There is a lot going on within the app interface in HR Partner (There, we said it!). In talking to some of our new users, they often mentioned that they weren’t sure what certain menus or options did, and they were too nervous to click it to see what happens.

We totally understand, which is why we are currently rolling out ‘tours’ on our most complex screens. A tour is simply a step by step walkthrough that gives you a short explanation of what a certain button or menu option will do.

tour sample

Try it anytime – just click the ‘Take A Tour’ menu option on the lower left of the side menu bar.

Note: Not all screens have a tour at this stage, as we are slowly rolling this feature out over the next few weeks.

Seeing as a core feature of HR Partner is the tracking of your employee leave, and that we now have users spread across all corners of the globe, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the legislated holiday requirements that every country has.

Who has the best leave conditions for their workers, and who has the worst? I am sure the results will surprise you, as it did me.

Statutory Leave

Almost all countries have a statutory minimum annual leave requirement for their tax paying, income earning citizens. As well as the minimum time off, there is also paid public holidays.

We added the two together to come up with the total days per year that each country offered their employed subjects. We also show the breakdown between vacation days and public holidays in brackets after the total e.g. total days (vacation days/public holidays).

The winners are:

  1. Iran 52 (26/26)
  2. Cambodia 45 (18/27)
  3. Austria 38 (25/13), Malta 38 (24/14), Mauritius 38 (22/16)

The countries with the lowest leave are:

  1. Bhutan 9 (No public holidays)
  2. Japan 10 (No public holidays)
  3. Indonesia 12, Guyana 12 (No public holidays)

In addition, there are a host of countries that do not appear to have a minimum annual leave entitlement, including

  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • Palau
  • Tonga

And most surprising to me, the United States does not seem to stipulate a statutory minimum leave entitlement for workers, but in fact leave it up to individual employers to outline their entitlements to their own employees.

My wife was offered a job contracting to a US based company a few years ago, and they offered her a ‘generous’ 10 days of annual leave per year. The minimum for any position here in Australia is 20 days, plus around another 10 days public holidays per year.

Of course, the above numbers may not be 100% accurate, as I know that there are other complexities that come into play for leave allocations, including job/industry type, qualifications, and length of service – but I present that above figures as an interesting finding to think about.

The full list of all countries and their entitlements are on Wikipedia: List of minimum annual leave by country

Managing Leave

Did you know that HR Partner can help you track how much leave your employees are taking?

As well as an overall view of your entire company, including trend graphs of days taken off, our web application can also show you calendar views, and a special leave ‘heat map’ that lets you see which days of the week an particular employee takes most time off. Useful for those ‘long weekenders’ who like taking a Friday or Monday of on a routine basis.

employee leave

HR Partner also allows you staff to submit application for leave via their own employee portal. These applications can be approved by managers or the HR team automatically and quickly.

A few weeks ago, we announced StaffStatus, a completely free employee in and out status board that any business can use. We also mentioned that StaffStatus integrates completely with HR Partner, and this blog post is all about showing you how to accomplish that.

Normally in StaffStatus, you will have to go through the steps of creating your company departments, and locations, then creating each employee and allocating them to their respective department and locality. On top of that, you would have to upload pictures of your employees if you wanted your status board to have a bit of zing.

Well, with the integration, you have to do none of that at all. That’s right – all your departmental, location and employee info is pulled directly from HR Partner, including the staff profile photos. It is literally a few clicks to set everything up, then about two clicks each time after that to keep things refreshed between the two systems.

How do I set things up?

Step 1

Firstly, you have to have a working HR Partner company (free or paid, it doesn’t matter). You need to log into your HR Partner company, then go to ‘Company‘ and ‘Setup‘.

staff status

You will need two things from this screen. At the top, under “Your Custom Domain“, take note of the name before ‘hrpartner.io’ (in the red circle). This is part of your custom domain that you use to sign on and interact with HR Partner.

Next, lower down the screen, look for your ‘API Token‘. (Note: In our screenshot, we have blacked out the API Token, as it is very sensitive. Your API Token is essentially your password into your HR Partner company, so please do not expose it to anyone outside your immediate authorised users.)

Highlight the token with your mouse and copy it to your clipboard.

