Understanding the scoping process

Understanding thee scoping process ahead of implementing Sage People. Read more.

As the Professional Services account manager for Tugela People, part of my role is to provide pre-sales support in the early stages of a prospect’s Sage People journey. If you are considering implementing the Sage People HR System or about to begin the process, the article below will guide you through the procedure, importance and benefits of a scoping call.

What support do we provide?

During the Sage People journey, the Account Manager provides scoping, quoting, detailed statement of work creation, advice and guidance to ensure a successful and cost-effective implementation.

What does the initial engagement with the Tugela People Account Manager look like?

Building on an already established relationship with your Account Executive (AE) and Solutions Consultant the Account Manager is engaged at a the point in the project where the success criteria have already been defined, and you are ready to move to the implementation effort estimation stage.

The Account Manager will have a detailed handover session with the Account Executive to discuss the success criteria, desired outcomes and critical path items from the Sage People solutions. We will then set-up an initial introduction with your core project team.

What is the purpose of Implementation Scoping Calls?

Implementation scoping calls ensure that the success criteria and outcomes for the project are aligned across both your project team and the implementation team. While this can often be achieved within a single scoping exercise we can and will, where necessary, perform this over several meetings.

What is covered and what do we recommend to ensure that the call is successful and productive?

We cover all items that will affect the overall effort required to implement the Sage People solution. To ensure that the implementation is a success, we provide guidance, consultation and advice on the best approach to achieve the desired outcomes from a functionality, sustainability and cost-effective perspective.

To ensure that the scoping call(s) are productive, we always suggest that the relevant individuals with in-depth, company specific HR knowledge are in attendance.  

These individuals should have a broad knowledge of the entire business’ HR processes. While we appreciate, they may not know the details of every process, it’s important to limit the number of attendees on the call.  We can always follow up with further calls, if necessary.

What can you expect as an output from this call?  

With the details gathered in the scoping calls, we will create an implementation effort estimate proposal and initial draft of a statement of work.

What’s next?

Following enough time for the you to review the effort estimate and statement of work, we will provide a follow-up playback presentation of the provided documents. The meeting will cover detailed analysis of effort and statement of work, we will also provide details on the Sage People implementation methodology, Customer for Life ethos and high-level timelines.

If necessary, we will work with the you to update the draft documentation as many times as needed to get to a mutually understood and agreed proposal to begin your Sage People journey.

For more information about the Sage People HR System or to discuss your implementation needs ahead of adopting the Sage People solution contact us directly on email: info@tugelapeople.com or call +44 (0) 1908 030360. Alternatively click here to learn more

Sabrina Millard, Account Manger at Tugela People. Read more.

This article has been authored by Sabrina Millard, Account Manager for the Tugela People Professional Services division. Sabrina is the first point of contact with prospective clients and the main point of contact for our current customers.

Sabrina has over fifteen years’ experience specialising in Payroll and HR and her expertise includes: system implementations, budget negotiations, project management and building strong client relationships.

Getting buy-in for your new HR System

Getting buy-in for your new HR System. Read more.

Implementing a new HR System can be a challenge, presenting you with plenty of hurdles to navigate. Throughout the lifecycle of your project, you’re going to need buy-in from key stakeholders across the business or you’ll risk hitting obstacles. Below are some essential guidelines to make certain you get the buy-in you need to ensure your implementation is a success.

Build a Business Case

The first hurdle you’re going to face is getting the budget for your new software. In all my years of working with HR software, very few businesses prioritise HR and more specifically HR technology spend when it come budget planning.

More so than ever, given the challenges of the last year, getting the budget to implement your new software can feel like a daunting prospect. You can make this easier by preparing a well-thought-out business case.

This will help identify the return on any investment and will often ensure buy-in from Exec level management while aiding you in securing the budget needed for your new system.

Prep your Project Team

It’s important to make sure everyone involved is aware of the demands that will be placed on them for a successful implementation.  They’re going to be busy, will need to learn new things, and more than likely have tasks assigned to them that will need to be delivered according to the timescales of project plan to progress the project. Outline and emphasize the benefits of the new system to the team. Acknowledge that for some it will mean ‘stepping outside their comfort zone’, give credit where credit is due and be as supportive as possible by alleviating those ‘business as usual activities’ where possible.

