Welcome to the New Look Staff Squared

30th May 2018

PRODUCT

Hi, I’m Simon. I’m the Managing Director of Staff Squared and if you’re reading this blog post our new Staff Squared rebrand and website has been launched. This is a culmination of some incredibly hard work performed by our Staff Squared team who I’m immensely proud of.

We’re not stopping here

This is just the beginning of some innovative and industry shaking improvements to Staff Squared that you’ll see us introduce in the coming months.

Since we launched over five years ago we’ve ridden the wave of the HR software industry as it continues to grow and thrive.  We’ve helped thousands of managers and their employees stay better connected, work more efficiently and spend less time on HR and more time on their businesses.

We are no longer content with just riding the wave. Going forward we will use our combined technology and HR expertise to lead the way in the HR software and associated services that we provide.

Introducing Staff Squared Plus

In the coming months we’re going to launch a new service – Staff Squared Plus – which will provide even more value to our Staff Squared customers and revolutionise the way that businesses gain access to timely, accurate and relevant HR information and advice.

This is in addition to the wealth of improvements and additions we’re now working to create within Staff Squared itself.

A culmination of Staff Squared Plus and a raft of improvements to Staff Squared itself will help us to reach our goal of being the leading innovator in the HR software and service industry in five years’ time.

We’re very excited about what the future holds, and so very grateful to our customers who have given us the opportunity to help them manage their most precious business assets –their staff.

Written by Simon Swords

Managing Director - Staff Squared

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How will GDPR Affect HR?

16th April 2018

SMALL BUSINESS

With the impending change to data protection law fast approaching, businesses throughout the European Union are working hard to ensure compliance with the number of aspects of the law that are about to change in May 2018.

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will put great emphasis on data processors and data controllers to share an equal amount of liability where data security is concerned.

So what exactly does this mean for the future of HR?

Key ways GDPR will Affect HR

GDPR is going to impose serious implications on HR and staff management. This is because companies will be required to adopt more flexible systems for their data.
It is important for businesses to understand the changes that will need to be made to accommodate compliance, and the best way to know exactly where you stand as a company is to fully audit your HR data. This will allow for an assessment of whether current HR related procedures and documents are (or are close to being) compliant under the GDPR.

Consent

The Data Protection Act 1998 has always required consent to be given before any form of data can be legally retained; however, new rules introduced by the GDPR see consent subject to much stricter thresholds.

Once GDPR comes into play in May, consent will be required to be ‘freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous’ and ‘clearly distinguishable’ in order for personal information to be stored. This will mean that any documents requesting consent will need to be reviewed and reworded where applicable to ensure that there is no uncertainty or misunderstanding surrounding what data is being held.

Employers should consider that past employees may need to be contacted for consent in order for their information to remain on company records.
Further to this, staff must be made aware that they have the opportunity to withdraw their consent at any time. This means that the system used to store data will need to be easily accessible and can be edited without difficulty. It should be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to provide.  

Seeing as the way in which consent is going to be understood moving forward, it is likely that the standard consent clauses which currently populate employee contracts will not be acceptable under the new rules, so standing contracts may need to be revised. Not only does this cover the employer in terms of GDPR compliance, but it also ensures that employees have been notified that they have to comply with the company’s policies and procedures in relation to data protection.

The Use of Data and How Long it can be Retained

It is important to consider the HR data that should be processed as this will be a key component of many employment related documents, and employers will be required to make their staff aware of exactly how they intend to store and use employee personal data. Companies will not be permitted to use this information in any other way than its intended purpose. Using this data for any purpose other than how it was intended will require further consent from the employee.  

This will limit HR departments in they way they are able to process personal data.  

The new rules under GDPR specify that personal data may only be retained for as long as it is needed. For example, if a temporary member of staff is taken on, their data can only be stored for as long as they are employed – unless they have otherwise expressly given their consent.
This is where a HR management system like Staff Squared would prove beneficial to a company, as it has been specifically designed to hold and control all of your staff data in one place.

Data Encryption

Any sensitive personal information must be handled with the utmost care, and the best way to do that is to encrypt the data; however, this should not be limited to just HR records. Any data transmissions as well as emails should also be encrypted to ensure the protection of all data from cyber-attacks. By covering all grounds, full compliance is met.

Criminal Record Checks

GDPR makes it unlawful for employers to carry out Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks unless the position that they are recruiting for is a role for which checks are authorised by law. For example, a role that involves working with vulnerable adults or children will require a DBS check.

Data Breaches

The new regulations specify that any data breaches must be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) within seventy-two hours of the company becoming aware of them. This also applies to staff data; therefore employees must be made aware ‘without undue delay’ if their personal data has been stolen.

Things to Consider

These (and other) changes that will soon be put into play by the GDPR will have a massive impact on the structure and processes of a business.
HR departments should be undertaking careful review and structured planning to ensure that they are in full compliance of the new law.

Here are some of the things that HR departments should consider:

  • Current data protection policies and procedures should be reviewed and amended where applicable (i.e. Data retention, Subject Access Requests [SAR], Personal Data Breach).
  • Ensure that satisfactory consent has been appropriately collected to handle employee personal data.
  • Think about the geographical scope of the business – GDPR sees the consistency of data protection rules throughout the EU, regardless of where the data is processed.
  • Identify employees who will require training in light of the new reforms and consider whether all employees will require revised data protection training in the lead up to the date of implementation.
  • Appoint one person to oversee compliance to the reforms.

