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How can the UK be more productive?

One thing is clear from the myriad of UK statistics; a huge number of UK companies just aren’t productive.

They may be working hard for their customers and stakeholders, but they just aren’t working smart.

Here is the evidence

• Productivity (measured as output per hour worked) is as a huge 18% below the G7 Average (ONS) and the widest since 1995.
• If we compare the UK to EA/EU productivity growth (2016) we are just above Italy and Greece in the group of 32 countries.
• Historically our productivity growth was 2% per year. Since 2007 growth has evaporated and as of 2017 (Q2) we are .5% below 2007 levels.
• To put this into perspective we are 20% poorer due to productivity stagnation than we would have been had productivity continued to improve at 2%.
• These figures are bad enough but when you remove London (home to the Finance Sector and 32% higher than UK average) from the figures productivity is even worse than the headline figures.

How does this affect your business?

The statistics reveal that the problem of poor productivity is not a problem that affects “some other business” but to some extent and degree most businesses. Poor productivity results in loss of competitiveness, reduced profits, wage stagnation and skill/staff attrition. If any of these resonate then you may also be one of the many and not the few.

Whose fault is it anyway?

Whilst it is true that national infrastructure (Rail/Roads/Broadband) contribute towards productivity gains (something the government is “working on”) this is just one factor which is outside of the control of business. The other critical and contributory factors remain with the CEO and the company board.


A task too often focused on maintaining the status quo rather than constantly striving to improve the efficiency of their area of responsibility.


Ensuring your staff are continually trained to perform their tasks at optimum performance. Improving skills not only increases output it also reduces rework though improved quality.


Outdated paper-based and unwieldy processes that simply burden staff and reduce their productive time must constantly be identified, reworked and automated.


The ability for technology not only to automate processes but transform them is no longer a vision but an everyday fact for most high-tech business. Both process transformation and (technology) automation should be viewed as a single inseparable goal and activity.

Planning & Measurement

The transformational impact of technology enables not just improved planning but also real-time measurement enabling a business to close the loop on productivity initiatives and implement continuous improvement easily and cost effectively.

Where do I start?

For many businesses the answer is simple and that is to measure the output per hour worked. One of the biggest costs for businesses is staff and highly productive companies have the following information at their fingertips and often in real-time;

• Where are my staff?
• What are they working on (activity/task/client/contract/customer)?
• Are my staff working patterns aligned to business demand?
• What changes must be made to align staff to business demand and avoid unnecessary downtime, overtime or unproductive time?
• What is my team’s overtime, absence and unproductive time today/this week/this month?

If you cannot answer these questions simply and quickly about your greatest and most expensive asset (your staff) then you cannot even start to identify issues, implement improvement plans or measure the effectiveness of those plans.

Nor have you laid the foundations for continuous improvement.

The biggest mistake companies make with improvement projects is that it is a one-step process rather than a continuous never-ending cycle that is impacted by technology, methodology, tools, training and materials.

Above all, its time to measure, not once or twice but constantly to ensure improvements are not one-off but continuous. The UK needs a Productivity Reboot and businesses should not wait for the government to make it happen but make the changes only business can make. That time is now.

Health & Safety is not compliance

These days the amount of compliance organisations must follow can often sink a ship. With all the tick box exercises and audits it can be easy to lose sight of their actual purpose. Health & Safety is just one such case. However, at its core, it is that organisations (whether private or public) owe a duty of care to their staff and covers the environment in which they work, the duties they carry out, the hours they work and the tools that they use to conduct their duties.

Inadequate equipment, poor environment, fatigue through long hours can impact on quality, cause accidents, absences and in serious cases reputational damage, legal action and loss of revenue. If care of your staff doesn’t grab your attention, then the potential costs most certainly will. Two of the world’s biggest disasters (Chernobyl the Exxon Valdez oil spill) were the result of human error linked to fatigue. An accident in your organisation may not end up polluting the world, but it could just put you out of business.

But many organisations regard Health and Safety as simply a “compliance issue”, a burdensome admin job that someone needs to do, when in fact Health & Safety when done right is a competitive advantage that improves productivity, efficiency and quality as well as staff retention and motivation. Once you think of Health & Safety not as a compliance issue but a commercial one your whole approach changes.

