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Controlling FLSA Risk with Best Practices and Automation

March 26, 2015

Don Pagel KronosToday’s guest blogger is Don Pagel, Vice President of Public Sector Services for Kronos, Incorporated.

Don joined Kronos after 5 years with the City of Houston where he was most recently the Deputy Director in the Office of the Mayor responsible for visionary economic development projects. His past City responsibilities have been as a change agent for City Payroll and Parking Management where he helped restructure and redefine both organizations and streamline processes through automation.

Don is a seasoned business executive with experience in business turnarounds and technology implementations. Don has over 25 years of executive experience in the government, distribution, manufacturing, IT and ERP consulting industries.

By Don Pagel
Many years ago, my seven year-old son and I were driving to someplace when we pulled up to an intersection with a green light. Right before we entered the intersection, a car ran a red light in front of us and we had to slam on the brakes to miss colliding with them. We were both a bit shaken by this. After catching our breaths, we traveled on through the intersection. A moment later, my son said, “Dad, I want to be king.” “Why,” I said. “Because, if I were king I would force people to do the right thing.” To a seven year-old who regularly had to do things simply because I told him to, this seemed perfectly legitimate. Reality, of course is somewhat different.

We struggle with this same principle every day in business. We have rules, policies and laws that are routinely not followed for a host of reasons… many of which may be valid, but some are not. Additionally, each of these rules, policies or laws has varying degrees of consequences that senior management must take into account. Let me give you one example from my personal experience.

In a previous position as a payroll executive in a major city, we used pay cards as one of the methods to pay our employees. This method had been in place for a number of years and no one thought much about the security around them. Because a policy was not followed concerning updating current mailing addresses with HR, we sent W-2’s to the departments and they would pass them out or find a good address for them. Three enterprising administrative assistants figured out that if they didn’t mail out the W-2’s AND didn’t notify HR when pay card users terminated, they could pocket the money. They were finally caught when one of the W-2’s got mailed to a previous pay card employee. The three then spent some quality time in one of our fine penal institutions.

Just like we couldn’t completely plan for the person that ran the red light in front of us, often we can’t calculate the risk of not effectively planning. Industry standard security policies around payroll operations could have stopped my problem from happening in payroll. The cost of hiring a consultant would have been much less than the lost money…

DOL AuditSimilarly, lack of adherence to the Fair Labor Standards Act can have some very serious consequences. When control in the field is too flexible, supervisors may naturally take advantage of overtime or leave policies and laws. Over years, these practices (when seen by others) can balloon into a full-fledged Department of Labor audit and can lead to large fines and even class action law suits. Using technology to ensure compliance in the field can both reduce risk and increase employee morale. Using this automation in time collection is like having a safety railroad booms drop in front of traffic during a red light.

So you don’t have to be king. You just have to be smart and use the tools available. Oh…and today, my son isn’t a king…just a great guy!

Lions, Tigers, and especially Bears… Oh my!

March 25, 2015

MMSA-logo-newI can’t say I’ve been to all of our customer locations, but on a 2009 road trip with my son, I did stay in Mammoth Lakes, CA, home of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. It’s just South of Yosemite National Park, and it was an overnight stop for Kyle and his father. Upon arrival at our uh, motel, the following conversation took place:

Guy at front desk: “Do you have any food in your car?”
Me: “Uh, maybe some beef jerky scraps, why?”
Guy at desk: “Do you want car doors in the morning?”
Me: “Yes.”
Guy: “If there’s food in your car, the bears could rip the doors off for it.”
Me: “OK.”

I didn’t sleep very well in our ground floor room that night, but bear in mind, Mammoth Lakes will always be memorable to me.

Anyway, it turns out Mammoth Mountain is a customer of ours! Check out Stacey Crockett, ERP Systems and Database Administrator at Mammoth Mountain, discussing how the leading four-season mountain resort uses Workforce Ready to hire, track, and manage its full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees (but not bears) more efficiently and cost effectively.

