Team Leader Sign-offs, for Managers

This features goal is to improve compliance and the accuracy of the performance data you gather about staff.  We achieve this by enabling your field managers to provide this feedback to you via Watu.

Feedback that you can then review internally, sign off and apply to the staffers notes.

Here’s how:

You have 3 additional options when configuring a role:

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Your options are:

Team Leader

  1. See all team members and their contact phone numbers.
  2. The ability to message their team
  3. The team is able to see who the team leader is and their contact details.

Can See Team Members 

  1. Everyone in the team can see their team members for that activity day

Can Sign Off 

  1. The ability to ‘sign off’ dates.  Learn more about ‘Sign Offs’ here.
  2. Rate the performance of the staffer, including adding notes.  Learn more about scoring here.
  3. Only someone denoted as a team leader can sign off

You decide on the different levels of control and visibility that you want each role to have.

Once you’ve configured the roles, this is how it works:

  1. An activity day takes place.
  2. The field manager/supervisor/event manager, receives an email asking them to confirm attendance of their team and provide performance feedback. See Team Leader Sign-Offs, for Staffers.
  3. You, or your fellow managers back in the office, sign in to Daily Sign Offs and review the field manager has provided.  You can then edit it, or sign it off.
  4. Job done. Enhanced compliance, better performance management.

Team leader sign offs are not final, they are simply the managers feedback to the office on staff performance and attendance.  They still need to be reviewed and signed off by the manager.

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We make the review of your team leaders sign offs incredibly straight forward:

  • Green tick – Everything is fine.
  • Warning sign – The sign off needs to be reviewed.

We will also show you if someone was supposed to sign the shift off but they didn’t, so you can prompt them for their notes on the staffers’ performances and you’ll need to sign off the actual team leaders performance too.

As usual, the ratings are shown within the staffers profile and any notes written by the manager (and signed off), are visible to any managers viewing the staffers profile.

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To turn on this feature simply configure the permissions that staffers should have based on their roles by going to your admin panel, and Roles.

Publishing job roles

If you use Watu, you have access to your own private job market, a place to publish upcoming work opportunities where your staff can log in and review all open opportunities, check that the dates and job particulars are to their liking, and then apply for that work.  This publishing and application work flow is popular and, according to our data, delivers a slightly better performing booking than those bookings that are generated in the old fashioned way of outbound phone calls.

Today we’ve made a significant upgrade to the job board feature: Being able to modify the publication of jobs on a role per role basis.  This included several other changes that improve how staffers see jobs, so let’s go through them one by one.

Better job information

Now when you create a new job, you will see two new fields: Staffer Title and Booked Description.

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  • We have separated “Activity name” from “Staffer Title”. Activity name is the internal name of the job, only seen by managers. Staffers will never see the Activity Name, they will only see the Staffer Title.
  • Another highly requested feature, the “Booked Description” will only be seen by staffers who have been booked into the job, so you can put in more detailed information here that doesn’t need to or shouldn’t be known by people that haven’t been booked.  Remember that Watu automatically populates location, dates, shift times and money in to the auto generated booking confirmation.

You can now also change these for each role in the job. By default, all roles in the job have the same description and booked description, but when editing the job information, you can change them on a role by role basis:

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Publishing to the Job Board

After publishing the job, as usual, you can set the Advert Title and Content. As opposed to before, these now only show when looking at the list of all jobs in the job board. If a staffer is looking at the details of a job, they will see the descriptions mentioned above, instead of the Ad Title / Content.

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But now you can also choose to not publish one of the roles (using the blue toggle to the right of each role). This has been a hugely requested feature, since a lot of agencies have a problem where most of their staffers will apply to the Event Manager role even if they’re not qualified to do the job, which generates a considerable amount of noise in the applications. If this is your case, you can now choose to not publish the Event Manager position, and just book it on your own.

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You can also, just like for job descriptions, modify the Advert Title and Content to be different for each role in the job.

And last but not least, you have the option of only showing the advert to people that have that role in their profile. If you experience the situation mentioned above, but you still want to have Event Managers applying to the job, you can use this option. If you check this box, only people that you have manually marked as having this role (or that acquired the role automatically by being booked in a job in that position) will be able to see the advert. Everybody else won’t, so you won’t get job applications from people that are not qualified for the job.