The good news is that technology is readily available to simplify and automate many aspects of Health & Safety not simply to avoid the manual paper chase but to improve the health and safety of your staff and the competitiveness of your organisation.

For instance, there have been many studies that show working long hours reduces both productivity and quality, e.g. working 60 hours a week does not deliver 50% more than 40 hours a week. Once you factor in potential for poor quality and accidents then you may be getting nothing in return for paying additional hours. Getting hours right has other benefits too; A recent study in Sweden showed that a 6 hour working day reduced sickness by 50%.

Solutions such as Imperago™ enable rosters to be generated that not only meet business demands but also consider suitability for staff, Risk & Fatigue. The result is shift patterns that not only meet business requirements and benefit staff but also reduce costs and risks.

Time and attendance solutions enable organisations to easily manage and monitor worked hours to minimise overtime and breaks between shifts to prevent staff fatigue. Some solutions also come with roll-call options that link to fire alarms and produce real-time muster reports direct to managers (or printers) in case of fire.

One of the reasons why Autotime developed CloudMuster and MusterPoint (Links to fire alarms and 3g eMusterPoints) was the result our office fire in 2015. As a technology company we knew that a clipboard and pen was not an efficient or accurate way of checking the whereabouts of our staff.

Naturally not all staff work in a building or offices, many (for instance care workers) make many external visits a day and this creates its own set of safety issues (Lone Workers) but again there are eSolutions that enable staff to be tracked (via GPS) during working hours to ensure their safety.

Of course, you shouldn’t ever just react by throwing technology at a problem and walking away, but neither should you throw a clipboard, pen and tick box at it either in the hope that this absolves you or your organisation of responsibility for the Health & Safety of your staff.

Above all a positive approach to health & safety comes with the realisation that everybody wins when staff safety and wellbeing is a core part of the business plan not an external imposition.

Connecting people and devices – the key to unlocking UK productivity

After years of stagnating wage growth, The Bank of England has hinted that the UK economy could pick up faster than expected and this could have a positive impact on workers’ pay packets.

With unemployment levels also at their lowest for years, you could be forgiven that thinking that things are looking positively rosy at the moment. But it’s not as positive as it might seem on the surface.

A surge in growth is expected to result in price hikes and an increase in interest rates in a bid to keep a lid on inflation.

The principal cause is the fact that the UK continues to be strangled by a productivity crisis, and remains languishing behind most other key economies, and only just above Italy and Greece who have had their own much publicised problems. To put this into perspective, workers in France produce more in four days than a British worker does in five.

Since the 2008 financial crash, UK productivity – the amount of output each worker produces for every hour they work – has more or less totally stalled. Up until 2008, UK productivity was growing at 2% a year on average. Fast forward ten years to today, however, and the reality is that we are no more better off than we were back then, and 20% worse off than we should be if growth had been sustained at 2%.

So what’s to blame for the UK’s productivity problem?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that it is not so much that the UK doesn’t have productive industries; it is just that more people are now working in less productive industries, with sectors like health and hospitality proving more popular than manufacturing and aviation, which have traditionally been at the heart of UK productivity.

Other research appears to point to the fact that UK workers are only spending a minimal amount of time on their primary jobs. In other words, spending a lot of our time doing things they’re not paid to do, such as endless admin, instead of value-added tasks.

Whatever’s to blame, the productivity conundrum isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

If the UK is to achieve the giant strides it needs to close the productivity gap, boosting the economy and living standards in the process, organisations must take steps to stimulate productivity.

Productivity-enhancing technology

In a digital era, when technology consumes much of our everyday lives, it’s perhaps not surprising that technology offers real cause for optimism in addressing the UK’s productivity crisis.

Yet despite this, technology in the workplace is failing to evolve at the same pace, with many UK organisations continuing to rely on outdated processes supported by legacy systems.

Why is this? Cost inevitably remains the prohibitive barrier to technology adoption in the workplace. For most organisations, implementing a new software solution is perceived expensive and out of reach of most businesses, especially SMEs and startups that have to weigh up the reward against the risk to their bottom line.

