Kronos Compliance Court Now in Session at SHRM 2014

Guest blog post by Kristen Wylie, Product Marketing Manager at Kronos, Inc.

More than 14,000 HR professionals are gathered in Orlando this week for the annual SHRM Conference and Expo. As wage and hour lawsuits skyrocket, it’s no surprise that this year’s conference agenda includes more than 25 sessions focused exclusively on compliance. Here at the Kronos booth, we’re educating attendees on how workforce management solutions can help reduce compliance risk.

SHRM1Organizations of every size across every industry can be susceptible to wage and hour and other compliance violations. No company wants to be charged with criminal or legal suits. But labor laws are complex and frustratingly fluid, making it increasingly difficult to manage compliance. Consider this:

SHRM2No matter what the compliance issue, when an employee files a claim or an auditor shows up, you need to respond with confidence and speed. In our booth at the SHRM conference, we staged a “compliance court,” helping attendees to evaluate how prepared they would be for an audit or investigation:

  • Are you compliant with I-9 regulations?
  • How would you respond to an audit from the EEOC?
  • Can you ensure time cards are in accurate and complete reflection of actual hours worked?
  • What documentation do you have for your defense against wage and hour claims?
  • How will you address the variety of regulations presented by the affordable care act?
  • How do you gather enough detailed information to determine if an absence qualifies for FMLA?

Kronos Workforce Ready customer Pioneer Metal Finishing showed SHRM attendees how to successfully navigate our compliance court by being prepared with accurate workforce data. Disconnected software applications and manual processes for managing employee data – one system in HR, another in payroll, and another for time and attendance – mean your data may be out of sync and out of date. Pioneer explained that with Workforce Ready, organizations are better able to identify, monitor, and resolve compliance risk before issues have a chance to spark wildfires and result in fines or lawsuits.


Stress-Free Workforce Management Implementation – Is It Possible?

Guest blog post by Kristen Wylie, Product Marketing Manager at Kronos

When you implement a new workforce management solution, the goal is to get up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible with minimal disruption to your organization. And the least stress possible for you. But the implementation will falter – regardless of the technical strengths of the software you’ve selected and the skills of an experienced implementation team – if you’re unable to achieve effective user adoption. Bringing more stress your way.

Craig Menzie, an analyst at Forrester, recently commented: “In many critical transactions … not providing the right helpful and accurate information at the right time will create doubt … that can lead to stress.” Although Menzie’s comments were focused on a stress-free customer experience, the same philosophy applies to a stress-free workforce management implementation.

The key to increase user adoption from the outset is to focus on employee awareness and engagement initiatives in conjunction with effective product and process training (collectively referred to as change management) early and often throughout your workforce management implementation. Read on to gather some of our top tips for a stress-free workforce management implementation.

Education Jumpstarts Success

According to research from analysts at Aberdeen Group, 76% of organizations with a formal training program in place are satisfied with their technology, compared to 50% of organizations with no formal training in place – a clear indication that employees are using the system and operating more efficiently. In other words, when employees are trained to use workforce management technology, organizations are more satisfied with their technology investments.

Stress-Free Tip #1: Training resources and schedule. Identify training resources upfront and define a training schedule early in the planning process to ensure effective product training. Organizations should incorporate project team training early in the implementation — as well as early and ongoing end-user training — as part of their overall product rollout plan.

Stress-Free Tip #2: Project team training. Get your project off to a strong start by empowering your project team and end users with training and information they need to unlock the value of your workforce management system — from day one. Project team training builds the expertise in-house to address any future concerns. Individual, role-based learning prepares your project team for implementation so you get up and running quickly.

Stress-Free Tip #3: End-user training. Comprehensive end-user training increases user adoption and drives early success. Aberdeen stresses that the true value of a training program is not only in the basic training during deployment, but also in an ongoing program that will help employees with varying skill sets feel comfortable learning over an extended period. Some workforce management solutions, such as Workforce Ready from Kronos, make this step easier by delivering role-based product training accessed directly from the product at any time.

Managing Change

Research from Gartner found that organizational change management accounts for 17 percent of the success of an IT project. The research indicated that among clients whose system implementations had failed or were at risk of failing, mishandling of the project’s organizational change effort was a key contributor to the failure. Instead, Gartner recommends embedding organizational change management into the program structure as early as possible and treating it as being of equal importance as the technical aspects of the implementation.

Unfortunately, as Bob Clements, a board member of the Workforce Institute at Kronos, commented in a recent blog, change management is often the first thing to get cut or scaled back during a workforce management implementation. This only creates more stress – not only for you, but also for all of the employees about to use the new software. Don’t fall into this trap.

