Control Your Employee Absenteeism to Control Costs

Control Your Employee Absenteeism

As an employer, I tried to reduce absenteeism of my workers in order to cut the company’s overhead. I am sure you all might have faced or presently facing the same problem. However, on a little research on my employees working pattern on the shop floor and the payroll sheets, I discovered some startling facts. It was observed, that a particular employee was absent on one specific day but it was not reflecting on the payroll, and as an employer, I am paying for the work not done at all. My organization was using card swiping and card punching system for attendance.

It was found that co-workers were swiping the cards or punching the cards of their colleagues. In other words, they were buddy punching. Another thing was also observed after brainstorming with the HR department that the employee incentives were not distributed properly. With buddy punching and lack of proper distribution of incentives the employee absenteeism increased and productivity decreased. These resulted in dipping revenue earnings for the company. As an employer, we all face these type of problems, and with proper tools, it can be quickly tackled.

Controlling Absenteeism

The first and foremost objective as an employer is to manage the employee absenteeism. By taking few positive corrective measures, we can effectively tackle the situation and turn the tables another way.

The first and foremost is to withdraw the age-old card swiping and punching system and install a biometric time clock that can only be accessed by the employees just putting their biometrics like fingerprint scanning, face detection or iris scanning. We all know, no two people have same biometric characteristics. So this totally cut down buddy punching type absenteeism. Nobody was able to give a proxy for anyone. The biometric time clock with the appropriate software recorded the actual clock in and out time and transferred the data to the central server of the office.

It was also calibrated to note down the overtime, the exact break time taken by the employee. The employees got cautious about the system in place and worked as per schedule. When the payroll was calculated it was done with ease by the accounts department as everything was crystal clear and smooth. The employees were also happy getting paid for the exact time they worked.

The second thing is to cut down absenteeism of the field staffs.

For them, as an employer, you can go for mobile-based GPS enabled apps of attendance. The field employs can no longer be present on the field yet absent in the real sense. You can track their real-time activities through the app, and all the information’s are stored in the central server of the office, and they are paid accordingly.

If any organization takes these two steps, as I did, you can cut down your employee absenteeism to a maximum level except for the leaves they can make as per government rules and regulations. Of course, while taking these steps employee benefits are also to be looked upon with a humanitarian approach.

We know an incentive motivates any employee to be present in the workplace and work hard giving more production output. As an employer, we all should provide employee incentive as an appreciation for their work. This incentive also reduces employee absenteeism drastically as all feel a sense of attachment to the organization and work with more enthusiasm. A happy employee tries not to take leave and comes to the workplace regularly.

Calculations of overtime & payments thereof are very critical. Installing the biometric time clock with software that can calculate the overtime with precision is always preferred as the employees get paid for every second of overtime they had done. So are the site staffs, who often work without any schedule considering the nature of their work in the field. When the employees see that they are correctly paid, they work sincerely and do not make it a point to be absent.

There are more other sophisticated methods too, like the cloud computing. But the mobile-based GPS enabled app or the biometric time and attendance clock along with proper software like works very well. We can surely reduce absenteeism of our workforce by introducing these modern technologies in our workplace. The primary objective is to cut off buddy punching and mobilizing the workforce in a productive environment.

When the employee sees that nobody can give proxy on their behalf, their absenteeism from the workplace shall definitely decrease. The art is how judiciously we control and regulate the rate of absenteeism amongst our employees taking some of the technological tools. We all want to earn money, be it employer or employee but a positive approach to the work is always welcome. Take the above measures and see.

Schwab Review

Charles Schwab reviews

Charles Schwab reviewsThe tools offered by Charles Schwab are ok, but they are nothing to get excited about.

Specifically, their charting software is where they go wrong. The charts have poor graphics and resolution, making them hard to read and understand. It is very difficult to recognize a trend on a Schwab chart. The charts still cover the standards such as volume bars, moving averages, and other indicators.

The stock screener presented on the Charles Schwab platform is best amongst its peers. It is easy to use, effective, and informative. You can screen based on a wide variety of fundamental and technical indicators with this tool.

What makes the Charles Schwab screener unique is its ability to screen specifically for foreign stocks with the exclusion of domestic rivals. This is useful when attempting to research emerging markets.

Charles Schwab has standard level two within their platform; however, they don’t offer any other special features. Schwab was the first online discount broker in the industry and has maintained its simple platform with simple tools for the novice trader.