Why it’s Important to get GDPR Right

As the applicability of the law on data protection is tightening, it goes without saying that the implications of being non-compliant will too.
If you are found to be non-compliant to the GDPR requirements you could face fines of up to €10 million, or 2% annual global turnover (whichever is higher) OR €20 million, or 4% annual global turnover (whichever is higher).

Further Information

For more information on the action businesses should take to be compliant of the new reforms, see this GDPR for HR checklist. Alternatively, check out our blog post GDPR – Getting to grips with the new law to learn more about the General Data Protection Regulations.

Written by Simon Swords

Managing Director - Staff Squared

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Staff Squared Refresh

23rd March 2018

PRODUCT

We’re excited to announce the first of many upcoming changes and improvements to Staff Squared coming to you in 2018.

Time for Change

We have been working tirelessly over the previous twelve months to refine the look and feel of Staff Squared. Don’t worry, none of the features you love and the way you get to them have changed. The interface refresh sets the stage for the new features and benefits we’re working to add in the coming months.

Before:

A cluttered profile page with information too condensed to make it easy to interpret.

After:

A minimalistic and well arranged profile page provides a more efficient work space.

What’s New?

  • A well-organised system goes a long way when it comes to efficiency. For this reason, we have redesigned the ‘Files’ page; which, as you can see, is much clearer. This allows for greater ease when adding and locating files.

When you are busy with meetings and other important work out of the office, being able to access your work systems on the go is invaluable. That’s why the new update provides a more user-friendly and responsive design, allowing for Staff Squared to work on mobile phones and tablets.

  • We’ve worked to keep the features in the same location, but removed the use of block bold colour to provide a much sleeker interface.
  • Other changes that are soon to be released will support the introduction of the new GDPR in May. These will affect the way in which Staff Squared handles issues such as data retention and security, as well as making the overall platform compliant with the latest legislation. For more information on the changes we are making to ensure complete GDPR compliance, check out our blog post: Making Staff Squared GDPR Compliant.

More from us Soon!

Now that the work to complete the interface refresh is complete, you can expect much more frequent updates from us. In the meantime, here’s a preview of the new logo we’ve created which will be reflected in the overall brand for Staff Squared. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback!

Written by Hamzah Butt

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Making Staff Squared GDPR Compliant

22nd March 2018

TECH

As of 25th May 2018, the law surrounding data protection and processing is changing. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European regulation which will apply in all EU member states, and will succeed the Data Protection Act 1998 to bring data into line with previously unforeseen ways in which data is now used. GDPR will cover many areas in relation to data protection, and is being implemented to better enable individuals to control their personal data. It also places new obligations on organisations to be more accountable for the data they handle and process.

What Changes will be Introduced with the new GDPR?

Many concepts and principles of the Data Protection Act 1998 remain much the same within the new GDPR, which is good news if you are a company fully compliant of the DPA, as this means that you already have a steady foundation to expand from. Although, there are certain additions being introduced with the new law.

Some key changes outlined by GDPR are as follows:

  • Territorial scope increase, applicable to all companies that process personal data belonging to people within the European Union, regardless of the company’s location in the world.
  • Consent may be revoked by data controllers at any time, and data processors must abide by this without question.
  • Data breaches that come to the attention of any person must be reported within the first 72 hours of the issue being recognised.
  • Fines of up to €20 million (approximately £18 million), or 4% of a company’s total global annual turnover can be implemented for non-compliance.

To read more changes that will be coming into play as of 25th May, visit the ICO website: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/.
Alternatively, see our ‘GDPR – Getting to Grips with the new Law’ blog post for more information on GDPR.

Ensuring Staff Squared is GDPR Compliant

Currently, Staff Squared stands fully compliant with the laws outlined in the DPA, and we are working tirelessly to build on the policies and procedures already in place to bring us in line with the new GDPR.

Data Retention

We are cracking down on our data retention policies, meaning that any personal data stored by Staff Squared will only be kept while it is needed for us to provide our services.

If at any time a customer chooses to close their account (or a trial account is not upgraded after it expires), we will only keep the information relating to the account for up to ninety days following its closure.

Only once an account has been closed and the ninety-day period has transpired, we may anonymise certain information and retain this for statistical purposes.

Subject Access Requests

As a very integral part of the new GDPR, there is a greatly defined shared responsibility between Data Controllers and Data Processors to ensure data security. Because of this shift in applicability within data protection law, we recognise that the ability to request access to information stored in relation to any one person must be readily available to them.

Moving forward, a new Subject Access Request (SAR) report option will be added to Staff Squared’s existing Reports page, which will allow Admin users to submit a SAR for any number of employees. We will then process these requests and collate all the required information, including personal information entered to a profile, absence records and wall posts.

Once this is complete, the Admin user requesting the SAR report will receive an email and dashboard notification, informing them that the report is ready to download along with a link to access it. This report will expire after a set period of time to ensure maximum security of the enclosed information.

Audit Trails

Similar to our pre-existing HR Audit log, we are currently working on a new, separate report option which will detail any and all actions completed by an Admin user while impersonating another user’s account.

Data Encryption

To go that extra mile in ensuring that your data is safe and protected, we are encrypting all of the data within the Staff Squared database ‘at rest’, meaning that if (in the extremely unlike event) our database was somehow compromised, the person/s would not be able to read the data in plain text, rendering the data worthless to them.

