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The Friday Tip

The Friday Tip

Contact Us: 01908 265111

The Friday Tip

Once a week we highlight some unique and useful functionality provided by the People Inc. system and send out a related 'tip'. These tips are often based on a support call that we took during the week. Our aim is to help customers get more from using their 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.

Are your details correct?

4th October 2019

From time-to-time, users should get employees to verify the information recorded in their People Inc. record (check that their details are up-to-date). There are a number of ways to do this.

A copy of an employee’s record can be sent to them either using a letter-template, or a Record Card report. This is usually done via e-mail, and employees need to reply with details of any changes. Example reports are available via the People Inc. Report Browser.

For customers who have the Employee Self-Service module, a reminder e-mail can be sent to employees and individuals can check and update their contact details and emergency contact information themselves.

2019 Holiday Allowances.

27th September 2019

Are your absence allowances set up ready for next year? If you have not yet done so, you should be thinking about creating 2020 holiday allowances. This is done using the Recreate Absence Allowance wizard.

The Recreate Absence Allowance wizard looks at the holiday allowances for the current year and gives 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.

On the topic of holidays and absence, before the end of the year you should also make sure you have added 2020 bank holidays (and remember that one of the May bank holidays has moved).

Training Feedback Forms.

13th September 2019

Having a simple on-line form to enable individuals to provide feedback on the training they have done is an easy way to gather information about the effectiveness of training.

When a training evaluation form is added to the People Inc. ESS, the information collected can match an existing paper-based form. However, once employees start to use the form, users can analyse their answers, identify trends, focus in on issues, all without having to read through endless hand-written documents.

Each form can link to training courses within the People Inc. system, automatically building a comprehensive historical record of training for each employee, and for each training supplier.

Managing Holidays

6th September 2019

With Autumn approaching, we have two tips to help manage holidays:

Firstly, as we are now three-quarters of the way through the year; most employees should by now have taken some 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 2020, 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.

Bespoke User Accounts.

30th August 2019

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.

23rd August 2019

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.

Old Files

When Leavers Return

16th August 2019

When a member of staff leaves, and then after a period of time they are re-employed, users have a choice when re-adding their details to the People Inc. system. They can re-use the existing records, or they can create a new record for the employee.

If the existing record is re-used, the employee's training history, qualifications, and any other historical records, and any attached documents will still be shown against the employee's record.

Where rules relating to payroll numbers apply, it may be necessary to create a new employee record (particularly when your People Inc. system is lined to your payroll system).

Keep a Copy of Your Work.

9th August 2019

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.

Running Reports from a Screen.

2nd August 2019

It is possible to run reports when you are looking at a particular employee record. For example a summary of an employee's absence. 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.

When a Manager Changes Job.

26th July 2019

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.

19th July 2019

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.

Return to Work

12th July 2019

A number of things should happen when an employee returns to work following a period of sickness absence. There should be a return to work interview where (for example) changes to the employee's working environment or hours are discussed. Where sickness absence has been for a longer period of time, employees need to provide a note from their doctor.

The People Inc. ESS provides a facility to enable staff to complete a return to work form and upload a copy of their doctors note (if needed). Details of the return to work interview should also be recorded within the system.

Deleting Employee Records

5th July 2019

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.

A Helping Hand.

28th June 2019

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.

Using the Action List.

21st June 2019

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.

Letter Generation.

14th June 2019

Did you know that you can keep copies of letters you have sent to employees in a folder within their People Inc. record? And when you generate a letter from within the system, you can automatically attach a copy to each employee record?

It is possible to set up any number of letter templates within People Inc. itself. When you use one of these letter templates to create a letter that needs to be sent to a group of employees, the system will attach copies to employee records individually.

May Bank Holiday 2020

7th June 2019

The early May bank holiday in 2020 will move from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day which takes place on 8 May, and enable people to pay tribute to those who served in one of the most significant events in our country’s history.