Commissions: D

Commissions for this discount brokerage are definitely above average. For an individual who doesn’t make more than 120 trades per year, Schwab charges $12.95 per stock trade. If you are the type of investor who trades frequently enough to meet the 120 requirement, then you only pay $8.95.

Options trades are $8.95 plus $0.75 per contract. This online broker is specifically known for its superior broker assisted trades; however I have never used the service. A broker assisted trade will set you back $25.

There are no idle account fees with Schwab which is a plus; however, there is a $50 dollar fee for a full transfer to another broker. A partial transfer costs $25.

Customer Service: D

Schwab is probably the most popular online broker for stock trading, but its customer service is horrendous. When I tried to merge my two separate accounts with them they really screwed things up.

In fact, they accidentally mislabeled one of them as belonging to my sister, who also trades with Schwab. When they realized the error, they froze the account entirely and would not allow me to sell my recently acquired position.

The stock fell fast and I lost thousands. Finally, they tried to console me with 5 free trades at $12.25 value per trade.

Trade speed and reliability: A

Trade speed and execution is excellent with this discount brokerage. I have never had a problem with or a delay on any of my stock and options orders. The website has been consistantly fast and reliable ever since I opened my account 6 years ago.

Registration: B

Opening a brokerage account online takes about 15 minutes. You must provide your contact information, select the account features you want, and decide how you’ll fund your new account. Finally Schwab will ask you to verify the information and create a login name/password if you’re a new client.

Funding your account electronically is suggested with Schwab, since their customer service is poor.

When I first funded my account via check, the money didn’t appear in my account for 10 days. Fortunately, this discount broker is not opposed to an instantaneous wire transfer.

e-trade Review

etrade reviews

etrade reviewsE*Trade gives you a lot of control over your home interface with customizable options such as market watch, watchlists, and news. Like most online brokers nowadays, they offer hidden stops, bracketed trades, and trailing stops.

In particular, E*Trade provides a fair amount of investment articles designed to help you learn more about the markets. They also put an emphasis on their retirement planning and tax center.

Recently they added a Blackberry Application that allows the user to view real-times quotes and trade via mobile phone. The new technology is called Mobile Pro.

As far as charts go, E*Trade is one of the best.

Their charts are clear and come in many sizes. You even have the capability of saving your chart settings to be implemented on a later date, a feature that proves to be a major time saver in the long run.

Of course, charts come in varying time ranges and can also display indicators such as a volume bar.

E*Trade also implements a quality stock screener into their platform. You instantly sort through thousands of stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs according to criteria on their database. They have custom screens, and pre-set screens depending on what you are looking for.

Commissions: F

If you make more than 1500 trades/quarter you pay just $6.99 per trade. If you only make between 150 and 1499 trades/quarter your cost is $7.99 per trade. If your account balance is over $50,000 or you make 30–149 trades/quarter, you pay $9.99 per trade. All accounts with less than $50,000 and if you make 0–29 trades/quarter, you’ll have to pay $12.99 per trade.

In conclusion, the average long term investor will be hit hard by E*Trades commissions. Of all the discount brokers I have reviewed, none charge more for a stock trade than E*Trade.
Some don’t find out until it is to late, but a quarterly $40 maintenance fee is charged on all accounts with less than $10,000. Below is a summary of stock and options fees.

Stock Commissions

Qualifications Cost per trade
Less than $50,000 in assets and 0-29 trades/quarter $12.99
$50,000+ in assets or 30-149 trades/quarter $9.99
150-1499 trades/quarter $7.99
1500+ trades/quarter $6.99

Options Commissions

Qualifications Cost per Trade plus cost per contract
Less than $50,000 in assets and 0-29 trades/quarter $12.99 plus $0.75
$50,000+ in assets or 30-149 trades/quarter $9.99 plus $0.75
150-1499 trades/quarter $7.99 plus $0.75
1500+ trades/quarter $6.99 plus $0.75

Customer Service: B

E*Trade is open for questions by telephone 24 hours a day and can also be contacted by phone or email. If you need to contact them in person, 20 offices around the nation are available for consultation.

Unfortunately, E*Trade has received many customer complaints about service all over the web.

I have compiled a list of the most frequent complaints they receive.

-locked accounts
-wire transfer difficulties
-confusion regarding their joint account programs

***Many many individuals with inactive accounts have reported that E*Trade will sell their stock without notifying them in order to pay the $40 maintenance fee.