Complex Passwords

At present, the only restriction we enforce on users when creating a password is that it must exceed six characters. However, with the network of ways in which we use the internet consistently changing, people are becoming smarter and more skilled in replicating account passwords, creating a very serious data security issue; and for this exact reason, we are going to be introducing complex passwords to Staff Squared.

All existing Staff Squared users will not be affected by this change; however, if at any point they (along with new users) wish to reset their password, they will be required to set one that is consisting of a combination of different characters, and will also experience character restrictions, i.e. the use of simple patterns or number sequences.

With the implementation of complex passwords, we are able to make sure that our customers are kept safe, and their data is secure.

Two Factor Authentication

In support of the introduction of complex passwords, we are also working to implement a two-factor authentication feature to our log in process. This will require users to download an authentication app on their phones, which will generate a code to enter upon logging in to their accounts.

Accepting Terms and Conditions

If you do not clearly specify terms and conditions, you place your business in a position of uncertainty and misunderstanding – so it is vital that you are positive that your users have fully read and understood the T&Cs of the service you are providing to them. Not only does it protect their rights as a consumer, but it gives you and your company a sense of security.

While Staff Squared clearly details its T&Cs in the sign-up process, there is currently no feature that directs new users to accept these. Moving forward, we will be introducing a tick box feature, requiring all new users to confirm that they have read, understood and agree to our terms and conditions before they are able to continue with their sign-up.

ISO Accreditation and Cyber Essentials Plus

Staff Squared is already Cyber Security Essentials certified; however, we are always striving to be as secure and compliant as possible, and will, therefore, be enhancing this standard to Cyber Security Plus by June 2018. We are also currently pursuing an ISO27001 accreditation, for which we will be externally assessed in 2018.

Other Updates

Because of the ways in which society and business are continuously progressing, it is important for any company to stay on top of their policies and procedures to ensure that they are able to advance accordingly. Because of this, as well as to comply with the new regulations that will be implemented as of May, we are working closely with our legal team to update our terms and conditions, privacy policy and terms of service appropriately.

Need Further Information?

You can review our current Privacy Policy here, and this will be updated once all relevant changes have been made to ensure we are fully GDPR compliant.
If you have any questions regarding Staff Squared and our approach to processing data in compliance with the new GDPR laws, please email support@staffsquared.com

Glossary

Processing
The term ‘processing’ is very broad and covers an extensive list of operations that could be performed on, to or with information or data. This could include, but is not limited to, the organisation, retrieval and disclosure of the information or data. This clarifies that Data Protection law applies wherever an organisation does anything that involves or effects information or data. ‘Automated processing’ – anything on a computer.

Data Controller

A data controller dictates how and why personal data is processed. They are the decision maker; for instance, a customer or an organisation.

Data Processor

A data processor is the party doing the actual processing of the data; for instance, an IT company or a payroll services provider who are storing and processing the data provided.

The data processor tends to blindly process data in accordance with the data controller’s wishes. For example: Customers of Staff Squared are the data controllers and Staff Squared itself is the data processor.

Consent

Consent in terms of data processing, means specific and informed indication of how any data should be used and processed.

Data Breach

A breach of security that leads to accidental, unauthorised or unlawful loss, access, alteration or disclosure of personal data.

Territorial Scope

The distinction of who, what and where the new GDPR covers.

Subject Access Request

A written request from an individual to see information held on them, which must be responded to by the Data Processor within forty days of receipt.

ICO – Information Commissioner’s Office

A UK based, non-departmental public body which supplies information rights in the interest of the public.

Written by Hamza Butt

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How Fit for Work Supports Small and Medium Businesses

14th July 2016

SMALL BUSINESS

This is a guest post by Fit For Work – a government funded line of support for GPs, employers and employees to help those who are in work or off sick.

Fit for Work is a free, government-led initiative that helps businesses grow through improving their productivity and profitability via effective management of staff sickness absence.

A 2011 report by Dame Carol Black and David Frost CBE indicated that there was a gap in occupational health provision for small and medium businesses. Fit for Work aims to plug that gap by providing support for employees with health issues to stay in work, and help those on long-term sick leave return to work sooner.

What does the Fit for Work service consist of?

There are two elements to Fit for Work:

  • Free, expert and impartial work-related health advice via the Fit for Work Advice Hub and telephone line (0800 032 6235 for advice in English, 0800 032 6233 for Welsh). A separate service is available to those in Scotland via fitforworkscotland.scot and 0800 019 2211.
  • Free referral to an occupational health professional for employees who have been, or who are likely to be, off sick for four weeks or more.

What is a Fit for Work assessment?

A Fit for Work assessment aims to identify the obstacles delaying an employee’s return to work and provide recommendations about how those can be managed in order to help the employee return to work quickly and safely with the right support.

In the majority of cases, the 45-minute in-depth assessments take place by phone between the employee and a Fit for Work case manager. The assessment is based on a holistic ‘biopsychosocial’ approach. This explores all health, non-health, work and non-work factors influencing a person’s ability to return to work – e.g. physical or mental health issues, work-related factors, personal problems, etc.

The assessment culminates in the production of a personalised Return to Work Plan. This plan provides a step-by-step approach to returning to work and can be helpful in discussions between the employer and employee. The Return to Work Plan summary can also be accepted by the employer as evidence for sick pay in a lieu of a Fit Note.