Step 2

Next, you can sign on to your StaffStatus company (You need to have already created a StaffStatus company and logon). When you have signed on, click on your profile picture in the top right, and choose ‘Settings‘.

setup

At the top of this settings screen, click on the green button that says ‘Integrate with HR Partner’.

Step 3

integration

On the next screen, simply enter in the domain name and the API token information you obtained in the first step, then click ‘Connect to HR Partner‘.

That is it! You are done. All your HR Partner information should now be in StaffStatus. Easy as that.

Refreshing Information

In future, if you want to refresh StaffStatus (i.e. if you add new employees or departments), simply come back into the Settings screen in StaffStatus and click on the green ‘Refresh from HR Partner‘ button.

integration

Disconnecting

If ever you decide to disconnect StaffStatus from HR Partner for whatever reason, you can do so by clicking the red ‘Disconnect from HR Partner‘ button at the very bottom of the Settings screen.

We are pleased to announce that we now have set up an independent status server in order to give you updates on our service and infrastructure.

If ever you experience a performance issue in HR Partner, please visit status.hrpartner.io to see if any of our servers or processes are non functioning.

HR Partner

Coincidentally, this morning we had an issue with our reminder email engine, and it took a few hours to fix, so we were glad that we could inform our customers via this medium.

Of course, we always usually also publish outage information on our social media channels for convenience.

Tip: You can visit the status page and click the subscribe button to be automatically sent an email if any systems go down.

Ok, one of the most common requests we have had in HR Partner was the ability to record partial days for leave. It seems that many of you have employees who only take a few hours off per day, and you want to still record that. We were getting several requests per week from our hundreds of users!

Is it easy, or too hard?

Well, even though it sounds trivial to add a decimal point to the ‘Duration’ field in our system, it really wasn’t. We had to be really sure that we didn’t break anything, as that duration field was used in a lot of areas, including the leave request area.

But the good news is that we have finally done it. We have been really careful to test and ensure that everything still works, including the report writer, our API and the employee portal.

Entering partial (or many) days

Well, if you look at the Leave/Absence recording screen, you will now see that the field can accept a decimal value, so you can do, say, 0.5 for a half day.

leave

But…

You can now also enter in the value, not only as a decimal, but also in quick format for weeks, days, hours and minutes.

leave

For example:

  • 0.25 will give you 0.25
  • 2d will give you 2.0 (2 days)
  • 4h will give you 0.5 (4 hours – half a day)
  • 30m will give you 0.0625 (30 minutes – fraction of a day)
  • 3w will give you 21.0 (3 weeks – 21 days)

You can even combine the above factors:

  • 1d 4h will give you 1.5 (1 day and half a day)
  • 2w 3d 4h 15m will give you 17.5313 (work THAT out!)

So now you can tailor your leave durations to the finest level. These duration shortcuts ALSO work on the Employee Leave Portal, so your employees now only need to enter in the starting date for their leave request, and the duration they want, and we will calculate the end date automatically for you.

Ah, but I can hear you ask = “How does HR Partner know that 4h is equal to half a day? What is 4 hours is a THIRD of the day for our company that has 12 hour shifts?”.

Well, that is easily solved. We have added a new field in the company setup screen where you can specify the normal number of hours in your working day.

setup

Most businesses will stick with the 8 hour work day (so 4 hours is half of that), but if you have a case where you working day is longer or shorter, feel free to change this under Company then Setup to suit your own needs, and HR Partner will use this as a baseline for converting hours and minutes to decimal days.

Enjoy!

Please enjoy using this new feature, and please let us know if you come across any issues with it (or you want to suggest any more improvements on it).

We are very excited to announce a new web app called StaffStatus, which is a simple and effective ‘In and Out’ board for your company, so that you can know where your team members are.

A manual In and Out board is usually a fixture on most large companies, so that the admin or reception team can know where everyone is. We have modernised that concept and polished it up so that you can now access and update your team boards from virtually any device with a web browser.

mac

Best of all – it’s free

That’s right, we decided to release StaffStatus as a completely free web app, with no ads, and no crippled features. We just wanted to say a big “Thank You” for the huge support we have received with HR Partner to date.

No limits on the number of employees, or number of devices you run it on.

It integrates!