The occasion will remember the contribution of British, Commonwealth and Allied armed forces personnel; those who contributed to the war effort and safeguarded the Home Front. As well as marking the Allies’ victory in 1945, the bank holiday will serve as an opportunity to pay tribute to those who have served and continue to serve in the UK Armed Forces and their families.

People Inc. users should update the Bank Holiday entry within their system.

Managing Recruitment.

31st May 2019

The People Inc. system enables users to manage recruitment. Details of vacancies can be recorded within the system, and applicant information added to these. As the applicants progress through the recruitment process, full records can be kept (enabling the organisation to demonstrate their compliance with equal opportunities policies) and once a suitable individual has been identified, the remaining applicants become a ‘talent pool’ for future recruitment.

Utilities are provided to enable users to delete applicant information once a pre-determined period of time has passed (in accordance with GDPR).

When Courses Expire.

24th May 2019

People Inc. provides a number of features to monitor the expiry of training.

A simple Action List reminder based on the expiry date will remind users that the training needs to be re-taken. This can be automated so that an e-mail reminder is generated by the system, sent to the training manager, or perhaps the employee's line manager.

The system also creates a 'training need' entry automatically when a training record that relates to a course with an expiry date is added. The training need is usually for the same course, but when the system training Wizards are used, this can be updated so that a 'refresher' course is used instead.

Private Vehicles and Business Use

17th May 2019

When employees use their own vehicles for business use, it is important to make sure that the vehicles are taxed and insured, and that they are roadworthy. In some situations, the company is legally responsible for damages if an employee is involved in an incident when using their own car on business.

It is quick and easy to manage these details using the People Inc. system. Comprehensive information relating to company and private vehicles can be recorded within People Inc. It is also possible to attach scanned copies of documents relating to vehicles, and set alerts reminding the user of renewal dates .

Data-Collection Resilience

10th May 2019

From time-to-time there may be occasions when your employees are unable to clock-in using the People Inc. time clocks. This may be because there are network connection issues, or a power-outage has affected the clocks. When this happens, it is important to ensure that attendance information is not lost.

The People Inc. time software clock provides user with an alternative means of collecting employee clock times. The software clock can be set up with the same features as existing clocks and can be accessed from a PC or from a mobile phone.

Branding your Self-Service module

19th April 2019

It is possible to customise the styling used by the People Inc. Employee Self-Service module? This is usually done to reflect your corporate brand, or simply to give the ESS a clean fresh appearance.

In addition, the content and layout of the ESS home page can also be customised. Different sections can be added (or hidden) and the items displayed within each section can also be changed.

Access profiles are used to control the information available to employees or to managers; so these groups of users can be given a different ESS home page.

Generating Graphs

29th March 2019

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).p>

Many Happy Returns

22nd March 2019

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.

Filing Employee Letters

15th March 2019

You probably already use the letter generation feature in People Inc. This creates employee letters based on a library of letter templates held within your system. But did you know that when you generate a letter, you can attach the documents to employee records for future reference?

By selecting 'Attach Generated Document' when you send a letter from People Inc. you can attach it as a Word document to the employee's record.

When you send a letter to a group of people, the system automatically attaches individual documents to each employee record, saving you time.

Hiding Unused Details

8th March 2019

The People Inc. screens enable you to record and manage comprehensive employee information, but there are often areas of the system that are not needed. Users can make their system easier to use (and nicer to look at) by hiding the parts of the People Inc. screens that they do not use.

Hiding areas of a screen is done using the Screen Designer. Using this tool it is possible to specify whether or not a particular element of a screen is visible when the user logs in.

Note that it is possible to specify those users who have access to the Screen Designer, and those who do not. This enables an organisation to control who can update the layout and content of screens.

Customising the List of Links (short-cuts)

1st March 2019

Screens are usually selected using one of the short-cuts on the left-hand side of the screen. it is possible to change this list so that it only displays short-cuts for screens that you regularly use (and these can be presented in any order).

These links are grouped into sections (short-cut sheets). You can have any number of sections, and add links to screen as required to each of these. This is a user-preference; the entries you select will not affect the way other users see the list. Simply right-click to manage the list of short-cuts shown when you start People Inc.