Stress-Free Tip #4: Change Management. Best practice guidance provided by Aberdeen suggests that change management plans for workforce management should not only include comprehensive training, but also a formal and systematic communication and employee engagement strategy. This strategy should incorporate the who, the what, and the why associated with the new workforce management solution:

  • WHO needs to support the change;
  • WHAT type of communication needs to occur to explain the change; and
  • WHY is the organization automating workforce management.

Stress-Free Tip #5: Employee Communication and Engagement. With a new technology implementation, employees often don’t understand why a new solution is being introduced. They may not appreciate why the change is necessary and will likely experience resistance due to uncertainty and a perceived reduction of control and daily predictability. Don’t underestimate the resources and length of time required to help employees break away from existing technology or processes. (As a Kronos change management expert has noted, any initiative that could potentially alter employee pay or paychecks has the potential to generate even more anxiety within the workforce than would otherwise be expected!) Try presenting system benefits from a “what’s in it for me” perspective, while painting a clear picture of the new workforce management processes and capabilities.

Without proper training, employees won’t be able to get the most from the new technology, further increasing their resistance. Addressing these issues upfront with a plan that includes employee communication and training will help to ensure that employees will soon be using the new workforce management system effectively, efficiently and productively. Stress free? Not guaranteed, but an effective change management strategy will take you a long way in the right direction.

Seeing Through the Clouds

Guest blog post by Kristen Wylie, Product Marketing Manager at Kronos

Nobody will deny that the adoption of cloud computing is continuing to grow rapidly for organizations both large and small. In a recent webinar reviewing technology game changers for workforce management, consultants at market research firm the SMB Group noted that cloud computing is quickly becoming “the new normal.” In fact, the SMB Group suggests that 31 percent of small- and mid-size organizations already use cloud business solutions, and that this percentage is expected to increase to 43 percent over the next year.

Based on the buzz and hype surrounding anything cloud-related, we can all likely identify the cloud as a business application model that frees organizations from the burden of deploying and managing systems locally. But consider this: 15 years after the launch of (the poster child for cloud applications), sales force automation applications are still only around 40% penetrated by the cloud. ERP is less than 10% in the cloud.

This suggests that some SMB organizations still might not understand how the cloud works, where it’s applicable or how they can benefit. For these newbies, one of the best definitions of cloud computing – albeit a very high-level definition – was delivered thanks to this guy:

edisonSo how in the world is Thomas Edison related to cloud computing? The evolution of the electric power plant is surprisingly similar to the transition to cloud computing. Here’s how…

Edison had developed a superior light bulb, but he faced a major problem: generating electricity. At that time, every individual business had its own on-premise power plant to power all its machines, and steam-powered electricity generators weren’t exactly easy to install or manage. Many companies employed a “chief electricity officer” focused on how to generate their own electricity on their own private infrastructure. (Sounds kind of like an on-premise software deployment, doesn’t it?)

So in an effort to promote his light bulbs and other appliances (because Edison was just as good at promoting as he was at inventing), Edison set out to develop an electric grid to supply homes and businesses with electricity. In 1882, he opened the first central power plant to distribute electricity. Pearl Street Station in New York City offered people the opportunity to pay directly for electricity delivered to them via uncomplicated, low-maintenance wires, completely eliminating the smoke-blowing generators, along with the coal and workers required to run them.

A year later, the Pearl Street Station was serving 513 customers with 10,164 electric lamps. Edison had even invented a meter to allow customers to be billed for energy proportional to consumption. Within a few years, an efficient way to transmit electricity over long distance was implemented. [This resulted from the George Westinghouse/Thomas Edison “Battle of the Currents,” but alas, that’s a history lesson for another day.]  Electricity could now be efficiently produced centrally at a low cost and then distributed all over the country.

A single power plant can support many customers who can use the power in any way they like. The power plant charges each customer separately based on their usage. There’s a much higher level of service than an on-premise power plant could ever provide – all at a lower cost. (Now THAT sounds like cloud computing!)

On-premise data centers will soon become just as unnecessary as an on-premise power plant. With a cloud delivery model, customers can license the software and support they want to use without installing or maintaining any software or hardware. The application can be subscribed to and accessed over the Internet so that customers don’t need to install and manage the physical product on their own, which simplifies maintenance and support. There are no upfront capital expenses, no on-premise hardware, and no burden of managing the database or applications. So working in the cloud allows your company to be nimble, efficient and cost-effective.


To learn more about cloud computing and the benefits of this application delivery model, check out this short video developed by the Creative team at Kronos. And if you want the full story on how we can link Edison to cloud computing, read The Big Switch by Nicholas Carr.