Who is eligible for a Fit for Work referral?

In order to refer your employee to Fit for Work, the employee must:

  • be living in England or Wales (a separate service is available for those living in Scotland);
  • have been off work with sickness for four weeks or more (GPs can refer at any stage if they think the employee is likely to be off work for a minimum of four weeks);
  • have a realistic prospect of returning to some form of work within 3 months;
  • have not been supported through a Fit for Work assessment in the previous 12 months;
  • give their consent.

How does Fit for Work help businesses?

Fit for Work can be particularly helpful for small businesses that do not have their own occupational health provision. The benefits to employers include:

  • Employees return to work sooner so the costs of sickness absence are reduced.
  • Employers get access to free work-related health advice, and free occupational health assessments for employees on long-term sickness absence.

To find out how Fit for Work has supported businesses and their employees, see our case studies. For more information on the service and how it could help you and your business, email enquiries@fitforwork.org, call 0330 221 0280 or visit the Fit for Work website.

Written by Simon Swords

Managing Director - Staff Squared

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15 Benefits of SaaS Software as a Service for Small Business UK

26th June 2016

OPERATIONS

Helping You Compete, Grow and Stay in Business

Small business is big news and it’s never been easier to create and launch a new successful business in the UK. This is the wonder of the digital era. New restaurants, building contractors, repair services, consulting, marketing agencies, IT services, tech startups, medical clinics, day care centers, health and wellness shops, financial and investment services, and many more small business enterprises are popping up on a daily basis.

And to control costs, they’re using a myriad of SaaS software solutions ranging from business plans, to marketing automation, to ecommerce, and hr administration. SMB managers are adopting the software to tame the wild beast of tasks and paperwork they must deal with everyday. It’s simple, they’ve realised that streamlining = staying in business.

Some of these new startups will compete for share of market or share of pocketbook with your company. That’s the bad news. The good news perhaps, is that most of them will fail within 5 years. They can coast along when it’s easy but when economic swings and unforeseen circumstances and rising costs rock their bottom line, they unfortunately go belly up.

There are many reasons for business failure, however we’ve outlined that time is the one common denominator that separates successful firms from those that are struggling. Time efficiency allows business owners to focus their expertise, resources, and cash on any problem to solve it.

What’s this SaaS Thing that’s all the Rage?

SaaS stands for Software as a Service. It’s software applications that you “rent” instead of buying or having an IT staff install and manage it. The luxury of using low priced subscription based hr software is no small matter and online software is a godsend for small business people like you who need cost efficiency. It gives you the power of information technology and presents it in a simple to use format. All you need to do is login and begin work. And when you log out, you have more time to spend on your most important business tasks.

There are plenty of UK HR software vendors serving the UK business market, yet they prefer Staff Squared’s SaaS HR solution for its simplicity as well as the helpfulness of our professional customer service staff. The quality of customer service is an intangible, yet who doesn’t appreciate fast, courteous from a software company? Good service isn’t a given. Our many competitors may actually use customer service centers in India to cut costs and outsource something they can’t handle effectively.

Having HR software CSRs right here in the UK eliminates more of stress out of learning any new software and help you get the very best performance out of it.

We know your small business pains and challenges and that you don’t want more. We’ve designed our software especially for SMBs and to make your software experience as painless and efficient as possible.

16 Benefits of Using New SaaS HR Software to run your Business

New online hr software can make worklife much better and power up profitability:

  1. Better control over business processes
  2. Helpful overview of staff activities, performance and attendance.
  3. More time to understand your tough business challenges
  4. More time to strategy and plan key business activities
  5. Provides better focus and direction for staff so they don’t waste their time
  6. Eliminates paper waste and processing activities (e.g. timesheets and vacation forms)
  7. Better communication with staff and thus better customer service
  8. Better awareness of employee problems before you lose them
  9. Better orientation of new employees
  10. Easing employee stress and confusion
  11. Less expensive to finance than purchased and hosted software
  12. Less confusion means you’re more energized, optimistic and less fatigued
  13. Improved employee relationships and happier employees
  14. Better adherence to pressing government regulations and restrictions
  15. More time to improve products/services and your unique value proposition

The features and benefits of SaaS HR solutions for small businesses should ease many of your daily challenges and give you time back to focus on the key challenges of staying competitive and aligning your staff and company goals.

Please visit our small business help center for more tips, strategies, and how to use Staff Squared HR software. Don’t forget to set up a demo so you can see how it works and get your questions answered immediately. No time wasted!

Find out why most businesses fail and discover some great business practices that will keep your business successful. Adopting software for HR is wise and here are some good reasons why HR software saves your time.

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Top Causes of Small Business Failure and Success – Stats Tips Rules

20th June 2016

SMALL BUSINESS

SMB and HR: No End to Work for Small Business Owners ahead in 2017

At the end of a long day building houses, managing a busy downtown restaurant or hotel, managing a retail clothing chain, or overseeing the erratic schedule of a real estate brokerage, small business owners in the UK, USA and Canada have even more paperwork waiting for them. And as we’ll see, this daily paperwork symbolizes what’s wrong with how they’re doing business.

There seems to be less time, energy, cash and patience to run a small business. And yet these unsung heroes of our economies manage to new build enterprises in record number, wrestle paperwork, battle government red tape, and deal with issues with their own employees and unhappy customers.

