of collaboration and transparency. It allows a top down approach to removing politics from your organization. Your employees will never have to second guess what’s going on in their managers head. It is one immediate access to creating lasting positive changes to your company culture.

If you do read the book or try to implement any of the points above I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

How Do You Maintain Team Discipline During The Holidays?

Team Discipline

Managing a team especially in the last quarter of the year can be a problem. Aside from dealing with daily tasks such as attendance, absences, shift schedules, leaves, and schedule adjustments, you’d also have to make sure that you are providing discipline and motivation. And more than often, it can be very difficult to provide these especially in the months where attrition rate is higher than the rest of the year.

The work is no joke, especially for companies who are in the growth or expansion phase like in the business process outsourcing industry. According to a recent labor statistics report, the turnover rate of jobs in Metro Manila alone for Q3 2016 is at 3.67 percent since 2011. When you compare it to Q2 2016 (at 3.20 percent) and Q2 2016 (2.30 percent), the increase is pretty significant.

Traditional and Progressive Discipline

In a typical organization, traditional discipline involves building enough documentation of the erring employee’s actions to justify a disciplinary action. The communication style is similar to how a parent scolds a kid for eating dessert before a meal and is usually uncomfortable. It’s also time-consuming as well, considering the number of sit-downs a superior would need to allow time to discuss the infraction.

In the last few years, HR managers prefer this popular approach: progressive discipline. Progressive discipline involves four steps (verbal warning, written warning, final written warning or suspension, and termination) to address disciplinary problems like tardiness, excessive absences, or infractions that affect team productivity.

team discipline

Great Work Cultures breaks down the differences between traditional and progressive discipline.

While there are some good points in traditional and progressive discipline, they both do not always encourage a positive response from erring employees. Even with drawing up a standard warning letter can already build animosity, more so when you add this particular line (or something similar to this) to legally protect your company in the instance you have to meet out a disciplinary action:

“Failure to correct the problem may result in further disciplinary action, up to and including possible termination.”

Policies are policies, sure, but even the best members of your team or organization might react to a disciplinary action negatively. In the same labor statistics report, people who quit their jobs actually outnumber those who got terminated (7.94 percent to 2.94 percent).

Personal Accountability

There will always be that employee who wants to take advantage of the team and company’s expense. But you wouldn’t want to alienate the rest of the team and foster an environment that could disrupt productivity. So how then can you carry out your HR duties without acting like the “Judge Dredd”? You have to share accountability with your team.

Sharing accountability will make every employee feel part of the team or organization’s success. Showing how your employees can have a hand in working towards specific goals (zero lates and absences, staffing compliance) will make the organization more efficient and productive.

Here are the tools to help you accomplish these:

1. Easier Clock-Ins

selfie-biometrics-PayrollHero

At PayrollHero, your employees can clock in or out via #MyClock Web, TeamClock Web, or TeamClock Chrome App,  #MyClock for iOSand TeamClock for iOS/Android.

Most companies use fingerprint or ID scanners for employees to clock in and out for their shifts. This requires an employee to be physically present to carry this out, and reduces instances of “buddy punching.”

But for growing companies, a convenient and cost-effective way to allow team members to clock in using a web or mobile app. These apps utilize Internet connection and a camera, and is a godsend for those who are physically outside of the office but are on official businesses.

2. Time and Attendance Software

Time and Attendance

Employee clock in devices and apps are usually paired with a time and attendance software that has both an employee and manager interface. Employees can not only check their logins, they can also check any log in discrepancies that could have been resulted in device or software issues and resolve them using the interface in real-time. This eliminates attendance errors that could translate to payroll disputes and encourage shift accountability.

As for HR personnel, most time and attendance software have features that would notify, process and resolve any employee issues or requests. HR can also set up an automated email drip or response whenever an employee sends a request or a response. A feature like this helps foster and maintain open communication without spending so much time crafting every email response.

3. Analytics

team analytics

A time and attendance software like PayrollHero comes with data analytics that could provide real-time productivity metrics to both employee and HR. To the employee, there’s nothing more satisfying than checking out your progress in real time and having access to data that would help meet productivity goals.

HR will not only have access to employee data but will be presented with organizational data that’s easy to interpret. This way, you can spot out employee behaviors, recurring trends, or company issues that you can use to either improve your current company policies or create a highly-receptive employee motivation program.

Final Words

However you see an erring employee, remember that the rest of your team are still responsible adults. They are as much capable as you to address a problem once it is brought to their attention. Traditional and progressive discipline could work, but tools can help build a build a culture of accountability where employees to have the confidence to take charge of finding a solution.