On to the next update!  Onwards and upwards.

Booking Staffers – May Updates

We’ve recently made some updates to the job scheduling feature that gives you far greater flexibility when booking your staff.

1. You can now modify the shift times for one staffer alone

Simply click on the shift times, creating a drop down with new empty fields, and update with the new times.  If you pay hourly, changing shift times will automatically recalculate the wage to reflect the new shift length.

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You can also do this directly from the signoff page, after the job has taken place.  Now, when a shift over runs and you need to adjust your staffers pay accordingly, it’s simple, simply adjust the shift hours from the sign off page.

2. If need be, leave shift times and wages empty

When setting up the job, you can now leave the wage and / or the shift times empty, if you don’t yet know how much you’ll pay, or when the shifts will start / end.

Empty Shift Times & Pay

This may also be useful if each staffer requires different shift times. Whereas before you had to set several different roles, now you can just leave the times empty, and set them at the time of booking.

3. Set a pay rate particular to a staffer

If you pay hourly, you can now set a default wage particular to an individual staffer.  Simply leave the wages blank when you’re setting up a job and Watu will automatically calculate the staffer cost particular to that individual’s rate in relation to the shift times.

To set this up, click on:

  • The staffers profile
  • Menu bar within their profile
  • Payroll
  • Edit
  • Admin Information tab

And then add their particular rate.  This is not visible to the staffer within their own profiles.

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4. Set unpaid shifts

Finally, as one of our most requested features, you can now set a staffer’s wage to 0. This is useful for un-paid training days, volunteer work, etc.

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We continue to work hard at creating a simple, seamless, booking process for our customers.  Much of this month’s updates are based on generous customer feedback.  Thank you to all who contributed, you guys rock!

The information you want, where you want it

With Watu, we aim to provide managers with a very smooth workflow. This means providing the information they want, when they want it. The only way we can do that is with your feedback, so, please, let us know what you need and where.

Following that philosophy we just added a new tab to the staffers pages. We don’t do that without a lot of thought, otherwise that page would have a gazillion tabs. The new jobs tabs looks like this:

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How to Claim your Expenses

No more compiling paper receipts, stuffing envelopes, buying stamps and traipsing to the post office.  At last, we’re moving expense claims in to the 21st century.

Here’s how you claim online:

  1. Log in to your agency database.
  2. Click on “Pay” at the top.
  3. Click on “Claim Expenses”.
  4. Click on “Allow” to give us access to your webcam (If you don’t see this, your browser might not support access to your camera. We recommend getting the latest version of Google Chrome if that is the case)

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You have a few different options for claiming receipts:

  1. Using your webcam to photograph the receipt.  
  2. Dragging copies of the receipts (you may have photographed them earlier) on to your expense claim.

Right.  So, this is how we do it:

  1. Click on the date of the job that you are claiming for.
  2. Use one of the two options above to add a receipt.
  3. Add the type of expense from the drop down, the value of the claim and any note you want to add.  For instance, you might upload a receipt of £/$8 but only be claiming your allowance of £/$5.
  4. Click “Add Receipt”

While each receipt uploads, you can continue with the next one, making the whole process very quick.

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The section right below the form shows you the receipts you’ve uploaded, and their status. If any of these turn red, it means there was a problem uploading. Just click on the red box, and it’ll show what the problem is, and let you correct it and retry.

Once you’re finished, click on “I’m done claiming”. This will show you a list of the dates you’ve just claimed for, and confirm that you want to “submit” those dates. Once you submit expenses for a date, you won’t be able to modify those anymore, so if you still have more receipts for any of those dates, un-select them using the blue toggles to the left.

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At the bottom of this page, you can also see all the jobs you’ve worked on that need expenses claimed. If you don’t have expenses to claim for either of these, please click the button “I don’t have expenses to claim for this shift”, to simplify the workload of your agency managers.

DON’T FORGET TO CLAIM:  Uploading receipts is not enough, you have to *submit* the claim, otherwise the manager doesn’t know whether you have more receipts for those dates.

That’s all there is to it.  Simple.

