Other Industries

Only a Matter of Time: Punctuality and attendance in multicultural workplaces

Multicultural workplaces are now the norm for many businesses. With more fluid borders, people are more likely to move to other cities, and even countries, for work. Some stay for short or medium-term contracts, while others relocate to capitalize on business and career opportunities. Either way, this movement has created culturally rich environments that is a new and exciting frontier for workforce management.

But bringing together people from different backgrounds isn’t always easy. Cultural traits, often subconscious, surface in everyday interactions. In this series, we’ll look at multicultural workforces and what makes them tick. It’s no secret that we’re all different, and in many cases this diversity enriches the work environment. But when this diversity is not handled correctly, this creates tension and results in unproductivity.

The most common source of tension in multicultural workplaces is time. We’ve all heard stories about Japanese firms becoming frustrated with their American associates if a report is delayed by 15 minutes. Or American managers adding in an hour to make room for their Italian counterparts who are usually late. Yes, different approaches to punctuality can send even the most seasoned managers on a tailspin. To understand this problem better, we need to look at time itself.

Punctuality as a cultural trait

Every country can be placed on a scheduling spectrum, according to Erin Meyer, author of The Culture Map. A country’s place on the spectrum is affected by a number of historic factors, and indicates how time is perceived by people in that country. Yes, how we understand time itself is a product of our culture. And because this affects how punctual we are, it’s a common source of frustration in multicultural offices.

The Germans and Japanese are renowned for their punctuality, often even arriving earlier than scheduled. Brazilians and Indians on the other hand are already expected to come in late. Technically, none of them are wrong: they are behaving exactly as their cultural norms dictate. To understand why this difference exists, we need to look at monochronic and polychronic cultures.

Linear versus flexible time

Monochronic cultures treat time as linear: everything is sequential, and one task must be completed before beginning the next. Lateness and interruptions are heavily frowned upon. Time is a resource, and it must be allocated logically and precisely. These cultures typically have a history of heavy industrialization, where organization and deadlines are key. The US, Canada, and Northern Europe are common examples.

In contrast, polychronic cultures see time as flexible. Tasks can change as opportunities arise and interruptions are considered normal. Multi-tasking is the norm so things do not have to be done step by step. Many of these cultures have agricultural roots, where adaptability and flexibility are vital to success. Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa are often included in this grouping. Asia is more varied, with monochronic Japan and polychronic China, for instance.

There can be other factors in play too. In India, keeping people waiting is a norm, because being late is a sign of importance. This is referred to, in jest, as Indian Standard Time. Another example is urban Southeast Asia, where public transportation systems are slow, if not completely stalled, so being late is a part of everyday life. One only has to recall the infamous Jakarta traffic jams, or Manila’s 6 million-dollars-per-day losses from traffic, to understand the seriousness of the problem.

Bridging the time gap

Clearly, cross-cultural differences in perception of time is a compelling and complicated topic. It is being researched by academics and business firms alike, towards the same goal: managing multicultural teams. While cultural differences need to be respected, workplaces still depend on schedules to deliver products and services. Thus, bridging the time gap in multicultural environments relies on solutions that address the issue without offending sensibilities.

Differences in time perception may be deeply rooted, but employees can adapt given the correct guidance and tools to do so. Managers need to enhance their communication skills to be able to relate to staff from different cultures, and align them with the company’s values and goals. At the same time, they also need to look towards modern solutions such as time and attendance software to facilitate the desired new culture.

**Read more: **The Digital Workforce Success Revolution: Why you need to shift to cloud-based HR today

Time and attendance technology

Time and attendance software like Tanda make it easy to coordinate a multicultural staff, because it sets the expectations that the company has regarding time. Because each week’s schedule displayed on the employee’s app, it establishes exactly when they need to come in. Plus, managers have a fool-proof way of communicating updates and changes via SMS, email, or in-app notifications. This minimizes misunderstandings and aids work culture in general.

Employee attendance is also accurately tracked and transferred to timesheets, so you always have a record of when staff are working. This comes in handy when a manager needs to talk to a staff member about their punctuality or attendance. Technology cuts ambiguity out of the process, and allows everyone to approach time objectively. In short, it sets the tone for a fair and consistent work environment. Find out more about what Tanda can do for your business by scheduling a free demo today.

Many exciting changes are happening to workforce management. Trends point toward automation to facilitate many administrative processes. But technology doesn’t just solve administrative challenges, it also has implications on the overall work environment. And in an increasingly globalized and multicultural world, shifting to technology to address modern business challenges is only a matter of time.

Want more content like this? **__**Sign up for our website relaunch**__ and get the chance to have your company featured on Workforce Success!**

Rosie Ramirez

published September 21, 2018

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Should you approve shift swaps at work?

If you run a service-oriented business, you’re all too familiar with staff requesting to suddenly change or drop shifts. It’s something that any business owner cannot control; staff will encounter unlikely situations and will get sick from time to time.

What is a shift swap?

A shift swap is a need for staff to change the time that they’re rostered work. A situation where shift swaps happen can vary from work-related to personal reasons, but all the same the employer is always given the power to let changes in rosters happen.

Operational risks

Letting staff take control of their time is one way of showing respect to your people. Sick leaves and personal emergencies are really out of the question when it comes to approving time off. However, without the knowledge of who can immediately fill in vacancies, moreso the ability to get replacements instantly, business operations become tricky.

Shift swapping that results in vacancies gives your business the risk of giving inconsistent service to your customers. For pubs, loyal customers come back for the quality of drinks and those who serve them. We hear regulars say, “the usual” when they order something, and having that one person take an unexpected time off can derail your customers’ expectations. Because businesses enter ‘firefighting mode’ when staff is out, it’s not easy to assure that whoever comes in will provide the same level of service – or worse, that someone else even agrees to come in in the first place.

Administrative costs

It’s not a chore to mark your staff unavailable when they suddenly decide to take some time off. But it becomes confusing when multiple shift swaps happen within a day, week, or month. The fact that staff have different rates, allowances, and hours can leave you organising pay data for ages.

The good news

Despite the risks you get with shift swapping, managers are still in control of their operations. With modern technology, apps can now accommodate these gaps. No-show shifts can easily be filled without the worry of overlapping schedules and calculating hours for payroll.

Recent Shift Swapping technology not only fills your vacancies, it also ensures that whoever is taking up a shift is a good fit, i.e. they are available for the hours, they belong in the same team, and will cost your business the same/less.

So yes, go ahead and approve shift swap requests at work. With Shift Swapping technology, there’s no room for worry and firefighting for your business. Not only are you creating trust between managers and staff, you’re also at ease knowing that operations will keep running while keeping costs in check.

To know more about Shift Swapping, visit https://www.tanda.co/shift-swapping/

Monic Del Rosario

published September 21, 2018

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Other Industries

Guide to UK Part-time Workers’ Employment Benefits

Part-time workers are very common in the workforce today. In fact, they account for 26% of the total UK labour force (8.5 million people) as of July 2018. Part-time workers are classified based on the policies created by the employer. There is no specific number of hours that makes someone full or part-time as it varies from employer to employer, but a part-time worker usually works less than 35 hours a week. All the same, there’s no minimum number of hours in order to qualify for employment rights.

For employers, there’s a big difference between hiring full-time and part-time employees. Hiring part-time workers is usually a way to cut down on labor costs, especially for areas where full-time cover isn’t necessary. It’s also a way to be able to hire people who are in need of flexible hours like students and parents, or to test an employee’s performance or cultural fit first, before hiring them full-time.

_Read more: _What is the Contingent Workforce and how can you leverage it in your business?

For workers on the other hand, flexibility is the biggest advantage. By working less hours, they have more time for other things such as school, family care, or another part-time job. However, working out their benefits is a little more complicated compared to those of full-timers. Making sure they are receiving their entitled pay and benefits can be confusing, for employers and employees alike.

Are you employing part-time workers? Or are you one yourself? Here’s our handy guide to employment benefits of part-time workers in the UK.

What are the benefits of part-time workers?

1. Minimum Wage

Part-time workers are entitled to minimum wage, or the minimum hourly rate a worker should get, based on laws set by the UK government. The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on the employee’s age and whether they’re an apprentice. They must be at least school leaving age to get the National Minimum Wage, and be aged 25 years or older to get the National Living Wage. The current rates as of April 2018 are:

  • 25 and over: £7.83
  • 21 to 24: £7.38
  • 18 to 20: £5.90
  • Under 18: £4.20
  • Apprentice: £3.70

Like full-timers, they should be paid in periods agreed upon in the employment contract. Pay reference periods can be weekly or monthly, but can’t be longer than 31 days. It’s also important to know that payments such as Income Tax and National Insurance contributions, any payments for wage advances or loans, and expenses that are not required for the job (such as meals) are included in minimum wage calculations.

2. Pay Rates

Pay rates for part-timers must be at least the same hourly pay rate as full-timers in a similar position. However, for enhanced overtime pay, employers can set the same hours threshold for full-timers as part-timers, so a part-timer may not get overtime pay until he/she has worked more than the normal hours of a full-timer.

3. Benefits and Holidays

Benefits, such as bonuses and holidays, for part-timers must be ‘pro-rata’. This means that they should be in proportion to their hours. Part-timers, like all other workers, are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year. However, this amounts to fewer days than a full-timer’s because they work fewer hours per week. If an employer gives more than the statutory minimum amount of holiday, part-timers should also receive the same amount in proportion to their hours.

Employers can give all workers pro rata entitlement of days off in lieu according to the number of hours they work, and this covers part-timers as well. They are also entitled to sick pay, maternity, paternity, and adoption leave and pay plus parental leave as full-time staff are. If companies give more than the statutory entitlement, part-timers must also get these contractual benefits.

As a rule of thumb, employers should not treat their part-timers any less favourably than full-timers. However, there are a few exceptions. Employers can only treat part-timers less favourably if it’s ‘objectively justified’.

How do you ensure they’re paid accurately?

With everything else that goes into running a successful business, making sure part-time workers are being paid accurately can be tedious and costly. Ensuring they’re working the right hours, and are given their entitled statutory benefits can be a lot for any manager to handle. That’s why the right technology is vital to ensuring part-time workers get their benefits on time.

Many businesses today are investing in cloud-based HR systems, because they cut down the work required to manage the workforce. Tanda, for example, doesn’t just reduce administrative work and costs, but optimizes rota scheduling, keeps you updated with legal compliance, and even generates data for big picture analysis.

_Read more: _The Digital Workforce Success Revolution: Why you need to shift to cloud-based HR today

Creating rotas for part-time workers is easy with Tanda, because you always know who is available. It takes into account working hours and time off per employee, so that you can only schedule employees exactly when they are available. You are also notified if they are working beyond their assigned number of hours. You can even facilitate shift swapping, so that no shifts are ever left unfilled.

And because it also keeps track of time and attendance, your part-timers’ salaries are automatically computed from their timesheets according to their hourly rates. This not only assures employees that they are being paid accurately for the hours that they work, but it also enables employers to easily keep an eye on their costs. Experience all this and more when you sign up for a free Tanda trial today!

Want more content like this? __Sign up for our website relaunch_ and get the chance to have your company featured on Workforce Success!_

Julia Esguerra

published September 20, 2018

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What Tanda and Xero taught me about the SaaS industry

In 2001, the song “Who Let the Dogs Out?” went on to win the Grammy award for Best Dance Recording. Ask anyone who doesn’t live under a rock and chances are, they know what this song is and even bark the tune.

However, ask what else that the Baha Men has performed after that one-hit wonder, and chances are nobody can name another song. A stark contrast to being Michael Jackson (RIP), whose songs still live on even without him.

Your customers are usually right

A study by Adobe found out that the average half-life of apps are 6 months after publishing, and roughly a quarter of apps are abandoned after a single use. Which means of the 4 million apps available to the public, your app could instantly be sent to the void if a customer’s first impression is negative. Sure, building and publishing it is an achievement, but ensuring that you product is valuable and usable, is a whole other ballgame.

Tanda taught me that while the SaaS industry is a tough, crowded market, you can always stand out and live longer than others simply by listening to your customers. You’ll never know how bad your product is if you don’t listen to those who are using it everyday, and you won’t know what else they want from you if you never ask them what other problems your company can solve.

So although your customers aren’t always right, they usually are. After all, they’re the ones who are constantly hands on with your product – not you. And that’s enough of a fact to make their opinion matter.

Read more: A Tribute to Old Software Vendors

A proven effective way to sell

As a marketer, a huge chunk of my job is to understand the mindset of customers, know the pain points they face, and communicate how our product/service can solve their problems. Only, us marketers don’t do it through cold calls and face-to-face interactions; we do it all in front of a screen. Such a way of selling has both its benefits and drawbacks, a lot of which I learned from experience. However, it’s really no surprise that one of the best teachers I have in selling technology is none other than using technology itself.

There’s no universal way to sell everything. But a proven effective way to sell anything is to be a genuine advocate of it. In other words, you use it first-hand and clearly see its benefits, so you can later sell it to others.

