Measuring Staff Attendance and Performance
Measuring staff attendance performance gives you the ability to manage with information, and from there ensure that goals are met–until you measure something you really don’t know. How can you meet your staff performance goals without proper measurement?
The whole topic of staff tracking and measurement raises many questions, such as:
- How do you know staff are meeting contractual obligations?
- What are the benefits of having good staff performance?
- What risks are an organization exposed to through poor performance management?
Here we answer those questions and discuss the issues surrounding them.
This article is based on our 20 years of experience in the fields of cleaning, security, and other such industries. We regularly speak with clients and seek feedback, as well as speak with center managers, operations managers, and site owners, to get a full picture of what works and what does not.
Why is this important? Unless performance is monitored and acted upon, and your staff are managed properly, there will be an increased level of risk for your organization.
Examples Of Risk And Application Areas:
A few examples of risk are:
- Loss of contract. If you can’t show you did the work, then why should you be paid?
- Safety as a result of failing a check.
- Public liability through slip and trip injuries, intruder detection, and significant litigation issues.
- Customer complaints and the ability to show diligence.
- Maintenance and machine damage from non-attendance and checking for fault.
- Compliance with the regulations and special needs of an area or organization.
When is staff tracking, or as we call it, attendance verification, used? We use this system when:
- Shopping centers must be diligently cleaned.
- Security providers must show they are patrolling as required.
- Councils need to know their barbecues, toilet blocks, and other public amenities are being serviced.
- Businesses remote cleaning areas such as banks, telcos, schools, and elsewhere need to know when their staff are attending work.
- Large machinery must be checked for proper operation, oil spills, leaks, smoke, and other technical issues.
- Specialist couriers need to show their diligence in pickups, as well as show if they are delayed on site.
- Staff attendance and client complaints can be answered with staff attendance data.
We even use it in specialty areas such as:
- The storage of explosives or sensitive materials, when the storage areas or machinery must be regularly checked.
- Correctional facilities that must be regularly patrolled.
- Diamond and gold mine secure areas and conveyor belt systems, when they require manual checking.
What Is the Real Risk–In the Real World?
Speaking with cleaning and security contractors going back 20 years, it has become clear to us that keeping an area patrolled regularly reduces risk. Not only does this relate to slip and trip injuries in shopping centers, but it is applicable among many industries in similar ways.
Risk is all about probability and the totally random nature of human behavior. If you have a significant gap in attendances, such as having no one was there for a few hours when it should be every 15 minutes, then you may get away with it ten times, maybe a hundred times. Pick a number. Then, when an incident does happen (and it will!) when the gap is significant, litigation the payout will be huge. We have seen this time and again.
One telling comment made to us by a systems integrator we use was that, “when there is a slip and trip injury there is often no data”. Our first reaction was that the system had failed in some way; but he assured us this was not the case. The fact was the area was not patrolled, the risk increased, and the injury happened. This was backed up by cameras.
So how do you reduce this risk?
The answer is to monitor your data, and then identify increased risk times (meaning gaps of attendance). From there, ensure staff are trained and motivated to meet your goals. The final requirement, and the most important, is to regularly follow up. Don’t allow bad habits to take over. Monitor the situation and know what it going on.
Why Use Attendance Verification?
After discussing the potential risks, we have to ask, if your data is important, there must have been a driving force behind it. What is your driving force to install an Attendance Verification system?
- Obtaining insurance? Sometimes public liability insurance may not be granted without an attendance system and a business plan to monitor and action issues. With the skyrocketing cost of insurance due to claims, insurers want to reduce claims and have supporting data to assist in litigation.
- Litigation payouts? Insurers may demand proof of diligence before making a payout. That means you must collect and manage this information, and keep the data for delayed litigation, sometimes years later. Access to data can be a critical factor when determining litigation payouts.
- Is it contractual? There are times when attendance verification is demanded in a contract, and you must install a system to meet demands.
- Protection? Sometimes you hope to never need the data, but want it there just in case. You wish to have some kind of backup plan when issues arise.
- You want to know what you are paying for? If you want to make sure your staff are completing their assigned tasks and need a system in place to monitor them.
Sometimes the true effect of monitoring your staff or site incorrectly is a delayed response. It may take time for something to go wrong–and it always will. For example, if you cannot show diligence in an area over a long period of time, because nothing ever happens there, and an event happens that leads to significant litigation, your position can be poor. You will have proven your negligence.
In short, the ability to oversee a site or staff is critical!
I Have a Roster. Why Do I Need To Track Staff?
That’s a very fair question. The reality is that you create a roster is based on a requirement for staff walking a site, and then you hope it happens. Running a site by roster alone is guaranteed to produce results that are less than optimal. This is proven time and again.
“So the filing system is in charge?”
–Abrasive CEO upon finding that nobody was checking a site.
Our time in the field has provided us with several interesting stories to tell, and each story has provided us with an important learning opportunity.
Our first story begins in 1985, when there was a massive litigation payout to a claimant at a shopping center for an injury. The insurer asked the shopping center what diligence had been done to ensure the public area was kept safe, and the shopping center simply pointed out that they had paid a lot of money to a reputable contractor. The contractor was then asked what they had done–and the contractor produced nothing more than payroll records, schedules, and sign-in books. The insurer took the view that this was not enough; there was negligence because of the injury, there was no quality control. From this they declined to make the payout.