Online Expenses

The postman arrives with a pile of envelopes.  Half of them are from your field staff, and most of them are expense claims.  You distribute the envelopes and your staff managers start sifting through the detritus trying to make sense of the claims.  Budgets are checked, receipts are ordered and eventually the semblance of a report gets to the accounts department to be re-processed and eventually approved or declined.  Sound familiar?

We wanted to solve this problem for you.  And now we have.

Introducing Watu Expenses.  Our pain reliever for the expenses process.

This is how it works:

  • Your staff managers set an expense allowance for a role or for an individual.
  • After the activity has been completed, the staffer logs in and claims their expenses (photographing the receipt using their computer or drag&dropping a copy of the receipt on to the shift).
  • The staff manager logs in and checks expenses, runs through all the claims, edit/approves & declines.

Job done.  All online, no paper, all within the rules and all stored in the cloud so that if you’re ever audited, you have an easily accessible trail online.

So here’s how you review and process a staffer’s expense claim:

Click on Payroll and then Approve Expenses

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You see all the jobs and their dates that have expenses submitted by staffers, pending your approval.  We’ve colour coded for ease of use.

  • Grey & ‘unclaimed’ – The staffer hasn’t claimed expenses for the day.
  • White – You haven’t yet looked at the claim.
  • Red – The claim is over budget.
  • Green – You’ve approved the claim.

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Clicking on a staffer’s picture brings up the details of the claim.  You have a number of options:  You can;

  • Reject any receipts by turning off the green toggle to the left
  • Change the amount of a receipt by clicking on the amount to the right and entering a new figure

The bar at the bottom shows what the allowance was, how much the staffer claimed in total, and how much you’re approving, which takes into account the changes you just made.

Clicking “Approve” at the bottom applies your changes (if any), and marks these expenses as approved, which gets them ready to be paid.

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We’ve helped identify claims that are over budget by turning them red.  You’ll also see a new button called “Approve up to {x}”, with x being the allowance. Clicking this button will approve all receipts up to the allowance you set for the shift, and reject any amount above it. Essentially, it caps the claim to the budget you had set.

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Finally, when looking at the general overview of expenses pending approval, you’ll notice a menu to the right with 2 options to approve all expenses without having to go through them in detail.

Approve all within allowance will automatically approve all claims as long as they as not over the budget set. You will still have to manually check the ones that are over-budget and decide what to do in each case.

Approve all up to allowance will also approve all claims within budget, and for those that are over-budget, it’ll cap them to the budget you set, thus approving partially, just like the last button in the dialog before.

These should save you tons of times if used carefully.

Paying for Expenses

Since expenses are reimbursements, and they do not show up in payslips sent to your staffers, they are processed separately from regular staffer payments. You’ll notice a new option when you go into the Payroll area:

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The process for paying expenses is very similar to that for jobs. You select a date range (automatically set to cover all approved expenses), you select which jobs you want to pay expenses for, and you pay.

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Afterwards, you’ll get a CSV file detailing all the staffers that need to be paid, their bank account details, and the total amount to pay.

Self-employed staffers will include their expenses on their invoices, so approved expenses will show up to the right just like shifts and adjustments, and you will select which of these were included and which aren’t, and process the invoice as usual.

This feature has been in beta testing for a month now and staff are finding it easy to use and are using it correctly.  We’re excited about the huge time saving this affords for your agency.

Onwards and upwards!

Payroll: Now for self-employed staffers too!

As we mentioned in our Payroll post, self-employed staffers have a completely different process than employees. For employees, you pro-actively decide how much you’ll pay them and just pay them. Self-employed staffers, however, need to invoice you. You still know exactly how much you need to pay them, but you do need to wait for the invoice. Once that invoice arrives, you want to do two things:

  • check that the amount is actually correct
  • mark the corresponding shifts as paid, so that for the next invoice we know they shouldn’t be included

Let’s look at the process, using our favorite Hollywood actors, as usual. We’ve been hiring Jesse Spencer through October to film a special episode of Dr House, and he just sent us an invoice for the first week of shooting, for £1,250.