A few years ago I worked for an HR-focused tech startup that catered to over tens of thousands of employees from different companies. This job exposed me to the daunting and time-consuming world of manually checking employee data and ensuring that everyone is paid properly – not just one time but on a regular basis. Our team couldn’t exactly provide the best service without understanding how our customers worked so in a number of weeks, the terms, ‘CSV’ and ‘VLOOKUP’ were regular residents in my vocabulary. Excel sheets were my closest allies back then, simply because there wasn’t an available tool to automate the way we managed accounts.

Read more: Achieving Workforce Success: Becoming a Data-driven Workforce

Needless to say, it took me 2-3 hours a day trying to skim through staff information. I couldn’t imagine how many hours payroll professionals spend running through names, rosters, and Awards. This is excluding the consideration that Australian Modern Awards are updated yearly, which means rules in paying people are also updated. Every time. Surely, nobody has that many hours to manually create payruns, right? Wrong. There’s a reason SaaS is a thriving industry, and it’s exactly because manual processing of admin tasks are still a persistent culture among various industries.

The magic of NOT building everything

For non-programming marketers like myself, it is not common knowledge that SaaS companies can afford to not build everything.

After doing some research, I learned that it costs a minimum of $10,000 to build an app that will sell – and it doesn’t come with the guarantee that it will sell. Give it a couple of months for a team of designers, developers, testers, content creators, and project managers to make it come to life and you’ve got a whole year of trying to keep up with customers. By the time you release your software, people will have already moved on and are already focused on something else – something that your newly developed product probably isn’t equipped to do.

Read more: The only reason to build software is to sell it

One of the reasons Tanda houses thousands of clients is the fact that we don’t try to build everything. We only build what businesses actually need. One of our co-founders, Alex once told me that if we can afford to not build it, then we shouldn’t. There are hundreds of tools out there that can make it easier to sell, and is something that anyone should maximise.

In Tanda’s case, being able to half the hours that businesses spend on admin work has proven a powerful benefit for Tanda’s clients, specifically when it comes to processing payrolls of multiple stores located in different cities. To quote one of the clients:

“Payroll itself used to take 3x staff a total of about 32 hours each fortnight, we have approx 120 staff. Now we have 1x staff member taking about 12 hours per fortnight!” said Tamie Blanch of Empire Office Furniture.

Tanda didn’t build a payroll software, however. It would cost the company too much time and money, knowing that there are existing services that are far more experienced.

One of the payroll apps that Tanda integrates with is Xero. Xero is one of, if not Australia’s top software when it comes to accounting and payroll. With 1.38+ million subscribers, their ecosystem offers features for various financial needs of every type of business – and this is all made possible by expanding their services through partnerships.

“The team at Xero love doing beautiful business with Tanda, streamlining workforce management for business owners and payroll manages.” said Rebecca Laut of Xero earlier this year in Beyond 2018.

Xero hitting a million subscribers wasn’t the effect of building everything from scratch; it was the result of building only the relevant features and integrating with over 16,000 partners worldwide. That’s why every month, Xero shines the light on one of their partners, highlighting the importance of catering to different needs of every business. It’s a great way to tell the world that they are capable of incentivising their partners, at the same time implying that there is a very big pool of partners that they can choose from on a regular basis. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone. Twelve years later, Xero has branched out from being a small tech startup in New Zealand to becoming one of the world’s biggest accounting software.

Long story short, Tanda and Xero taught me that it doesn’t matter how fresh an app is or how pretty their website looks, if you can’t get past the 1-year mark of being a One-hit Wonder, people will easily dispose of your product.

Learn to listen to your clients, incorporate feedback into development, and collaborate with other outstanding businesses to provide better service.

At the end of the day, the formula to succeed is simple: A SaaS that can solve the most pain points is the most capable of lasting the longest.

See how you can get the most from your workforce with Tanda and Xero: https://www.tanda.co/xero

Monic Del Rosario

published September 20, 2018

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Introducing Tanda Tip Jars

Recently, we released a feature that aims to revolutionize the food service industry. The Tanda Virtual Tip Jar will be able to take the tips your business receives, calculate the amount each employee is due to take home, and export it directly to their payroll along with their wages.

Tipping is highly valued in the food service industry, especially in the United States. Due to its importance, restaurants and cafes adopted different tip pooling laws and practices in their system to make sure all of their workers are compensated fairly.

We built the Tanda Tip Jar to help automate your tip pooling and splitting process. The tool aims to not only make things go faster but to also ensure that the process is fair and compliant for your business.

Split tips. Save time. Stay compliant.

A quick and accurate tip pooling system is great for everyone in your business, especially for your employees. Not only does it make managers’ lives easier but it also keeps employees satisfied. Knowing that the tips they receive are being split fairly means they stay happy and do a better job overall.

Tanda’s Virtual Tip Jar helps you:

  • Set up individual tip jars for seperate teams
  • Automatically split tips between employees based on the number of hours worked
  • Process tips directly to your employee’s payroll
  • Improve efficiency and reduce administrative time
  • Comply with regulations regarding tipping policies

Tip Jar Creation

When creating a new Tip Jar, input the name, the location it’s attached to, then select the eligible teams. The tips will be distributed to any timesheet tagged with one of these teams

Entering Tip Amounts

Input the total tip amount at the end of each day, and tips will be distributed based on the number of hours worked.

Mapping Tips to Payroll

The first time you add a tip amount, an allowance for that Tip Jar will be created in your shift allowances. To map this allowance to your payroll system, check that the Export Name matches the one in your payroll.

The Tip of the Iceberg

Instead of taking more time to calculate your employees’ tips (on top of taking care of their attendance and payroll) let Tanda’s Virtual Tip Jar do the heavy lifting so you can focus on your business’ success. At the end of the day, moving your business towards Workforce Success is what counts the most.

Mark Javellana

published September 19, 2018

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A Tribute to Old Software Vendors

Recently the public was enlightened to the news that the U.S. Military was still using 8 inch floppy discs and 40 year old software to coordinate nuclear operations.

However surprising this is to hear, old “legacy” software still turns the cog wheels of many processes in daily life - only it tends to be confined to those you won’t see often.

Legacy systems aren’t just fossils of a bygone era, they are living breathing beasts who survived several mass extinction events beyond all odds. They lay testament to the days when industry Goliaths cleaned up junior tech companies like lego pieces and Silicon Valley Janitors became millionaires.

…Also when you could get away with photos like this:


Hunting Dinosaurs in the Wild

To paint the picture of how fast software moves compared to everything else in the world, if we were to scale the history of software companies to complex life on earth, IBM is a mound of Cambrian bacteria, 90s software is walking with the Dinosaurs, and Facebook predates humans.

In fact the response from my colleagues whenever we stumble upon dinosaur software still in use is not dissimilar to David Attenborough closing in on a rare animal:

“Ooh, wooow…a diskette?…the website even says to fax them… fascinating”

Here’s how else you can spot them:

Spot them by name: If you’re looking to track down old software, the company or product name gives a very good hint as to the date of creation. To demonstrate, you can make your own pre-2000 software company name using this formula:

Pick an aspirational word: Success, Genie, Impact, Wizard AND Combine with your choice of: Micro, Tech, Data, Systems etc.*

*Not all accidental namesakes are bad software, after all, they survived the millennium bug.

This will give you a good place to dig.

Spot them by font: A geologist can figure out the age of a rock just by its relative surrounds, maybe the rock is intruded by volcanics, or maybe the rock is imprinted with the fossil record of a previously dated mass extinction event.

The extinction event of the software world is the Courier New 12 font, created by IBM in 1955:


A symbol of bureaucratic anonymity and software company help guides alike, even the U.S. State Department stopped using it in 2004.

If your software help guide contains this font, it’s definitely older than Facebook and potentially as old as the Cambrian.

Spot them by website: Sometimes a geologist can’t rely on an accurate relative date so turns to empirical methods like isotope dating methods.


The isotope dating of the software world is the date of creation on the website. When you’re not planning to sell more of anything what’s the point in updating the website.

So how does old software beat extinction without evolving?

The obvious and remarkable answer is that just like my father’s Toshiba T1000 laptop: it still works. But here’s a few other reasons why unsupported legacy software still exists.

Ungrounded application of economic principles: A common logic attitude is that because legacy software has already been paid for, that extending its life is reducing the ‘Price Per Use’, effectively stretching the dollar.

This is true if there is no opportunity cost, and therefore assumes new technology offers no economic upside potential to be gained in efficiencies or function.

From a profit & loss perspective it also ignores that the legacy software book value is almost certainly already written down to $0 and usually costs money to maintain.

Scars from previous technology roll outs: We’re biologically wired to avoid things that cause us pain.

Rolling out commercial grade software 20 years ago was unavoidably painful, unnecessarily complex and inherently expensive. For some these memories run deeper than others.


Thanks to market forces, (most) vendors have now evolved to a shared risk model, taking nothing upfront and only charging for what’s used, forcing innovation and accountability.

If it’s not broken don’t fix it mentality: This statement is the handbrake on the progress of civilisation. Applied wrongly as it usually is, this logic suggests the below 1915 Model T Ford isn’t broken. It has four wheels and an engine, no different to a Lexus.

Progress is about thriving, not surviving.

The government still uses it: Governments are notoriously slow at progressing technology (see below picture of U.S. Navy catering software). This is an entire thesis itself, however the appetite of government departments to seek fast to implement software is ever increasing, so there are promising signs.


To those who survived the millennium bug, we salute you…

There’s something humbling about encountering old technology. It’s one part a protest to the throwaway nature of tech, and on the other a fascinating glimpse into the frustrations of past technology. Either way, the fact that we can pause to reflect on technology of 20 years ago as if it were prehistoric is validation of the speed of human progress.

Read more: We user-tested with people who never used a smartphone before…

Phil Johnson

published September 19, 2018

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Shift Swapping is coming to Tanda

It’s 7am on a Saturday morning, your busiest shift of the week. You hear the familiar melody of your ringtone and your heart skips a beat. A call this early usually means one thing. As suspected, one of your employees has called in sick. The doors are about to open for the morning rush, and you need to do the ring around.

Find the best replacement, fast

Sometimes even the best of employees are unable to work a rostered shift. With our new Shift Swapping feature you can skip the ring around and tedious manual calculations to find a suitable replacement. Our app presents costs, rostered hours, and availability so you can make quick decisions.

With our Shift Swapping feature you can:

  • Have complete control and oversight over shift swaps
  • Compare rostered hours and wage costs when approving a cover
  • Automatically inform staff of roster changes

Shift swapping mockups

How it works

When an employee can’t work a shift, the manager is notified and prompted to action the request. From there a shift can be broadcasted to all available staff in that team, or sent to hand-picked employees.

Shift swapping process diagram

Broadcast to all staff

Once the shift is broadcasted, employees can put their hand up to cover the shift. Managers are notified when ‘good fits’ have offered to cover the shift, and can approve a suitable replacement from a pool of applicants.

A good fit is someone who is:

  • available,
  • works in the same team,
  • and will cost the same (or less).

Selected staff

For hand-picked employees, whoever accepts the shift first ‘wins’ the shift.

In each of these cases, the original employee is notified whether their cover request was approved or declined, and the new employee is notified of the change to their roster.

App notification

At this point you’re probably wondering, ‘what if I forget to action a new request?’ We have included an auto broadcast system to help with exactly that. If the shift the employee can’t work is less than 3 days away, it will be automatically pushed to ‘in progress’ and sent to all available staff within the team.

If you’re more of a hands-off manager and don’t want to spend any time approving shift swaps, you can turn off Manager Approval in the Roster tab in General Settings.

What’s next

We’re working on optimising the process for finding last minute replacements. This way, when an employee calls in sick you can initiate the process.

We plan to incorporate open shifts into this feature, where employees can offer to fill open shifts.

So you can keep an eye on how many times your staff request to drop or cover shifts, we’ll make it easy by showing this information during the approval process.


Can employees swap shifts outside their team?

Employees can only swap within teams they have been assigned to.

Why am I not receiving notifications?

To receive notifications you need to be a Team Manager in your employee settings, and be assigned to the relevant teams. Check that you haven’t turned notifications off for the Tanda App.

Will the feature be available on desktop?

Yes, we will be building shift swapping in My Tanda in the future.

Can employees find their own replacement?

No, our feature has not been designed for employees to find their own replacement. This is deliberate to provide managers more control and oversight over costs.

Can employees trade shifts with each other?

No. Our cover request system is designed to minimise the amount of requests and roster changes. Shift ‘trades’ can be done manually by editing the roster.

What if I don’t want my staff to access this feature?

You can turn the feature off in General settings if you’d prefer to manually manage swaps between your staff.