Even for larger organisations, the mere thought of investing thousands of pounds on a solution that may or may not deliver on its promise is too big a risk to take, while the time taken to undertake a complex installation project then training staff to use it correctly can be hard to justify.

The challenge facing organisations is to find and invest in technology that not only fuels tangible productivity gains but delivers an immediate return on investment.

While advances in mobile and cloud technology have provided a unique opportunity to rethink how work is done and where, so too are they transforming the way we can manage staff, connecting people and devices in real-time and enabling powerful solutions to be implemented at a fraction of the cost too.

Today’s attendance management systems maximise the opportunity afforded by the latest cutting edge wireless technology to empower organisations to capture real-time attendance and presence data and automatic timesheets from anyone, anywhere using any device.

This provides managers with the convenience to gain on-demand visibility of their workforce, so they can account for their movements at all times and safeguard their wellbeing.

With accurate attendance data to hand managers can better align working patterns to business demand, eliminate inefficiencies and wasteful costs caused by absences, overtime or unproductive time and engage with their staff like never before.

JVM Castings

One company that has seen an upturn in productivity since investing in an attendance management system is recruitment agency Workforce Staffing, who have adopted cloud-based presence and location portal EveryOneCloud to deliver total transparency of its supplied temporary workforce to the Worcester site of metal cast manufacturer JVM Castings.

Transparency of their supplied workers has enabled Workforce to assume full responsibility for the attendance of its supplied staff and proactively cover absences to maximise machine use in order to reduce costly downtime, while streamlining its payroll process.

Oliver Page Account Manager at Workforce says: “Implementing EveryOneCloud at JVM Castings has enabled us to consistently adapt to their fluctuating staffing needs to meet production demands while modernising our invoice and payroll functions by removing disruptive manual processes and freeing up valuable staff time.

“In the past, JVM could lose up to three hours in production time by the time each absence was covered. Now we can login to EveryOneCloud at the start of each shift to identify any no-shows instantly before the client does, chase up the individual to see why they haven’t arrived, and have a replacement worker on site within thirty minutes.”

Staying connected

During his Autumn Budget in 2017, Chancellor Philip Hammond’s productivity plan focused on improving the national infrastructure and plugging the skills gap, but overlooked general people management.

With productivity so intrinsically linked to the performance of people, it beggars belief why so many organisations fail to adopt modern attendance systems.

At a time when technology is revolutionising work and life, there has never been a better time to stay connected with your workforce and integrate technology within your processes to create a culture centred on efficiency, productivity and engagement.

The UK urgently needs to up its game. Organisations can no longer perceive their workforce as simply a cost of doing business but a key driver of performance and profitability.

The UK’s productivity problem is a huge puzzle that needs solving. Of course there are many pieces, but gaining transparency of your most expensive asset, your people, should be the first.

Case Study – Workforce redefines its managed service with ‘game changer’ EveryOneCloud

Award-winning recruitment and staffing specialist Workforce Staffing has labelled cloud-based presence and data software, EveryOneCloud, as a ‘game-changer’ for the recruitment industry after adopting the system to deliver total transparency of its supplied temporary workforce to the Worcester site of metal cast manufacturer JVM Castings.

The introduction of EveryOneCloud, a joint venture by workforce management specialists HFX and Auto Time Solutions which connects people and devices using cloud technology, has helped Workforce add significant value to the delivery of its managed service at JVM Castings.


Transparency of their supplied workers has enabled Workforce to assume full responsibility for the attendance of its supplied staff, assisting managers to proactively maintain staffing levels, track KPI metrics and streamline its payroll and invoice process.

EveryOneCloud is a real game-changer for the recruitment industry. The system empowers agencies to deliver a fully transparent and accountable service like never before, combining powerful and easy-to-use features such as real-time attendance verification, absence alerts, remote enrolment and automatic roll-call, with the convenience of being fully cloud-based so it can be deployed quickly and accessed anytime, anywhere.

“Implementing EveryOneCloud at JVM Castings has enabled us to consistently adapt to their fluctuating staffing needs to meet production demands while modernising our invoice and payroll functions by removing disruptive manual processes and freeing up valuable staff time.”

