What is the Lilypad technology?

By: Alisha Allen Gardner

I wanted to take Easy Time Clock to a new level and begin to offer other Software as a Service (SaaS) products. One of the major pain points I felt as a child care provider in my past, and now as a parent with a child in daycare, was the lack of ability to communicate digitally with the provider. We are in a time in which we live off of technology. If you don’t take a credit card, that’s a burden on the parents to make sure they have checks or cash on hand (who even keeps their checks on them anymore?).  Every day at pickup, you are provided a daily sheet that inevitably ends up on the floor of your car. As a parent who has shared custody, I never knew what was going on with my kiddo unless someone else told me. MyLilypadApp.com solves all of those problems and more.  Lilypad brings the power of the internet to your daycare to save the provider time and money. We offer time tracking, a parent portal for payments, daily sheets, calendar access, and billing management for the provider. It is also super cute and offers different blog options than Easy Time Clock. I hope, in time, we are able to be a provider and parent resource for anything kiddo related.

How to Properly Track Paid Time Off for Your Employees

With the multitude of options available today, trying to figure out which paid time off (PTO) tracking software is best suited for your company can become an extremely cumbersome process.

Wouldn’t it be convenient if there were a simpler means of sifting through all of the porous options and uncover the superior products in relation to PTO tracking software?

Well I believe that possibility exists. I believe that when considering all of the options for your businesses PTO tracking software, you need to be able to identify three key features. If the software you’re examining doesn’t possess these features, then you may simply cross it off of your list and move on. Using this method will save you time and money and allow you to ensure that you’re investing in software that will benefit your business rather than serve as a hindrance

First, you’ll want to ensure that that the PTO tracking software you’re considering offers a secure online database with reliable servers. You don’t want to worry about your PTO tracking software crashing and losing all of your company’s employee attendance data. You don’t want to worry about a delayed connection due to poor servers. You also want to be sure that your personal information is secure. The PTO tracking software that you choose should include cloud-based software and database storage. You want to be sure that your information is backed up in a secure location. Thus, the PTO tracking software that you invest in should include strict security guidelines and dedicated servers and databases.

Second, you’ll want to ensure that the software you choose includes a built-in accrual calculator. Perhaps the most pronounced benefit of switching to automated PTO tracking software, is that people despise manually calculating accrued time off. If a system doesn’t include a built-in accrual calculator, then it’s not saving your business as much time as it could. This may seem like something that should inherently come with any PTO tracking software; but that’s not necessarily the case. Typically, premium PTO software will include this feature, but it’s something you’ll want to consider before choosing your businesses PTO tracking software.

Third, you want to make sure that the software you’re buying includes a user-friendly user interface (UI). Again, you’re making this investment in an effort to ensure that your business operates more efficiently. If the UI that you’re using is daunting and not easy to navigate, then the PTO tracking software will become more of a hassle than a relief. The only way to know for sure if the PTO tracking software you’re considering investing in offers a reliable UI, is to take it for a test run. You should only invest in PTO tracking software that offers a free trial or a refund policy.

If you follow these steps, then you should have no problem finding the perfect PTO tracking software for your company. Cumbersome though this task may seem, finding the right software for your company will aid peak performance and efficiency and save your business time and money.

All About Zach!

Easy Time Clock shines a spotlight on on employee, Zachary Wright. Read his exclusive interview where he discusses working at Easy Time Clock and how he defines success.

What three traits define you?

Allocentric, Conscientious, Empathetic

What is your personal philosophy? 
Please be kind, rewind. Be kind to everyone you come into contact with, and there’s a chance they will be kind to you and the next person they speak to.
What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
Water and a musical instrument of some sort.
What is the one thing you cannot resist? 
Looking at dishes before I use them to make sure they meet my cleanliness standards.

What is your greatest fear? 
My Achilles Tendon being damaged or severed.

Which one would you want most – flying cars, robot housekeepers, or moon cities? Flying cars.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
Germany. It is such a gorgeous country and they are very environmentally conscious.