Our second story–and by no means our last–involves a major shopping center chain naming our products in contracts for service for a decade, before suddenly removing and almost discouraging their use. From this, the cleaning contractors reduced their quotes by a small amount, and for a time things went well. The problem was that when a claim inevitably happened there was no data. The shopping center pointed to the cleaning contractor and said: “well, the technology exists and you declined to put it in, so it’s not our problem.” It all became a litigation issue and the cleaning contractor was not the winner.
These stories have taught us that insurance companies are not stupid. If they can find a way to avoid a payout, what happens then?
Where is Success? Show Me the Magic
Installing a system without putting any effort into operating it is a recipe for disaster. Success can be measured by following these simple directives:
Make It Company Policy. It must come from the top. The system must be recognized as a priority and staff see that and know it without any ambiguity. It must become part of the culture that work is done well and is documented.
Do Staff Training. We see this time and again as a key issue. New staff arrive. Are they trained? Having staff given basic and simple training to understand the process and importance of logging attendances brings more and better data. The same for job security.
Monitor data and manage from it. This visibly reinforces company policy and places visible value on your data and that impacts staff performance. This is where your win-win-win results. Better data means the job is being done better, there will be less risk resulting in less costs, and the data will be available for litigation and contract compliance.
An adherence to these broad indicator areas are what we see time and time again with successful companies.
What Are The Measurement Options?
Elite-ID Systems generate data showing staff attendances at locations. We also track event information such as spill pickups, or other defined events.
The cloud based reporting system Nexus-WebEye will show you:
- Actual attendances as a running list of when a location was attended. This is the Center Visits report.
- Actual attendances in a graphical or pictorial manner which is easily understood. This is the Location Attenance report.
- How many times the location was attended. These are called Hits, and there are multiple reports to show this information.
- A running list sorted by date, time, person, job function, location and other options. This is the Center Visits report.
- Over a date range, what was the average time between attendances. This is called the Return Time, and the report is called Risk Management Report.
- The percentage of the time your attendances meet your requirement for regular attendances. This is called the Compliance Coverage.
Nexus-WebEye reports are extensive and offer different insights into your data. It is highly likely that just two or three reports are all you will need.
Here is a suggestion:
- Use the Risk Management report to show an average return time for your locations.
- Use the Location Attendance report to highlight gaps in attendance and get a quick glance at trends and activities.
- Seriously. This one is hard to beat for managing your site on a daily basis.
- Use the Center Visits report to show a running list of attendances that you can search and filter.
- Use the Location Analysis report for an in-depth, advanced analysis of your data.
All these reports can be scheduled to be emailed to a recipient. When they start work they can quickly view performance and take corrective action.
The measure of performance used depends on the industry and what is being looked for, and WebEye has options for this.
Measuring Cleaning Performance
Regular cleaning ensures that an area is kept clean and safe for everyone using it. There is ample evidence to show that regular staff attendances in an area will reduce the risk of slip and trip injury, and for many cleaning contracts this is a requirement.
Return Time. The traditional measurement of cleaning performance is the Return Time. This is the average number of minutes between attendances over a time and date range. Often a contract will require locations are attended ever 15 or 20 minutes. Reports in Nexus-WebEye will calculate this very easily.
This simplistic measurement ignores gaps between attendances. If gaps are large, then it is reasonable to assume that an area will have increased risk of slip and trip injury.
Compliance Coverage. This figure, shown as a percentage, is the amount of time that a location complies with your performance target. For example, if the performance target is 20 minutes and the compliance coverage is 100%, then the location was attended within target for the whole time and date range. However, if the location is less than 100%, then for some of the time it was outside the performance target.
This is a more analytical and arguably a more accurate measurement of risk, particularly if the maximum allowable length of a gap, in minutes, is used to determine if a location is compliant or non-compliant.
Measuring Security Performance
Mobile security patrols usually require a number of attendances after hours at selected locations. Security patrols in other areas will often have different requirements, such as attending regularly during a period of time.
In shopping centers, security patrols often act as deterrents to unruly behavior and other issues. However a significant role is to ensure the perimeter is secure and that the center itself is secure.
What Does Good Data Bring?
We have seen it so many times. The companies who are diligent at collecting data retain contracts better, win more contracts, and have fewer problems with litigation. Basically, their use of the system has allowed them to prove their diligence in satisfying the needs of their clients and the end result is a better business. This doesn’t come without work, however: to get good data they must have good staff doing their job, and they must be able to prove it. This means management has monitored, checked, and managed their staff so they are performing as required.
Big cleaning contractors get big for a reason; they satisfy the needs of their clients. Sure, their marketing, presentation, even pricing may be great, but without following that up with an actual product that works, their business models will always fail. Cleaning contractors do have a difficult life in terms of slip and trip injury–an accident may happen some years prior to litigation, and litigation may be the first notice of an event. Having good data that reflects ongoing diligence may make a significant difference to the legal proceedings. This will be particularly relevant if camera footage is not available, and even if it is, camera footage can’t be used to provide a measurement of diligence.