Brooke Royston

published September 18, 2018

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Achieving Workforce Success: Becoming a Data-driven Workforce

Achieving workforce success (WS) means being driven, open-minded, empowering, and the ultimate master of your work. In this part of the series, we’ll focus on being driven. WS Champions are driven because they are doers who maximise their resources in order to deliver quality outputs. One readily available, indeed ubiquitous, resource is data. How do you use data to achieve WS?

Today’s professionals constantly and consistently use cloud, analytics, mobile, and social technologies. Data, and how we share data, is at the very core of how we get work done. From the way we calendar meetings to how we collaborate on reports and track progress, some form of technology is likely to be involved.

The applications of technology have gone far, but they can go much further, right into the heart of business: workforce management. No company or organization will survive without its workforce, and yet the systems we use to manage it are often the last to be updated. Data and digital technology are highly transformative, and businesses need to take advantage of it.

So what does it mean to have a data-driven workforce? It means harnessing technology to not only solve challenges in the workplace, but also to optimize it. Investing in the correct workforce technology can empower employees while resulting in long-term savings for the business. Below, we explore how your organization can develop a more data-driven workforce.

Automating time and attendance

Cloud, analytics, mobile, and social technologies are key innovations that have had an impact on the workplace. Integrating any and all of these into day-to-day operations can revolutionize the way you work. One way to do that is via cloud-based automation of time and attendance. This is a popular solution because time and attendance are “highly necessary but tedious processes that are the fastest and cheapest to automate,” according to Terry Walby of the FinancialDirector.

When you shift to a cloud-based HR platform, you can expect reduced administrative costs, automated onboarding for new employees, and more accurate timesheets. You will no longer need to manually track leaves, sort out onboarding documents and attendance records, or calculate payroll manually. And you won’t ever need to worry about being accused of wage theft.

_Read more: _Taking Back Time: Solving the enduring wage theft problem in Australia

Wage theft, and the millions in back pay some businesses have had to comply with, is not an issue with the correct automation software. With all this out of the way, managers can spend more resources planning for the business and improving morale. Integrating automation Besides time and attendance, management firm Ascentis also recommends automating benefit calculation and legal compliance.

Optimizing shifts and shift swapping

Cloud-based HR can also help you optimize shifts by ensuring that you have the right person, in the right place, at the right time without having to physically check in on your employees. Software like Tanda can predict staff counts: it determines staffing levels with smart algorithms, and facilitates updating your roster to reflect that. This way, you can save money on labor while delivering the best possible service to your customers.

Even better, Tanda’s new feature, Shift Swapping, takes shift management in service-oriented industries to another level. Hospitality staff, for example, can request to drop or cover a shift right from their app, while the manager controls all swap approvals and roster updates. Absences are inevitable, but unfilled shifts are not, so the shift swapping feature is a useful addition to service-oriented industries.

_Read more: _Achieving Workforce Success: Shift Swapping for Managers

Using data to expand business

Finally, a data-driven workforce means being able to use data to not only succeed in the day-to-day tasks, but also to expand the business. More systems today are being integrated, facilitating better analysis of how the business works. They make it easy for owners and managers to generate financial and operations reports. Seeing the big picture and planning for the future is easier with the right data at hand.

With cloud-based HR, managers and business owners have access to insights that were not available before. Different types of data can be correlated for better benchmarking purposes. For example, Tanda lets managers track business revenue and labor costs in real time, while complying with all the labor and data privacy laws. Managers can make smarter decisions and ensure that the business will grow over time, without having to do excessive administrative work.

_Read more: _The Digital Workforce Success Revolution: Why you need to shift to cloud-based HR today

Data has had an unprecedented impact over the way we do things at work. Indeed, it is almost impossible to imagine a time before cloud, analytics, mobile, and social technologies. The long-term benefits are more than worth the initial birthing pains, as most businesses see an increase in workforce productivity and savings. Taking advantage of these innovations may well determine if a business will succeed in this increasingly fast-paced world.

Rosie Ramirez

published September 17, 2018

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Other Industries

Achieving Workforce Success: Shift Swapping for Managers

Achieving workforce success (WS) means being driven, open-minded, empowering, and the ultimate master of your work. In this part of the series, we’ll focus on empowering. WS Champions are empowering because they help employees succeed – even when someone can’t make it to work. WS Champions know how work-life balance positively impacts productivity and loyalty. Thus, they build a flexible environment while maintaining, and even exceeding, the company’s bottom line. Among the ways that that can be done is shift swapping, which allows employees to cover for each other in an organized and mutually beneficial manner.

Shift swapping is “an arrangement that allows shift workers to trade shifts with one another when the need arises.” This lets shift workers strike a balance between their personal commitments and work responsibilities. Finding a staff’s replacement for the shift matters, especially for the service industry. The correct number of staff can often determine if the service is delivered properly. And when service is consistent and customers are satisfied, they are more likely to come back and refer their friends.

_Read more: _Michael Barnard’s Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Customers for Life

But shift swapping is not always as easy as it sounds. In fact, many managers have so much trouble with it that they simply don’t allow it. The initial confusion of organizing the system, especially when they try to do it manually, turns them off. This is unfortunate, as it provides an easy solution to the problem of unfilled shifts. Below we’ll take you through how you can set up a shift swapping system for your company.

Figure out the need for shift swapping

First things first, determine if you actually need shift swapping in the first place. If your business is operating 24/7, or have at least two different shifts in a day, then you might need to consider this arrangement. This applies to many industries like healthcare, retail, hospitality, media, and law enforcement. Shift swapping introduces some flexibility for the employees and helps them avoid burnout in these demanding fields of work. If your managers are attuned to their teams, they should be able to input on this matter.

_Read more: _How to Serve 200 Customers Daily in an 8-seat Restaurant

Organize your employee data

The success of shift swapping depends on how many employees are qualified to cover for each other. Evaluate each individual and determine which positions they have had some experience with, or would like to learn more about. This will minimize mistakes, increase accountability, and save you time. Once your data is organized, you will be able to make decisions about shift swaps faster. It will also give you a big-picture view of your workforce and allow you to make the necessary adjustments for hiring and promotion.

Choose a shift swapping tool

Shift swapping requires a tool that can organize your employee database, rosters, and swap requests. Managers often have to choose between manual and automated methods, depending on their resources and goals. Manual methods employ programs like Microsoft Excel to track time, attendance, unavailability, and shift swap requests.

While manual methods require no initial investment, many find it unsustainable because of the increased administrative work required. Employees will have to call in their requests, which have to be inputted manually into the database. For businesses with more than 20 employees, this can easily become a nightmare – even for the best managers.

_Read more: _From Battlefields to Boardrooms: Finding Good Managers with William Gooderson

When you’re set on implementing a shift swapping system, it’s worth exploring automated solutions. Tanda, for example, has a shift swapping feature that integrates into its time and attendance web and mobile apps. It lets staff request to drop or cover a shift right from their mobile phone, while managers control all swap approvals and roster updates. It decreases the amount of administrative work, is suitable for over 20 employees, and can even be used to generate analysis of your workforce.

Perhaps the best thing about an automated system is that shift swaps go directly into the timesheets, meaning there is no additional step of calculating for it. Employees will be paid accurately, and businesses will save money on computing for the additional pay. With that out of the way, managers can focus on creating a great work environment and building the business.

Track the results

Once you’ve implemented a shift swapping system, it’s time to track the results. Compare new data with your baseline after 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and so on. This will help you decide what to do next with your shift swapping system. Look at the following indicators:

  • Number of employees who use of shift swapping
  • Frequency of unfilled shifts
  • Ease with which employees are using the system
  • Effect on administrative work hours
  • Effect on productivity and sales

If you choose an automated shift swapping system, it would be easy for you to compare performance and labour cost data from month to month. It would also allow you to take advantage of other features such as tracking business revenue and labor costs in real time, while complying with all the labor and data privacy laws. Take a free demo to find out how time and attendance automation can help your business.

_Read more: _The Digital Workforce Success Revolution: Why you need to shift to cloud-based HR today

Empowering your employees means constantly finding new ways for them to be able to grow in your company, and their career. This means building a more flexible work environment that lets them have work-life balance while not disrupting operations. Businesses that are accommodating towards staff are more likely to retain top talent and attract the best in the industry. Secure the future of your business today by being an empowering employer.

Want more content like this? __Sign up for our website relaunch __and get the chance to have your company featured on Workforce Success!

Rosie Ramirez

published September 14, 2018

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Other Industries

Michael Barnard's Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Customers for Life

The most important customers are “those that come back consistently and invite their friends,” according to Michael Barnard, General Manager of consultancy firm Customology. A speaker at the Beyond Workforce Success Conference 2018, he specializes in creating customers for life. And there’s a very good reason for that: it costs 10 times as much to obtain a new customer as it does to retain an existing customer.

Consider also the fact that a 5% increase in returning customers can translate to a profit growth of 150%. This exponential growth will not be possible without a strong foundation that keeps them coming back. And because they share your product to their network, they can also determine how many new customers you will attract. In short, by taking care of the customers you already have, you will be able to secure your business, and even expand to new markets.

Ready to create customers for life? Here’s Barnard’s step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Get out of the dark and know who they are

The first step is getting to know your customers. Knowing precisely the kind of customers you attract with your current marketing strategies will tell you who you should cater to. Segment your current customers according to age, gender, income bracket, and other indicators you might find useful. If you can, indicate what kind of purchases they make, and when they do so. All of this information will help you strategize for your customer programs.

Find out what your customers value

Not all customers value the same things. Sometimes, it isn’t even about the price of the product or service, but the needs they address. This is where the concept of “value” comes in. Products and services address four kinds of needs, namely, functional, emotional, life-changing, and social impact. Your brand will be judged based on the need you address, and the value you add. Finding out what your customers value will help you create for, and market to, them.

Coming up next on Workforce Success: Tapping Into what Customers Value with Customology’s Michael Barnard

Develop an effective customer program

Any good retention strategy involves customer programs. But don’t just focus on price, convenience, or service! Instead, take a customer-centric approach to communication and engagement. Take the data you have and put it to good use. Look at who they are and what kind of purchases they make. This will help you figure out what problems they may be trying to address. Solve your customers’ problems and they will keep coming back to you.

Coming up next on Workforce Success: Creating Customer Programs with Customology’s Michael Barnard

Capture the right data and learn from it

When capturing data about your clients, find a single point of truth that can be your basis for analysis. Generally, information is gathered from three areas: Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Point-of-Sale (POS), and product data from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. The single point of truth prevents data overload and reconciles different sources of data. It then allows you to see the overall picture and reconfigure your strategies towards better sales.

Keep the customer promise

Finally, creating customers for life means keeping your promises. Whether you’re selling ready-to-wear fashion or providing technical services, always deliver what you said you would.

Keeping the customer promise often involves the little things. Answering the phone promptly and courteously every time it rings goes a long way in creating a bond with customer. And so does going out of your way to find an item the customer is looking for.

_Read more: _ How to Serve 200 Customers Daily in an 8-seat Restaurant

To make all this happen, invest in your people and truly make them a part of your company. Allow them to understand what the company stands for, and encourage them to take ownership of their work. Every staff member is a brand ambassador. Often, they are what your customers will remember about you. When your staff is equipped with everything they need to perform well, they are better able to make decisions that would satisfy both the customer and your bottom line.

Indeed, empowering staff can help your business succeed in more ways than one. But in the everyday grind, it’s easy to lose track of your workforce. Scheduling shifts to match peak hours, and optimizing staff to reach their full potential, all take time, effort, and expertise. Luckily, Tanda has developed a way to do just that, at a fraction of the cost. To find out more about how you too can achieve workforce success, request a demo here.

Want more content like this? Sign up for our website relaunch and get the chance to have your company featured on Workforce Success!

Rosie Ramirez

published September 12, 2018

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AU Exclusive: Free Superannuation Contributions Calculator now available

Figuring out the correct superannuation for your employees is effortless with Tanda’s free superannuation contributions calculator. This free super calculator shows you the correct contributions for multiple employees at once. Click here to try the super contributions calculator!

Who qualifies for superannuation?

In Australia, employers must pay super for any work casual, part-time, and full-time temporary resident employee who falls under the following:

  • Employees over 18 years of age, who earn $450 or more every month (before taxes)
  • Employees under 18 years of age, who earn $450 or more every month (before taxes), and work at least 30 hours a week

From 1 July 2014, an employer is required to pay a minimum of 9.5% of the employee’s ordinary time earnings into super. This is set to gradually rise over the coming years. But you won’t need to worry about any of this when you use our free superannuation contributions calculator.

Free Superannuation Contributions Calculator in three steps

  • Step 1: Input. Input the first employee’s details in each field using our switch system.
  • Step 2: Add. Click the “add employee button” to input another set of details. Repeat as necessary.
  • Step 3: Calculate. Click the “calculate” button to see results.

Click here to try the super contributions calculator!