To  enter this into watu, we first go to see all our self-employed staff inside the Payroll area:

We can see here that Jesse has £5000 in un-paid shifts. Clicking New Invoice lets us enter the details:

The idea here is to cross-check the invoice sent by the staffer with what watu knows we need to pay them, to make sure the invoice is correct. We do this by entering the invoice total, and selecting which shifts are getting paid in this invoice. watu will calculate the total amount of the selected shifts, and will only let you save the invoice if those totals match. If they don’t match, then there’s something wrong with the invoice which needs to be corrected before it can be entered into watu.

Once you enter the invoice total, watu tries to auto-select the shifts for you, starting from the oldest one we owe, until it “runs out of funds”. Even if the totals match, you should check that the shifts selected are the right ones. This will also help you notice things like past shifts a staffer forgot to invoice, or if the invoice includes a date that isn’t in the list of unpaid shifts, you can easily check previous invoices in watu to see if it was invoiced twice by mistake.

Whatever you do, and following our Payroll design ethos, watu will never let you pay for the same thing twice, and will make it very clear if something is being left un-paid.

After saving the invoice, you get a little “receipt” for it, so you can easily check a staffer’s invoices.

Next stop: Expenses!

And as always, we’d love to hear from you if you have any feedback.

Introducing Payroll

We recently launched our Job Signoffs feature, which was a necessary step in our journey to Payroll, one of our most requested features.

Payroll is very simple to use and very powerful, all guided by two main principles:

  • No one is accidentally left un-paid
  • No one is ever paid twice, or by mistake.

This sounds obvious, but there’s a lot going on to guarantee these two conditions.

Staffer’s Payroll Data

You basically need to know two things to pay your staffers: How much to pay (Scheduling takes care of that), and how to pay them. For this last part staffers need to give you their Payroll information, including their bank account details, whether they are your employees or they will be sending you invoices, tax information, etc.

(the details for this page will depend on your country, this example is for companies in the UK)

We have found that a lot of staffers consider this information highly confidential and they don’t want to share it straight away, which is why we don’t force them to enter it when signing up. Instead, we remind them that we need this information in order to pay them as soon as they get booked on their first job. We found this greatly reduces friction for staffers.

NOTE: If you already had payroll data in your sign-up form, we have automatically imported this into the new format. However, we found that a lot of this data was incorrect or incomplete, so staffers will need to review this data. For some, they will only have to take a look and click “Save”, but others will have to actually complete data that was missing. We will be e-mailing those that have been booked already, asking them to review this data, so you can pay them promptly when needed.

You can see this data for a staffer clicking in the top-right menu from the staffer’s profile:


Paying your employees

Now for the fun part:

Paying couldn’t be simpler. Click on “New Employees Payment”, pick the date range (which by default will already be what you probably want), and click on “Process Payment” at the bottom. Done!

In the process, watu will show you which jobs you are paying for, the date range involved, shift count and total for each job, while letting you choose not to pay for a job yet, if necessary. Clicking on a job will show you all the staffers you will be paying, and their total amount.

This is where the Job Signoffs feature comes into play. If someone wasn’t supposed to be paid (if they were absent, for instance), they won’t show up here. If someone was supposed to be fined or bonused, that’s already included. Your managers have already approved payment when they signed off, so you can count on this information being accurate, no need for additional review. Also, if someone already got paid, those shifts simply don’t show up here. If everybody has done their homework, Payroll can be as quick as one single click.

And no one is ever paid twice, or by mistake.


Missing information

If someone hasn’t done their homework, however, two things may happen:

Some of the dates you are trying to pay for may not have been signed off by a manager. You won’t be able to pay for those jobs. Also, some staffer may not have entered their Payroll information. You will not be able to pay them. You can pay for a job where some of its staffers are missing Payroll information; those staffers will simply not be paid at this time, but they will be picked up again in your next payment; everyone else will get paid. No one is accidentally left un-paid.

You do have, however, tools to help you fix the problem easily. We show the the phone number of incomplete staffers so you can call them and enter the Payroll information yourself. You can also easily contact your managers about signing off those dates, or even signing them off yourself, if you have all the information.

But to make it even easier…

Those two buttons are the key to Payroll bliss. With just 1 click, they will automatically email and/or SMS all the staffers and managers that need to do something so you can pay. All you have to do is start a payment a few days before your actual pay date, select the date range, and click these 2 buttons (if they appear). That will get everyone swiftly working for you, so that when the actual pay date comes, there is no red on the screen, and you can just pay immediately. With one click.