How do you define success? 
Knowing that I put the hard work into the task I am attempting to accomplish. I feel successful when I can honestly tell myself that I put my best effort on the table.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I believe I am more introverted than extroverted but I have lots of friends and will hang out with them more than 50% of my free time.
What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?
Being a good college student. Still working on that.

What makes Easy Time Clock such a great place to work?

Having a voice that is heard. Grouping together to brainstorm to solve issues and come up with policies.

Importance of Having an Employee Handbook

In our most recent episode of this month’s HR Insider, we discussed the importance of why businesses should have an employee handbook.

Employee handbooks are vital for various reasons. First, it let employees know how the company operates, what is expected out of them, and showcases the benefits of working for your company compared to others.

From attendance policies to sick leave, your employee handbook is your upfront contract to your employees. It sets clear expectations of what is expected from your workers.

Here are some other important reasons why your business should invest into developing an employee handbook:

  • Introduction – This is letting your employees know your company’s mission statement, core values, and the working environment. This is very important for your employees to know and will help them adapt to the companies values very easy.
  • Expectations – Letting employees know what exactly you and the company will expect from each individual employee. A well-written handbook provides employees with a clear understanding of their responsibilities. The handbook also serves as a compass for the organization’s policies and procedures.
  • Company Policies – The handbook will accurately help you convey your policies with your handbook and will assist your employees to consistently practice these policies throughout the company. This will also help your managers when making decisions on disciplining employees who have broken company policies.
  • Benefits – In your employee handbook, it should showcase the wonderful benefits you offer. Such as your retirement plan whether it be a 401(K) or any other retirement plan, bonuses and vacation time.
  • Protection – Most importantly, it will protect you, your managers, and your company when dealing with claims relating to harassment, misuse of funds, and attendance issues. By not having an employee handbook could prove detrimental to your business.

Good to Grow was a Huge Success!

Held at Allegiance Credit Union on August 6, Good to Grow: A Health and Wellness Expo was a success! Below is a list of all the booths that we had this year.

  1. Allegiance Credit Union
  2. Allena Massage Therapy
  3. Bethany Library
  4. Captain Supertooth
  5. Community Builders Church
  6. Danny Gordon Art
  7. Delishes Dishes
  8. Easy Time Clock
  9. Family Builders
  10. Hearts for Hearing
  11. InBalance Chiropractic & Wellness
  12. Just Kids Pediatrics
  13. Kona Ice
  14. Northwest OKC Chamber
  15. OKDHS
  16. Sams Club and Immunizations
  17. Smart Start Central
  18. Variety Care
  19. Vizavance
  20. Crafty Communications for photography

In addition to the booths, we had an activity center where every 15 to 30 minutes an interactive activity was held. Captain Supertooth showed us the benefit of oral health care, Danny Gordon Art taught us all how to draw a fish  and we wrapped up the day with a Story from the Bethany Library. Throughout the event we gave away over 20 free raffle items for participants.

KOCO aired an interview with Co Partner Jill McCartney of the NWOKC Chamber and our CEO, Alisha (Pictured Above).  Representative Tammy West showed an interest by appearing and participating as well.  All signs point to this becoming an ongoing annual event.  Through Good to Grow, we have created a series of excellent networking contacts who have a heart for the community and partnership.

Labor Law Changes

On this month’s episode of the HR Insider, we will be joined by a special guest, employment law attorney, Tina Izadi. The topic is about employment law and how it relates to small businesses. One of the numerous things we discussed in this episode was the recent changes to certain regulations regarding overtime pay. Because this is a looming cloud that is hanging over a lot of business owners, especially small businesses, we wanted to share with you a little of what was discussed before the episode airs.

The United States Department of Labor is considering changing certain language surrounding “defining and delimiting the exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Although the department is currently looking into modifying this language; in 2016, state, federal, and local legislatures have passed modified laws in favor of workers.