Software implementation is very rarely the day-to-day job of the people we depend on to deploy a project. The likelihood is that your HRIS implementation will have several stakeholders from across the business. Individuals from various departments, including HR, Training, Recruitment, Payroll, Finance, IT and Marketing could all be involved at some point. Even for those who’ll benefit most, the implementation is frequently outside the scope of their existing roles.

Often, the most successful projects are those that bring in additional resource temporarily, whether that is in the guise of a Project Manager or as HR Admin support, to free up your teams time. If you can do this, then I’d recommend it. From the outset, it would be advisable to include this cost into your business plan.

Make marketing your friend

Marketing can be your secret weapon in getting buy-in from the wider business. Many HR Systems will allow you to brand the self-service part of the system. This gives you an opportunity to make the system yours, brand it according to the company identity and give it a familiar feel.  I’ve often found that while the HR team might give it a go (and there will be a few with some hidden talents), marketing teams are just better at branding. It’s a big part of what they do, and they can make your self-service portal creative, imaginative, professional and appealing.

Engage with the End Users

Put the word out early, let everyone in the company know what HR are doing and sell the benefits, whilst highlighting the changes that will be coming down the line. By engaging with the workforce at the outset, you can gain valuable insight and address any potential issues and constraints that individuals may face, ahead of moving to the new system. 

It’s not all about overcoming potential issues. As part of your business case, you will need to provide a detailed account of the expected return on investment. To maximise that return, you need to promote rapid adoption and engagement amongst your team for system uptake. Think about how you can engage with your workforce. I’ve had customers have a competition to name their new system, run surveys about features that are important to the workforce (to prioritise the project’s phases) and, I’ve previously worked in an HR team that put out a monthly blog posting to the business to inform the company of the work of HR.

You can always get creative too. See the video below from one of our customers that I thought was particularly impressive.

Setting the Tone

Advice I often give is to choose the right tone for your messaging to your business. Depending on what you’re moving from, the transition to your new HR System might not be as smooth as you would like. In particular, data might be out of date, incomplete or even illogical. If you think this might be the case, set the right expectation and engage your end users upfront – you can even ask them for their support in updating information.

Provide a method for end users to report inaccuracies or issues and provide resource for go-live support. People are much more forgiving if they don’t expect perfection!

 At Tugela People, we’ve implemented hundreds of HR Systems and have many years’ experience in launching HR software. If you have any questions or need support in building a business case, then feel free to reach out to the team here at Tugela People.

This article has been authored by Kevin Hume, Senior HRIS Consultant for Tugela People. Kevin has spent the last 16 years working with HR and Payroll software in various roles and has over 3 years’ experience working with Sage People.

To learn more about the support and services we offer click here or contact us directly on tel: +44 (0)1908 030360 or email: info@tugelapeople.com

2021 Sage People Checklist

Being fresh into the New Year,, now is a good time to make sure that you’re on top of your Sage People housekeeping, as well as considering taking advantage of new Sage People functionality.

Here are our top tips to ensure a smooth transition into 2021:

WX Self-Service

  • Remember to post your Festive and New Year messages on your Employee Self Service or better still, schedule them to appear/disappear.
  • Schedule any annual compliance notices to appear on the Employee Self Service and track which employees have signed the agreement.
  • Consider using WX Reports if you don’t already. They can give managers insights into their team’s performance over the last year, including absence, objectives and recognition, and ensure they can effectively track performance over the year to come.
  • Consider setting up and using Pulse surveys to capture feedback from employees for an end of year engagement check-in.

Workday patterns

  • Check that public holidays (bank holidays) not set as “reoccurring” are correct for 2021 (and beyond if you have future years).
  • An extra bank holiday in the UK has been awarded to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee for 2022, so might be worth:
    • Adding an one-day holiday on 03/06/2022
    • Configuring the late May Spring Bank Holiday to be non-recurring for 31/05/2021 and 02/06/2022, and then recurring thereafter on the last Monday of May.

Performance

  • For those using strategic objectives, remember to edit the strategic objectives picklist to align with the Company’s 2021 Corporate Objectives.

