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Greg's Friday Tip

Greg's Friday Tip

Contact Us: 01908 265111

Greg's Friday Tip

Once a week, in my Friday Tip I try to highlight some unique and useful functionality provided by the People Inc. system. These tips are often based on a support call that I have taken that week, or on a project I am working on. My aim is to help you get more from your People Inc. system. If you do not receive these tips but would like to, please contact the People Inc. helpdesk and ask to be added to the mailing list.

Who is in work over Christmas?

6th December 2018

Most people will take some additional holiday over the festive period. sometimes it is difficult to find out who is at work, and who is not.

The People Inc. absence viewer enables users to select a range of dates and see a summary of holiday booked. All staff working at organisations who have the Employee Self-Service module will be able to see this absence viewer, but the plug-in is also available to users via the standard People Inc. HR module.

Organisations who use People Inc. time can use that systems Roster Planning screen or the Status Console to see if staff are available.

Another way to check availability.

6th December 2018

Another way to work out if staff are in work over the festive period is to check the People Inc. Employee Directory.

Not only does the Employee Directory make employee contact details available, this add-on also provides an indication of availability. This is based on an individual's work pattern and absence records as held within the system. Employees can update their availability information if necessary. Clicking on a row will display more information about that employee (and the information displayed can include most items of data from within the system, including their photograph.

Click here for more information.

2019 Holiday Allowances.

30th November 2018

Are your absence allowances set up ready for next year?

If you have not yet done so, you should now create your 2019 holiday allowances. How? Using the Recreate Absence Allowance wizard.

The Recreate Absence Allowance wizard looks at the holiday allowances for the current year and give you the opportunity to create similar entries for staff for the coming year. The whole exercise only takes a few moments. Click here for more information.

While I am on the topic of holidays and absence, before the end of the year you should also make sure you have added 2019 bank holidays.

Personalise your Wizard List.

23rd November 2018

There are currently around 30 or 40 Wizards and Plug-ins available for People Inc. Most users will not need them all. For example, somebody responsible for recruitment might only use the 3 recruitment-related wizards plus the Organisation Chart plug-in.

It is possible for each user to customise the list of Wizards and Plug-ins they see using their personal preferences. These are accessed using one of the small buttons at the top of the screen (the button with a tick and a cross on it). Displaying a list of just the Wizards a user needs will make the system easier to use.

Note that it is also possible for administrators to limit access to Wizards and Plug-ins by customising the user's access profile.

Wild-Card Searches.

16th November 2018

How often have you heard a child ask, how do I look up a word in a dictionary if I do not know how to spell it? Probably way too often...

Something similar comes up occasionally in helpdesk calls from users: how do I find some text when I am not 100% sure what I am looking for? The answer is, you use a wild-card search.

If you put a percentage symbol before and after a string of characters in a search, the system will look for records that have that string somewhere (anywhere) in the field you are searching. For example, if you were to search for: Job Title = %Manager% will list all the job titles that include the word 'Manager'.

You can specify list items for a screen.

9th November 2018

When you look at the employee screen you can view the entries individually, or display them in a list. It is possible to specify the columns in the list (and this is true on any screen).

To change the columns displayed within a screen (and choose the order of the columns), first view the records in a list, right-click and select 'Show Selection Window'. A dialogue is displayed that enables you to change the columns you have selected. Note that this is a personal setting (other users are unaffected)

To change the order of the records (or limit the records that you view in some way) you need to use the filters defined for the screen.

Hiding Confidential information.

2nd November 2018

The access profiles within the system make it is possible to hide confidential information from People Inc. users. For example, if users should not be able to see employee salaries, it is possible to hide them. This is done by simply un-ticking the option for that piece of information within their access profile.

Note that access profiles can be assigned to a group of users. Making a change to the access profile will then update the access available to all the users in the group.

Managing file Attachments.

26th October 2018

When attaching documents, it is important to understand exactly how attachments are managed.

Files attached to historical records are not attached to the screen in question; they are added to individual history records. For example, a sick note will be attached to a particular sickness record, a training certificate will be attached to an individual training record. So simply clicking on a history screen and selecting 'Documents' will not show all of the attachments for all of the history records.

Using the Action List.

19th October 2018

The Action List can be used to record and manage important activities relating to employees.

It is possible to get the People Inc. system to automatically add entries to the Action List, for example, when an employee approaches the end of their probationary period. This 'reminder' will then be displayed automatically a few days beforehand.

Using filters in conjunction with the Action List enables the user to see just the actions that are pending, and a list of these can be displayed automatically when the user logs in.

When a Manager Changes Job.

12th October 2018

When the manager of a team or department changes, the 'Reports To' details recorded in departmental employee records needs to be updated.

If the manager were to leave their job, then the “Register Employee As a Leaver” wizard has functionality to update the 'Reports To' field.

If the manager is changing jobs, the Advanced Organisation Chart plug-in enables users to update the 'Reports To' information.

Alternatively, a trigger can be added to the Department screen (under Companies) that updates all of the 'Reports To' information in employee records when the department manager is changed.

Outstanding Absence Requests.

5th October 2018

I get quite a lot of calls asking for a way to check for holiday requests that have not yet been processed.

