From XU Magazine, 
Issue 17

Q&A Bryce Davies: Workforce Success Specialist and UK General Manager

XU: I am joined by Bryce Davies, Workforce Success Specialist and UK General Manager at Tanda, a platform for rota-scheduling, attendance, labour insights and workforce success!

Bryce, it’s great to be speaking with you today about all things Tanda.Let’s begin at the start of Tanda. How did Tanda come about?

BD: Tanda was started in 2012 by four graduates from Queensland’s University of Technology in Brisbane. The group ran the university student guild that was responsible for operating multiple businesses on campus, one being the university bar which was in deep financial trouble when they took it over. In trying to turn the business around, they found the paper timesheets in use at the bar were causing problems for the business, both for the bottom line and for staff.

In looking at the market for a solution, they found there was no suitable system out there that was Cloud-based, easy to install and use and were willing to work alongside the business to help them achieve their goals. Out of this need, a prototype was developed to solve the needs of the bar, but has since helped improve businesses small and large across multiple industries.

XU: You’ve been working at Tanda for a few years now, how did you get involved in Tanda?

BD: My first introduction to Tanda was as an employee at a gourmet pizza franchise in Brisbane, Australia where I used the system to clock-in, view my rosters and request time off. Before Tanda came in we had all sorts of issues with paper timesheets and on one occasion I was asked to re-sign almost 2 years of paper timesheets after the company found anomalies with them.

After leaving that job and graduating from University, I started working in an electronics store selling electronics components and kits to hobbyists and tradesmen. One day one of Tanda’s founders Jake came into the store looking for parts for a project he was building. With a big Tanda logo across the front of his shirt, we immediately sparked a conversation about the company and how much it had helped me as an employee and then a manager at my previous job.

After our chat, Jake came back to the store a week later and offered me a job which I accepted, and within a month I had started my first role at Tanda in their Workforce Success Team.

XU: Your job title is ‘Workforce Success Specialist’, what does this mean and what’s the best part of your job?

BD: Workforce success is the idea that the most successful teams build the most successful businesses, and we’ve seen time and time again that the idea that you need to trade off between profit and people is a myth. My job is to turn the success of the workforce into a science, and help deliver both the best tools and proven best practice to our clients so they can grow both their business and their people. The most rewarding part of this is seeing this methodology pay off time and time again with businesses of all shapes and sizes and dispelling the myth wherever I find it; business profits and employee engagement are not at odds with each other.

XU: Managing rotas, attendance, payroll and leave can be time consuming and can require a lot of concentration and effort. How does Tanda help businesses with this could-be headache?

BD: Tanda focuses on two key areas when we’re working with businesses to help their workforce succeed. The first element of that is to eliminate non-value adding activities such as printing and scanning paper timesheets, processing leave authorization forms and manual data entry into payroll so that management can get back to the front-line of running their business. What we often find in the businesses we work with, is that talented individuals are promoted to management based on their skills and experience. However, once they start work in this new role they immediately start to get bogged down in admin that takes their time away from their craft. This short changes staff and the organization as a whole, so one of our goals with automation is giving front-line managers back valuable time, and helping them to invest it wisely.

XU: What other headache-reducing features does Tanda have?

BD: As we’ve grown we’ve found the “Workforce Management” label no longer accurately  describes what we do. To be truly successful, we need to support our clients in all elements of their workforce, from ensuring staff have a smooth transition into work with our paperless onboarding tools, to keeping staff engaged on the go with our employee app and promoting compliance by calculating overtime rates and ensuring staff qualifications are kept up to date. We’re building a system that supports the entire lifecycle of an employee in the business..

XU: As a manager keeping track of staffing and knowing what is happening with the staff at any given moment is vital. How does Tanda present all the data in an easily accessible and up-to-date format?

BD: As mentioned earlier, Tanda focuses on two key areas to help a workforce succeed. We believe the most productive workforces build the most profitable businesses, so it’s not enough to just save our clients time, we need to help them react in real time on shift and keep their employees engaged to help realise their full potential at work. Matching staffing levels to business demand is key to helping the business be profitable while ensuring staff don’t get burnt out or disengaged on shift. With our Live Insights tool, managers can measure sales or business demand in real time and compare that against the plan for the shift. With this tool front and centre on our dashboard, managers can adjust staffing levels on shift and ensure the team can adapt.