Integration Blues

March 24, 2015

integrationMore and more “regular folks” are learning the hard way about the importance of integration. I’ve tinkered with it for decades, but puzzles persist. Getting anything to play nicely together has been a challenge to humanity since the Neanderthal tossed that bone skyward, and with digital technology __________ (simplifying / complicating) more aspects of life than ever, we’d better get good at connecting it. Not to mention we could all improve at connecting with each other, but that’s a post for another blog…

My latest “first world” integration disconnect was between the music service Spotify on my Android phone and my Bose® Wave® SoundTouch™. Of course I searched online for the process to get these two technologies to connect, but even the Spotify community left me adrift. Last night as I lay rythymless in bed, “Eureka!” I whipped out my iPad and launched Spotify. It paired up with the Bose immediately, and together they brought Jenny Lewis into my room… It was sweet music from there. Oh, and for some reason once the iPad connected with the Bose, the phone could, too… Puzzling.

Integration can be maddening, and when you think about it, the human brain is a marvel of integrating data from all five of our senses into cohesive information that allows us to survive and thrive. Now look at that picture. Integrating in the cloud seems especially confounding, but not for Kronos. We’ve been sending and receiving data from systems complementary to Kronos for almost 40 years! There’s probably not a commercial system we haven’t integrated with. If you have complementary systems you’d like to integrate with Kronos, our Integration Solutions can help.

Now think about that picture being a brain instead of a cloud. Add sights, sounds, smells, sensations of touch, and taste… Process all that data PLUS the digital data we’re voluntarily bombarding ourselves with… Yeah, maddening.

I can’t stop talking about cloud

March 23, 2015
Mt. Fuji cloud

Redundancy in the cloud?

When I see a picture like this of Lenticular clouds over Mt. Fuji in Japan, I don’t think, “whoa, nature,” I think “redundancy in the cloud.” Too bad it’s fake. Not the redundancy, but the photoshopped image

The cloud has permeated every cubic millimeter of Kronos airspace, including that between my ears. Now when I hear this old Zep song, the lyrics warp in my hazy mind from “I can’t stop talking about love” to… Well, you read the title.  It’s everywhere… Just this morning we announced HUB International, a leading global insurance brokerage, has decided to deploy in the Kronos Cloud for their 8,000 HUB International employees. It’s understandable that new customers go cloud, but what is most interesting to me is how many customers who have used Kronos from their own data-centers for years want in! Listen to Diane Akey from Associated Wholesale Grocers talk about their move to the cloud:

Diane Akey

23622326859.mdIf you’ve been a long-time Workforce Central customer and are now thinking about life in the cloud, you should consider a Cloud Readiness evaluation to check out your Workforce Central environment and document any aspect of their infrastructure that could be affected by the transition to the Kronos Cloud. This includes full architecture, network, databases, workstations, terminals, third-party interfaces, custom reports, extensions, and more.

Once you’re all safely in the cloud, I promise to stop talking about it…

The Frustrating Journey of Weight Loss (and business improvement)

March 20, 2015

I just gave the universal sign of “I’m not happy with you” to my scale after it shot me a similar sentiment. This battle of the bulge is going to be long and challenging.

Continuous improvement in anything is real work that requires discipline and focus. At Kronos, the effort goes on here daily in every single department, as we try to get this global team of nearly 4,000 to be as healthy, efficient, and competitive as it can be. Yesterday I worked on solving a reporting puzzle to correlate our social media efforts to real sales dollars. I’ll be on that thing like a pit-bull until I get it. In engineering, they are working every day to keep life in the cloud secure, soft and cushy for our global customers, all while increasing the workforce management functionality accessed there. In finance, the job is making it easy for customers to invest in our SaaS solutions. Facilities? They are working around the globe to create workspaces where our people can be comfortable and at their most productive serving the needs of local customers. Pre-Sales delivers some of the most compelling product demonstrations, and they get better at it every year, showing customers how Kronos can solve their industry-specific workforce management issues. Services is engineering cloud implementation processes that get our customers prepared and into the cloud fast, and when they get there, their users are well trained to achieve high user adoption. Our global PMO is continuing to provide advanced training to our project manager community, and they’re refining processes that empower PM’s to get our customers live in the cloud quickly. Who am I missing? Sales… They amaze me. They’re like Bruce and the E Street band. Day after day, night after night, quarter after quarter, they just rock creative solutions for our customers, and begin the process of long-term partnership. Oh, and HR keeps bringing in the talent we need to consistently progress in all of these areas. Marketing? Our job is made pretty easy because we have the customer success stories resulting from all of these efforts.