Upgrade to experience Tanda’s full range of services

Calculating correct super contributions is just one small part of Tanda’s full range of services. With Tanda, you will also be able to:

  • Search and consolidate all employees’ super
  • Accurately track time and attendance
  • Manage leaves, shifts, and unavailability
  • See real time staff count and wage spending
  • Connect to your existing payroll system
  • Produce reports for strategic planning

Start your free trial now and get one step closer to workforce success!


Rosie Ramirez

published September 05, 2018

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What's New in Tanda - August 2018

Welcome to the Tanda release notes for August. Here’s what we released this month:

Live Wage Tracker™ - track your wages in real-time

You may have noticed the new Live Wage Tracker™ widget appear on your dashboard this month. The Live Wage Tracker™ is a groundbreaking feature that shows you award interpreted wage costs in real-time along with staff counts so you can get an accurate picture of exactly what’s happening in your business.


The Live Wage Tracker™ will help you ensure you have optimal staffing numbers at all times throughout your day of operations. Login to your Tanda dashboard right now and see it in action.

View the Live Wage Tracker on your dashboard

View the date leave requests were submitted

When there are multiple staff wanting the same day off, its important to be able to see the date they requested their leave to make a fair decision around which request should be approved. That’s why we have now added the leave requested date to the top of each request in Tanda.


Remove old time clocks from your account

If you have time clocks set up in your Tanda account that are no longer being used, you can now remove them so that they don’t show up in your time clock filter lists. We realise having old time clocks visible can make your account feel messy and make it harder to choose the correct time clock. The great news is you can now remove these old time clocks.


To deactivate time clocks simply navigate to the time clocks page from your settings cog.


On this page you will see all the time clocks in your account, simply click the deactivate button to move them to the deactivated time clocks section. Make sure that the time clock is no longer in use before you do this.


Sync staff milestones to your calendar

Last month we released the ability to subscribe to team leave calendars, this month we’ve added that same team filtering functionality to your staff birthday and work anniversary calendars too.


Subscribing to these calendars in your personal calendar (iCal, Google Calendar, Outlook) means you can easily keep track of important staff milestones in the calendar you already use rather than having to check Facebook or keep track of it elsewhere.

To do this simply navigate to the birthday calendar page located in workforce > staff > tools

New Integrations

We’ve also updated a number of our POS integrations so that sales data is synced with Tanda every 15 minutes (rather than every 6 hours). This means your dashboard will update much more regularly than before. This impacts the following integrations:

Renee Phelan

published August 27, 2018

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Taking Back Time: Solving the enduring wage theft problem in Australia

A spate of wage theft accusations has swept across Australia, leaving in its wake damaged reputations and millions in back wages. From the small Barry Cafe in Northcote to cosmetics giant Lush, employment practices, especially involving overtime pay, have been called into question. Some smaller businesses have also come under fire, mainly in the hospitality industry, where experts say wage theft and exploitation are rife. In the mad scramble to resolve these accusations, two questions emerge: why does wage theft happen, and how do we solve it?

Complex Awards system blamed

In the aftermath of a street protest by the former employees of Barry Cafe in Northcote, owner Anne Petroulias said a lack of understanding about the awards system led to underpayment. She admitted they were unaware of the wage rates, and thought weekend penalty rates could be traded off for staff meals. “My brother looked on Google, and got the wage rates. I know we did wrong and we want to rectify anything.”

Could it be that the complex award system is the root cause? Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Greg Bicknell thinks it is a major factor. “The award system is quite complex for small businesses to use,” he said.  Recent Fair Work investigations seem to support this. A cafe in Darwin was found to have underpaid three employees a total of $4,988 because they misinterpreted the classification descriptions under the award.

Read more: Managing 5 Pain Points in Hospitality Employment

It’s not just small businesses, however, as even the popular cosmetics store Lush wasn’t immune. Last month, they committed to paying back $2 million to 5,000 workers. The massive breach, according to director Peta Granger, was the result of inefficiencies in its payroll system. during the 2010 transition to the system of Modern Awards.

More recently, the Super Retail group declared they will pay $7.9 million in back wages to 4,500 staff members. According to Managing Director Peter Birtles, an internal review revealed employees were not paid under the correct award. There was also an inconsistent approach in how time in lieu, overtime payments and allowances were applied.  "This was a genuine mistake that we deeply regret,” he emphasized.

Dire consequences for businesses

The reality, however, is that ignorance of the Fair Work Act will not shield an employer from its consequences. Last May, employees of Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio and Vue de Monde began to sue for back payments after allegedly working for more than 50 hours a week, for just 38 hours of pay, due to the incorrect application of annualised salaries. The owners of the restaurants, celebrity chefs Darren Purchese and Shannon Bennett, risk damaging not just their own brand, but also their many affiliations, such as MasterChef Australia.

Indeed, the price is not just financial, because reputations can quickly be lost in the controversies. Recall that last year, another celebrity chef and MasterChef Australia judge George Calombaris apologised after his restaurant group was caught underpaying 160 staff members a total of up to $2.6 million. Unsurprisingly, Calombaris’ professional credibility as a judge was questioned, and the incident is likely to cast a long shadow on his career moving forward.

And it’s not just the owner or proprietor’s personal brand at risk, because the businesses’ reputation as an employer is too. The spotlight on underpaying businesses revealed a slew of other unethical practices. The fixed pay at popular travel retailer Flight Centre, for instance, was revealed to be $4,000 below minimum wage. The rest of their legally mandated pay was being made from commissions. Employees also complained of rare breaks and unpaid overtime, likely discouraging others to pursue a career with them. And without the best people, there is no way for a business to succeed.

Read more: How to Serve 200 Customers Daily in an 8-seat Restaurant

Beyond payment of backwages, governments are also now considering criminalising wage theft. Queensland’s Palaszczuk government began hearings last Thursday after being contacted by 169 people to detail cases of wage theft. Victoria's Labor Government has also promised to introduce laws targeting employers who underpay their workers, with hefty penalties of up to 10 years in jail.

Using tech to comply with Modern Awards

While Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross admits significant improvements can be made to make understanding awards easier, businesses need to comply with the current system, and fast. There is no question that the complexity of modern awards, and the immense administrative work required, cost a lot of time, money, and effort to get right. According to the Australian Payroll Association’s 2018 Payroll Benchmarking Report, it costs an average of $36.30 to produce a single payslip for companies with less than 200 employees. Superannuation and tax policies also change, and some employers get left behind.

But times have changed, and businesses are no longer limited to old, unwieldy methods of complying with various laws. Automation, or the technology to implement processes with little to no human assistance, has been introduced to many companies around the world. Businesses subscribed to automation software are able to use an impartial system that monitors time and attendance, tracks employee rosters, and applies modern awards.

One such software is Tanda, whose library of modern awards automates payroll and wage calculation with minimal effort from administrative staff. Investing in time and attendance software ensures that businesses do not make the same mistakes that are now costing others millions. The revolution has begun, and it is expected that many more will follow. In fact, research from Willis Towers Watson found that workplace automation is expected to surge in the next three years.

Read more: The Digital Workforce Success Revolution: Why you need to shift to cloud-based HR today

Empower staff, improve business

The responsibility to pay staff correctly falls squarely on the shoulders of employers, whether they’re running a large retail chain or a small neighborhood cafe. And indeed, companies can insure themselves against controversy down the line by investing in time and attendance software. However, that’s not the only reason to do it. A fair system builds trust among employees. It empowers them to do their best in their respective roles. It’s a win-win situation, because it maximises the bottom line without defrauding the front line and ruining the brand.

When done correctly, time and attendance automation means there would no longer be a need for staff to protest on the streets, or form digital unions to fight wage theft. Violations would be all but forgotten, because compliance would be done automatically and accurately, every time. Automation can spell success for your workforce, and ultimately, your business, in more ways than one. The recent spike in accusations has already drawn attention to the weakness in how companies compute wages; now it’s time to solve it.

Want to see comprehensive workforce success technology in action? We’re ready to show you - request a demo here.

Rosie Ramirez

published August 24, 2018

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Other Industries

From Battlefields to Boardrooms: Finding Good Managers with William Gooderson

Whether you’re clearing out explosives in Afghanistan, or managing the finances of a corporation in Australia, you need good managers. So argues former British Royal Engineers Major turned leadership expert William Gooderson on the Beyond Workforce Success Conference stage on the Gold Coast last June. And he speaks from hard-earned knowledge, having first commanded 30 soldiers in Germany at the age of 24.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, or what your business entails, if you do not have good managers, that end mission will fail,” he emphasizes. Given how important good managers are, investing in them is a priority across all businesses. However, laments Gooderson, recruiting and finding decent management is a global problem.

The “joys” of trying to find good managers

“We live in both the most exciting and the most challenging era for trying to find talent,” says Gooderson. Websites like LinkedIn and SEEK have made it easy to reach out to potential managers. But at the same time, websites like Glassdoor have opened managers to anonymous criticism that may affect not just their reputation, but their company’s as well. There is now more information to navigate, and thus more skill required to recruit correctly.

Juggling internal and external hiring makes a difference

The advantages of hiring someone internally include retaining the company’s top talent and saving money on hiring. The disadvantages are having a limited choice, and creating tension among those who didn’t get picked. Hiring externally gives you far greater choices, but at a higher risk. The person you hire would come at a higher cost, and would need to adapt to the company’s culture. Juggling these pros and cons will make all the difference.

Half the battle is having a manager’s profile

Any recruitment agency will ask, “What do you want in a manager?” One way to answer that is to figure out who among your current staff you would like to clone. Write down the attributes of that person before you talk to your recruitment agency. This will ensure that you’re on the same page about who you would like to lead your team. Provide the profile of your existing workforce as well, because your new manager should be able to work with all of them.

Challenge your prospective manager on controversial things

A good way to gauge how someone works is how they would address a difficult situation. Ask them what, among the experiences they’ve had, can inform their decisions. Provide them with a scenario from your specific company, organization, or industry. Listen to their answer, and share with them how the problem was actually resolved. Even your interview can be instrumental in making that manager a better one, whether or not you pick them for the job.

Be prepared to make the hard decisions

Sometimes, finding good managers means letting go of bad ones. This becomes difficult when the individual has spent decades in the industry and is supporting a family, which Gooderson himself found out the hard way. Confronted with an erring army commander, he had to make a call most leaders do not want to be faced with. “The lessons I learned from sacking that guy have been with me throughout my entire career,” he says. “And I reflect upon them every single time I’m put in that situation.”

Experience, and reflecting on experience, is everything

Indeed the secret to finding good managers, according to Gooderson, is experience, and the ability to reflect on that experience. The best resource decision makers have when it comes to making the choice is themselves. “If you don’t leverage your opportunities and experiences, and if your managers aren’t doing that, you are really going to struggle,” he remarks.

The playing field is bigger now, and decision makers have unprecedented access to potential managers who can make or break the business. So if you’re still having trouble finding a good manager, take Gooderson’s advice: dig deep into your own background. And when you’ve learned to harness your experiences, and passed the lessons down to another generation of leaders, you can mark your mission complete.

Want more content like this? _Sign up for our website relaunch_ and get the chance to have your company featured on Workforce Success!

Rosie Ramirez

published August 13, 2018

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Introducing Live Wage Tracker™

Today we are releasing a groundbreaking feature that will give managers the ability to see, in real time, how many staff are on the ground and how much wages are costing. The Live Wage Tracker™ is going to make managing your day of operations much easier.

We know that in 2018 everything happens right now. So checking how much you spent on wages after the fact (end of day, week, or month) is just too late for you. We’ve built the Live Wage Tracker ™ to enable you to proactively make decisions that will affect your bottom line.

Real time certainty for accurate staffing

Having optimal staffing levels is good for everyone; customers get the right level of service, employees aren’t overworked or bored, and the business spends the right amount of money on wages.

Live Wage Tracker helps you:

  • Gain oversight of your day of operations
  • See accurate staff counts and wages at any given moment
  • Understand how much you’ve spent on wages so far that day
  • Ensure optimal staffing levels
  • See where you’re overspending on wages
  • Investigate any variances to your roster

Live staff count


Live wages


What’s next?

We’re proud to say the live wage tracking feature is a big deal. Our next challenge is even bigger - we’re working on bringing you a live view of your sales and demand so you can get a complete picture of your day.


Instead of checking on those KPIs at the end of the day and trying to improve the future, you’ll be able to track them on the day and improve the now.

With live sales, live demand, and live KPIs managing your day of operations has never been so easy.

Jess Golding

published August 02, 2018

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What's New in Tanda - July 2018

Welcome to the Tanda release notes for July. Here’s what we released this month:

It’s now easier to see who’s at work, who’s finished for the day and who’s on leave

You can now hover over anyone on leave and find out exactly what type of leave they are on.


We’ve also improved the colouring of the cards to make it easier to see who has finished a shift or is on break vs someone who is on leave.


View it on your dashboard here

These improvements were based on a suggestion on our feedback board. If you have ideas of things you think we should improve please let us know.