The Four Components of Payroll

As part of the HR and Payroll 101 series I wanted to take a closer look at the individual parts of the payroll process. Generally, there are 4 components to any payroll process, and this is usually country agnostic.

If you have ever been involved in payroll generation this number probably seems quite low. You could pick up any employee’s payslip and list maybe 10 items from their payroll alone, and your not wrong. However, this is part of the problem.

Most payroll admins structure their payroll process around the tax status of the items being credited or debited, or based on the individual line items themselves. These approaches can work, but they won’t be the most efficient. They will lead to unnecessary repetition, and increased resource requirements to administer. By knowing the four components, and how your payroll items fit into each, you will be able to apply your knowledge to streamline your overall payroll process.

Gross Compensation

Gross compensation is probably the easiest to understand. It’s any item that makes up your employee’s basic compensation package.

The first item is base pay, which is just one aspect of the overall gross compensation. However, this is usually the bulk of any employees payroll. There’s generally 3 main types of gross pay:

  • Salary: Employees get paid the same fixed amount each payroll regardless of their attendance
  • Monthly: This is similar to salary. Monthly paid employees also get an amount each month but it’s not fixed. It will fluctuate based on their attendance. For example, they may receive less gross pay if they come in to work late and more if they worked overtime.
  • Hourly: Employees are paid for the exact hours they work. So if you were being paid $1 an hour and worked 100 hours you would receive $100 as your gross pay.

Other notable mentions for base pay would be daily rates and piece meal. The former being employees who get paid per day and the latter per item they complete.

Overtime is usually paid at a premium to employees. The standard practice is to pay overtime at a certain percentage of the base pay rate. E.g. 125%. So if you were paid $10 an hour and then worked overtime you would get $10 multiplied by 125% which equals $12.50.

For other multipliers, these work in the same manner as overtime but are applied in different scenarios. For example, it’s not uncommon in most countries to provide additional pay to employees if they come into work on a public holiday. 

In the Philippines the rate is 200%. So the same $10 base rate would be $20 on a regular holiday.  This is also why we call them multipliers, because you multiply the scenario percentage by the base rate.

One thing to note, some companies don’t multiply but actually do addition. In the UK where there is no government mandated rate for working overnight. It’s not uncommon for employers to pay an extra £1 or £2 for work done late at night. These would also fall into this category.

The last one, and this depends on your companies process would be leave pay. If you don’t pay these out as separate line items they will be part of the base pay and so therefore part of the gross compensation. This is far more common with monthly and salary paid employees than any other type.

Recurring Items

“The important thing to remember is these items will be credited or debited from an employee on a strict schedule. Either for an ongoing period of time or in perpetuity”

From this point on, the component descriptions I provide are not exhaustive lists. You potentially have other payroll items that you provide that will fall into one of the four components.

Recurring items are those other payments that you credit or debit to employees every payroll. This might be for a preset period of time or in perpetuity.

It’s important to clarify that the amounts of these recurring items may vary from payment to payment.

A great example of this would be the Cost of Living Allowance in the Philippines. It’s a government mandated allowance saying that all minimum wage employees should receive 15 pesos for each day worked. So the amount paid out will always fluctuate based on the amount of days worked in the pay period, but it’s always paid each pay period.

Usually all allowances are recurring items, the frequency may change (either per payroll, per quarter, per month etc.) but they are consistently deducted on the same schedule.

Loan payments are another great example and illustrate how the payment doesn’t need to be deducted forever. Usually, if you give an employee a loan, they pay it back over X pay periods until the original amount is repaid.

Subsidized benefits are a huge catch all. Companies will give their employees certain benefits where the company covers most of the cost. However, the employee needs to contribute some amount. These are consistently deducted every payroll and continue until the employee either leaves or decides they don’t want to avail of the benefit any longer.

As mentioned, this isn’t an exhaustive list. The important thing to remember is these items will be credited or debited from an employee on a strict schedule. Either for an ongoing period of time or in perpetuity.

Ad hoc Items

“These items are infrequent, and the amount always vary. They are not deducted or credited to an employee each payroll.”

Ad hoc items are those infrequent payments that you have to make on payroll. Adhoc is a latin phrase that means “for this.”   When you are doing something on ad hoc basis you are doing it for that specific case and no other.

Adjustments are a great example of an ad hoc item. Every time you do an adjustment you are making it to fix a specific error or issue. You are making the payment for this specific scenario.

Expenses would also come under this category, every expense payout is done for a particular expense or expense report. These are always handled on a case by case basis.

Sure you may have employees that submit an expense report with some frequency. You might have an employees who do a lot of driving for work and are allowed to claim their miles back on expenses. They may even submit an expense claim form every month.