In case you missed it, here are some information on some of the laws that have been changed or could be changed:

Higher Minimum Wage Rates (States not Federal)

Although the federal minimum wage rate is $7.25 per hour, some states took it upon themselves to raise the wage within their own states themselves. Colorado, Arizona, Maine and Washington were a few states that took matters into their own hands (or the voters) and raised the state level for minimum wage.

Overtime

Last year, businesses received shocking news that the Department of Labor was going to update a regulation that would increase the salary threshold for paid overtime from $455 per week to $913 per week. In the current language, salaried workers were only able to earn overtime if they made less than a salary of $23,660. The new law was set to go into effect on December 1, 2016 – but after 21 states challenged the proposed change, a federal judge halted the new law from going into effect indefinitely.

While President Obama’s revised overtime regulations will not be happening, many businesses are still wondering if the law will be changed yet again. In July of earlier this year, the Department of Labor issued a Request for Information that seeks to gather comments from the public concerning salaries and wages. You can go here to let your voice be heard: https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/rfi2016.htm.

President Trump may revisit the overtime labor law changes as his Secretary of the Labor implied that the administration may change the salary threshold to $34,000 – $36,000 which is $650 to $700 per week.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

Cloud Based Attendance Tracking – The New Frontier

Welcome to the Golden Age – or as we like to call it – the cloud based age. Remember that tidbit of advice marketing experts gave to small business owners a few years ago? It went something like this, “if your business is not online or not doing any form of online marketing then you might as well be out of business.”

As truthful as that may be for being online, we are here to tell you that the Cloud is going to be next frontier – especially when it comes to storing data.

Here are a few benefits of using a cloud based attendance tracking system:

  1. Set up is easy. In fact, we even allow a 30 day trial period where you are able to get a feel of our system before actually purchasing a subscription.
  2. Reduce or eliminate your costs on IT. With a cloud based attendance tracking system, there is no need for certain installations or expensive hardware. Using a cloud based system allows you to have promptly support via email or phone call.
  3. Streamline payroll. Turning in paper time sheets, adding in overtime, ensuring the proper deductions are being taken out, and other payroll functions can be time consuming and demanding. By using a cloud based attendance tracking system, it will allow you to streamline your payroll process with the only thing you have to do is approve your employees’ hours!
  4. Follow the cloud, instantly. With cloud based systems, employees can clock in and out on their phones or laptops! It’s that simple.

As you can see, cloud based attendance tracking systems are becoming the new frontier for HR, especially in regards to payroll. For smarter, more effective, more efficient use of your time, we recommend switching to a cloud based attendance tracking system today.

Welcome Rob!

Introducing Rob Allen

Chief Officer of Operations

Rob brings 20 years of leadership as a pastor, counselor and vice-president of a non-profit and an additional 10 plus years in new home sales and construction management. Married to Beth, he is the father of three (Alisha, Ashley and Alex) and grandfather of four (Phoenix, Hunter, Paisley & Pierce). A California native, he graduated from Fresno State before going on to seminary and graduate work in theology, counseling and business. His focus is to devise and implement systems and processes that improve productivity and customer satisfaction. His great passion is to develop team members to be the best they were designed to be. Rob reads a lot and is a student of leadership and history. When not working or with family, he enjoys oil painting and sketching.

What you might not know about Rob is that he is our CEO, Alisha’s, dad! “I am extremely excited and grateful that my dad has graciously accepted joining our team. His guidance and experience will make our team and business grow leaps and bounds!” -Alisha 

GHOST EMPLOYING: FRAUD PREVENTION

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 28 million small businesses in America that provide 55% of all jobs.  Since 1982, the number of small businesses has increased by 49 percent.  Imagine now, you’ve worked hard and spent countless hours each week locked away from friends and family to create your own small business.  It’s grown to a handful of employees and you contract out or hire a manager for your payroll services which, in turn, allows you to focus more on growing the business, instead of the administration side.  A year or two down the road, you realize money isn’t staying in the business like it once was.  You decide to check in on your payroll processes and realize your company has sixteen employees, but you send out paychecks to twenty-two employees.  You decide to investigate, only to find out you’re paying ghost employees. And to top it off, your payroll manager is skimming off the top and bulking up their own salary without telling you.  If this happens, you’re not the first business owner that has had funds embezzled from them via a payroll fraud scheme.