Leave requests submitted by team managers no longer auto-approve

If a manager submits a leave request, previously it would automatically approve, just like it does for general managers and admins. Based on lots of user feedback, we’ve changed the way this works so that if a team manager submits a leave request someone else needs to approve it (another manager, GM, or admin on the account).


You can now subscribe to specific team leave calendars

Subscribing to the leave calendar in your personal calendar (iCal, Google Calendar, Outlook) is great because it means you can keep track of exactly when staff are on leave.

We’ve now added team filtering options on the subscribe page to give you more flexibility around this. So now if you only want to see leave for specific teams you can do so without seeing the leave of every single employee in your Tanda account.


Here’s an example of how it will look in Google Calendar.


To set this up simply click tools > Subscribe to leave calendar on the Leave page, select the teams you want to subscribe to and then copy the link provide. Once you have this link you simply need to add it to your external instructions, here are some links on how to do that for:

Holidays are now listed on staff schedules

If staff have been scheduled to work on holidays these will now be flagged to them on their shift in the app (pictured above) as well as in schedule emails and SMS messages. This removes the risk of your staff not being aware that they are working on a holiday as its listed clearly in their app.


Holidays shown on employee schedules will be the same as those you see when building your schedules, these are based off your settings.

These improvements were based on a suggestion on our feedback board. If you have ideas of things you think we should improve please let us know.

Renee Phelan

published July 30, 2018

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workforce success

The only reason to build software is to sell it

When we were a small young company, this quote went unsaid and was probably fairly obvious, because we had no other option. If we couldn’t get people to buy our software, we wouldn’t be able to pay ourselves, and we wouldn’t be able to buy food or pay our rent. There was no choice but to build features that people would buy.

These days, if someone walks around the office saying “the only reason to build software is to sell it” it might draw confused looks from half the company.

A lot’s changed in five years. We’ve grown past 100 people, and one thing that’s changed is that there’s a lot more specialisation within the business. It’s not just 4 guys sitting in their living room trying to do sales, marketing, customer success, support, design, development, finance, and strategy all at the same time — there’s now entire teams around each of those functions, plus other things we didn’t know should exist.

We now have a big pool of customers who are happy, and a big pool of customers who are mostly happy. One side effect of this has been that “the only reason to build software is to sell it” has become a bit of an abstract idea. It’s easy to forget that there is still a much bigger pool of people for whom there’s more we need to do to win their business.

Some people’s instinctive response when they first hear this quote is “there’s other reasons to make software — to solve people’s problems, to improve the experience for current customers, etc”. I don’t think these are at odds. If we make software that solves problems and makes customers happy, then we’ll be able to sell it. If we can’t, then we’ve built the wrong thing.

I don’t think product/market fit is a fixed state. It’s not binary, something you “have” or “don’t have”. I think it’s a scale, and every time we build something that shrinks that pool of people who can’t use our software, we are improving along that scale. But if industrial relations law changes, or if something that used to be a delighter becomes a basic need, then we move down on the scale. It’s a constant battle.

Every product team’s goal should be to build the best product ever. Mine certainly is. Once I set that goal, I struggled to define “best” for a long time. Is it the prettiest, or the easiest to use, or the fastest? I think a better definition is the most sellable. If we build the prettiest, fastest, easiest to use product in the world but nobody buys it because it doesn’t solve a problem, then we haven’t really made the world a better place. But if we build the most sellable product then we are going to have a positive impact on the biggest number of people.

In my opinion “the only reason to build software is to sell it” is always a good motto. It seems unlikely that we’ll reach a point where we have the perfect product that covers every single use case ever. But it’s worth striving for! And even if we do get there, customers are divinely discontent, so we’ll need to keep innovating to ensure our customers keep buying from us. In the meantime, there’s plenty more work to be done.

Alex Ghiculescu

published July 20, 2018

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What's new in Tanda - June 2018

Welcome to the June release notes for Tanda. Each month we will be posting a list of the most important new things we have released in the product, to kick things off here’s what we’ve been working on in June:

Improved schedules in the app

Keep track of exactly when you’re working and your total scheduled hours for each week

Your shifts are now organised into weeks - simply swipe left or right to see past or future weeks. You can also check the navigation bar to see which days you are working, and which teams you’re working in at a glance.


Don’t have the app yet? Download it here and Get your staff using the app

Add times to leave requests

When staff are taking just a few hours time off on a day you can now see exactly when these hours are and schedule them outside of those times.

This is great for those times where staff are only requesting just a few hours off in a day, now they can let you know exactly when those hours are in the day i.e. 2 hours from 10am-12pm.


These times will be visible on the roster, if you do create a shift that overlaps with approved leave times you will get a warning.


How to add times to leave

Improved schedule templates

More intuitive editing and creating of schedule templates

We received feedback from customers that the edit schedule screen didn’t look very different from the normal schedule screen, so we’ve updated the banner to make it easier to distinguish.


Tip Jars

Automate your daily tip splitting to have tips distributed fairly to staff, and recorded on their timesheets

Attention US customers: You can now record and allocate your tips amongst staff through Tanda. Simply enter the tip amounts for each team, for each day and have them split fairly amongst everyone who worked in that team on that day-calculated based on the hours they worked.


This feature is still in beta, if you would like to start using it now please email jess@tanda.co

Learn more about tip jars here.

Coming soon

Here are a few of the things we are working on right now.

Renee Phelan

published July 02, 2018

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Tanda Feature Announcements from Beyond Conference 2018

Founding Tanda CTO, Alex Ghiculescu, addressed a 200+ strong audience at the inaugural Tanda Beyond Conference on the Gold Coast last week.


Alex concluded his talk with some of the feature releases the product team are working on right now.

Tanda’s roadmap is prioritised around 3 key themes:

  • Improving efficiency by making it easy to make data-driven decisions.
  • Improving trust between employees and employers by ensuring everyone is paid fairly and accurately.
  • Improving connectedness by keeping everyone engaged and on the same page.

Shift Swapping

The reality of running a business is that that creating the perfect roster—one that requires no changes—rarely occurs. Staff get sick, things change and ultimately this results in staff needing to drop or swap shifts they were originally rostered to work.

Keeping track of the ongoing changes and finding replacements last minute is something that every manager we speak to struggles with. That’s why we are currently building shift swapping, a feature that will take care of all the manual work dealing with shift swapping while still giving you the oversight and control you need to make sure your business is accurately staffed.

We think of it as “win-win shift swapping” good for managers, good for employees.

Find out more and get early access here


Live Insights

Knowing at the end of each day if you hit your wage % of revenue KPI is good. But what if you could track your progress throughout the day using live data? This would mean you could see in real-time how your sales and wage costs are tracking. Are your sales matching what you expected and rostered for? Or is it higher or lower than what you expected? In this case, you may want to adjust your staffing levels on the fly so they match your sales demand.

Our goal is to help every manager steer every shift to success using live insights.

Find out more and get early access


Transparent Time-off Management

One of the most important factors in running a successful business is having staff who are happy, productive and love where they work. One way to foster this type of culture is by allowing staff to have the time off that they need. But how can a business do this while still making sure they have enough staff to put on their roster?

Introducing Tanda Time Off.

We believe the best way to manage both the needs of your staff and your business is to simply be transparent with staff and tell them when the “good” or “bad” times to take time off actually are.

Find out more Want early access to this feature? Email declan@tanda.co


Multi-breaks & Paid Breaks

The ability for staff to clock each break they take throughout their shift - even those that are paid is crucial both from a compliance and time theft perspective. You need to know how many breaks staff are taking, how long they were and ultimately how much the staff member should be paid.

We are working on supporting multi-clocked breaks and paid breaks in Tanda. This means you can roster staff for shifts and have their break times calculated automatically (this is already live), allow staff to clock each break throughout their shift on the time clock and lastly have this information neatly presented on their timesheet ready for you to approve.

Want early access to these features? Email jess@tanda.co


Shift Feedback - from the frontline

“If staff have an issue they can visit me in my office” (…a statement that doesn’t always work).

We know that extracting objective, value adding feedback in the workplace is not always easy. Staff won’t always feel as though they can criticise their boss or offer suggested improvements - but the reality is front-line staff are the ones closest to your customers and should have good ideas on what could be improved. We’re currently testing ways of collecting objective, valuable shift feedback from staff that you can use to make improvements in your business. If you would like to start using this feature now please get in contact with us.

Find out more Want early access to this feature? Email liamsheppard@tanda.co


Instant Communication

Communicating with your staff is a foundational need of any manager so we often get feature requests like “Can you make a Tanda chatroom?”. When we ask businesses how they communicate with their staff now the feedback was consistently that they reverted back to Facebook as their main method of communication.

The reason: an instant message is only valuable if it gets seen. This is why we built a Facebook-integrated chat bot. The value is two-fold: We’re going where the employees already are: 17 million Australians are already on Facebook. We designed the chat bot to answer questions that would traditionally cause admin work for a manager. For example, “What’s my leave balance? Can I have next Tuesday off? What’s my roster?”

Want early access to this feature? Email dave@tanda.co



We will be sharing more information about these upcoming features with you as the year progresses. If you would like to know more, please reach out to us.

Renee Phelan

published June 21, 2018

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workforce success

Workforce Success Podcast Episode Two

On Episode Two of the Workforce Success Podcast, I sit down with Nat Hodges from the People Performance Business Nxt Lvl. Nat is an exercise science major and multiple business owner and founder, running one of the largest independent strength and conditioning gyms in Brisbane, Australia before joining as co-director of Nxt Lvl.

Nat and I explore the psychology behind high performing teams. We touch on employee engagement, what it means to find meaning and purpose in your work and what authenticity in the workplace looks like.

Nat unpacks company culture, what is it really and how are high performing businesses are aligning learning, community and personal development to give them the cutting edge in the marketplace. 

Bryce Davies

published May 31, 2018

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How Australia's healthcare problems are paving the way for bigger technology

There are almost half a million paid healthcare professionals in Australia. Around 38% of this population is working less than 35 hours per week and 12% are working over 49 hours per week. These numbers tell us that almost half of the professionals in the healthcare industry are either working less or working more, leading to problems in the supply and distribution of the health workforce.

Doctors and other health professionals are no longer as willing to work extended hours. Australia’s healthcare industry has been facing staffing shortages and a scarcity of next-generation skills to become even more customer-centred.

Hospitals and other healthcare institutions are trying to find different ways to retain the quality of service without sacrificing for the sake of their workforce. It doesn’t seem as easy to resolve. However, different factors such as locations, talent category, and the organisation’s values themselves are also to be considered when coming up with better solutions. At the end of the day, people’s wellbeing are on the line, and that’s what makes problems for this industry so unique and challenging, but at the same time very exciting to crack.

Over the years, automation and other technological solutions have started resolving current and future healthcare workforce pain points. Google and DexCom are two companies who have already began providing wearable technology that allows healthcare professionals to monitor their patients even when they’re physically far away. Skype, one of the pioneers of video chat and voice call, started providing practitioners the option to facilitate follow-up appointments through their technology. Surgical Partners is also a group that pitched in the industry. They take care of all the messy backend aspects of healthcare companies – accounting, billings, and system management. Even financial institutions such as Westpac have worked with digital solutions for their healthcare arm. They now offer better cash flow management for professionals and private practitioners alike, further cutting down the pain of managing finances for the healthcare industry.

One of the reasons staffing is a problem for the industry is proximity. Professionals take into consideration the area they will be working in, especially those who have families of their own. A unique solution has been offered by a company called VMORE, where they provide virtual assistance for professionals to start their own private practice.

With these solutions and more in the works, practicing institutions in the industry not only get to manage their business better, but also are filling in gaps of staffing problems. Even if there are many other factors that need addressing to make the healthcare industry better and more attractive to professionals. Little by little, technological solutions are arising to address these pain points.

To know more about healthcare and its innovations, join us this 14-15 June at Beyond 2018. Join our panellists Marcus Wilson (Surgical Partners), Melissa Argent (Westpac Healthcare), and Deana Scott (VMORE) as they discuss how technology is shaping the healthcare industry. Visit www.workforcesuccess.com for more information.

Robert Dickson

published May 23, 2018

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Product + Marketing + Sales = Product Marketing

Product Marketing Manager

Tanda is the world’s #1 platform for workforce success. We build cloud software for scheduling staff, managing attendance, and making business decisions. Our vision is to build a product that allows businesses to build truly productive workforces so they can ultimately grow their business and create more jobs - we’re doing this by helping staff be happier and more productive.

This is where you come in.

We are looking for a passionate product marketing manager to join our team and help us position, launch and drive awareness around the core Tanda products.

What is the role all about?

As a product marketing manager you will be joining the Tanda product team and will work closely with designers, product managers and other marketers. You will be responsible for shaping the way we communicate and position Tanda core features both internally and externally and will have the creative resources you need to do so effectively.

