Tricks of the Trade: If you’re celebrating a National Food Day, be prepared for WAR!

National food days are a great marketing strategy! If they weren’t, we wouldn’t have a national food day for literally every day of the month. Don’t believe me? Check out this site: Foodimentary presents “Today in National Food Holidays”. Some businesses have even made food holidays famous! Most people know about IHOP’s National Pancake Day or that they can get free Ice Cream at Dairy Queen on Ice Cream Day. By the way, both are marked down on my calendar.

So why am I making a big deal about insignificant holidays that are basically PR stunts? Well if you are advertising free food in celebration of a holiday, be prepared for war! Or at least a massive crowd of people.

I ran into this problem during my lunch break when I called in an order to McAlister’s. When I walked up to the entrance of the food chain I was greeted with a few lines out the door and a giant inflatable iced tea bouncing about the wind. The inflatable announced it was National Iced Tea Day! Great, I can save two or three dollars on my meal today I thought.  As I made my way through the door, I was met by a panicked employee who asked me to get back in line. I thought she was mistaken obviously, I called in my order, the call-in line should be much shorter.  Nope, the call-in line was hanging outside as well. I jumped in line and waited… and waited… and waited. My lunch break was only 40 minutes long and I was now 15 minutes into it with a line that hadn’t budged.

At this point, I was a little frustrated but figured I could cancel the order and speed over to the Mickey D’s before the end of my break. I pushed by the pile of people and told a stressed out cashier to cancel my order. The distraught workers hopelessly looked through the heap of food orders and finally agreed to cancel, once mine couldn’t be found. They were still nice enough to send me on my way with one of their famous half-gallon sized sweet teas.

I’ve worked at a variety of restaurants in the past, so I understand that pain that comes with trying to serve an overabundance of people. Celebrating a National Food Holiday is good marketing, but celebrating a National Food Holiday, keeping the lines in control, and giving a level of service so your customers feel like it was any other day is GREAT marketing!

As a business, use these high traffic days to prove to your customers that no matter the hurdle, you can still provide them with an excellent product in a reasonable amount of time. Of course, some days can be a wild card, but with Food Holidays you can create a strategy and dominate!

Here are a few tips for preparing for a busy day:

Be fully staffed

Assign someone to be a greeter. A greeter can create order and assure customers that they are going to be served. Also staff extra bussers or cleaners. A larger crowd just means more trash and debris. It is crucial to have tables wiped down, trash taken out, and counters cleared. A messy restaurant just contributes to the overall look of chaos. Plus, if people are waiting for a table to be cleaned this increases the time for table turnover!

Mobilize your POS

By now, people are tired of hearing about Chick-fil-a. Let’s be honest, though. There is a reason they’re getting so much hype. Their food isn’t much better than the hundreds of other chicken places out there, but their customer service is. Chick-fil-a knows how to handle a crowd with style. When their two drive-thru lines weren’t enough, they mobilized their POS and started having employees walk up to cars with iPads to take orders and payments. Their lines can get extremely long, but they usually speed along when they have a team to tackle them.

I noticed at our local McAlister’s, they simply did not have enough registers to keep up with demand. If they were to have a mobile POS setup, employees could have taken orders of people further down the line and brought their order to them.

Organize lines

Nothing is worse than walking up to an unorganized line. Where does it start? What is it for exactly? Did that person just cut in front of me? These are just some of the unsettling thoughts that bounced around my head during my wait. My McAlister’s trip was made even more frustrating when I couldn’t distinguish between the called-in order line vs. the dine-in line.

The best way to organize lines is to set up barriers. Get cheap stanchions and ropes and use them to create direct paths to the registers. This will also prevent customers from jockeying between lines, which adds time and frustration to your customers’ wait. Use your greeter to direct traffic to correct destinations.

Motivate your staff

On busy days, your staff are the real rock stars. Have them come in early and prep them for the day they have ahead. Have contests and issue out free meal vouchers or gift cards to the hardest working employees. Mentally prepare your employees on your plan and ensure they feel like they can handle their responsibilities. When employees look and act confident, customers will definitely take notice!

So, celebrate these National Food Holidays, but don’t go in without a game plan! Get your employees and restaurant organized and make the day as awesome and fun as it can be for your employees and customers both! Oh, and Happy National Pancake, Ice Cream, Chicken Finger, Margarita, etc. Day!

Need help getting a game plan together for boosts in sales? I know a guy…

Call us at 866-684-7191 or email info@timeforge.com to learn how TimeForge can prepare you and your team for anything.