This battle has a cost and that’s because they’ve used all their time, energy, and cash to manage the business now, while the future is left to fend for itself. Without time to navigate their ship’s course, small business managers and owners are never sure when their last day in business will arrive. With tasks ruling the day, SMB owners are mired in working in their business not on their business where they can plan and guide it and their employees optimally.

The haphazard way many SMB owners manage personnel, their key asset, is worrisome. In fact, they’re not managing or developing themselves that well either. And with new changes in marketing involving social media, it seems the future is disappearing over the horizon. So how do they veer off this dreadful course?

In this post on business failure and success, Staff Squared investigates failure and success factors and offers some amazing insight and tips for you into why small businesses fail and why many actually do succeed wonderfully.

Is it military like execution we need or perhaps to take better care of our staff? Let’s start with the present and then we’ll discuss business failure and success factors. You’ll have a clear route ahead to navigate your ship through tides, rocky reefs, and storms out to where the good fishing is.

The Forecast For Small Businesses in 2017: More Hard Work Ahead!

The stress of such hard work for SMB owners or managers takes a toll on personal and work relationships. Polls suggest small business owners work 50+ hours or more on average, and a majority work on weekends too. Is this your circumstance? Did you originally get into business for autonomy, freedom, and a better life, but then then discovered the work is a trap?

It’s a typical process that begins with a legitimate, achievable dream that’s brought down by the reality of competing in today’s economy. The fact is, small business people must be efficient and find better ways to do business, recruit, hire, train, communicate, and manage employees, along with dealing with paperwork and meeting government regulations.

Businesses in the UK and southern USA have felt increasing pressure due to government restrictions on hiring foreigners, and due to increasing litigation from dismissed employees. A law suit can cripple a cash-strapped business and fines can create hardship.

The pressure is felt by employees too. In 2005, the Family and Work Institute released a study that found 33% of workers feel chronically overworked and 54% felt overwhelmed by how much they had to do. Although employees are expected to know how to organise their days, and bosses knowing what they’re doing, it seems they don’t. When stress mounts, sick days and absenteeism begin to lower productivity, thus straining small businesses profit margins.

And when employees choose to leave, it’s very tough to replace their skillsets and experience, especially if unemployment rates are low. Training new inexperienced workers leaves the business open to higher costs including the cost of rework when work quality is poor. Turnover is a big problem for any sized business.

Listen in on Richard Branson’s Tips for Business Success and stories about delegation, empowerment, and persistence:

Small Businesses in the UK: Powering an Economy

2015 saw a record number of small business growth in the UK, some with employees, and some such as HR consultants, with no employees. According to the National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses:

  • There were a record 5.4 million private sector businesses at the start of 2015 and that’s a growth of 146,000 since 2014 and 1.9 million more since 2000.
  • The number of businesses with employees grew by 35,000 and non-employing businesses grew by 112,000
  • Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector UK businesses at the start of 2015 and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs).
  • Total employment in SMEs was 15.6 million or 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.
  • The combined annual revenue of SMEs was £1.8 trillion or half of all private sector turnover in the UK.

There you have it. Small business is growing yet it’s a more competitive marketplace. What happens as these businesses go through their first 5 years? Do they grow, innovate, increase efficiency, adopt hr software technology, and how do they manage their staff or human resource functions? Will these firms be crippled by unanticipated staffing problems such as turnover, absenteeism, health problems, and law suits. Is anyone helping them avoid these potential disasters?

Are there Other Things You Could be Doing to Make Your Employees Happier and more Productive?

Increasingly, workers are asking for non-financial benefits such as flex hours, time off, and even work at home arrangements. Aside from these employers are doing more to break up the monotony of work and help staff be more innovative and creative. There’s nothing to say you and your staff can’t have more fun together.

Small Business Failure Rate Statistics US

Whether it’s in the UK, USA, Canada, or Australia, small business failure rates are similar at about 60% and it’s estimated that most new startups will fail within 5 years. An article in Forbes speaks of the problem, that because business owners are so involved in their businesses they don’t have time to do the key things such as marketing and getting their value proposition across  continuously to prospects and customers.

It’s not just marketing and CRM that plagues SME’s. Poor decision making and weak management/leadership skills are also cited in small business failure reports. But are managers simply task fatigued?

Can HR Software Possibly Help with These Issues?

If time and organization and optimization of staff work is preventing small business owners from higher level strategy, management and client relationship building, then HR software may remove those issues. If you’re not familiar with HR software, let me point out its merit. It’s a versatile type of software that takes on the exact work drudgery that managers hate and which steals their time and enthusiasm.

HR software actually helps employees manage everything from timesheets, work hours, absenteeism, sick days, time calendaring, expense reporting, and centralising communication and document storage. Some software is web-based freely usable from desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. It makes it easy for employees to participate and saves employers from form completion, checking documentation expiry dates, sick days and vacation time management, and so much more.

It’s sort of outsourcing this paperwork to employees, yet it is in a way that helps employees take ownership of their workdays and workstyle. The software also helps to identify employees at risk, whether through lack of engagement or absenteeism, or conflict with management, customers and other employees — problems which many times end up in the courts.