Absences

  • If you are you allowing team members to carry over all, or part of their annual leave entitlement for an additional two years, make sure this is configured and tested by the start of 2021.
  • Remember to create or extend absence adjustments for 2021 for those that have them.
  • Check that the “Hold Absence Balances” batch is set to run, as this is very useful for reporting.
  • Remember to check that Carry Over has been set up on your absence accrual patterns, and ensure that negative carry overs are configured in line with policy.

Reports

  • Check that Snapshot reporting is working and is scheduled to run in case you need headcount figures as at the end of the year.
  • Check date ranges on scheduled reports to ensure they mirror the company financial year.

Other

  • Check that Sage People licences for all leavers have been deactivated and review that there are enough licences available for your medium-term requirements.
  • For those using the Resource Manager, remember your new Active Resource Plan for 2021 to track the budgeted and signed off New positions.
  • Update exchange rates if they’re updated on an annual basis.
  • Are you aware that the Adobe Flash based resume previewer in Sage People is being replaced? Adobe Flash reaches end of life on 31st December 2020, and there may be some actions you need to complete in your org to support the transition to Sage People’s own viewer.

You might also want to consider:

  • In October 2021, in conjunction with Sage People’s Winter ‘22 release, the old Absence process will be depreciated, and all clients must have the Time Off process enabled at that time. Have you considered moving over yet, and are you aware of the enhancements that come with Time Off?
  • Lightning Experience is the next generation of the Salesforce platform that aims to deliver a new modern user interface and improved navigation. Find out more.
  • Taking advantage of new Sage People functionality such as objectives and conversations, Compensation Planning and half day absences:
  • Have you considered a Sage People health check? A health check examines any areas of potential improvement or inconsistencies in your system, from which we can propose corrective actions and suggest enhancements as appropriate. This improves the efficiency and effectiveness of your Sage People HR System and promotes increased user adoption and productivity.
Jamie Wilkins, Head of Managed Services for Tugela People. Read more.

This article has been authored by Jamie Wilkins, Head of Managed Services for Tugela People. Jamie has a degree in Business and Human Resource Management and is CIPD qualified with over 10 years’ experience in the HR industry. Jamie is responsible for leading a team of consultants that offer technical solutions and comprehensive Sage People HR System support through our flexible managed services function that spans the full spectrum of HR disciplines.

If you wish to download a copy of this guide, please click below:

Help is at hand

For additional information about any of these features or support in making changes or updates, our Managed Services team will be happy to help. Click here to get in touch or email us directly at: info@tugelapeople.com

Tips for Data Migration

I’ve dealt with a LOT of data over the last 16 years. Whether this was migrating customer data, supporting them in their own migration, migrating the data of my own employers, rapidly acquiring and working with data from an acquisition to ensure new employees continue to be paid accurately and on time, cleansing data, reporting on data, etc. etc.. I’d say I’ve seen all there is to see with HR Data.

It’s a huge part of any HR System implementation project, and yet so many people enter this process with limited preparation or experience. Aside from letting me take over your data migration (I really wouldn’t mind), there are a few things you can do to ensure a successful migration.

What is ETL?

Firstly, let’s discussed a method that will pop up regularly. ETL stands for Extract, Transform and Load, and it’s a simple enough premise in the context of HR Software Implementations. You need to Extract the information from your current system and then Transform it (whether that be cleansing the data, trimming down job titles and picklist values, losing some historical data etc). Finally you need to Load it into your new system (often with support from your vendors or implementation partners).

Timing and Planning Your Data Migration

When do you want to plan your migration? Personally, I like to run a sample data migration before User Acceptance Testing (UAT). When that’s been done successfully, then a full migration can be performed with confidence prior to go-live. The benefits of this approach are numerous, and include:

  1. Giving you test data to work with for User Acceptance Testing that will look similar to your live data.
  2. Allowing you to cleanse your live data as you test and see how your data looks in your new system
  3. You get a practice run at migrations. If you learn from your test migration, it will make your live migration go smoother and quicker, meaning less time for your live data to age.