TimeForge is joining Team Truno!

TRUNO, Retail Technology Solutions is set to acquire TimeForge; together the two companies provide technology solutions for retailers to optimize their margins through enhanced labor analysis and decision support tools.

TrunoForge

August 2nd, 2016 – Lubbock, Texas: TRUNO, Retail Technology Solutions (TRUNO), the retail industry leader in integrated technology solutions, today announced they have reached a definitive acquisition agreement with TimeForge, the retail industry leader in labor management software. The acquisition, expected to close August 15th, 2016, strategically aligns resources and infrastructure between the two companies, affording retailers the industry’s most comprehensive labor analytics solution.

In a dynamic landscape of changing regulations including recent minimum wage increases, health care changes, and overtime reimbursement rulings, labor analytics is an increasingly important aspect of doing business. By leveraging technology to optimize the labor force, retailers can in turn optimize their margins. “In an industry known for operating within small margins, TRUNO believes strategic labor operations are instrumental in the success of brick and mortar retail. TRUNO will continue to invest in solutions we believe deliver valuable results to retailers,” David Miller, TRUNO’s Chief Executive Officer, stated of the strategic business transaction. “The acquisition of TimeForge is directly in line with TRUNO’s vision to lead the navigation of technology, empowering businesses as the most trusted solutions provider.” The TimeForge suite of solutions has proven to provide retailers value in reducing labor spend and increasing profits through real-time online scheduling, employee tracking, and payroll reporting.

“Building on a long history of successful partnership, we are excited to join TeamTRUNO,” Anthony Presley, Founder and President of TimeForge, said of the integration. “Our products, when combined with TRUNO’s vast point-of-sale data accessibility and knowledge, create a lot of value for our customers.” Both companies are headquartered in Lubbock, Texas, and the two companies share similar cultures and values.

About TimeForge

TimeForge helps retail, grocery, and hospitality businesses manage labor costs and build employee schedules while reducing turnover, increasing retention, and improving profits. Used by thousands of businesses throughout the world, TimeForge is designed from the ground-up to simplify the complicated and error prone process of employee scheduling and labor management.

About TRUNO

TRUNO is the national leader in integrated technology solutions focused solely on the retail industry. With over 35 years of experience and innovation, 3,000 customer sites, unmatched customer service and a world-class network of partners — TRUNO delivers secure, stable and integrated technology solutions enabling retailers to navigate through an environment of ever- /changing regulation, competition and technology.

Laying Down the Tracks of Motivation: Motivation in the Workplace

Help lay the tracks of motivation for your employees.

Motivated employees and performance management are an integral part of any business. Employees with higher motivation are able to perform closer to their full capacity, reach goals, and find meaning in doing so. Obviously, you want your employees to be happy. Employees help represent your business, and making sure they’re happy and motivated creates a better image for you and more satisfied customers. This sounds simple enough, but motivation and good performance don’t usually just happen on their own. It’s up to you to “lay down the tracks” of motivation and do some performance management.

Just like the “Little Engine That Could,” believing in yourself and “thinking you can” will  help you finish any task or goal. However, motivation is much more than self-efficacy, which Fred C. Lunenburg defines as a person’s belief that they can accomplish a task or goal. Even though employees with high self-efficacy are shown to be more driven to learn new tasks, engage in positive workplace behaviors, and set reaching goals, they sometimes need a coach or someone to lay the tracks.

The “Little Engine That Could” had as much self-efficacy as anyone, but he still needed tracks to lay the path for his goals and motivation. As a manager, laying that track is a simple task that can greatly improve the performance of employees. There are many tools and techniques you can use to do this, but here are a few tips from Chalofsky and Krishna’s article in case you need them…

  • Seek out opportunities for employees to use their skills and abilities. Just like a little child showing off how fast they can run to their parents, opportunities to shine are a great motivational force.
  • Increase relationships between employees and supervisors. Create a path for employees to interact, learn, and see possible opportunities to grow their careers.
  • Show employees how their work is meaningful and how it affects the business. The knowledge that they make an impact in the business drives positive reinforcement.
  • Make sure employees are engaged in well-suited positions. When you accomplish this, your employees will go above and beyond to succeed in their roles.

So, go get your team motivated. Talk to your employees, find out what drives them, and use that to build your tracks. Create goals, get your team engaged, and grow your business one step at a time. If you need a hint at what’s working and what’s not, TimeForge has a feature that tracks shift satisfaction. Finding the motivation and laying the tracks for your business should be a fun and growing experience.