The proactive management of human resource functions needn’t be only for paperwork management. Instead this software helps to organize and optimize the management of employees, to generate better productivity and happier employees and customers.
And with SMB managers time freed up, they can focus on the key matters of successful business — ensuring they have the best unique value proposition and communicating that to customers frequently.

10 Top Reasons for Small Business Failure

  1. Customers don’t want your solution anymore — it doesn’t provide the kind of value they’re looking for or they don’t believe in you
  2. Overwork by SMB owner makes them narrow focused, exhausted and missing the opportunities to grow and win business that are available
  3. Mismanaging key skilled employees so they leave or perform poorly – doesn’t flex to get the best value out of employees
  4. Poor recruitment, staff onboarding, and ongoing development of staff
  5. Not managing time well – too busy doing tasks when customers need better value
  6. Not clarifying unique value proposition and making that value proposition better and more satisfying for customers
  7. Insufficient financing and cash flow – stay out of debt and having cash reserves ready to use
  8. Not maintaining competitiveness in market – competition keep improving
  9. Not using a business accelerator or management consultant
  10. Not charging enough for product/service – prices too low to support profitability

If business as usual is wearing you out, forcing you to work harder for less, stifle your imagination and vision, and your staff seem to be spinning their wheels too, then it may be time to get organized and simplify how you’re all doing your work. Going online and using HR software isn’t only about feeling good about  going green and cutting paper waste and redundancy, it’s about helping you run your business more effectively so you can spend your time where it matters.

Let’s start the simplification process by trying out small business HR software right now. No downloads, just a free online experience with the most important software to come along in a long while. Enjoy your discovery of how useful software has become.

Standard Life Survey on How UK SME’s are Driving Success

A new survey, called Business and Some Report: How UK SMEs are driving success in today’s workplace  by Standard Life offers some enlightenment about why businesses succeed.  The report discover UK businesses are showing an evolution in working practices, company culture and innovation. Uk small business managers see flexibility and innovation as priorities in building the full potential of their staff. That is a very encouraging stat yet it begs the question of how they will implement their plan?

Standard Life summarised 6 factors for SME Success: a culture that encourages adaptability, delegating responsibility to workers, continuous learning, agile thinking in revising business goals and strategy, investment in their staff, and while making their businesses a positive element in society.

10 Factors of Small Business Success

Small to medium sized business owners need clearer guidelines and optimizable business processes to steer their ship through increasingly narrow channels. Lets take a look at the top 10 ways small businesses succeed. Successful SME’s:

  1. Outsource for specialised skills and work rather than forcing current staff to do something they are simply not trained for or cut out to do, including management advice
  2. Use software to innovate, automate or simplify workloads in order to manage time and resources better to improve customer service
  3. Investing in personnel development so staff can deliver more value to the business and meet future market demand
  4. Get feedback from customers and examine what the competition are doing so they know they’re selling the solution that their customer wants and needs
  5. Delegate work to staff instead of the boss handling everything themselves which keeps the bosses time free for important matters and gets better performance from staff.
  6. Set realistic goals and priorities for staff and supporting them in achieving them
  7. Communicate frequently to keep employee’s aware of the company’s goals and objectives, to praise them, and ensure they feel like they belong and that they are performing well – you encourage the behaviour you get.
  8. Continuously communicate the company’s unique value proposition to customers in order to maintain top of mind and that customer’s are sure they have the best solution provider
  9. Manage human resources professionally to minimise absenteeism and other problems, offer accurate staff evaluation, and enable workers to take ownership of their roles and performance
  10. Make work more fun and less stressful so they are able to forecast and adapt as necessary to esnsure their business success is sustainable

Managing and guiding a successful small to medium-sized business is never easy. Complications and challenges are endless, yet successful managers create a company framework that trains and develops its staff and then distributes work, performance and accountability to them. With staff informed, trained, and enabled, they can get to their core competency as the key employee of the company and ensure customers are satisfied.

Successful managers also work on improving themselves which is why they should be stingy with their time and maximize their business development skills and ultimately let employees run the business.

The final thought for us is that successful businesses use personnel, technology and insight to adapt their product/service offering to what customers want and need. A strong personnel system not only helps optimize staff but acts as an ideal way to get feedback about your customers and product/service performance.

Check out the features of Staff Squared HR software and how many ways a Web-based software app can help your staff succeed now and in future.

Small Business and HR

Poor hiring, high turnover, poor worker enablement, and high compliance costs add to SMBs challenge.

Is there a solution for efficiency and better productivity? Yes, hiring an HR consultant and using HR software for small businesses will improve employee selection, training, development and performance and give the manager more time to do his real work — taking care of business!

Business Success Factors

The Recipe For Business Success and Avoiding Failure

Please do check out the Score online including their business mentoring successes to a find a mentor for your business in the US (encourage them to start up in the UK and Canada:))

Good luck with managing the evolution of your staff management and improving the sustainability of your company. Success is never easy and it seems those who have the best information and guidance also have the best chance for business success. We hope you’ve enjoyed these insights into business failure and success and find the tips, stats and insights useful. Please leave a comment about your experience in small business in the UK, Canada or America.

How can we help?

Small Business Exhaustion: 10 Ways Software Will Save You

1st June 2016

SMALL BUSINESS

Small Business People Hoping to Take the Pressure Off

There’s a good chance that like millions of UK small business owners and managers, you find yourself trapped in daily routines, competitive pressures, economic swings, cash flow droughts, revenue worries, employee issues, government regulation, and well, the list is quite endless.