When planning your project, try to have a project resource that’s dedicated to leading and coordinating data migration activities. This person needs to understand the makeup of the data, the business and any reporting implications to consider once this data becomes live. It might be that this person is supported by subject matter experts from other areas of the business who also receive information from HR.

Finally, try to make sure that the team is correctly resourced and given the time to work on the ETL process. When the ‘business as usual’ activities get in the way, the data preparation can suffer, leading to poor quality data which in turn sheds a poor light on your fancy new system!

Your Opportunity to Cleanse

Use the ETL process fully; this is your opportunity to truly transform your data, making it more efficient for reporting purposes and improving your admin processes across the company:

  • Roles, departments and teams can all be structured correctly. Any business that has grown through acquisitions might have experienced a disjointed organisation structure that has been inherited and appended to an existing business. Look at this process as your chance to improve that situation.
  • Make your data consistent. Through inherited spreadsheets and ill-defined processes, your old data might be inconsistent. This is a chance to put right some of the common problems we see, e.g. several variations of the same Job Titles and Departments such as:
    • R&D
    • R+D
    • R and D
    • Research and Development
    • Research & Development
  • Do your dates make sense? Are they in the correct order? Apply validation to make sure you don’t have absence end dates after their start dates, or start dates earlier than continuous service dates. You can also use this time to make sure you’re filling in any blanks.
  • Key Data. Think about what data is fundamental
    • Core employee data for RTI purposes
    • Salary information for payroll and finance reporting
    • Organisation information for reporting purposes
    • Next of Kin information for benefits
    • Data for IT service provision (usernames, hardware and more)

Pitfalls and Advice

This is all valuable information that you now have an opportunity to provide for your new system. Watch out though; there will be pitfalls!

Dates

Date formats can be a nightmare for those multinational organisations that have different people at a local level providing the data. Make sure that your dates are all in the same format.

Commas

Commas outside of the UK are another pitfall for multinational companies. The UK seems to be one of the few European countries that use a full stop (.) to represent a decimal place, with the majority of Europe opting for a comma. If you have to provide your data in a .CSV file that separates columns with a comma, you can probably see why this is a potential pitfall. If you are putting your data together in different countries, it’s often wise to keep in XLS until it’s all compiled, then saving as a .CSV file at the local level choosing an appropriate delimiter to separate values.

Excel

Excel can try to be a little too clever at times, only this week I saw it try to change Lithuanian phone numbers from a string of digits to a shortened formula. Trust me, nobody’s phone number is “3.71E+10”, you’re trying too hard Excel! To get around this, you might need to format the columns as text before adding your data.

Picklists

Picklists can be a great tool to regulate the data choices on offer in your system and to provide consistency. They can often be set up to hold dependencies, allowing a dependent picklist to only display options that are relevant to the one selected previously. For example selecting a department of “Sales” might present you with team options of “New Business” and “Customer Success”. If you have any such dependencies, make sure you’ve prepared your data to accommodate them. Your data should be an accurate representation of your new system’s structure.

Finally, with picklists, the number one thing to check is that the values in your data match the values in your system. You should be able to export your picklist values from your new system to the area you’re preparing your data in (most likely Excel), let lookups become your new best friend. Vlookups will help you identify where your data will not match your new system.

Better minds than me have already explained Vlookups, so I’ll not reinvent the wheel, the below is a very quick guide, but honestly, there are literally thousands of people explaining this online!

Validation

Validation is a fantastic tool employed in most systems in one way or another. Put simply, it’s a way to make sure that your data conforms to any predefined rules. A basic example of this could be that probationary end date should not be before the start date.

Validation is there for a reason; you might be able to turn it off for the purposes of your data load, but that might lead to issues when it’s turned back on. Instead, consider why it’s there in the first place; in most cases, it’s to make sure your data is clean and will work efficiently for you. I see no reason why you’d want to avoid that! Take the time in the transform stage of your data migration journey to make sure that your data meets any criteria set out in your system’s validation. That way you’ll have the best possible start to using that information effectively come go live.

There are further journeys into data validation that you can venture down. Regular Expression, for example, can be an excellent tool in verifying the formats of NI Numbers, Social Security Numbers, Bank accounts and Sort Codes, Post Codes and Phone numbers. In simple terms, it ensures that data conforms to a predefined format. It can get complicated, but if your new system employs regular expression, it’s worth finding out before you try to load your data!