What you will be doing

  • Become an expert in the Tanda core features
  • Deeply understand our customers, the reasons they use Tanda through customer research
  • Take this understanding to design and execute campaigns that drive product demand from strategy to copywriting
  • Conduct competitor research and analysis, to identify how we compare to our competitors, where do we win where do we lose
  • Work with product managers on new features to develop a product story, marketing plan and launch plan
  • Create product messaging, positioning & content (landing pages, blog posts, videos etc.) to articulate the value of Tanda and drive conversion
  • Coordinate newsletters and webinars to engage with our user base and keep them aware of the improvements we are making
  • Together with the product team, educate both internal and external partners about our product story, the product value, market competitors and unique market leading position

Tanda is growing incredibly fast, our product team is doubling in size every year, you will be joining a fast-paced environment where there’s plenty of great opportunities to learn new skills. You’ll be working out of our Brisbane office.

Want to know more?

Email renee@tanda.co and tell me:

Renee Phelan

published May 22, 2018

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Tanda Products

How to Review Code

We recently shipped a bug that broke our credit card form.

When you’re a SaaS company like Tanda, being unable to record credit card details is not a good thing. If there’s one thing you want working 24/7 it is the ability to have people give you money.

This bug should have been caught in code review, but it wasn’t. So in the spirit of profiting from our mistakes, we tightened things up a bit. Here’s two key lessons we learnt.

Review deletions as closely as you review additions

Bad deletions can be just as catastrophic as bad additions. This bug was caused by the removal of a single line of code. It stuck out like a sore thumb going back over it because there were no other modifications in the file, and the file had nothing to do with the changes at hand. But nobody was looking for suspect deletions during code review so nobody saw it.

I personally like to review code in the two column layout, with deletions on the left and additions on the right.


I found that my eyes tended to follow the code in a “U” shape, going top to bottom through the additions on the right then skimming back up through the deletions on the left. That is how you get bugs.

I now review code in what more closely resembles a “Z” shape, reading deletions and additions at the same pace, comparing them, questioning them. “There’s a deletion on this line without a nearby addition. Why?”

It’s important to spend as much time thinking about what a removed line of code did as it is thinking about what a new line of code does. Innocent-looking deletions can take your site down.

You, the code author, are the first code reviewer

The mindset that you write the code and someone else makes sure it doesn’t have any bugs is exactly how you get bugs.


At the end of the day, your code has your name on it. You can’t blame bugs on your code reviewer. Unless you’re new to the codebase, you should understand the implications of your code at least as well as your reviewer. In other words you are well-placed to review your own code, so do it.

By “review” I do not mean “yeah nah I reviewed it as I wrote it she’s all good mate,” I mean looking at the diff. Do exactly what your code reviewer would be doing. Code review is a separate act from writing code that requires a different mindset. If you’re truly reviewing your own code then you should occasionally spot things.

Code reviewers are not an insurance policy, they are assistants in your quest to not ship bugs. Don’t forget about the deletions.

Declan Haigh

published May 21, 2018

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How to Serve 200 Customers Daily in an 8-seat Restaurant

Breaking down the cost of eating a fine meal there’s a lot you pay for on top of the transactional value of buying and preparing food.

Being waited on in an architecturally designed restaurant in a prime location is great. But what if you want the same quality food without the premium price?

As the case goes for Australia, to get a fine dining meal here, you’ll also be paying for self inflicted operational inefficiencies.

We’re largely talking:

  • Capital and operational expenses of having a large fancy venue
  • Staff who perform various activities that don’t directly pertain to the preparation of food
  • Time consumed in a long seated meal that prevents the venue from turning over the table several times during service

But this isn’t the case in many places of the world - I recently travelled to Japan where I discovered good food can be purely transaction. It’s usually in an alleyway and the people who greet you also cook your food.

In Japan many well regarded restaurants have no front of house staff at all. Many don’t have a human taking your order.

Here’s one example I encountered: I picked this example because it has a western counterpart - a high end steak restaurant. The place is called Le Monde, located in Shinjuku, and it’s tiny. There’s 3 staff, there’s no time of the day that doesn’t have a line and the dining room has 8 seats.

Here’s how they do it

Eliminate menu choice. What do you want? We have steak, steak and steak. There is no question as to what you’re ordering. It’s going to be steak and it will be cooked medium-rare. The only question is what cut you will be ordering.

Each steak comes with an exact amount of thick cut potato chips, a small amount of greens and a tiny amount of rice.

The result is an ultra low wastage restaurant with a hyper efficient kitchen process.

Efficient design. This place is evidence that if you design your restaurant with the efficiency of a Toyota plant you can serve up high value food at a low price.

Those waiting outside observe the menu, the one front of house team member takes your order at the door. You then progress to a standing line inside. The chefs watch the progress of seated customers and line up the steaks to match the inside line of customers.

A perfectly timed steak hits the grill, you simply sit and a steak goes directly from the grill to a plate in front of you within 30 seconds.

You then leave promptly after finishing your meal because people are looking at you waiting for your seat.

Here’s a technical diagram I put together in the early hours of the morning:

No time for talking. There’s a dead silence in this restaurant. The feel is part fine dining restaurant with quiet jazz music, and a little bit like a solemn funeral.

You sit, you eat, you leave.

This is in part because you’re eating to an audience of other people waiting for your seat.

Never an empty seat. Empty seats are dead money. Hospitality operators pay for the seat and the square meter it sits on for one reason – to make money from it. By having a small footprint, every seat makes money.

Restaurant wastage comes in many forms, and ultimately the consumer pays for it somehow. The same goes for wasted seats and square meters, if you’re eating in an empty restaurant there’s only two options: you’re either paying for the empty seats in your meal price or the operator is going backwards.

I walked past at all hours of the day and never observed this place without a line to get a seat.

Aces in their places. Unlike my fellow diners who looked down at their meal and only looked up to pay, I took a good look at how the kitchen operated. The simplicity created insane efficiency. Everything had its place and each meal was prepared like clockwork.

All perfect. Always on time.

Here’s the staff setup:

1x FOH staff member takes care of the dining room, takes orders and prints the bill.

1x Chef manages the grill. They observe the eating progress of seated customers and ensure everything is ready to go in order of those in line.

1x Chef manages the sides and plating, and everything else that happens in the kitchen.

Insane value. This is a subjective statement, but rings true if your goal though is eat fine dining food at takeaway prices.

This is achieved by eliminating all of the activities that are non value adding to you getting a quality steak cheap and fast.

The result: a restaurant quality steak for a fast food price. It’s a place where well off business people and broke backpackers eat side by side. Something you won’t see often in Australia.

Phil Johnson

published May 21, 2018

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workforce success

We user-tested with people who never used a smartphone before…

Last week concluded a round of user-testing on a newly designed onboarding flow for people who visit our web-based product, My Tanda, from our app-based product, Tanda Time Clock. Our 5 day sprint ended with a live prototype and 5 users to test our product.

The user tests were scheduled for Friday during the day. Each session ran for just 30 minutes where we would analyse and pose questions whilst each user ran through the tests:

  • What is Tanda?
  • Who is Tanda for?
  • What does x do

etc. and progressively digging deeper

It was a great experience and we gained a lot of insights and feedback from it. But, whilst we were running some of these tests, a few things soon became apparent.

Of the 5 users who came in:

  • 2 had NEVER used a smartphone before
  • 3 were people we wouldn’t actually target in the market
  • 1 had no reliable internet access at all

You might be scratching your head and thinking ‘why would you test with people not in your market AND that have never used a smartphone before?’.

We definitely didn’t do this on purpose, but the insights we gained from less tech-savvy (if tech-savvy at all) were still quite valuable.

Before jumping into our findings, it’s worth painting a picture of the problem first to know what we were actually testing…

Quick Overview

Let’s kick it off! Tanda provides a free Time Clock app that employees can use to clock-in and clock-out from. The employee clock-in(out) times are sent to My Tanda — a web-based application that a manager/owner can track attendance.

They can also do much more inside My Tanda.

All you need to know is that there is a mobile app (Time Clock) and a website (My Tanda). Data from the app is sent to the website and visa versa. Users see the most value in features hosted on the website where they can integrate with accounting software to run payroll, create and send rosters and view timesheets.

Unfortunately, the website isn’t optimised for mobile. So when we send people from the mobile app to the website — this is what it looks like:


Yeah… yikes.

Our Sprint focused on improving the user experience on the website side for incoming mobile users and to provide an onboarding experience relevant to a user’s experience from the Time Clock app.


From applying the Sprint process we were able to arrive at a selection of goals we wanted to achieve:

  • Improve conversions (from app to web)
  • Make users see the value in Tanda
  • Make it clear who Tanda is for

All these exclusively apply to the problem highlighted above. Ensuring that people can still understand the message we’re conveying is especially important because the journey changes paths from an app experience to a web browser environment. Even in the seconds that it takes for the web browser to load, people drop off.

Conversions of people who actually make it through the My Tanda onboarding modal (the 2nd image above) on their phone hovers around ~25% which actually surprised me. Of people who just complete My Tanda onboarding overall (regardless of device), the conversion rate to sales is incredibly low.

Obviously, we want conversions to increase everywhere and see the money pouring in, but growth is a game of inches. Having a smaller but tested growth rate is going to have a much larger impact long-term vs. having a spike in growth from something that isn’t tested and unsustainable.


As the end of the week drew closer, the final pieces of the prototype were being put into place. Hotspots were being thrown around in Sketch and importing a .gif into our Sketches proved much more difficult than it should be (UX Pin solved this problem for us).

With the prototype finished, we eagerly tested it for ourselves on a couple of phones and agreed that it was time to put our work in the hands of our testers.

Our testers comprised of 5 random people who decided to visit our office and take part in our little experiment. Unbeknown to us, 2 of these people had never used a smartphone.

As we got into the testing, we quickly realised there were severe limitations in our tester’s ability to use the device sitting in front of them and that script sitting in front of us was going to be little use.

Instead of cancelling the test and moving onto the next user — we decided to keep pushing forward, thinking that if we could get a smartphone-illiterate user to understand our message in a few screens, we would be onto something.

At the conclusion of the 5 rounds of testing, we found a few things…


Interactions that are hard for smartphone-users are amplified by non-smartphone users.

If digesting information on a screen is hard for someone who uses a smartphone then you would expect it to be hard for someone who rarely uses one. Take note of these because they’re real problems that need to be fixed. Recording the screen sessions for these type of users is incredibly helpful to track movements across the screen and see where each user eventually gives up OR pushes ahead.

Using non-smartphone users helped us validate the problems that crept up during testing with regular-smartphone users.

Building on from the previous result, having problems (or solutions) that manifested from an individual user were easier to validate when each individual was uniquely different. If we found a sticky point that stuck for both types of users then we would iterate on it. If it stuck for one and not the other, we would dig further.

Having a simple and clear message within the prototype makes it easier for everyone. Regardless of what user they are.

Reducing the cognitive load that a user has to deal with, especially during an onboarding flow, is ideal but trying to find the balance between volume of information and clarity of message is hard. It’s easier to add more information to a tested prototype than strip away at something you invested more time into designing and thinking about in the first place. Keep it simple.

In the real world, not all managers and small business owners (our target market) have up-to-date technical skills and may not be as equipped with the knowledge of how to use a smartphone or the patterns we’re familiar with.

The testing highlighted this factor for us, reinforcing the need for simplicity in our product and messaging and not become prone to the Curse of Knowledge. If we’re trying to drive people to the ‘aha’ moments in our product and 85% of users are completing sign-ups on mobile — the message and experience needs to be perfectly balanced so users understand their problems, our solutions and everything in between whilst keeping them engaged and making it stick.


Left to Right: Sign-ups (Apps), Sign-ups (Web)

In the end

It’s important to note that the sample size of testers was very low and that any conclusions drawn from this could easily be false-positives.

It was definitely an experience and something that we came out of with more insights than we originally anticipated.

Getting people through onboarding and making them see the value as early as possible draws a special challenge when the journey moves from an app to a web browser. We will eventually share the prototype to this experiment and its many iterations.

If you ever find yourself user-testing, make sure you watch a relevant and current resource to get your mind into gear (even testers too!). Discovering problems and solutions in a short period of time is a challenge and was a focus for us during this project — watch how we do it.

Brod Gaggi

published May 16, 2018

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workforce success

Workforce Success Podcast Episode One

Today we’re announcing the launch of the Workforce Success Podcast. On the podcast, we’ll be exploring how industry leading companies are developing their biggest asset - their people, and what it looks like when world beating teams are operating at their peak performance.

On Episode One I sit down with Tasmin Tresize, co-founder of Workforce Management Platform Tanda. Tasmin walks me through how the company started and some of the lessons they’ve learnt building the company from 0 to 100 employees in 5 years.

We touch on a range of topics, including how the company embraces disruption, how technology can help traditional businesses innovate to stay ahead of the curve , how to build successful teams and how the company has harnessed human capital to fuel their success, rather than venture capital.

In wrapping up, Tasmin outlines his vision for the future of Workforce Management, and how Tanda is leveraging technology to help their clients achieve Workforce Success.