We can solve some of this misery quick by finding the one common denominator in all your SMB problems.  Right away, you may view cash as your key business issue, and if you had more cash, things would be fine. We won’t argue that cash isn’t king, however if your business efficiency increased and you used less cash in other areas of your business, would the needed funds appear?

Freeing up time lets you and your staff get more done, produce work of higher value, and helps you live a balanced work/home life – so you can continue enjoying the business you love.

Work On your Business Not In It

Indeed, the nuts and bolts of an active business can take us away from the big picture. They drain our available time and energy to make better decisions and keep business on track.

It’s an old problem for sure, yet managers never get around to doing something about it.

staffsquaredscreen

 

At present, are you delegating time consuming tasks to someone else or to technology? You must do more of that. Your staff need to be more productive and you must delegate these tasks and responsibilities to staff or let software technology help you out.  

And web-based productivity technology is a big helper. It’s invading every area of business today including human resources management where adoption is brisk.  

Small Business Solutions

One big reason why companies such as Staff Squared have enjoyed success, is that we’ve paid more attention to the customer experience and created a product user interface that’s simple. Our tip: use SMB HR software to manage HR better, improve ROI, and increase employee engagement.

features-top-reporting-data

 

When you don’t have time to serve customers personally, pursue new customers, keep up on hr legislation, find, train and keep good employees, and motivate your staff to come to work everyday and work competently, it will cause stress, reduce profit and keep you up at night.

An obsession with micromanagement is a symptom of a larger issue — that you’re not clearing the clutter so you can manage the essentials – the real drivers of continued good business performance. As you free up time to focus on essentials, you can help your staff help themselves to improve their performance. A succession of good things are set in motion.

Way Beyond Timesheets: A Complete Small Business Solution

Managing staff’s use of time isn’t just about finding the essential and eliminating the rest, nor is it about filling out Timesheets. Small business owners can’t always get rid of tasks or delegate. Sometimes we need better business tools. The small monthly cost of an online hr solution, as a relevant example, helps cut time and improve how you run your business. Time is money. The top HR software benefits, you’re about to discover are the amazing power you have to view your business and to streamline tiresome administration tasks.

Smart business management really does come back to your use of time, and your staff’s use of time. New online HR solutions such as Staff Squared pave the way to better organization, efficiency in execution, and even to empower employees to help with that efficiency. They’ll enjoy using this simple HR software too.

Small Business’ Best Friend: Staff Squared

If you haven’t had time to look at human resources software, or just felt it’s an overly complex HRIS system that can’t work on a small scale, we want to introduce you StaffSquared, the HR solution for SMB’s. It’s a staff or personnel management system, time tracking, absence management, hr forms management, and secure employee data storage solution perfectly suited to small businesses.

Here’s some tangible and quite impressive value from Staff Squared HR Software that you can relate to:

  1. Streamlines HR processes and eases administrative time
  2. Online web-based, intuitive, user-friendly interface via desktop or smartphone
  3. Designed for small businesses of 4 to 50 employees
  4. Manage employee data and documents quickly and easily any time
  5. Share and receive documents from staff wherever they are located
  6. Eliminates wasteful and time consuming paper documents and reliance on the postal mail
  7. Low cost per user solution that is small business friendly
  8. 24 hour secure access to documents and online services
  9. Monitor employee performance and set goals for employees
  10. Track staff time, absences, time off and expenses

It’s web-based with no IT staff or installation required! This wonderful HR software product is all set up, ready for you and your staff to use. They’ll love the ease and simplicity of the interface and that they can receive and send documents on their smartphones or laptops, anywhere, anytime.

Let us introduce you to Staff Squared HR software and its benefits in more detail.

Let yourself be convinced of progress and try it out. It’s the smartest time you’ve ever spent and might be the difference between business success or failure. Book a demo with a helpful, knowledgeable Staff Squared professional and see what you’re missing in online HR Software.

How can we help?

HR Software Systems are Becoming Small Business Friendly

20th May 2016

SMALL BUSINESS

9 Reasons Why Small Business HR Technology is so Hot

When most people hear the words HR system, they’re thinking big clunky legacy software systems designed for huge corporations that have bloated human resource management departments serving 20,000+ employees. What could be more inappropriate for an agile small business?  Instead, how about an HR solution designed solely for Small businesses?

Our daily work lives are burdened with forms, contracts, receipts, and letters so who wants to make a full time job of that, using a complicated software solution that only developers could operate? Technology should make business easier and more successful.

“HR is becoming increasingly inseparable from technology, as more companies invest in software developed specifically for this function* to support data analysis and improve employee engagement. The technology industry has responded to this demand and HR software is now a $15 billion market — from an article by OnRec

However, I’m betting that your paperwork and employee document administration is a tiresome task and it’s one you’re not cut out to handle. No shame since those daily tasks can drain anyone’s spirit and energy, leaving you exhausted and unable to focus on key business decision making. Remember that awful emotional state as we tell you how new online HR software is relieving small businesses of unnecessary paperwork and wasted time.