There you have it. Hopefully nothing too scary, but those are my words of advice for any newcomers to Data Migration or HR System Software Implementation.

This article has been authored by Kevin Hume, Senior HRIS Consultant for Tugela People. Kevin has spent the last 16 years working with HR and Payroll software in various roles and has over 3 years’ experience working with Sage People.

Kevin can be contacted directly on: khume@tugelapeople.com

To learn more about the support and services we offer click here or contact us directly

Action required regarding your absence functionality

As a valued client of Sage People, you may have seen the email that was sent on the 14th October confirming again that they will be deprecating the old Absence process.

Clients are urged to take immediate action to have the Time Off process enabled once the Winter ‘22 release is installed. For clarity we’ve added the deprecation timeline below. More information in this regard, can be found on the Sage People community article on Migrating from Absence to Time Off.

The Sage People Time Off process was created to replace the legacy Absence functionality, enhancing and improving their offering surrounding vacation and absence calculations. There are several new features that have been released requiring utilisation of Time Off that will benefit you as a client.

New Time Off features

  • Work schedules: enable you to define and allocate set working times for your Team Members. Useful to show shift patterns for example.
  • Enhanced accrual balances and accrual log: additional reportable fields on the absence balance object.
  • Partial days: view of half days in the WX calendar.
  • Outlook calendar files:  ability to add absence/vacation requests into calendars.

Sage People Deprecation Timeline

  • Effective Immediately – All clients should begin the transition to Time Off if not already using the new functionality. You may find it easiest to migrate at your plans’ reset date(s), although this is not a requirement. Sage People Support Team will continue to accept support cases related to the Absence process as will Tugela’s Managed Services team.
  • Winter ’22 release (est. Oct/Nov 2021): With this release the Time Off process will be switched on by default and all clients should be transitioned. The Absence Process will still exist within the HCM package but will no longer be supported by the Sage People Support Teams.
  • Spring ’22 release: The Time Off process cannot be deactivated, and the Absence code will be deprecated entirely.

Help is at hand

If you require additional information about this notification or require support in effecting any of these changes, our Managed Services team will be happy to assist you. Contact us now or email us directly at: info@tugelapeople.com

Enhancing employee communications with Sage People

Keeping in Touch During Covid Times

With the ongoing pandemic and restrictions imposed, keeping abreast of the impact in the workplace is critical. From the work that we undertake with our clients, we are finding there are a few key groups that need improved communications more than most. Those returning from furlough and resuming a ‘normal working environment’ in addition to an increasingly remote workforce, need to take additional measures to ensure effective communication with their teams.

Action Events

Remember, Sage People by default includes “team members home” as a contact method for action events, so you don’t need to go reinventing the wheel to contact people who are furloughed. Regular communications that they might need to be kept up to date with can be sent to their home email address.

Workflows

Just as with Action Events, you can use workflows to email team members using their home email addresses This can be especially useful to notify people of changes they might encounter as they return to the workplace or vital communications that they may have otherwise missed while furloughed.

HR Noticeboards

These are a great tool to help you spread messages to your teams via WX. If your business is returning to life in the office and you need to ensure new measures are being met, share those measures with your teams through an HR noticeboard. Top tip: incorporate distinctive imagery into your HR Noticeboards to make sure they stand out and grab the required attention from your people.

Internal Communications

This type of WX process will allow you to share information with your teams via WX as well as enabling you to gather confirmation of receipt and report on it. If you need to share important information about returning to the office, including measures to protect your employees’ health, consider using a confirmation option to ensure your teams have read the communication. You can also activate your daily digest to trigger an out of the box email reminder to colleagues to review their communication actions.

Pulse Surveys

With Pulse Surveys, Business leaders will be able to gauge on a regular basis how staff feel about certain topics. It’s best practice to regularly source feedback on the same measures to determine if the initiatives that have been put in place are having the desired effect (i.e. that progress is being made to address any concerns areas). Pulse Surveys in Sage People are straight forward to set up and easy to access by staff via the employee self-service portal (known as the WX). And because of the powerful reporting module, Sage People enables HR to report on the results in real-time, draft trend reports and to add the results to HR Dashboards that are typically shared with business leaders.