Sending e-Mail from People Inc.

22nd February 2019

Did you know that it is possible to send e-mail directly from your People Inc. system? To do this, simply double-click on an employee's e-mail address. This is useful when you are working within the system and want to send a quick message to an employee.

Depending on your e-mail settings, the message will be sent via your desktop e-mail system (Outlook), or direct to the e-mail server.

Note that it is also possible to set up e-mail templates (designed for a specific purpose) and use these to send e-mail to individuals or groups of employees.

Working with Multiple Screens

15th February 2019

Did you know that it is possible to open more than one screen within People Inc. simultaneously? For example you can have two employee records open at the same time.

By opening a new tab, you can refer to information in another screen or another record without having to close the record you are working on.

Furthermore, if you have a multi-user system, it is possible to log into People Inc. more than once (run two copies of the system at the same time). This provides you with even more flexibility.

Improving Productivity

8th February 2019

Individual users can specify the information they want to see when they start People Inc. This can be done by choosing which screen is displayed when the system starts. They can also selecting a default filter and sort order.

I recommend that users select the screen they use most frequently as their start-up screen. The most common choices are the Action List (displaying all their actions for this week) and the Employees screens (listing active employees).

If you manage training, why not auto-start the Courses screen? Recruiters could choose to auto-start the Vacancies screen.

Adding a personal touch to reports

1st February 2019

The People Inc. report writer enables users to change the look and feel of their reports. It is possible to adopt your house style and even add your company logo to report templates.

When People Inc. reports are used to generate regular monthly reporting (for example, an analysis of KPIs) it is important to ensure that the style is consistent with other documents that are provided as part of the reporting information.

It is quick and easy to import company logos, and where users manage HR information for more than one company, the logo can be stored within the system and automatically loaded into reports.

Never miss a key date

25th January 2019

The People Inc. action list can help to ensure that you never miss an important date, event or activity.

The action list provides a quick and easy way to manage reminders for HR-related activities. List entries can be added by the user, or automatically created by the system based on a date recorded within an employee's record. For example, the system can provide reminders when an employee reaches the end of their probation, or when a qualification expires.

Reminders are displayed automatically, when the user logs in to the system, and entries are saved in a full history (against individual employee record) once they have been actioned.

Just the information you need...

18th January 2019

Sometimes you do not want to view everything at once, so users can limit the records they see on the screen using filters and searches.

Information displayed on the screens is automatically filtered when the screen is first opened; most users will just show current employees in the employee screen. But filters can do much more. For example, if a users is responsible for the employees who work at a particular location, a filter could be used to list just these people.

It is of course possible to change the filter. To view leavers, a user would select a different filter in the Employee screen, and to select all employees (current and those who have left) they would use yet another filter.

Once a filter is selected, it is possible to search for records within the list.

Reports, reports, and more reports...

11th January 2019

There are many many report templates available as free downloads from the Resources area of this website. These can be added to your People Inc. system and used to generate reports for distribution within your organisation.

Report templates can either be downloaded and imported manually (you will need to log in to the Resources area to do this), or they can be imported directly into your People Inc. system using the Report Browser plug-in.

Click here for more information about the Report Browser plug-in.

Organisation Charts

4th January 2019

It is possible to generate organisation charts using the information recorded within People Inc. These charts are generated using a plug-in (available as a free download). Having identified who reports to who, the chart is created with one click of your mouse.

Organisation Charts generated by the system include details of the employee's current position; employees are linked to their manager automatically (using the reports-to information from their current job histoy record).

Click here for more information about the Organisation Chart plug-in.

Some Festive Cheer...

21st December 2018

The current version of People Inc. enables users to select different styles (or 'skins'). This is done from one of the small buttons in the top left-hand corner of the screen.

This is not really a tip (I know, I know), but I think a change is always a good thing. Loading this Christmas theme changes the screen background and adds snowmen, snowflakes and ribbons here and there.


Who is in work over Christmas?

14th 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.

7th 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.


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