We strive to create relevant, helpful, and sometimes entertaining content for our readers. Tommy, our graphic designer, found two great articles while writing this blog post about motivation in the workplace. They are Self-Efficacy in the Workplace: Implications for Motivation and Performance by Fred C. Lunenburg, and Meaningfulness, Commitment, and Engagement:The Intersection of a Deeper Level of Intrinsic Motivation by Neal Chalofsky and Vijay Krishna. Check both of these out when you have a chance, they’re fantastic resources and give more details about some of the things mentioned in this blog post.

Promotional Marketing Ideas for July 2016

We’re nearing the end of June, which means it’s high time we discussed marketing ideas for next month, July!

Every month is overflowing with special holidays and celebrations. These are perfect marketing opportunities for businesses, especially restaurants and retailers. Whatever kind of business you’re running, you can help your customers celebrate these holidays and find your own benefits in doing so.

There is a huge variety of holidays in every month, so there’s something to enjoy for everyone. For example, July’s holidays range from Chili Dog Day, to Stay Out of the Sun Day, and everything in between. There are so many that most of the days are designated to more than one holiday. Check out this awesome calendar of July holidays!

July Holiday Calender

Some topics won’t settle for a single day of celebration or awareness. Many have an entire month designated to their cause. Here’s a list of some topics with the best marketing potential:

  • Blueberry Month
  • Family Reunion Month
  • Lasagna Awareness Month
  • National Culinary Arts Month
  • National Grilling Month
  • National Hot Dog Month
  • National Ice Cream Month
  • National Pickle Month
  • National Picnic Month

As you can see, there are tons of different ideas you could use for marketing opportunities in July. Not so coincidentally, many of the ideas involve summer staples such as piña coladas, grilling, picnics, and several related to ice cream.

Promoting your business with one of these holidays is really easy! Your promotion can be as simple or elaborate as you want. For example, if your business happens to sell pecan pie, you could simply encourage customers to try it or offer a discount for it – just because it’s Pecan Pie Day (July 12th). If you want to try something a little more elaborate, have a contest among staff to see who can sell the most pecan pies on July 12th (did you know we have a cashier analytics tool?) or have a customer bake-off with prizes.

For extra promotional power, integrate your ideas with social media! You can advertise your promotion, create an event for it, and share photos from it. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to take and share pictures for your event. Many customers love a good photo opportunity, and they can help you reach a larger audience.

Having a theme day, party, or promotion to celebrate these special months and days is a great way to promote your business. They’re also a surefire way to break up the routine for you, your staff, and your customers and inspire all to try new things. All of this means more business for you! So get to marketing and promoting your business, and good luck!

Play it Safe and Succeed with Risk Management and Compliance Tracking

Compliance tracking and risk management are huge concerns for all businesses. It feels like pretty much every week you hear about how someone messed up (and then you’re kind of afraid to go back there. Sorry, Chipotle). You know when you hear these stories, someone somewhere failed to stay compliant with some standard or regulation. Sometimes it’s something small and simple that doesn’t make it past local news, but it can also be a huge messy deal that ruins the reputation of the whole company.

The issues aren’t just limited to health concerns and restaurants. There are all kinds of compliance troubles you can find yourself in if you aren’t careful. One of the big ones that can cause a lot of problems is making sure your business and employees have all the proper licenses, certifications, and training to do their jobs. Just ask our friends, Zenefits, who is now paying the consequences for not following the rules about which insurance agents were actually licensed to sell insurance.

Compliance tracking is essential because everyone loses when compliance slips. Customers, employees, management, investors, partners… everyone. Issues can add up quickly, and the legal and financial consequences can be anything between a slap on the wrist to the entire business tanking. Everyone’s jobs are at risk if the mistake is severe, especially those of the people directly involved. More important is when the consequences involve someone’s well-being. If luck has it, no one will end up seriously hurt. This is where licenses, certifications, and training are especially important. They keep customers, employees, and everyone else safe. Accidents and mistakes are far less likely to happen when people are qualified and actually know what they’re doing. Compliance tracking is important because no one wants to learn the hard way, like Chipotle or Zenefits.

Not that you need them, but here are more examples of compliance-related things no one wants learn the hard way:

  • Failing to adhere to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards puts customers’ information at risk, which is a huge liability. Last year, Target and Home Depot both had huge data breaches that cost them millions of dollars.

  • In Texas, selling alcohol to a minor can result in a $750 – $4,500 fine. Selling alcohol at all without a TABC license can put the seller in jail. Other states have their own laws regarding alcohol and take them very seriously.