Trade speed and reliability: A

It is reported that buying and selling on E*Trade is a breeze. Their platform is effective at trade executions and timing is reported down to the second. The trade-ticket offered by E*Trade for submitted an order is auto-populated for convenience.

Most importantly, E*Trade is known for executing trades promptly and at the best price possible. Few customers talk about E*Trade in a negative fashion in this manner. The speed of the website is also good.

Registration: A

It is very easy to register with E-trade and they have a reliable platform. Once an account is opened and money is transferred either electronically or by checking account, the investor is able to log in and navigate the site. The initial deposit required for this online discount broker is $1000.

You must specify your investment objectives, account options, and file proper documentation in order to start your account.

All the statements and confirmations are done electronically with this brokerage.

If you want more reviews, check out my Scottrade Review here.

Scottrade Review

Scottrade Reviews

Scottrade ReviewsMy Scottrade Review

Scottrade offers three separate trading platforms for their clients including, Scottrade, Scottrader, and Scottrade Elite.

Scottrade Elite is the most extensive platform designed for the most sophisticated trader. It includes news columns from both Comtex and Dow Jones, advanced charts, level two quotes, and stock screeners.

Scottrader is lacking level-two software, but it does come complete with the same streaming stock quotes and news provided on Elite. For the most basic trader, Scottrade Standard will provide basic quotes and research tools.

This online brokerage also displays a multitude of investment calculators on their site and holds online trading seminars for their clients.

These educational experiences are free to Scottrade customers and can be a great help on understanding complex markets.

Scottrade makes available impressive charts to its clients. They are nearly as good as some of the more expensive brokers such as E*Trade and TD Ameritrade.

Like E*Trade and TD Ameritrade, Scottrade allows the trader to save chart settings, and they offer fundamental and technical indicators to be incorporated within charts. However, Scottrade does not supply the PE history indicator within their charts.

This online brokerage also provides standard research tools, but they are not extraordinary. Their stock screener online allows for the screening of thirty-two different categories. For example, it will not allow you to screen for a specific market cap.

Scottrade reviews the market on their stock market update page thoroughly, and it updates it as news rolls in throughout the day. They have links to Reuter, MarketEdge, and Standards & Poor’s available to clients.

Commissions: A

The commissions schedule presented by this discount broker is all about discounts. They charge only $7 for an online trade over $1. Scottrade also tends to be very straightforward with their fees without resorting to hidden charges. At a straightforward price of only $7, day traders can save a lot of money in with this brokerage in the long run.

Finally, it only takes $500 to open an online account, an offer appealing to many inexperienced traders. Scottrade’s margin rate is 0.25 if your balance is below ten-thousand dollars.

Below is a detailed commissions schedule for this online discount broker:

Stock Commissions

Order Method Cost per Trade
Internet $7.00
Touchtone (IVR) Phone System $17.00
Broker Assisted $27.00

Options Commissions

Order Method Cost per Trade plus cost per contract
Internet $7.00 plus $1.25 / contract
Touchtone (IVR) Phone System $17.00 plus $1.25 / contract
Broker Assisted $27.00 plus $1.25 / contract
Option Exercises and Assignments $17.00

Customer Service: A

You can contact Scottrade by telephone or email. They also have over 400 branch offices throughout the United States open for consultation and assistance.

Unfortunately, Scottrade is one of the few large discount brokerages that do not offer 24-hour customer service. They also prefer to talk on the telephone when there is a problem rather than by email, a quality in our opinion.

This stock brokerage is dedicated to providing customers with outstanding service, both from its many branch offices and its headquarters in St. Louis. Scottrade claims to diligently train its customer service representatives on all levels of the business.

Trade speed and reliability: A

If you are looking to make standard stock and options trades, then Scottrade has excellent execution. They tend to get the best price possible and they don’t waste time. Their site is typically quick and reliable. We have not had any negative experiences or failed trade executions with this discount broker during our eight years of business with them.

Registration: A

There was a time in which Scottrade did not accept electronic funding or wire transfers, but recently they have updated their system. It is no longer difficult to fund an account with this online brokerage.
In general this discount broker has an easy to follow registration procedure. Scottrade reviews you account information filled out online and sends you an account opening email. Their new electronic funding capability, called Money Direct, will allow your account to be instantly funded the moment you finish reading your email.

Scottrade Brokerage Special Features:

***Scottrade has recently updated their platform to include a tool called Smart Text. Smart Text will accompany a chart such as this chart of GOOG and it will explain briefly what that chart means to investors. It provides insight useful in trading decisions.

scottrade smart text