However, if that same employee ended up working at head office for the entire pay period and didn’t drive any where they wouldn’t receive a mileage expense. Whereas if they received a car allowance, which is a recurring item, they would still receive the amount.

For breakages and spillages, in the food and beverage industry it’s not uncommon to charge the server if they break a plate, glass, etc. Again, these types of payments are always made for the specific incident.

Finally, Vacation Leave and Sick Pay would live here if you don’t include them in the gross pay. This might seem counterintuitive to you, but again think about the format we have established. Employees take leaves on an ad hoc basis, and when you pay their leave pay it’s done for a specific leave request.

Again, this list is not exhaustive and it’s important to note you might and probably do make these types of payments EVERY payroll. However, they usually won’t be to the same employees, and for the same amounts. Don’t get me wrong sometimes an employee might break the same glass or claim the same amount of miles so their amounts are the same, but this is because of circumstance and not because they are recurring items.

Just remember, these items are infrequent, and the amount always vary. They are not deducted or credited to an employee each payroll.

Government Deductions

Finally we have government deductions, and you know what they say; “there’s only two things in life that are certain; death and taxes.” Unless your employees are based in countries that don’t tax lower wage earners this is definitely true.

The other government deductions will vary based on your location. In the Philippines this would be Pag-IBIG, SSS, Philhealth. Singapore have charitable deductions and CPF. The UK has national insurance and Canada EI and CPP etc.

Most, if not all, governments have their own mandated deductions that employers have the responsibility to deduct. It’s vitally important to ensure you make these deductions on time and in line with your local laws.

So that’s the four components. Gross Compensation, Recurring Items, Ad Hoc Items, and Government Deductions. If you are designing your own payroll process, or trying to improve your current one categorize your payroll items into these four areas. Once done, you will be able to create processes for each component that will allow you to streamline your process.

For any questions, please ask in the comments below. Thanks!

New: Reminders For Your Employees via Facebook Messenger

Do you have employees who forget to clock in and the start of their shift, or forget to clock out at the end?  Well, we can help, we have a new tool that reminds your employees of their schedule.

If PayrollHero has not received a clock in or out from your employee, they can be reminded 15 minutes prior to their schedule or after the completion of the schedule, automatically, via Facebook Messenger.

Why Facebook Messenger? 

For starters, you most likely already have it on your phone, so no need to download a new app to get PayrollHero reminders.  Plus, in many countries (including the Philippines), Facebook Messenger is free, no data required.

What do the reminders look like? 

Good question, here is an example of a reminder. It pops up prior to the shift to remind employees to clock in.

Employee Reminders

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6 New Reports PayrollHero Offers | HR People Analytics

Our loyalty department has been working on some people analytics reports as a way to provide more value to our clients. Our team curates client’s data into a personal, hand crafted experience for the CEO or owner of the company. So far the feedback from our clients have been fantastic. We started with the Employee Happiness Report but have expanded the offering to include five other reports.

Employee Happiness Report – Semantic Analysis of clocking photos to determine the happiness of your workforce and answer questions around how happiness leads to productivity.

Clocking Infraction Report – Analyzes late/early clockings to determine behaviour trends and calculate the cost of infractions.

Resolution Analysis Report – Analyzes automatically resolved clocking infractions vs. manually resolved clocking infractions to determine how to optimize your automated thresholds.

Chronic Non-Clocking Report – Analyzes the hidden costs of employees who do not clock in or out. (resolution time, man hours spent, etc.)

Photo Mismatch Report – Examines clocking selfies to look for signs of buddy punching & other suspicious activity.

GPS vs. Worksite Mismatch Report – Collects all GPS data around clockings to determine who may be clocking in or out of their assigned worksite.7abde1b9-a98c-4858-a8e7-2ef75072fb65

Want to learn more? Reach out to our team to chat anything. Just click on the chat bubble on any of our websites, including this blog. →

 

Top 3 Toughest Aspects of Payroll in Singapore

Assuming Payroll

Often times, companies generate payroll and pay out an entire month’s wages to an employee before the month has ended. We call this assuming payroll. This is how it works: If payroll is generated an the 25th and paid out on the 27th, the manager pays the full month’s wages, up till the 31st, assuming that the employee will make it to work on the last few days. If he doesn’t, the manager Optimizing Work Productivity with Happinessneeds to deduct his wage in the next month

Assuming payroll is an inefficient and inaccurate way of paying employees. We’ve come across many business owners who do it in Singapore. Most of the time, it’s because they have been doing it for years and have never thought about changing the rule. We help our clients transition from assuming payroll to regular payroll which saves clients money and time. Here is a blog post on exactly how to transition from assuming to regular payroll.

