Buddy punching is when an employee has a co-worker punch them in early or punch them out after they leave. It is a common practice that is extremely hard to detect. A common deterrent for buddy punching is a clock in machine with a fingerprint scanner. These however are notoriously slow, easily broken in a fast paced environment and can actually result in employees being late for work. We experienced this in our restaurant and replaced them with our own iPad clock in app called Timestation. This allows a quick picture to be snapped each time someone clocks in or out, a simple and effective solution. [Cornish Accounting Solutions can recommend the powerful app Deputy – fully compatible with Xero, and a proven success within Cornish hospitality businesses such as The Riverside in Boscastle.] Obviously there are other great apps out there, so find one that suits your business, but know that eliminating buddy punching can dramatically reduce labor costs.
Is there a pattern emerging with staff leaving later on certain days regardless of how busy you are. It is important to emphasise to your managers that they need to stick to the schedule and ensure their teams finish on time.
Try to ensure that staff only sign in when in uniform and sign out before changing.
Your staff should know when their break is and how long they are entitled to take. Allowing your staff to take breaks “when we’re quiet” leads to longer breaks as there is no pressure to get back to work. Also for staff who smoke, this should only be done on their actual break. Do not offer “Smoke Breaks” to staff.
Before, during and after service there are some practical things to do:
Pre & post service team briefing
A quick meeting before and after every shift gives you an opportunity to teach and listen. You can also take the opportunity to share targets with your employees at these shift meetings.
All hands on deck
Are all hands on deck at your busiest times. There should never be anyone taking their break or working in the office in the middle of service. Ask yourself, are all your staff fully utilized – at all times? If not what prep work could people be doing.
Don’t just assume that your staff don’t have the time to do the job. Sometimes it is just a case of working smarter. Often the time it takes to do a job is directly related to the time you have available to do the job. Think about what every job your staff members are doing. Are there more efficient ways of doing the same job?
How many employees does it take to change a light-bulb?
Watch out for tell tale signs of too many staff – For example two people to clean a fridge. Write a clear job description for each employee. A job description is a detailed definition of a job and a list of the specific tasks and duties the employee is responsible for daily, weekly and monthly. The more complete the job description, the simpler the task of training. Remember, staff with a confirmed list of duties will be less inclined to “fill time.” Sample job descriptions may be available from your HR department. You could also get started with a quick Google search.
Insure that there is an absenteeism policy and take proactive steps when employees are absent. Try to keep an absenteeism chart in their office, to easily monitor patterns.
As a manager you must examine your own work practices too. Do you come to work grouchy? Do you have sloppy or careless work habits? Is your appearance unprofessional? It is essential that you obey your own standards and rules and do not avoid addressing problems when they arise. Are you showing respect? Mutual respect plays and enormous role in good leadership. Share your goals with your employees, remember lead by example.
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