Once you finish the payment, you will get a CSV export with all the information about each staffer, their full payroll info, how much to pay them, and a breakdown of the total into wages, bonuses and fines.

Easy!

What about Self-employed staffers?

This page will only show what you need to pay to your employed staffers. Those who are self-employed require a completely different process where you wait for their invoice, check it to make sure it’s correct, and pay for the shifts in that invoice alone.

Read up on how to work with self-employed staffers

What about Expenses?

Expenses is a different process and it integrates beautifully into the payment workflow, learn how staffers claim their expenses and take a look at how to process expenses using watu.

As always, we’d love to hear what you think about this, and all the features in Watu.

Signing off on Job Dates

So, you’ve scheduled your job, booked your staff, big day comes, everyone shows up on time, the event goes wonderful and your client loves you!

Now what?

Well… You’ll have to pay all these people at some point for the marvellous job they did, and we wouldn’t want Watu to just decide to pay without some supervision, would we?

Introducing: Job Sign-offs!

After each date in each of your jobs, you will now need to review the allocated shifts to confirm whether everything went smoothly or not, and finally sign off so everyone can be paid what they are due. We’re not paying yet, just confirming everything went well, which is much nicer and faster to do every day in little nibbles, than having to look at thousands of shifts at the end of the month, trying to remember exactly what happened several weeks ago.

So, from now on, your welcome screen will let you know every day if you have pending sign-offs:

Don’t worry though, it’s going to be very little work. When everything goes smoothly, you don’t really need to do much, just give the page a glance and “Sign-off” at the bottom, and everyone is confirmed. Most days, it’s just one single click and you’re done.

In those rare cases when there’s a problem with a staffer, you click on their picture to expand, and edit as necessary:

  • Staffer didn’t show up? No problem, just flip that little blue switch, and they won’t get paid for this shift.
  • Did they break your contract terms? In seconds you can apply a fine.
  • Seriously misbehaved? Easily type up a note explaining the situation, and if it’s really serious, mark it as a warning so it shows up prominently in their profile, for you to be alerted in the future before booking them again.

Rating staff

From this page, you can also quickly rate how staffers did on this shift by simply clicking on the stars. You don’t need to do this, though, and in most cases you won’t, and everyone will get their default 3 stars, signalling that they did a good job.

Resist the temptation of giving everyone 5 stars! After all, if everyone gets 5 stars, no one will really stand out, will they?

The point of rating staffers is to let Watu know who underperformed, and who excelled. This is by definition for people that were out of the ordinary (in either direction). This will soon enable us to make your best staffers show up more often in searches, make better decisions and recommendations to you. However, if everyone has 5 stars, we can’t really differentiate them much.

Really, give it a try, just leave everyone with 3 stars unless they were extraordinarily good. Trying to give everyone 5 stars will leave you tired of so much clicking, and won’t be usable information  for ranking.

Unbooked shifts

There is one final thing that we need to bring to your attention when signing off a day, and that is shifts that were left unbooked. This could’ve happened because the shift was actually left unbooked, and no one covered it. However, it may also have happened because, in the rush that always happens before big events, the booking was arranged with the staffer, but not recorded into Watu.

If that happens, the booking really needs to get recorded in Watu, otherwise, that staffer won’t get paid. For that reason, we let you know when we find an unbooked shift, and ask you to either book it, or acknowledge that it really was left unbooked, and there’s no one to pay for it.

This is a security measure to make sure no one goes unpaid by mistake.

We hope you find this handy, and we’re working hard to bring you the final step of this journey: using this information you approved to actually pay your staffers.

Until then, please do try to sign off as often as possible, and as always, we’d love to hear what you think about this, and all the features in Watu.

Small improvements for Notes and Photos

Two new small but very handy improvements today!

We’ve been hearing your feedback and are making it easy to see a staffer’s photos and notes.

As you can see, the profile page looks quite different today. At a glance now, you can see that Andy has 4 notes added by managers.
Let’s take a look:

You now also have direct access to all the photo albums:

And easy navigation between the photos of each album, to be able to check all photos much faster

That’s all for now! Like I said, short, but hopefully this will save you some time when evaluating staffers