There are a number of reasons why Small Business HR software is becoming popular now:

  1. Small firms are swamped with work that is complicated
  2. Regulations require extensive legal documentation showing compliance
  3. Software is easy to access — such as online and hosted on the cloud
  4. Software easily integrates many human resources tasks such as calendar scheduling, staff communications, filing, time tracking, absence management, and performance measurement
  5. Priced appropriately for small businesses with 5 to 50 employees
  6. No big initial layout of cash to install and launch
  7. Cloud-hosted solutions are now very secure due to new security and encryption protocols
  8. User interfaces are simple and intuitive and online learning tools are excellent and thorough
  9. Mobile-friendly app makes it easy and convenient for employees to use

Small Business Owners have Different Priorities Today

Small business HR is more challenging. Markets are international, employees may be decentralised, or offices located in different cities. Recruiting qualified staff is tougher and good employees may become scarcer due to countries tightening up on free trade agreements. Startups will have their work cut out for them in luring workers from other companies. Small to medium sized companies may have to hold onto their employees and know how to train them and motivate them.

Weeding out poorly performing employees is just as vital to a company’s health. Being able to measure performance overall and enable and reward productivity, as well as boost employee retention could determine the company’s fate.
You probably get the picture that being on top of the status of your employee and company performance is vital. The new small business HR software powers up communication with more give and take between staff and managers. That sharing and feedback is vital to shaping your human resource management strategy.

You may have read all the features a small business hr management software solution offers and the benefit of hr software. Now you know HR software adoption is a trend and why it’s a trend. Smart business people are understanding their competitive landscape better and realizing that their employees are their greatest business asset. Web-based HR software can help you improve how you manage with the ultimate goal of growing a powerful workforce.

Take a visit to our HR software homepage and learn about Staff Squared via videos, demos and fact sheets that make this software a key business asset.

We’re in the digital age, and it isn’t just big corporations that can enjoy leading edge software solutions.  Enjoy the small business advantage you’ll get with Staff Squared HR software.

How can we help?

Staff Squared Product Update: April ’16

21st April 2016

PRODUCT

We’re on a non-stop mission to save our small business customers time and unnecessary hassle when it comes to managing their staff. This month’s gift to our customers is (drum roll please)…expense management! You can now manage staff expenses through Staff Squared at no extra cost.

Sue, our office manger, loves filling out forms and hunting down tatty receipts (Not!). So she is especially pleased that we’ve removed one of the last remaining paper-based processes from her work life.

As with all things Staff Squared, we’ve designed expenses with small businesses in mind. We’re not using a sledgehammer to crack a nut with this new feature but likewise, we’ve not tried to over simplify a process that can actually be fairly complicated. We hope you agree but as always we’d love your feedback.

As a small business we wanted to move the management of expenses online so that we could:

1. Automagically remind staff when the company’s expenses deadline is approaching

If you have a regular expense cycle, for example, you have a monthly expenses submission deadline or always pay expenses on the 25th of a month, you can set this in Staff Squared and we’ll automatically remind your staff of their expense deadlines.

If you manage expenses on an ad-hoc basis that’s absolutely fine, you can ignore the reminder feature.
expense-cycle

2. Provide staff with an easy to use platform for submitting their expense claims

Your staff can now submit expenses by heading over to the new expenses tab on their staff profile where they should click the button “Submit expense” and complete the form. As an admin, manager or expense approver, you can also submit expense claims on behalf of your team.
There are three main types of expense that can be submitted:

General – these are things like accommodation, office items and chocolate. Chocolate is expensable right?

Mileage – for work journeys made in the staff member’s car. The user just enters the number of miles travelled and Staff Squared calculates the cost based on how much your company pays per mile either side of the 10,000 mile threshold. Admins will need to configure the initial mileage rates for different vehicle types, staff and so on according to company policy.

Travel – these are expenses incurred when staff make a work related journey using some other means of travel. Here, instead of adding their mileage count, they’d simply enter their journey details and associated costs.
For each expense type you’re able to add your own categories which you can do from the Expenses tab on the company setting page.

So for example:

Mileage – you may pay a different mileage rates to different staff depending upon role or circumstance. You can add a new mileage type of say “Car – Director level” and set the correct mileage rates.

Travel – most companies will add and use Taxi, Train and Flight but you can add a custom travel type of say Rocket flight if you need to.

General – you can add all other categories here. Milk, stationery, books, that chocolate we mentioned, the possibilities are endless…

expense-types

3. Keep one eye on staff mileage counts and expense payments

Depending upon any expense claims approved and adjustments made by users, Staff Squared will keep a yearly count of accumulated mileage by staff member so everyone knows when they’re crossing that all important threshold.

We’ve also added a report on expenses payments and you can export that information to share where necessary.
expense-mileage

4. Enable admins and managers to approve or reject expense claims easily

When an expense has been submitted managers, expenses approvers or admins will have the ability to approve or reject the submission. You decide the amount the company is prepared to pay for those occasions where you may want to pay more or less than the claim asked for.
expense-approval

5. Help admins compile all the relevant information and send it over to payroll so staff get paid on time

You will find a new expense report on your reports page. This will help you get all the information you need over to payroll at the right time. Never miss that deadline again!
expense-reports

We’re here to help!

For more information on how to set-up and use expenses then please head over to our Knowledge Base or contact our support team for assistance.

We adopt an incremental approach to the addition of new features in Staff Squared. This is the first version of expenses in Staff Squared.

Once you’ve had a chance to use it please let us know what you think, and how we can improve it, and we’ll continue to refine where necessary!

We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

All the best,
The Staff Squared Team

How can we help?

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