Oliver Page, Account Manager, Workforce.

View the full case study

Demolition & Recycling International (Jan – Feb issue) "Who’s on your site?"

We’re featured in the Jan / Feb 2017 issue of Demolition & Recycling International.

Staffing levels on demolition projects can be tough to keep track of – particularly on jobs including fluctuating numbers of full time and temporary workers. Greater London Demolition has found a solution with a biometric system from Autotime Solutions.

To start building a Time & Attendance Solution tailored to your requirements, click here.


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Vanquish - Demolition & Recycling International

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Case Study – Greater London Demolition improves site visibility with Vanquish

Greater London Demolition, one of the South East’s leading demolition contractors, has taken significant steps to safeguard its workforce on remote sites by scaling up its biometric workforce management system from Vanquish Integrated People Solutions.

The demolition and waste recycling contractor, based in Enfield, has actively used a biometric system installed by Vanquish-IPS for the past five years to track driver shift patterns at its Waste Recycling Centre.


Fluctuating workforce

Having enjoyed first-hand experience of its benefits, the company decided to roll out new terminals to accommodate its remote workers on their demolition projects so they can manage the entire workforce in a single system.

Due to the transient nature of the construction industry, Greater London Demolition’s workforce fluctuates according to the peaks and troughs of the business.

It employs a core team of 30 permanent workers but also has a bank of temporary staff and sub-contractors it calls upon according to business demands.

For many years, the company relied on paper-based manual timesheets to account for workers on remote sites and verify their working hours, but this was proving time consuming and cumbersome.

Workers and sub-contractors were required to complete and hand-in their timesheets to the Site Manager, whose responsibility it was to sign them off for payroll and invoicing purposes.

Jonathan Hanley, Operations Director at Greater London Demolition says: “As a safety focused demolition contractor we take our health and safety responsibilities extremely seriously and have a duty of care to safeguard our workforce.”

“Over time it became clear that relying on manual timesheets was an insufficient way of managing our remote frontline workers. While staff were asked to complete and return their timesheets to the site manager during Toolbox Talks, all too often Site Managers would spend days, even weeks, chasing individuals for their timesheets.

“As a result, the data was out of date by the time they received some timesheets so we had no way of identifying who was on site at any one point, only a historical version of events. Should a worker leave the site early, for whatever reason, we had no way of accounting for their movements. In the event of an emergency this could have catastrophic consequences.”

Greater London Demolition 2
Self-contained biometric system

Following a consultation with Vanquish Integrated People Solutions, Greater London Demolition decided to extend their automated workforce management system, which utilises biometric recognition readers to positively authenticate worker identity and attendance, to accommodate its site workers.

The terminals use field-proven hand geometry technology to create a template of the shape and size of an individual’s palm and then use the template to verify worker identity.

Deploying the system to project sites has streamlined the clocking process for workers. Instead of having to complete a timesheet, workers simply enter a PIN number and place their hand on the reader’s platen. Each transaction is recorded and sent to a central hub, where the workers are placed on the roll call for that particular site.

Site Managers can access the data from a secure password protected web portal anytime, anywhere so they can check who is on site at any one time, check the duration of each stay and manage concurrent projects.

“Escalating our system to manage remote workers means we can efficiently control all movements on site and ensure that everybody is qualified to be there. The start of a new project is notoriously labour-intensive with as many as 30 workers involved in the strip out process, before our fleet of heavy machinery such as High Reach excavators move in to deconstruct the buildings.

“A typical project can last for as long as 32 weeks. With so many comings and goings during that time it’s important that we can account for everybody on site. Vanquish allows us to do just that whilst providing definitive answers and facts at the click of a button.”

The system is fully self-contained standalone solution with little or no network connectivity required. The terminals are powered by batteries and harness the latest wireless technologies, including GPRS and GPS modems and Wi-Fi, to transfer data. Subsequently, Greater London Demolition has the flexibility to move the terminals to new sites as contracts are won and completed.