  • There are a number of different certifications and training courses required for lifeguards. A business with a swimming pool must employ certified lifeguards or post the proper warning signs. Not complying with these laws is a huge liability.

  • Failure to pay taxes often leads to time spent in jail, which isn’t known to be fun.

  • Not complying with EEOC regulations can cost a business $50,000 or more, depending on the number of people the business employs and the offense.

Speaking of learning the hard way; have you heard the rule about toilet plungers? Everyone knows you have to make sure you have a toilet plunger before you need it. If you don’t, you will regret it when you’re standing in line at the store with just a toilet plunger and everyone around you knows what happened. It’s embarrassing enough when you accidentally clog the toilet when you’re alone at home but you have a plunger and no one has to know but you. Imagine you’re having a party at your house, all your friends are there, you have to close your only bathroom, run to the store to buy a toilet plunger, AND the person who clogged the toilet was you. Are you imagining it? That’s how it feels to get caught with compliance problems, only probably at least 1,000 times worse. Kinda like compliance, if you just take care of it from the beginning, it will save you a lot of trouble and embarrassment.

Keeping people safe and businesses out of legal trouble are pretty convincing reasons to utilize compliance tracking, but they aren’t the only reasons. Imagine you’re traveling in another state and decide to try this other city’s version of your favorite fast food restaurant. If they made your favorite meal with different and lower-quality ingredients than what you get at home, you’d be pretty disappointed, right? This is why store compliance is a thing. No one wants to disappoint their customers, so corporate offices make rules for their stores to ensure that every store meets their standards and upholds their brand.

Corporate marketing teams of well-known companies like McDonald’s, Subway, Target, and more have done marketing research and know what works best for their brand. They aren’t picky just because they think it’s funny to make people jump through hoops. All of the details they require in stores, like menus, posters, uniforms, decorations, and even training, go into building the image they want their stores to give their customers. To put it simply, store compliance gives a store its best chance at success by providing the necessary materials and guidelines.

Risk management and compliance tracking are key components of running a fruitful business. Don’t allow compliance slip ups to keep you from being successful! The best way to avoid compliance issues is to be proactive. And maybe use an HR management software with certification and compliance tracking that helps you set rules for yourself to follow, keeps track of your certifications, training, and other HR documents, and warns you that they need to be renewed before they have to be. The right HR management software with integrated compliance tracking will help you worry less and make your business the best it can be.

Labor Scheduling with Bid Shifts

The more I interact with restaurant and retail managers, the more I realize that everyone has their own style of labor scheduling. Some people really enjoy the ability to copy and paste in Excel. Some people prefer to handwrite their schedules. Some people schedule based on employee preferences. TimeForge can accommodate the vast majority of managerial scheduling preferences. One option TimeForge offers is the Bid Shift.

A TimeForge Bid Shift is a way for managers to let their employees know that there’s a shift up for grabs, and allow the employees to bid on the shift, like an auction. Bid Shifts can be “first come, first served”, meaning the first person who bids automatically wins. Or, managers can receive bids from every interested employee and pick the winner.

Bid Shifts are a great way to keep managers and employees happy. Employees get to decide which shifts they want to work, and managers get the coverage they need without having to worry about scheduling their employees for shifts they can’t or don’t want to work. Everybody wins!

Coupling Bid Shifts with alerts when employees are nearing overtime or their maximum hours is a great way to take the stress out of scheduling. You know your employees are getting the hours they need, because they’re essentially picking their own shifts, and you know they aren’t getting too many hours, because you’re being alerted when you need to stop scheduling employees for a pay period.

TimeForge has several other options to accommodate the scheduling preferences of each and every manager. Take a look at the AutoScheduler, Shift Swaps, and ShiftBuilder features!

Restaurant Scheduling Software, Communication, and Peanut Butter & Jelly

Good communication in the workplace is critical, perhaps even more so if you work in a restaurant. This is why a great restaurant scheduling software should be able to handle workplace communication, along with scheduling.

Are you familiar with the terms “heard”, “behind”, “on the fly”, and “86”? Have you ever said a sentence like, “I need two chicks, all day” and not felt weird about it? While the rest of the world might think you sound a little misogynistic, your co-workers won’t bat an eye. They’ll know you need two grilled chicken plates. You’re communicating quickly, clearly, and effectively.