Show Transcript

[00:00:05] Welcome to the workforce success podcast where we speak to industry leaders how to grow massively successful companies by developing massively successful people. My name is Bryce Davies and it’s my job to bring you insights into how some of today’s biggest brands are winning the market by developing their biggest asset their people. Wherever you are working I want to give you the tools to make your work successful and dominate your industry. So without further ado let’s get it done.

[00:00:36] Bryce - Today I’ve got Tasmin Tresize here with me, co-founder of Tanda which is a software company based in Brisbane, Australia welcome Tasmin. I wanted to get you on today because it’s been a pretty wild ride you for you guys, you’ve grown really really quickly and building a bit of a following here in here in Brisbane and throughout the world. Do you want to just quickly give me your 30 second elevator pitch when you’re meeting people out at conferences and trying to give people a grasp of what your day to day looks like?

[00:01:10] Tasmin - Yes so Tanda. We started in Brisbane, we’re a workforce management platform so we specialise in things like staff scheduling, the interpretation of rates and tracking the hours and all it basically means is making it much easier to do the admin of hiring staff so you can focus more on helping them enjoy the experience of work and also helping them be more productive. So, they’re selling whatever it is more, so if your cafe it’s more coffees if you’re a pub it’s more beer you know.

[00:01:43] Bryce - So say I’m a business owner, what does that mean to me, say right now I’m a restauranteur or I run a retailer or manufacturer what are the sort of things I would be looking for in bringing you in and getting you to help out?

[00:01:58] Tasmin - I think just by working with thousands of businesses across the world we’ve found that everyone starts a business for a dream. So and that’s why they get into it and then they quickly realize that there’s a lot of moving parts of running a business and some things that they didn’t necessarily start for, and we found all of those are detractors for their main passion and vision. So really what we wanted to do was build those kind of tools and platform to help people to focus on what their dream is and build that as big and as fast as they can.

[00:02:31] Bryce - So that tool that you mentioned, what is that focused around? You mentioned time and attendance, scheduling and the rates. Is there anything else that you guys do throughout the world.

[00:02:41] Tasmin - Yes, so each market is quite different as well, doing work with labour complexity. So, being Australian is a funny thing we say we’re not known for much apart from beer, kangaroos and wage rate calculations. So we are the most complicated place in the world to pay staff. And one of the highest wage rates as well. So it just kind of came naturally, when we go into other markets also to be able to deal with the complexity around labor rate calculations. The EU is very complicated, America is getting quite complicated as well so we’ve been able to take the skills we’ve developed in Australia into those market. Each market is different it’s just about adapting the core software which is helping people be better

[00:03:27] Bryce - Well it sounds like it’s going really good, how long have you guys been operating for now in Australia and around the world?

[00:03:35] Tasmin - We’re a little bit different of a tech company. We started four years ago. We’ve never actually taken on capital. We’ve always thought money is cheap people are power. So I think that kind of ties in to the philosophy of workforce success as well which is, you individually can set your goals and choose what you want to achieve and it takes the same cognitive load to set a goal 10 times higher than the biggest one you’ve had. We’ve always thought that it’s our moral duty to help our people be successful and that’s kind of where we’ve always thought our growth was. Most people raise capital and hire people. Money is a motivator but it’s the outcome of the motivator, which is more valuable. Our story is a little bit different I guess from most tech companies that you would have on the show but it’s been mostly about how you can help people be successful at work. And we found that’s what helps scale and grow companies. That’s how we’ve gone in four years from nothing basically to being in all these different markets around the world and helping a lot of people scale their businesses at the same time.

[00:04:49] Bryce - Well that’s the dream isn’t it. I know when you when you think of software companies, I.T. companies we think of Google and Amazon and all these guys that start really small in a basement somewhere and grow up. I think a lot of the thing that’s missed in that you know is what that growth actually looks like from the people’s perspective. And I guess how lumpy that ride can be. Give us an idea from where you started, what sort of figures are we talking about now in terms of headcount and the offices you have around the world?

[00:05:29] Tasmin - Yeah, great question. So we’ve found those initial roles in that story are so often romanticized especially in the tech industry I think. The value is actually in your people, your teams and the people who are leading your teams and the businesses that they’re building within the business. So it can get romanticized, but it really is in the quality of the team, like it needs to get out hand in a very controlled way you know

[00:06:00] Bryce - Almost like a controlled demolition.

[00:06:02] Tasmin - Yeah exactly and you need the people to take that forwards and that’s how we’ve gone from zero staff four and a half years ago up to the 100 staff headcount have now and I think that’s what we realised, our success is only dependent on the success of our people. That’s all we need to focus on. Our employees are our number one customer. I don’t mean selling to them, I mean making them successful. If you start a business you’re not just trying to sell to your customer, you’re trying to actually improve their lives. And that should be the same focus we’ve found in our business. As it happens we’re also in the world of worktech so we’re also building technology to help other people live the same philosophy.

[00:06:47] Bryce - Yeah I mean you have certainly built a very unique culture where, just for everyone listening, we’re sitting in your meeting rooms looking out over level one of the building and you might have heard a loud slamming noise earlier which was basically someone digging a bell in the office and then you slamming your hand on the table in front of me, what does all of that mean in terms of terms of company culture.

[00:07:10] Tasmin - Yeah. So I mean it probably does require a bit of context. We’ve got a philosophy that any time a deal is made whether it’s between a customer and us or someone joining a team or with one of our suppliers, that’s it’s a bit of a miracle that we can live in a world where people can exchange value. It’s kind of like, you know if you work in a cafe and someone comes in and orders a meal, when they pay for the meal they get up and say thank you and the people who run the cafe say thank you back

[00:07:40] Bryce - Yeah. So there’s this equal exchange of value there.

[00:07:44] Tasmin - You know, it’s a beautiful moment. It’s like the world’s at peace. You know people have helped each other. We’ve helped each other achieve both of our goals at the same time simultaneously. So internally we just have a large respect for that, for the people who grow and scale businesses, close deals, open opportunities and it’s a sign of respect that we have I guess, slamming the table, just to take a moment to say thank you for the people who did that.

[00:08:13] Bryce - Yeah, it’s awesome and it’s really good to come into the office and experience it, especially to see everyone is still here on a Friday afternoon and working hard. Obviously you’ve got the beer fridge up the back and the ping pong table as you would expect in most startups but there does seem to be something different about the way that you guys operate. I did want to ask you, what were some of the standout challenges that you had to scaling the company? You mentioned before that you haven’t taken any capital which does constrain you in certain ways and you’ve got to find other ways to drive that engine of growth.

[00:09:05] Tasmin - Yeah. I mean the capital is a pertinent one just because I think we’re doing things a little bit differently from most people, but we always saw that as expedient but not necessarily long term valuable and not everything in life that is expedient is valuable. It has forced us to really understand ourselves, understand our customers and understand the things that we can do better. My old man always used to tell me that poverty builds character and you mentioned the ping pong table, but we actually don’t have a ping pong table. We have always refused to buy one because we’ve always gone to these startup events in techie offices and they’ve got a ping pong table and it feels like they’re doing it for show. So our ping pong table was actually our developers just put four desks together and then found this old board and used some thumbtacks to tack it together. I think that’s more the mentality, that’s probably the best analogy I can give you for how we’ve scaled and how the traditional limitations haven’t really applied to us because, we can have a ping pong table. We just made it out of what we already have. You can always do more with what you have. If you care enough about what you’re trying to achieve you’ll always find a way.

[00:10:27] Bryce - Yeah it’s that bootstrapping mentality in a way isn’t it because you see a lot of companies go out and raise a bunch of capital and they’ll have a fancy office and they’ll they’ll have a brand new ping pong table. It makes you think well, how else is the money being allocated and how they’re getting the most out of it. Would you say that constraint has helped you be a bit more careful with your money or help you to stretch it and get more value out of it?

[00:10:52] Tasmin - No I just think that that usually doesn’t bring purpose and happiness. It’s like a validation mark but if you really believe in who you are and what you’re doing why do you need validation? There’s a lot of cosmetic validation we see in the capital markets, from VC’s and people who are starting up their businesses and stuff like that and it’s also not the main reason why I do things or the way I’ve found that other people do things. Like yeah sure it’s a motivator but there’s something else that I think is innate in all of us that want to do things better. We’ve built this company on the back of people power which is the investment, which is the focus, not financial capital. As I said money is cheap, people are power and it’s in the quality of a team and it’s the same for all of our clients as well. That’s why I believe in it so strongly because we get to see it. We see a lot of companies raise a lot of money or have a big bank account but then ultimately fail because they get that wrong. They think that that’s the determiner of success. It really isn’t.

[00:12:05] Bryce - I suppose as well when you take a bunch a capital you’re beholden to the fund or the individual that’s putting the money in. Are there any moves that you guys have made that you wouldn’t otherwise have been allowed to or been permitted by someone looking to get short term gains?

[00:12:33] Tasmin - Yeah. So I guess in the last six months we have expanded into two new major markets the US and the UK. We’ve brought on a whole bunch of new teams. We’ve diversified our products where we’ve got a multiple product offering line all at the same time. We went to a conference in San Francisco and that’s unheard of, in fact that’s cautioned, even if you go and raise. I think that’s just the greatest example. But we were able to achieve that and it’s more satisfying to be able to say that we achieved that despite not raising capital. As I said it’s an idol, it’s a testament to that it is possible and you shouldn’t let that hold you back.

[00:13:30] Bryce - Yeah I mean it’s an unfortunate position isn’t it because you have your baby, you have your idea. You go out to the market and raise a bunch of money, hire a bunch of people and you find yourself three to five years down the track veering off that course. You may have taken more risk, you may have been throwing a few more things out of the box. I do see a lot of companies start to become a little bit more risk averse over time.

[00:13:55] Tasmin - They’re in less control of their own destiny and you need to be in control of your own destiny to improve it. Otherwise you can’t improve it and you have the most skin in the game to need to improve it. So well yeah if you really care about it, that’s why mostly people IPO, it’s people trying to get out of business. They’re trying to leave them.

[00:14:17] Bryce - Well you know almost by by definition isn’t it.

[00:14:19] Tasmin - Yeah. So we’ve always taken the view as well, we actually really care about this. We think what we’re doing is in the national interest, that’s its in the interests of our clients. It’s helped improve people’s lives. This is something we really care about.

[00:14:35] Bryce - Yeah it sounds like you’re doing really good work. One thing I wanted to ask you, you say your head count is what roughly 80 to 100 or so at the moment? I think the other kind of myth there is in the startup tech scene is you’ve got this David and Goliath kind of battle. You’ve got now the small guy with a really good idea and a bunch of hubris who is going up against an IBM or a Amazon or just some massive company. You know these companies, they compete in a lot of ways, they compete on good ideas and new technologies but they’re also competing for talent. We know we’ve got great talent coming out of the universities but how do you go about attracting and retaining the talent here as opposed to your competitors?

[00:15:52] Tasmin - Yeah well how do we make them successful? Because we care more about helping our people who join the team be successful. We can’t afford not to make people successful because of the position we’re in. There’s no other option. We take that view if you want to make a difference and you want to learn what it actually takes, because the default of any business is to not exist. So if you go and start at one of those bigger businesses whether you are there or not it almost doesn’t matter. I guess probably going to exist anyway.

[00:16:34] Bryce - Just because of how big it is and how big the teams are?

[00:16:36] Tasmin - Yeah, their mindset is to just keep things as the way they are. Whereas our mindset is to break things and disrupt the way things are. And I think that attracts a certain type of person who wants to make it better and improve the world. Part of improving the world is breaking an old way of doing thing. So you’ve really got two ways to live it philosophically. I put it down to either nihilism, where its fate and destiny and there’s nothing you can do to improve life and for those people I to say stay at home, like why get up? Or you can be an existentialist, you can believe that life can be better and that you can improve things. But part of improving things is breaking the way the old ways were happening. I think that’s the attitude and the philosophy, and that’s also the philosophy that we take to our work. I talk to a mom and dad 10 person cafe right up to, you know 50000 plus businesses and it’s the same thing. Yeah you might have done it this way 30 to 50 years ago. But there’s a better way, and it’s that creative disruption that improves the world. I think especially young people see that as well, for example the millennial workforce which as a whole people seem to not understand how to engage and create meaning for. Well, it’s just that they’re looking to improve the world. You’ve got to give them the path and the tools to be able to do that. So that’s what we’ve found and I think that’s why we have a particularly young workforce, but that’s okay because our clients have particularly young workforces as well. We’re really building software that makes us successful and therefore the workforces of our clients as well.

[00:18:31] Bryce - There’s so much there, it’s interesting what you mentioned there about your clients, to use the example at the coffee shop. You wouldn’t have thought that there’s too much room to innovate in a coffee shop. Do you think through the tools that you make and the experience that you have that you’re helping some of these more traditional industries innovate?