Hanley adds: “Vanquish is now an intrinsic part of how we operate. As part of the induction process, workers and sub-contractors are required to register with our system in order to carry out work on our sites.”


Streamlined processes

In addition to enhancing health and safety, Hanley says the collation of accurate and reliable data has also streamlined the payroll and invoice process.

“Vanquish has helped to speed up in-house admin processes by removing delays and discrepancies in their entirety, and providing facts rather than question marks about our workforce and sub-contractor performance.

“If a scaffolding sub-contractor, for instance, sends in an invoice for supplying a team of ten staff, we can quickly check that the invoice correlates with the attendance data so there is no confusion or discrepancy.

“Likewise, when it comes to processing payroll, the Accounts and Finance team no longer have to chase or wait for site managers to email over timesheets and duplicate the data. Accurate data relating to hours worked on site and overtime is readily available so they can process payments in seconds.

Tangible benefits

Hanley says the company’s decision to expand its workforce management system has delivered enterprise-wide benefits to the business.

“Everyone in the business, from senior management to accounts to frontline staff, has embraced the Vanquish system. It’s made our company more efficient and has brought benefits to all areas of the business, not only improving our health and safety compliance, but also saving us time and money.

“It’s great to come across a software solution which delivers an immediate return on investment and allows the benefits to be realised by construction companies of all sizes and not just main contractors.”

Contractor in the Construction industry? Click here to discover more about our dedicated workforce management solution for the Construction industry.

Start building a Time & Attendance Solution tailored to your requirements using our simple 5 step configuration system, click here.

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To download a pdf of the case study click here



Tomorrow’s Cleaning (Jan 2017) – "Integration, Integration, Integration"

We’re featured in the January 2017 issue of Tomorrow’s Cleaning

Even though the workforce accounts for every cleaning contractor’s largest expense, the value of workforce management data often goes unnoticed.

Not any more, however. Developments in workforce management software and cloud integration means contractors can unlock the value from their workforce data to drive business efficiency. Nick Whiteley from Vanquish Integrated People Solutions explains.

Workforce management for the cleaning industry has come on leaps and bounds.

Gone are the days of having to putting up with the frustrations and errors associated with timesheets and spreadsheets or ‘off-the-shelf’ systems that are unable to cope with the idiosyncrasies of the industry.

After much development work, solutions dedicated solely to the cleaning industry have started to emerge.

These have been developed in close collaboration with leading contractors to deliver the tools and features that contractors have long yearned, such as the ability to –

  • Centralise the workforce in a single software solution
  • View the workforce from a contract perspective
  • Track ‘actual’ worked hours against hours forecasted
  • Collate real-time data from remote client sites and track staff movements
  • Apply different pay rates for staff working on multiple contracts
  • Simplify the management of multi-tenancy buildings with Building Reference functions
  • Assign ‘best-fit’ and ‘best-cost’ to meet strict budgets
  • Create ‘Teams’ of workers who regularly work together for fast scheduling
  • Configure ‘Assumed Hours’ to manage workers

Collectively the advanced functions enable contractors to gain total transparency of the workforce, better plan and manage workers to meet the requirements of each contract and gain a better understanding of their labour costs.

Integration – the key to unlocking value from your workforce

As powerful as workforce management systems are on their own, their return and strategic value is heightened profoundly when integrated with other key business functions.

Cleaning contractors typically rely on a myriad of systems, such as CMS, accounting, payroll and HR to run their business, but a lack of direct integration with workforce management means contractors are left with an incomplete and disparate picture of how well a business is performing against customer expectations, costs and quality.

Workforce management systems provide the only opportunity to engage with the workforce at the point of service delivery. Subsequently, the data is critical to gaining an insight into contract costs and staff productivity.

In the absence of true integration valuable time is often spent duplicating data, leading to the potential for errors and inaccuracies to occur.

Innovations in cloud technology and API platforms have made integration with workforce management easier, faster to implement and more cost effective, opening up the possibility for ‘best of breed’ back-office systems to profit from workforce data to enrich their own functionality.

Data can now be ‘pushed’ and ‘pulled’ from connected systems in real-time without hiccups, allowing core business functions to be automated and streamlined without the need for further data entry.