The estimated cost to employers related to payroll fraud is nearly $3 trillion dollars according to Ceridian, a human capital management company.  The median amount lost per fraud event is $72,000, an amount that could cripple most small businesses. 8.5% of workplace fraud is related to payroll processes and the average time it takes to discover a payroll fraud is 24 months.  There are also other types of payroll fraud other than ghost employees:

  • Falsified hours and salary occurs when employees say they work more hours than they actually do to increase their take home salary.  Sometimes managers can give preferential treatment to employees they favor or employees who give them cash in return.

 

  •           Commission schemes occur when individuals fake the number of sales made so they can increase their overall salary.  If employees are responsible for turning in their own sale sheets, they can easily fabricate the numbers to give them a higher return of commission.

 

  •       False workers’ compensation claims happen when employees fake injuries to collect disability payments.  In some cases, the employees will claim disability from one job while working another.
  •       Ghost employees refer to someone that is on the payroll, yet not an actual employee. Ghost employees can take on several forms:

 

  • Disgruntled Payroll Manager: If the individual who handles your payroll system doesn’t believe they are getting their fair share, it is relatively easy for them to fabricate payroll records and collect the funds themselves.
  • Multi-Employee Fraud: In complex payroll systems, one employee will be able to add new employees, but another must sign off on their checks.  These two employees will get together and collude to falsify time sheets.
  • Family/Friend Compensations: An employee creates a payroll account for a friend or family so they can receive a paycheck and share the funds.

Small Businesses have a couple of different routes in protecting themselves from payroll fraud.  The first is hiring professional auditors to come in and look at the business books and make sure all the financial aspects of the company are being done in a legal manner.  Professional auditors work with their client to uncover any fraudulent employees and can be valuable assets for any business.  However, many of these auditors can be expensive, in both the financial investment and the time commitment.  When these auditors come in, they can occupy work space, pulling employees from their current projects to discuss previous ones, and even lower employee morale, if the employees find out management brought the auditors in because they do not trust them.

That being said, not all small businesses can afford to have yearly audits done, so here are some key steps the business owners themselves can do to prevent payroll fraud.

  • Separate payroll duties for preparation, disbursement, and distribution.  The individual that creates the employee database and puts in their salaries, should be different from the person that prints up and signs the check.  You can also decrease the likelihood by implementing direct deposit.  To change it up, once or twice a year hand deliver your employees’ checks if possible, to make sure no one is trying to skim money from you.
  • Evaluate HR policies and make sure staff is up to date on adding/removing employees.  By being diligent and removing previous employees’ information from the dataset, you make it much more difficult for former employees’ information to be used for ghost employment.
  • Make it harder to falsify time sheets by implementing automated time tracking for employees to clock in and out.  This can be as sophisticated as swipe cards with GPS tracking software placed in them, or as low-key as a security camera at the timesheet box that takes snapshots of the time when employees check-in and out during the work day.
  • Lastly, the owner themselves, or a trusted advisor, can run internal audits on the payroll system.  These are key points to be on the lookout for:

o   Deceased person’s or previous employee’s social security numbers.

o   Paycheck without any state or federal tax deductions.

o   Employee ID numbers that are much higher than those of legitimate employees.

o   Multiple direct deposits going to same bank account.

o   Multiple checks being delivered to the same address.

 

Payroll fraud can be debilitating to a small business and run even the most successful ones into the ground.  But, by taking a few steps and implementing some standard security and business procedures, businesses can drastically reduce their likelihood of being taken advantage of and losing funds to a payroll scheme.