We like to test our communication skills during our weekly team meetings here at TimeForge. For our last test, we split into two teams, and one person from each team was given instructions from the rest of the team that had to be followed exactly. The task they were being instructed to perform was simple: Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

But, there was a catch. One team’s instruction-receiver, Joe, had to call his teammates on the phone, act like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was the most complicated piece of technology he’d ever seen (let alone built), and follow the step-by-step, verbal instructions he was given. The other team’s instruction-receiver, Brett, was given written instructions from his teammates that he had to follow exactly, without anyone ever speaking out loud.

The peanut butter and jelly exercise was a great lesson. We were able to benchmark our own communication skills and gain some insight into how important good communication really is. We learned that verbal communication is often quicker and more effective than written communication, as the phone call team (My team! Woo Hoo!) finished significantly earlier than the written team. However, both teams were able to complete the task and create pretty delicious-looking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The written team was able to relate exactly what instructions they were given, since they had a physical copy to reference, while the verbal team couldn’t quite remember what had been said, which was an interesting twist.

So, what does our little sandwich-building exercise have to do with restaurant scheduling software? Well, it may be true that verbal communication is more efficient than written communication. It’s a lot more effective to yell “Behind!” as you’re squeezing between a server and a wall, carrying a sizzling plate of fajitas, than it would be to try and write it down while your hands are busy doing 16 different things. But that doesn’t mean that written communication is useless. It’s actually highly important, especially in the workplace, where thorough records need to be kept for liability, accountability, and other -ability reasons.

What if that scalding plate of fajitas ends up being dropped onto some unsuspecting toes while being weaved through the obstacle course of coworkers and corners? Would it be sufficient to tell another manager about it, without writing anything down? Of course not. Someone needs to make a note of that somewhere, along with what was done after the fajitas were dropped. Was the person wearing some kind of fajita-proof shoes that protected their toes? Were there some minor burns that you doctored up yourself? Did those little piggies need to be taken to the hospital? Any and all of those scenarios need to be recorded, or you could end up facing serious fines if the person is injured and nothing was done about it.

A great restaurant scheduling software can allow you to record and permanently store such liability information, along with any other information you deem important. Maybe you want to keep a note for every time an employee shows up late. Maybe you want to let all of your staff know about the mandatory peanut butter and jelly team meeting I’m sure you’ll be scheduling now. Maybe you want to have a record of all of the changes that were made to the times employees clocked in/out. A powerful restaurant scheduling software can make all of that happen – quickly and easily.

Doesn’t it sound better to store all of that pertinent information in an online database, as opposed to an old napkin or a three-ring binder or whatever other writing surfaces you may have lying around? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have important notes and changes automatically stored in a handy virtual filing cabinet that you never have to rifle through? What if you could be sure that no important note would ever again go missing or have coffee spilled on it or be ripped to shreds in a freak accident? Well, all of those things are possible with one of the many wonderful restaurant scheduling software programs available. Just make sure the software you choose has a “logging” feature!

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Scheduling Software and Holiday Magic

By Isla

Scheduling for busy seasons can cause serious headaches for employers, especially if they don’t have a great restaurant scheduling software to help them. Believe it or not, restaurant scheduling software can be used for more than just the restaurant industry. Take grocery, for example. The green-tinged haze of Saint Patrick’s day subsides and livers everywhere whisper their thank-yous, but stores immediately begin bursting with stale chocolate eggs and less-than-trustworthy malted treats in preparation for Easter. How do they make sure they have enough staff to get the work done?

As a kid, I was always fascinated with how stores seamlessly transitioned from one holiday to another. How did they manage to erect those behemoth arrays of chocolate in a holiday conforming shape? Who did the work? Picasso? Rembrandt? No. At the time, I was convinced it was elves. Elves that were fueled by nothing more than heavenly stale chocolate and the determination to succeed in life. I, clearly, wasn’t exactly correct.

They say age brings wisdom. When I realized that store displays were not magically created by elves driven to keep up with the busy season, but rather by hard-working men and women, I was actually more impressed. I saw that giant Halloween jack-o-lantern filled with candy in a whole new way. I, being my clumsy self, can barely walk down the street, much less create an exquisite store display. So, that brought me to my next question: When do these men and women actually master the art? It never dawned on me that people actually work at night. But, when I entered college, I quickly realized working at night is a very real thing. This very real thing can create a very real problem because, without adequate night staffing, especially during busy seasons, a glorious eight foot tall chocolate bunny made of miniature chocolate bunnies turns out looking more like a deformed rat with a limp.