XU: You talk a lot in your ethos about people being a company’s biggest asset, what do you do in Tanda to help your own employees be more successful that other businesses could learn from?

BD: At Tanda the biggest lesson we’ve learnt is that human capital beats venture capital. Whether a company takes investment or drives revenue through sales, businesses take the money they have and use it hire staff as they grow. But it’s not just enough to provide your employees a paycheck. What we’ve found is when you create an environment where people can take responsibility for their work and make a meaningful contribution to solving real problems, people begin to flourish. This can look very different these days with modern technology than it did even 10 years ago, so I think it’s important to throw out the old thinking of people vs profit. The most productive workforces build the most profitable businesses, and the most profitable businesses have the most to invest in their staff. Workforce success is business success.

XU: Does Tanda really work for both small companies with minimum staff to companies with 30,000 employees? How does it help both sizes?

BD: When I first started working in the Workforce Success Team, I worked with our SME clients to tackle the issues we’ve been talking about so far, who were generally single site operators with a small core group of managers. What I found is the issues that small businesses have to deal with don’t get any better as the company scales, they actually get worse as the number of stakeholders and the risk of missing a payroll deadline or being non-compliant increases exponentially. As one of the only truly scalable Cloud solutions in the market, we solve these core issues with businesses of all sizes, while providing our enterprise clients with the oversight they need at head office to ensure they can safely delegate responsibility to management while knowing when to step in and correct course if needed.

XU: You integrate with many different systems, what is special in about Tanda’s integration with Xero?

BD: In a lot of the markets we work in, we’ve found Xero is one of the only companies seriously investing in cloud technology and making integrating different systems quick and simple, especially outside of Australia. A lot of payroll systems we integrate with are still running on a desktop PC, so data transfer is generally one way and can’t happen in real time. With Xero’s Payroll API, we’re able to provide an automatic two way data flow in real time, so employee details, timesheets, leave applications and pay rates stay up to date, reducing payroll errors and eliminating data entry.

XU: You were awarded a Xero App Partner of the Month in 2018, what do you think made you stand out to be highlighted in this way?

BD: Xero has always been a great partner and shares a lot of the same values we do around helping businesses to achieve workforce success. Over the last 12 months we’ve see the two companies growing closer together in the UK and US and it’s been a pleasure to offer integrations in these markets, who for a long time had no real solutions for adopting Cloud payroll and promoting workforce success. Globally we’re finding tax compliance is going digital and we’ve seen the two companies working closer than ever across all markets to support our clients make the switch.

XU: Tanda is currently on 4 continents – do you have plans to expand across the globe and how do you think you might achieve that?

BD: Business is in many ways a universal language and in our increasingly connected world, we’re discovering clients in all corners of the globe struggling with the same issues we set out to solve in Australia. We’ve taken what we’ve learned about operating a business in a tough regulatory environment and brought that to new markets with fresh eyes. To really understand the unique problems in each market, you need to speak to customers and make sure we’re building the best product we can for them. We’ll continue to stay close to our customers and we’re very excited about the growth we’re seeing in markets that have been underserved for many years in cloud technology.

XU: Your vision at Tanda includes today, tomorrow and the future sections. For tomorrow you state “Connecting people and data to cognitive algorithms for smarter decision making” What’s the next step to making that happen at Tanda?

BD: We hear a lot about machine learning in tech and I believe there is a big misunderstanding about the sort of impact AI is going to have on people’s lives. At Tanda we see algorithms as a tool to help people make better decisions, quicker. To make the best decisions, you need the best data, and we’re focusing on helping businesses to become more connected, breaking down data silos wherever they exist. With hundreds of different systems out there in the market that our clients rely on to make decisions, we’re helping them to bring that data into Tanda and leverage it to help  them make the best plan for every shift. From there, Tanda is a co-pilot on shift, suggesting the most optimised roster, best staff member for a shift swap and reacting in real time to changes in business demand.

XU: It’s clear that Tanda is going to be constantly moving and improving, and we wish you all the best for the future.

Why leave it there?

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