Irregular Clock-in Timings

When an employee clocks in at 8.57am instead of 9.00am, the biometric device records it to the exact minute. Your HR manager needs to manually correct the irregularity because coming in 3 minutes early does not mean that the employee will get paid for those extra three minutes.

The PayrollHero app has a threshold feature that solves this problem. An HR manager can set a threshold: if an employee clocks in between 8.55am and 9.05am, their clock-in time resets to 9.00am, automatically correcting the irregularity that your HR manager would have had to deal with otherwise.

Disparate Systems for Time, Attendance, Scheduling and Payroll

payrollhero-benefits-featuresBusiness owners have multiple systems that deal with different HR problems; a biometric device to measure clock ins, a separate Excel sheet that imports data from the biometric device and generates payroll, another Excel sheet that needs to be updated every week with schedules for each employee and a whole other system that employees use to apply for leave. With so many systems to deal with, no wonder an HR manager barely has any time to engage with employees or find innovative ways to overcome Singapore’s labor crunch.

An end-to-end solution that removes any need for multiple devices is exactly what an HR manager needs. PayrollHero allows employees to click selfies on their phone or an iPad in the work site when they clock in. This data is stored in the Cloud and used when payroll is generate by the system. The same app is used when applying for leave or checking schedules for the week. An HR manager can use the app on his laptop, phone or any device with internet connection anywhere in the world and have full control over what is going on at his work site.

While these problems are seen as some of HR managers’ biggest in Singapore, they are faced by managers in the Philippines and pretty much any other place too. Some of the other problems HR managers need to deal with are changing tax laws, a labor crunch and laws against foreign workers in the country.

We hope that this post serves as a solution to some of your biggest HR problems. Do let us know your biggest HR problem and how you are currently dealing with it.

 

Leave Management Custom Leave Type

Custom Leave TypeA few weeks ago, we rolled out our leave management application. After receiving feedback from our clients, we are releasing a new feature to the application – custom leave types.

When an employee is applying for leave, she needs to enter a type of leave – maternity, child care, leave, etc. Previously, we added all the most popular types of leaves that were applicable, as directed by the ministries of manpower (or their equivalent) in Singapore and the Philippines. However, Singapore and the Philippines each have 8 different types of leaves. Moreover, individual companies may record the same leave under a different name.

To make the system more flexible, the app now allows you to set your own custom leave type. Employees may choose from these custom types when they apply for leave. This benefits the manager when there is a change in the rules and leave types are added or removed. It also allows managers to set what leave types are most commonly used by their employees instead of a long list of types that the government has stipulated but no one actually uses.

A manager can add an unlimited number of leave types. Every type must be unique. Leave types can also be renamed at any point of time. Finally, if a leave type is not used anymore, it can be archived and accessed later.

We hope the custom leave type will be helpful and we’d love to hear feedback on it!

The New Employee PayrollHero Happiness Report

Optimizing Work Productivity with HappinessWe recently announced that PayrollHero can generate employee happiness reports for our clients. What does that really mean?

PayrollHero takes in data in the form of selfies that employees have clicked on the app. The selfies are used to evaluate employee happiness by looking for certain metrics and correlating them to other selfies. For example, smiling for photos results in a different set of facial expressions than a serious face.

We know what you’re thinking. What if an employee smiles but isn’t really happy. Faking a smile is not hard and the metrics used to evaluate a real smile are the same as those used to evaluate a fake one. An employee could easily fool the app into thinking that the employee is happy when she really isn’t. Well, faking a smile has its own merits.

A Harvard study showed that a smile – whether fake or real – can be uplifting for one’s emotional well being. Granted, a momentary smile for a selfie certainly does not equate to happiness in life because a smile can be fake; but the act of smiling itself is a positive way to cope with sadness. Our preconceived notion that happiness causes us to smile is not always true. In fact, the reverse of that can work as well. A fake smile may be a better path towards happiness than others. It signals a willingness to stay positive in difficult times instead of suppressing ill feelings.

How does this relate to happiness reports? Well, from a high level, the happiness reports suggest a correlation between smiling and happiness and therefore suggest which employee or work site is the happiest. But with deeper inspection, the reports find a correlation between smiling and employees’ positive attitude. As a manager, you should consider the happiness report as a way of measuring positive sentiments in your workforce.

Finally, PayrollHero can use this data against employee records to find a trend in employee behavior. We can provide insight into whether happier employees are generally more punctual; whether unhappy employees experience a longer commute to work everyday; whether the happiest worksite equals highest earnings. This information is unique to PayrollHero’s data. Companies can leverage on it to make more informed decisions on what it takes to improve their bottom line.

Want to learn more? Contact us to chat further.