While StaffStatus can be used as a stand alone service, it has also been built from the ground up to integrate seamlessly with HR Partner. Once you link the two services together, it is a matter of a single button click (or tap) to synchronise your employees, departments and locations between the two.

Additionally, we love using Panic’s StatusBoard app in house, so we had to have a one button integration that allows you to see your team boards within the StatusBoard app as well.

ipad

This app also allows you to stream your dashboards to any HDMI TV via AirPlay, so if you have always wanted to show your staff in and out board on a big screen in your lobby, now you can!

It is quick…

Unlike most other online offering, there is no need for every single one of your team members to have a login account or have to remember yet another password. Only the StaffStatus administrator needs to have a login.

Everyone else just gets a unique URL link that they can use to either view the team board, or update their own status. Oh, and you can send this link out to them via a single button click within the app as well!

iphone

One little known fact of HR Partner is that you can use it as a communication centre for your employees. Did you know that you can select just a particular group of employees and send them an email or SMS broadcast – all from within HR Partner?

Some examples of why you would want to do this are:

  • You might have a shift time opening up if an employee calls in sick and want to see who of your after hours floor staff might want to claim some extra hours.
  • You might want to send out a meeting reminder to all staff in a particular department.
  • You might want to alert all staff in a particular location about the movers coming in to deliver new furniture.
  • You might want to let all team members working on a particular project know about an ad hoc update meeting coming up.
  • …and much more…

How do I group my users?

HR Partner lets you group users by many factors, including:

  • Position
  • Employment Status
  • Department
  • Location
  • Custom Tags

Of all the above, custom tags are possibly the most powerful. You can create as many custom tags as you want, and each employee can be assigned multiple tags.

Lets go ahead and create a custom tag for our employees working on a particular project, and add some employees to that tag, then send them all an SMS message.

Creating Tags

You can create tags in HR Partner by going to Company -> Data Files -> Categories. This will show you all the categories that are available to you in the system. Scroll down the page and look in the lower right corner, and you will see all the tags that have been created for your company.

tags

To create new tags, simply click the ‘+ Add Tags’ button and give the new tag a name.

For more information on creating Categories, check out our documentation by clicking here.

Allocating a Tag to an Employee

Once you have created the tag(s) you want, you can then allocate them to employees. To add a tag to an employee, click on their name from the Employee List screen.

Then, once in the Employee View screen, click on the green button on the right hand side.

Then, scroll down the page until you get to the Employee Tags heading. You can click in this field to start entering a tag name, or choose it from the drop down list. You can choose as many tag names as you like.

tag

Once you have chosen the tag(s) you want, scroll right down to the bottom and click on ‘Save’.

Now, if you look at the header of the employee view screen, there will be a list of tags shown under their other details.

Grouping Employees by Tag

From this same screen, you can click on any of the tag names, and you will be taken to another screen which show you ALL employees who have this same tag.

For our example, we will click on the ‘Project Icarus’ tag to see everyone else working on this project.

pic

Now, on the top right corner, you can click on the ‘Send Message’ button, and choose whether you want to send them an email or a text message.

sms

Note: You might not be able to send emails or SMS messages depending on the security settings you have been given by your HR Partner company admin – please check with them if you don’t see these options.

You can selectively remove certain users from the list of recipients if you like, further narrowing down the list of people you send to.

(Note: The system will only send to employees who have an email address or mobile phone marked as their ‘Primary’ contact address – please check our documentation pages for more information about this).

Thats it! See how easy it is to group employees and send them a message in one hit?

Please bear in mind that while email messages are free, SMS text messages DO cost money to send, and you can buy credits to top up your SMS account so you can send hundreds of texts.

Note: Every company is given about 30 SMS messages for free when they sign up so they can test this feature out at no cost

For more information on sending messages, please check our documentation.

Did you know that HR Partner supports organisations with distributed teams? You can set up different time zones for different locations, and then on the employee portal, whenever an employee visits their portal home screen or the Employee Directory screen, they will see a display showing their local time plus the times in each location.HRIS time zones

Now they can check if the person they want to speak to may have gone home for the day, or may be on their lunch break.

Don’t forget that admin users can also set their own time zones, and this means that reminders etc. will be sent to you at your own time preference.