It’s important to save your business from the embarrassment of people confusing Thumper with Whiskers the alley rat. However, for some managers, coordinating the schedule for their employees is as taxing and complicated as the bunny itself, because they haven’t yet discovered the magic of a restaurant scheduling software. They may think that what they really need to build is an elf to schedule the people building the bunny. Never fear, there is a solution for those staffing woes. A great restaurant scheduling software can help make your employee scheduling easier, no matter your industry. With tools like an AutoScheduler and a few clicks of a button, you can ensure that Whiskers won’t be visiting your store anytime soon. It’s a little magic, and it’s as amazing as a football endzone constructed out of soda cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get your business’ labor management in shape!

By Tommy Brinn, Graphic Artist

How are your New Years resolutions going? Still going strong? I will assume everyone is hanging on to what you sought out to do, to change, to reshape, to advance in better ways.

Another question… Have you ever applied a New Years resolution to your business?

Shouldn’t we all be doing this? To set goals, to have the resolution to make your business better than the year before. For some businesses, this may be a challenge financially or with the thinking that there are things you just can’t change. In some cases, that’s true: you can’t improve a business from nothing, you can’t change that ridiculous monthly building rent, and some utility costs change so little they may as well be fixed. But some things can change: how you schedule, employee morale, turnover rates, sales to labor ratios, time spent babysitting the clock, unaccounted breaks, employees riding the clock, buddy punching, and you and your managers’ wasted time. A first step in the right direction is with TimeForge‘s scheduling and attendance features. TimeForge is kinda like a gym whipping your business into shape; it helps improve the little things that only slow up and tie down your business.

TimeForge is a labor management software application designed to not only do things like schedule your employees and track their attendance, but it also does the those small things that can get your business into tip top. When you have a New Years resolution of losing weight, small things like walking more, using the stairs, eating more veggies, eating less sweets, and getting more sleep all work together to accomplish that goal. Same with growing and boosting your business’s bottom line… TimeForge starts out on the little things, like improving communication between managers and employees, saving time when building schedules, reducing employee turnover with positive morale, fixing costs with accurate attendance, and many more little fixes that culminate in one end result: making your business even better than it was before.

But in the end, taking those first steps for your business can seem daunting. That is why we offer a TimeForge free 10-day trial, so everyone has the opportunity to take those first steps for their business.

So, lets get in shape for the beach – I mean the quarter.

Inspire others with your business resolutions in the comments below.

The Importance of Trust to Employee Productivity

I love seeing our customers fully embrace mobile labor management technology in the workplace. Between employees texting to confirm shifts posted in TimeForge, and both managers and employees using the TimeForge apps to coordinate scheduling and attendance, trust is built, employee productivity rises, and efficiency is maximized!

Why does this thrill and surprise me? Because I’ve worked in a “No Cell Phone Zone.” When I was a freshmen in college, I took a temporary job at a school memorabilia shop across the street from the university I attended. Employees were not allowed to use their cell phones. In fact, they had to be locked in an office and retrieved from the manager before we left. In other words, there was absolutely zero trust from the manager.

On one particularly busy football game day, the manager asked to see our text messages before we left that evening to ensure we hadn’t been texting on the busiest day of the year. I was outraged. What an invasion of privacy and lack of trust! The manager assumed that employee productivity would increase if we didn’t have access to our phones.

The problem was that a single sent message was grounds to be fired – and I saw it happen. I respected the rules that day and kept my job (Indeed, I would fold and refold a lot more t-shirts before I moved on from that place.), but I never fully recovered from the lack of trust my employer showed us. Our purses were checked before we left each day, and we were not allowed to be in the store for more than thirty minutes if we were not scheduled to work. We were all considered thieves with expert knowledge of where money and the more valuable items were. I assume that my employers had employed enough bad apples to ruin their impression of the whole bunch, but that hurt! Demonstrating obvious distrust for your employees only reduces employee productivity and morale. I learned this later as a retail manager.

Even worse, the store management team spent more time interrogating employees than managing them. Schedules, written by hand and taped next to the old-fashioned time clock, often didn’t show up until the day before the new shifts began. Time-off requests were generally forgotten and rarely granted. Rather than pay invoices with our paychecks, we had a notation in the memo of each handwritten check detailing hours worked and federal deductions. What a mess!

Managers need tools that allow them to manage in whatever style works for their business and keeps employee productivity at a maximum. That’s what impresses me about TimeForge. I appreciate the tools that make management as transparent or as guarded as each individual employer needs, tools that respect varying management philosophies. With mobile apps and text notifications, you can communicate to your staff about important stuff, like time off and schedules, on the device your employees already know like the backs of their hands.