With easy and open access to their workforce management system, contractors have the flexibility to leverage all the industry-specific features from a dedicated system, as highlighted above, and then extract whatever data they need, however and whenever they need it.

For instance, they can apply the necessary pay rates for each contract, prepare team rotas to meet service level agreements, and then track on-site activity to ensure staff have arrived and finished on time.

Attendance data can then be ‘pushed’ back to the central hub to populate timesheets required for payroll and invoicing.

Strategic benefits

Integrating core business functions with workforce management brings both administrative and strategic benefits.

With all data entered once and made available in a single database, which is always up-to-date, contractors can gain total a holistic view of their entire operation and make better informed decisions based on ‘one version of the truth’ to drive a more profitable business.

For instance, they can make a direct comparison between how long each contract takes to clean and hour many hours were budgeted for, and use this information to determine which contracts are profitable and those causing excessive drain on resource.

With this information to hand contractors can enforce best practice and cost out more accurate quotes safe in the knowledge that their margin is protected.

Meanwhile, on a day-to-day basis, time and cost savings are achieved through reduced data duplication, the removal of errors, and fewer payroll and invoicing enquiries from employees and clients.

The fact it’s all hosted in the cloud, means managers can access the data anytime, anywhere from any web-enabled device and the return on investment is immediate as there are zero demands on placed on the contractor’s network infrastructure.

The final piece in the jigsaw

For far too long, there has been a tendency for workforce management to exist as an isolated business function.

But with the workforce representing every contractor’s largest expense, as much as 75 per cent of overall costs, workforce management systems hold some of the most meaningful data available to contractors.

Thanks to new feature and integration capabilities, workforce management can now release its value and move to the heart of the decision-making process, where it rightly belongs.

Related links

Tomorrow's Cleaning Jan2017

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Use our 5 step calculator now and build a bespoke Time & Attendance system for your business, click here.

Cleaning & Maintenance (Dec 2016) – "Integration Streamlines Core Processes"

We’re featured in the Dec 2016 issue of Cleaning & Maintenance magazine.

In the current issue of Cleaning & Maintenance, Vanquish-IPS Software Developer, Matt Hawkes and Managing Director Nick Whiteley explain how the development of a new API platform is helping cleaning contractors to seamlessly integrate Vanquish with third party software without the need for further data entry.

In particular, they highlight how real-time integration with Vanquish workforce management data helps contractors  to drive efficiencies right across the business and gain a clear picture of how they are performing against client expectations, costs and quality.

Related links

Cleaning & Maintenance Dec 2016

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Vanquish enhances third party integration with launch of API

Real-time API integration to help organisations streamline core processes to deliver total visibility of their performance

Vanquish Integrated People Solutions has added a new robust Application Programming Interface (API) integration platform to its market leading workforce management software.

Vanquish Integrated Console (VIC) is a cloud-based plug-in application, which can be instructed to send, receive and synchronise data, so users can seamlessly integrate Time & Attendance data with their critical software applications to create a single unified system.

VIC has the ability to transfer data via staging databases, Third Party APIs, cloud based storage or raw text files, so it can be used to automate and streamline core business functions, such as the payroll process, without the need for further data entry.

Seamless flow of data

Vanquish is used by many of the UK’s leading companies across multiple industries to support their service delivery and control costs through the efficient management of their workforce.

Organisations typically rely on several software systems, such as accounting, CRM, payroll and HR and workforce management to run their business efficiently and control costs.

But a lack of direct integration means valuable time is often spent duplicating data, leading to the potential for errors and inaccuracies to occur. As a result this creates an incomplete and disparate picture of how well a business is performing against customer expectations, costs and quality.

Organisations now have the flexibility to use the VIC API to leverage the full functionality of Vanquish and then easily share the data with other connected back-office business functions.

For instance, they can use VIC to ‘pull’ in data from their existing HR system to utilise the advanced rostering features of Vanquish where, for example, they apply pay rates, prepare complex staff rosters, manage staff absences and track on-site activity.

Attendance data can then be ‘pushed’ back out to the central hub to populate timesheets required for payroll and invoicing.