If you have not used this functionality for a while and would like a reminder, feel free to get in touch with us, to discuss training options that might assist you in creating effective communication strategies during this challenging time.

Sage People – Useful new features

There has been an incredible amount of development of Sage People this year, which no doubt you will have been made aware of via different communications, as they have been implemented. However, we wanted to highlight a few new features that have been recently added:

Objectives and Conversations

The new Objectives and Conversations features are fantastic, and a great improvement to the product at just the right time. Enhanced communication through the performance review process can really assist managers and team members who are still adapting to working remotely.

More information on Performance and Talent Management can be found on the Sage People website

Compensation Planning

This year has also seen the roll out of Salary and Bonus planning improvements. These out of the box features allow for compensation planning to be delivered by HR to managers to feed up their teams’ plans. As many plans as a customer might want can now be delivered at any time using their own projection formulas, exclusions and eligibility rules.

You can find out more about employee recognition and compensation management on the Sage People website

Half Day Absences

I’m not sure I speak for all the Tugela People team on this one, but I am sure I’m not alone in just how excited I got over this next feature!

You can now show absences in a calendar as part days.

More information about attendance and leave management can be found on the Sage People website

API’s

Sage People have also been working on a suite of API’s that are being rolled out as they become available. Currently you can build API’s for Employees, Salaries, Bonuses, Absences and Absence Balances, and now Timesheets. These come with increased security and controls over the usual Salesforce Rest API’s and should take less time to set up. More information on this can be found on the Sage Develop site

Lightning Email template Links

Finally, a little bit of housekeeping. If you’ve made the switch or are about to change over to lightning, you might find that your links from Action Events to the corresponding email templates don’t work anymore. Your URL for lightning will be slightly different. You can update the link in the Action Event object by updating the formula on the Email Template Link field.

For more information about new features, help in setting them up or to find out how we can keep your system up to date with ongoing product enhancements with our Managed Services offering, click here to get in touch.

A successful apprenticeship

August 2020 marked the end of a fantastic milestone for Tugela People, and specifically for Zoe Van Lokven, a member of the Managed Services team.

In December 2018 Tugela People had the opportunity to support a client post-implementation with their Sage People system, which is where the Managed Services journey began. Throughout 2019 we found there was an increasing demand for Managed Services and the function experienced a period of growth.

It had always been an aspiration of the company to contribute in a demonstrable way to the local economy. This presented us with an excellent opportunity to reach out to local talent and help boost youth employment in the area.

In February 2019, Zoe decided to take the plunge and try something new in her career after working in a retail role for 10 years. Zoe applied and was successfully awarded the role of HRIS Business Analyst at Tugela People. She embarked on her journey via MK College studying Business Administration, which she has recently completed with distinction.

Our aim was to break the notion that apprentices make the tea and file papers and Zoe rose to the challenge. In her 18 months with us, she has:

  • Become the first line support for 10+ clients, helping them with their Sage People queries, troubleshooting, enhancements, coaching and ongoing support.
  • Developed a feedback process to support quarterly client calls.
  • Started to lead on Managed Services kick off calls.
  • Supported internal colleagues with their Sage People queries.
  • Been empowered to make decisions and genuinely feel that her opinion is valued.

We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that an apprentice has had, not only to the long-term goals of the business but in building a successful career. For us this is not just an apprenticeship, it’s the opportunity to support entry-level talent into the industry and the opportunity to shape Tugela People’s future workforce through apprenticeships.

Zoe has subsequently been offered and accepted a full-time role as a HRIS Business Analyst for Tugela People, continuing to work as part of the Managed Services team.

A big congratulations to Zoe. The Tugela team wish you continued success in your role.

To learn more about our Managed Services click here

Managed Services now offer temporary Sage People HR System Admin support

Tugela People’s Managed Services are proud to be able offer temporary Sage People HR System admin support, whether that’s covering for periods of annual leave, training, or even longer-term absences such as parental leave.