Here is an example:
A slip and trip happens 5 years ago. Litigation proceeds and a payout is claimed in the order of, say, two hundred thousand dollars. With good data you can show your staff were attending all locations on the site regularly and diligently. The payout will then be based on the injury and the risk of a punitive negligence component is reduced.
Having good data brings success from many areas.
When Data Does Not Match Reality
Good data brings success, but there will always be a reason for discrepancies. Two decades of experience has shown this time and again.
Here are the reasons for data not being available:
- Patrols not being done as required or expected.
- Staff not available to cover short term gaps (e.g meal breaks).
- Staff not caring, or not carrying their loggers.
- Poor placement of Beacons or iButtons.
- Inadequate setup of Beacons (i.e too short range).
- Data not extracted from loggers (e.g WiFi or internet down).
- Data not uploaded to WebEye (i.e for classic wand systems, data is still in the unloader or computer).
- Staff not patrolling right-up-to a location for some reason (common for entrances).
- Loggers going flat or not working.
The location of Beacons or the tracking resources such as iButtons is critical to success. A staff member is recorded and logged when they pass in proximity to a beacon or use a classic wand to touch an iButton. If these devices are put in positions where staff do not normally patrol, then you should expect your results to be poor. Staff must understand where they must pass to create a record of attendance.
There are a few golden rules to help solve these discrepancies:
- Make it easy on staff. Place resources in logical, consistent, and normal work progress places.
- Every tracking resource you use is a point that staff must attend. Do not use more than is required.
- Staff training is essential. They must know where their patrols are and ensure their loggers are charged and being used.
- Beware entrances in shopping centers. These are a continuing problem area. If it is a bright sunny day and light is highlighting how clean and lovely the entrance is, then staff may not approach and not get an attendance record.
- Ensure the site is tested to meet your requirements. Are your Beacons set properly? Is their range adequate?
- Ensure staff understand the value of the data.
What Are Failure Indicators?
Focusing on failure is negative way to run any business. However, understanding failure indicators may help in managing your system. This can be called Risk Management–you understand what can go wrong then take corrective action to prevent it.
Here are the biggest causes of staff tracking problems:
- Not valuing the collection of data and making it core responsibility for all staff.
- Failing to check the data.
- Not motivating and managing staff using insights from your data.
These are almost guaranteed to cause failure. If your staff think you don’t care, why should they?
“We don’t really use the data.”
“It’s only really used for slip and trip injuries.”
We hear this over and over again, and it is a total contradiction. For cleaning users, slip and trip injury is one of the most important uses for Attendance Verification.
What About Cameras?
Cameras can be great in the event of a slip and trip injury, a break in, or some event that causes a problem. However, cameras do have their limitations:
- How do you generate a number that indicates performance every day? With cameras, how can you rank attendances at locations?
- How do you manage your staff with cameras? Without measurement it is very difficult.
- Do you have access to camera footage? How easy is it to scroll through and find a required location at a time and date?
- How long is the camera footage retained for and how easy is it to access?
Cameras do have their place. For example, they can highlight spurious claims, claims when the claimant was not actually present, and the severity and cause of injuries. There are all very valuable insights and worthwhile as an addition to your staff tracking. However, cameras will not help you manage your staff.
For More Information
Return Time report shows on average how often staff attend locations on a site. It is a good indicator of diligence, though it does ignore gaps between attendances.
Location Attendance report is a quick graphical picture of attendances. This report makes it easy to understand staffing trends. It is not a measurement, rather, it is a graphic picture of attendances.
Location Analysis report and its options are great for scheduled daily reports to show non-compliant locations. There are three options with this report:
- Gap Analysis to show simple attendances.
- Return Time with options for largest gap reporting and exception triggers.
- Gap Analysis to calculate a Compliant Coverage percentage.
This All Sounds Like a Lot of Work!
This is something we don’t believe. If it is done well then it will become a culture of excellence for your staff, very quickly.
Here is a suggestion for a workflow to check performance:
- Daily: Site staff are automatically sent a Location Attendance report and a Risk Management report for ‘yesterday’. WebEye can schedule this easily.
- Location attendance is inspected for gaps in attendance. These are followed up with staff.
- If the report is poor, then print it out. Use a highlighter to outline poor locations. Pin it to the notice board for top-of-mind awareness.
- Risk management report is checked for contract compliance. Problem areas are identified.
- Weekly: An area manager is sent the Risk Management report for the previous week.
- Chase site supervisors for explanations on poor performing locations.
- Monthly: An area manager is sent the Risk Management report for the previous month.
- Inspect the report for lingering problems. Have weekly issues been rectified? Is there more remedial work required?
- Followup, document, and highlight all issues. Remember for the next weekly Risk Management report.
- Concerning issues can be inspected in-depth using the Location Attendance report for one location over a date range.
Note: these reports are automatically scheduled for email delivery as PDFs. The Location attendance report takes seconds to inspect for issues. The Risk Management reports also takes little time to check for non-compliances.
Written by Elite-ID
Last Update 2 May 2019