Total visibility from customised system

With a seamless flow of accurate, reliable and up-to-date data running between systems, organisations can gain total visibility of their operations, and are better equipped to make accurate decisions to drive a more productive and profitable business.

Meanwhile, on a day-to-day basis, time and cost savings are achieved through reduced data duplication, the removal of errors, and fewer payroll and invoicing enquiries from employees and clients.

Matt Hawkes, Software Developer at Vanquish Integrated People Solutions says: “Adding API integration to Vanquish provides users with open access to their workforce data so they have the flexibility to utilise it however and whenever they need it to drive efficiencies across their business.

“The fact that we’re able to easily integrate Vanquish with virtually any third party software empowers our customers and vendor partners to bring together multiple ‘best of breed’ systems to create a powerful system to fit their needs.”

Nick Whiteley, Managing Director at Vanquish Integrated People Solutions says: “The key to running a successful business is making accurate business decisions in a timely fashion.

“By enabling real-time rich integration with Vanquish, organisations can unlock the value of Time & Attendance data to help enrich every business process connected to it in order to gain the visibility they need to improve overall efficiency.”

For more information call 0121 773 7222 or email [email protected].

Landmark UBER ruling casts doubts on ‘Gig’ model

The decision by an employment tribunal last week to classify UBER drivers as employees rather than self-employed contractors raises serious questions about the longevity of the ‘gig’ business model.

The landmark ruling means UBER drivers are entitled to receive basic rights such as the national minimum wage, holiday and sick pay plus rest breaks.

The case, brought to court by the GMB Union on behalf of two workers of the taxi firms, centred on whether drivers were misclassified as self-employed contractors rather than employees who should receive benefits and to whom the organisation has a legal responsibility towards.

Although the tribunal only affects two people, the result of the preliminary hearing is expected to have huge implications for UK’s rapidly expanding industry of on-demand transportation services accessible via mobile apps, where people work for multiple employers day to day without having a fixed contract.

UBER model under threat?

Nick Whiteley, Managing Director at Vanquish Integrated People Solutions says the decision poses a serious threat to the business model that has made companies, like UBER, a global success.

“Not having to pay employee benefits for years has been critical to bottom line growth in this rapidly expanding industry. Suddenly, that’s all about to change and companies will see their labour costs rocket through the roof and their responsibilities change as they face the challenge of having to track an on-demand workforce in order maintain accurate payroll and tax calculations, pension contributions and administer holiday entitlements and rest breaks they receive.

“The ruling also brings to the surface the dangers of relying on a business model that is currently experiencing an influx of legal lawsuits, suffers from bad publicity which can damage a company’s reputation and brand image, and appears to create a lack of long-term commitment between employer and employee.

“Employers need to rethink their strategies and create a working environment that increases productivity and rewards staff performance, and where competitive advantage is secured through the development of positive brand image created by customer acquisition and the retention of a reliable, talented and loyal workforce.”

Focus on the back-end

To achieve this, Whiteley says organisations need to shift their attention away from front-end applications to the often neglected back-end technology, such as workforce management.

He says: “While advances in customer facing applications have helped companies, like UBER, to accelerate their route to market and business growth, it is the consolidation of back-end processes that form the backbone of any business.

“Embracing cloud-based workforce management solutions to automate and integrate key processes for example, provides the real-time insight organisations need to make optimum use of their staff resource.

“With total transparency of the workforce managers can take steps to enhance staff schedules, drive productivity and introduce working practices that support staff wellbeing and overall job satisfaction. All of which creates a working environment that brings out the best from employees, which in turn adds value to the bottom line through enhanced service levels.”

Whiteley concludes: “We need to move away from the false binary thinking that is about protecting people or protecting profit. This is a false proposition. Where is the customer in this?

“A committed, skilled and engaged workforce can do more to increase customer retention and acquisition than any spend on marketing or underpricing strategy could ever achieve. It is the overall customer experience that matters and the workforce is central to this.

“Although the decision will more than likely be appealed by UBER, whatever the outcome, the courts have shown that they are ready to intervene and enforce limits on the ‘Gig’ economy. Subsequently, it seems this business model will face further questions going forward.”