You know, my intent here was not to go off on a long riff about Kronos, but to challenge our prospects and customers on the hard work of continuous improvement, specifically in workforce management. Are you disciplined and focused about continuously improving it? It’s pretty easy to implement the basics and achieve some quick benefits, but to continue extending labor efficiency, productivity improvements, and legal compliance takes work. The payoff is competitive advantage. Check out this post on our Workforce Management Maturity Model. It’s a cool framework for the journey of continuous improvement using Kronos, but I’m not promising it will get you there overnight.

It’s work, and requires discipline and focus just like a diet, but the results will be very satisfying.

“March Madness” won’t effect my productivity!

March 19, 2015

UAFirst of all, I know it’s “affect.” I just wanted to see if you were paying attention…

The annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament known as “March Madness” begins today, and I don’t care, except to write this post so you’ll ignore the silly warnings about loss of productivity in the workplace. I used to really be into it, especially while playing in high-school and watching Billy Walton deliver the most productive college game ever, but the last time I watched with any real interest was in 1984 when Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas upset Hakeem Olajuwon’s Houston Cougars 84-75, but you probably don’t care about that.

Anyway, funwreckers Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimate this year’s “loss” could reach $1.9 billion. I acknowledge a slight drain on productivity, and also morale when 67 of these teams lose, but so what? It’s fun, and in some workplaces there’s not much of that, so the uplift of spirits from the fun and competition will probably raise employee engagement and productivity in those organizations.  Here are 4 more good reasons to chill out on the lost productivity nonsense.

I’m not filling out a bracket, and I don’t care about yours or anyone else’s. It’s not as if I’m not competitive. I want Arizona to win and Kentucky to lose, but that’s the extent of my interest. I was invited to join a pool by a co-worker, but stopped reading when I got to this:

Our group password is: ravens

Maybe your group password is “ravens,” but it will never be mine.

What to expect when you are expecting… a Kronos implementation

March 18, 2015

Here’s a very useful article by Gabriel Cosmin Gheorghiu from LinkedIn, 13 Things a Customer Can Do to Avoid an ERP Implementation Failure. Gabriel added a postscript to his article from a comment by David J (Joe) Armstrong, Principal at Inventory Curve, LLC:

“You, as the customer, have to accept ownership of the system. If you are passive, sit on the sidelines, and expect that the vendor is responsible for making your system work for you, you are likely headed for a less that satisfying implementation.”

val_400x400Mr. Armstrong’s point is right on, and is a nice lead in to today’s guest post by Valerie Welland, Customer Experience Specialist at Kronos. Valerie works with our customers every day as a human face to our “Voice of the Customer” program. Val hears directly from customers about their Kronos experience, so she’s not just making stuff up like I do. She’s also working the guest blogger thing, and this is her 6th post! Thanks, Val!

By Valerie Welland

to doDo you make “to-do” lists? For me, not a weekend goes by without a trusty “to-do” or “honey-do” list. It keeps me organized and on track, otherwise to be honest, I would spend the weekend on the couch watching a Golden Girl marathon.

My lists, reminded me of feedback I recently read in our Customer Experience survey. A customer stated they didn’t realize the work involved (on their end) with their implementation. They had never worked on a software implementation and it was an eye opener for them.

For Kronos, setting appropriate customer expectations is standard practice, but as this case illustrates, it’s critical our customers truly understand the scope of what their project “to-do’s” will be. Here are 6 “to-do” tips to help achieve a successful workforce management implementation:

  1. Put together a solid project team consisting of an Executive Sponsor, a Project Manager, and subject matter experts (Payroll, HR, and IT staff are recommended and may expand depending on products deployed).
  2. Attend required training and project meetings for project planning and updates, assessment and design, test and rollout planning, etc.
  3. Communicate what you want to achieve – your goals and success criteria.
  4. Gather your business rules and policies, and define any changes you want.
  5. Testing, Testing, Testing…
  6. Ask questions, lots of questions, so you are sure you understand the effort/steps that will be needed for success!

This is just one example of how our “Voice of the Customer” program helps us understand what we do well, and what we can do better. This partnership and feedback is essential to our success. And you thought those “honey-do” lists were just for weekends!


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