Whatever the requirement, at a time where you may be lacking the necessary people resources, you can be confident that your Sage People system is in good hands.

As part of this service we can:

  • Become the first point of contact for HR teams with regards to system queries
  • Help support end users with their questions
  • Monitor any internal mailboxes or use our own ticketing system to monitor cases

head of Managed Services Sage People

The Tugela People Managed Services team is headed up by Jamie Wilkins, our Principal Managed Service Consultant, who has a degree in Business and Human Resource Management, with over 10 years’ experience in the HR industry. Jamie is responsible for offering technical solutions and comprehensive HR support through our flexible managed services function, as well as leading the implementation support for our internal HRIS Consultants.

WaterAid company logo

Further to providing HR System admin cover to WaterAid for a period of three week, we received the following feedback from Elodie Coulot, International People Officer at WaterAid following HRIS:

“I would like to highlight that Jamie has been a real asset for the team, even though he had only been with us few weeks as system administrator cover.

Jamie monitored our HRIS support mailbox daily for a period of three weeks, and he had demonstrated to be very patient, proactive, very quick to respond and knowledgeable on every single occasion we needed his expertise. Jamie was very proactive to find the solution and explored different ways of finding the answer.

It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Jamie and the Tugela team, and I had full confidence that our system was in very capable hands.”

To find out more or engage our services, email info@tugelapeople.com or click here

Managing the challenge of absence in Sage People

It might feel like this year is slipping away, and many people won’t want to hear this, but the end of 2020 is rapidly approaching. By the time you’re reading this, there will be less than 90 days until Christmas!

With this in mind it’s worth thinking proactively. The usual checklist  (check out our Handy 2020 Sage People Checklist that we previously posted) and end of year activities will obviously need to take place (we’ll talk more about this in future communications), but this year, managing absence has proven to be a unique challenge that we see many of our customers continuing to struggle with.

We often field questions from our customers around absence rules. In particular what to do when someone needs to carry over more leave than their policies would normally allow. This year, due to the travel restrictions and safety concerns as result of the pandemic, employees have been taking far fewer holidays. This comes with certain challenges. Below are some of the thoughts and approaches from a few of the businesses we’ve supported:

“I want to ensure people are taking their allowances”

Part of being a responsible employer is making sure that your employees take their well-deserved and allocated time off. With so many people working remotely and there being little incentive for taking holidays, many businesses have found that their people haven’t been taking that much needed time off. Help is on hand – reports and dashboards can be a fantastic tool to help you keep an eye on those colleagues that may have excess holiday to use up in these final few months of the year.

In particular, take advantage of some of the great functionality that’s readily available within Sage People. Absence balances are refreshed daily on the employee’s employment record. You can add this to a report and by using a summary report, you can include formulas to show holidays remaining per month. Complement this by incorporating formatting onto a dashboard (for example, if a colleague has more than 5 days per month remaining, highlight these records in red to show that action might be needed). If you want to communicate this out to managers, consider WX reports to highlight these days remaining.

I don’t want everyone taking their holidays at once”

A side effect of people not taking their holidays during lockdown is that they’ve started to build up. While many businesses asked colleagues to take a minimum number of days per month at the height of the pandemic (often 2 days per month), not everyone did. Now that people are fast approaching the end of the year and need to take days or risk losing them, there’s a worry that too many people will start taking time off and productivity will slow down. In Sage People, we find that the team calendar view is great for combatting this. By putting a guide or reminder of the functionality into an HR Noticeboard, it is a great way of prompting managers to review their teams capacity.

“We just can’t accommodate the number of holidays remaining”

It might be too late for the number of days remaining to be taken before the end of the year in a viable manner. Luckily Sage People absence accrual patterns are flexible and robust enough to tackle this in a few short steps. Also absence accruals are constantly calculated, so you don’t need to load changes to people’s patterns. Consider adding to your number of carry over days, rather than allowing 5 days to be carried over, increase it to 10. If you don’t want all 10 additional days being taken next year, you can even extend the carry over months so that they can be taken over the next couple of years. All of this can be applied in a matter of minutes.

If you’d like to know more about how you can set up any features mentioned in this article to support your team through the unique challenges this year has thrown up, click here now to get in touch with us.