If you have a copy of the People Inc. ESS module, you will know that employees are able to request holidays using their web-browser. The employee’s line-manager needs to review and approve these requests.

The line-manager will get a notification e-mail when a request is made, but may not approve the request straight away. It is possible for HR to keep an eye on the list of requests (via a screen within People Inc. or using a report) and make sure requests are not left in the queue for too long.

Managing Holidays - September Tasks.

28th September 2018

As we reach the end of September I have two tips for managing holidays.

Firstly, we are now three-quarters of the way through the year; most employees should have already been on holiday. It is therefore a good time to contact employees who still have a significant amount of holiday left to take. This will help to avoid a rush to take un-used holiday at the end of the year.

Secondly, to enable you to manage holidays in 2019, you will need to set up holiday allowances for the year. This is easy to do. The Replicate Allowances wizard enables you to select all the absence rules that need to be re-assigned next year, and then at the click of the mouse, re-create these.

Running Reports from a Screen.

21st September 2018

It is possible to run reports when looking at a record within People Inc. For example, when you are looking at a particular employee record, it is possible to print a summary of their absence records using a report.

There are two things that should be taken into consideration when you add a report to a screen:

  • The report should ALWAYS include a filter that selects the current employee record.
  • Make sure that you have checked that users with access to the system should be able to see the information the report provides.

If a report includes information from more than one employee, this should not be run from the data-screen. Reports that display information for more than one record should be kept in a folder in the Reports Library.

Keep a Copy of Your Work.

14th September 2018

When a report definition or a letter template are changed, it is possible to make sure that the original is preserved by creating a copy before you start work. This principle of having a back-up copy is extremely important.

It is essential that you have regular back-up copies of your People Inc. databases. Back-ups should be taken every night. There are lots of obvious reasons for doing this.

But taking back-ups is not the end of the story. It is just as important to make sure that, should you ever need to do so, your IT team are able to restore a People Inc. backup.

Deleting Employee Records

7th September 2018

When an employee record is deleted, the entry itself, together with any historical records and file attachment is gone forever and cannot be recovered. Users should therefore be protected from deleting employee records by mistake.

The People Inc. system will stop most users from deleting employee records. This is a setting in their access profile. System administrators should make sure that this is the case.

Having said this, to comply with GDPR, it must be possible to remove personal information from the system a number of years after an employee has left (and this is done with a People Inc. wizard). I suggest that just the system administrator is therefore allowed to delete employee records.

Many Happy Returns.

31st August 2018

It is always nice to receive a message on your birthday. A personal greeting from HR can be an unexpected pleasure.

As every employee's date of birth is held within the system, those with a birthday coming up can be listed using a simple filter, (perhaps selecting birthdays in the next 7, 14 or 30 days). Once you have this list, you can then send a birthday greeting via e-mail (even this can be done directly from People Inc. system).

This birthday reminder is something that can be set up quickly and easily; please call the helpdesk if you would like us to do this for you.

Generating Graphs.

24th August 2018

You can of course export data from People Inc. screens and use this within MS Excel to produce graphs. It is also possible to create graphs using the People Inc. reporting tool, and once set up, this tends to be much quicker and easier to do.

It is possible to generate a variety of different graphs directly from the data held within the system (from simple line graphs to bar-charts and pie-charts). The in-built reporting tool includes a 'charting' feature. Once set up, a report template that contains a graph can be re-run to pick up the latest information. A number of good examples are available as free downloads from the People Inc. resources page (or via the Report Browser plug-in).

A Helping Hand.

17th August 2018

Attending a People Inc. training course provides users with a good understanding of the features and benefits provided by the system. Training also introduces the techniques and approaches that will ensure they gain maximum benefit from using People Inc.

There is of course comprehensive documentation available, and users have unlimited access to the help desk, but having attended the right training, users can confidently and quickly get straight to the features they need.

We realise that no single approach will work for everybody and therefore offer three different approaches to training: centrally-run training courses, on-site training courses, and on-line training sessions.

Bespoke User Accounts.

10th August 2018

It is possible to set up user profiles within People Inc. to grant access to specific areas of the system to staff who perform a particular roll.

A good example of this is the management of equipment. Most organisations have somebody who issues phones, laptops, safety equipment employees. It is possible to record this against employee records (so that you can recover the equipment if the employee leaves). Setting up an access profile ensures that the user can only see basic employee details.

Some organisations ask the receptionist to update records within the system; most commonly, sickness and absence records. Once again, this is usually done via a custom access profile that stops the user from seeing information they are not supposed to have access to.

Hiding Old Records.

3rd August 2018

Some information held within People Inc. has a finite lifespan and as time passes it is no longer of interest. For example, a rule that the company used to use to manage holiday, or roles that employees used to fill. It is easy to hide this information within People Inc. so that the list and options presented to the user just contain current items.

Hiding information you no longer need is done with filters. Most pieces of information have a status recorded against them, and filters can be used to show just the current items. If these filters are made default setting, old, unused information is retained within the system, but in normal day-to-day use, it is hidden from the user.


Call P&A Software on 01908 265111 for some helpful advice or visit our Solutions page.