[00:18:54] Tasmin - Yeah you’d be surprised at how much innovation is in a coffee shop. You’re right. You just go in and you just think you get cappuccino and you’re out. But there is just so much happening behind the scenes to be able to let you have that experience of just going in to get your coffee and get going. I had an hour chat yesterday with the cafe owner across the road actually from our office just around all the different systems she was using and how open minded she was. It was the same attitude that we have here which is like yeah you’ve got to innovate or you’re going to be left behind. She said you know if I don’t do anything, the coffee shop down the road is going to be one step ahead. She got it because she was closer to the problem. I think that also goes to the philosophy of small teams we have here as well and the distribution of responsibility. Let people closest to the problem make the decision. We’ve found that is more salient in the cafes, like it’s more obvious because they’re so close to the problem. They want to do everything they can to be better because they are truly passionate about their clients that walk in and out of the store all day. They can see them, they see them every single day and they want them to be happy.

[00:20:13] Bryce - So that is that owner manager mentality, where you’ve got skin in the game. There aren’t these levels of middle management that abstract management from the actual customer and producing that value. We touched on something earlier around competition, you mentioned the word disruption, and that to create a new world we have to break the one that we have. But you know companies like yourself that are growing quickly, and you have been in the market for a while, you yourself are also open to being disrupted. You almost become the Goliath and then there’s a new David that that moves into the market. How do you guys think about staying competitive and resist that disruptive sort force that happens.

[00:21:05] Tasmin - Yeah I think it’s just lucky that I’m the easiest person to sell to. I have a very low action threshold to working with people or being sold to. I’ve always just taking the view that I’m very open to people approaching me and trying to pitch to me how to improve my life. That’s what they’re trying to do, they’re trying to improve their life. They can only do that if they improve mine, and that’s the mutual benefit that we’re talking about.

[00:21:32] Bryce - So do you mean that from a vendor perspective, as in there are other people coming and selling you services that is making your business more valuable?

[00:21:40] Tasmin - You achieve success in partnership with other people. So that’s part of it, being open to that. Being open to how other people can help you be successful. The equivalent of that for workforce success is being in a cafe, if you never ask someone for help when it’s your first day and you’re learning, well it’s going to take you a very very long time to learn how to make coffee because it’s not that easy, I’ve tried. I’m terrible, I would never be able to work in a café. But you have to rely on the help and support of others and that also means your team as well. Guess what, your team is going to have better ideas than you do. You should be hiring people who are smarter than you and telling you what to do. In terms of the product we wake up every morning and ask how can we better improve our product to improve the lives of our users. That has to be its sole focus.

[00:22:31] Bryce - In that coffeeshop example where if you’re not asking for help you’re not getting better. Well that’s one thing if you don’t know how to make a coffee. But say you did know how to make coffee one way before you came into work. You’ve worked at a big corporate coffee chain like a Starbucks type get up and then you come into a specialty coffee shop and you don’t know how to handle it. It’s not just that you don’t know how to do it, it’s that you’re actually doing it wrong. But it’s wrong in a different much more annoying way.

[00:23:01] Tasmin - Exactly, it’s almost better to not know how to do something because you’re more open to the options. As soon as you start doing it a certain way, that’s your way. And it takes a shock to the system to then go back and re-apply yourself. We were talking about the corporate careers before. It takes a while for them to realize that they’re not necessarily happy doing their 9 to 5 corporate gig because people are so concerned with climbing the ladder of success, they don’t realize that you’ve got to put the ladder on the right wall. So if you spend your time climbing that ladder and then you realize when you’re halfway up that this isn’t the right way. You can’t just move the ladder. You’ve got to get down there, you’ve got to cross and you’ve got to get back up. That’s why we say being open minded is a value, it’s a good thing. You’ve got to be open to disruption as you’re trying to learn something as well because there’s usually better ways to do something.

[00:24:17] Bryce - Like riding that wave as opposed to letting it crash over you.

[00:24:20] Tasmin - Yeah and having that internally as well, like not being afraid to kill projects because they’re not going well. I mean you’ve got to have the confidence to ride them out and obviously push forward. But you have to constantly be reassessing yourself and your projects, what you’re doing to deliver value and most of all helping others to achieve their projects and what they’re trying to do.

[00:24:46] Bryce - There’s this big thing in business, especially in a traditional business that the value in a company is around the processes. So when you think of say McDonald’s, everything they’ve done has really been built up around process so that they can hire, you know essentially 14 year olds, 15 year olds and have them run a monolithic corporate giant. Pretty much everyone that would work there would be under the age of 18 or 20. And that’s what has led a lot of people to believe that the true value that’s stored in a company is the processes that’s built up there. But if you take that mentality I find that it kind of overlooks what individual people can bring as value to a business. How do you how do you think about that? Do you see Tanda as a company where most of the value is caught up in these processes that you’ve refined over the years or do you put the store of value in the actual people that you have.

[00:25:48] Tasmin - Yeah I think it is a cycle. The value of business is always in the scale and repetition. It’s not always to do something new . If you were waking up every single morning and doing something completely different you’re not going to get anywhere because you’re running in circles. So you’ve got to set processes and you’ve got to set systems for scale and repetition so you can derive value and get good at it. But that’s the cycle. You always have to be somewhat paranoid and have it in the back of your head that what you’re doing can be better and improving it. Systems and processes don’t mean anything if you don’t have the attitude for it. You say anyone can go work in a pizza store, I wouldn’t agree. Not everyone can. Sure they’ve got the systems for anyone to come in but unless you’ve got the right attitude which is the most valuable thing it’s not going to happen. I think a world where more people have that is a world that’s a better place and that’s what I’m trying to build. Sadly some people come in and if you have the right attitude all those systems and those processes don’t matter because in terms of the individual value that’s what counts and that’s what matters. It’s the attitude of improving yourself, improving the world. Those are the type of people we look for to work here as well. That’s how we’ve grown. Through those exact people.

[00:27:16] Bryce - It’s almost like what we were talking about before where if you don’t know anything, sometimes that’s better than knowing a little bit or you know being stuck in it. I suppose that reminds me of the McDonald’s situation as a lot of people they’re getting in are quite young. It might be their first job or their second job they’re giving them the processes, but they may also be giving them room to grow. I know that looking around most of the people that you have in the office are quite young. Do you find that the processes that you have here really bolster some of younger guys to come up and deliver that value?

[00:27:50] Tasmin - Yeah, this is actually a quote told to me by one of our national franchise clients in Australia, it’s the young who go to war. So me for example if this was the 1940s I would have been shipped off to the Western Front, given a rifle and told you’ve got to lead this company of 20 men, Good luck.

[00:28:14] Bryce - Sink or swim

[00:28:16] Yeah. And I would have to figure it out. So I think young people like me want to take on that responsibility and can, and have the right energy but you’ve still got to set up the right systems and processes for them to be successful in it. That’s what most businesses are trying to do, they’re trying to set up those processes that people can come in and really thrive with their attitude and have room for those ideas and to grow within that ecosystem as well.

[00:28:45] Bryce - You took a bit of a different path there, I thought you were going to be straight on it, saying our people are everything but it’s really interesting to hear just how much value is stored in those processes especially when you can use them to unlock the value in the people that you’ve got.

[00:29:04] Tasmin - We need systems to break systems as well. A good example is at Tanda we have an internal hack day. So we have an external hackathon where developers come to our office and build on our platform using our API and build new products around it. Now we have an internal hack day where everyone at Tanda comes together and works on a single process, or a single idea to improve the lives of a team at another office or their office. You’ve got to set up a system to be able to break systems at the same time, because otherwise if you have complete chaos things can get away from you. So that’s what we say at Tanda, things are getting out of hand in a very controlled way.

[00:29:54] Bryce - Yeah certainly certainly looks that way. I’ve got two questions for you. I’m going to switch the order just based on what we’ve covered so far. I want to ask you a question about HR. Now people seem very divided on this topic, when I speak to people about HR, it tends to go one of two ways. Either they don’t have a HR department, they’re essentially working in small companies, maybe a family run business or they have a HR. department but they see them as an inhibitor. I’ve never heard someone say to me I love our HR department or you know we really think that our HR department is adding value. What are HR departments getting wrong across the board and what should be their role in a workforce that’s evolving to be more people focused.

[00:30:51] Tasmin - You know it’s a good and controversial question. So the successful HR people we’ve seen have been relentless at looking at the ways that their people are working and helping improve the way they do it. Their lives at work, their experience at work and their success whatever that is. Helping them just have that single focus and becoming the best at it. Where we’ve seen some fall down the past is that HR can be a proxy or a symbol that you have problems.

[00:31:34] Bryce - If you need a HR department in the first place.

[00:31:35] Tasmin - Yeah because you’ve got problems. Whereas if you don’t have problems then sometimes you don’t need as big of a HR department. Office gossip is just a very small example. I’ve always thought that’s just a proxy for people not having something to do. If everyone was focused on what they were doing and what they were achieving then they wouldn’t have time to complain about other people. It’s what happens when someone’s not sure about their work or they’re not sure about their own success that then they can go round and gossip about each other. The gossip is not the problem. It’s a symptom of a problem. Good HR departments I’ve found attack the problem head on not the symptoms. Going after that root problem and saying how do we solve that, how do we help people to have more purpose at work? How do we give them a better experience? How do we help them enjoy what they’re doing?

[00:32:36] Bryce - So more of a holistic approach.

[00:32:38] Tasmin - Its the same as in society, like the elite of society complaining about other people, like they’re not doing anything. If they had something to do, well most people who judge people just don’t have something better to do. That’s what I’ve always thought.

[00:32:54] Bryce - Yeah wasting their energy. So I guess you’ve seen some good HR departments and some just putting bandaids on the problem. How should a company view the HR department? Even if you don’t just say the department, rather this practice of developing your workforce. How should a company think about it in terms of ROI and what that’s going to add to their success being forward?

[00:33:26] Tasmin - I always thought the goal of the HR of department should be turning the success of their people from an art to a science. Some businesses are successful just because they have people who have an inherent want to be better and want to have success. But they have a team that’s dedicated to turning that into a science. So a repeatable scalable science, instead of just an art which is more subjective. And it doesn’t need to be subjective. Success can be a science, we’ve proven that here.

[00:34:04] Bryce - Proven it by repeated success or being able to measure it?

[00:34:09] Tasmin - Repetition as you know is the marker.

[00:34:16] Bryce - So one final question. I feel we’ve covered so much ground and I’ve really loved this. I’m asking about progression, and I wanted to leave this to the end because I think it flows really nicely into where you see the company going over the next two to five to ten years. Now again there’s another antiquated idea around progression at a company where you join a team, you move up, you lead that team, you sort of go up this organizational hierarchy and that’s what progression looks like in a career. Obviously just by the pure nature of what a pyramid looks like or what most organizational structures looks like that’s not viable for everyone and nor would everyone want to run a team. You seem to have a fairly flat organizational structure, how do you guys view progression at Tanda in the various roles that you have and tailoring them to the individual.

[00:35:13] Tasmin - So I guess firstly Tanda is a meritocracy. The people who are good at what they do rise to the positions that they can succeed in. It’s whatever their natural skill set is, they apply themselves. Now, I think it’s a fallacy that people fall in that just because they are good at what they do they somehow have to be a manager. It doesn’t make any sense. The value in an organisation is always on the frontline teams. Our philosophy is actually you take the traditional corporate hierarchy and take a total 180 flip because it’s your customers at the top and it’s your frontline teams that service customers. They know more about your business than you do and it’s your responsibility to make them successful. We try and keep ourselves into small teams that are self managing so we can focus on core problems or specific focuses. If you have managers, say at a cafe or a retailer or a pizza store, the reason they exist is to help their team be successful, so they can focus on that singular mission of helping the client be successful. That kind of flows all the way down. I constantly tell people here, like I work for you, you should be telling me what to do. What is it that I can do to make you successful. It’s your responsibility to tell me that so I can then go and do that. So that’s our philosophy which is again controversial and different but I think it has helped our teams be set up for success.

[00:37:04] Bryce - Well it sounds like you’re leveraging the best people that you can find and like I said before I can see there are lots of young guys around and obviously they are stepping up and growing into their roles. Maybe to finish this off what does progression look like now rather not from an individual perspective. What is Tanda’s progression over the next two to five years.? Let’s just say you do everything right. You’re kicking all the goals, you’re winning all the battles. Where do you see the company progressing into the future?

[00:37:39] Tasmin - So obviously we’ve got big goals and ambitions and we know the success of that is dependent on our teams. So we’re going to continue to invest in the environment and the people so we can achieve that. That’s also measured on how much we can help other people be successful as well. For our clients, that’s what we can build to improve their lives so they can continue that philosophy of workforce success as well and achieve it. Overall, our big goal is to be known for having one of the highest quality workforces because we don’t think we have the right to tell other people how to be successful with their people if we aren’t ourselves. And you know eventually the big goal is to have the world’s largest workforce. We think what we’re doing is incredibly valuable. Business is easy, people are hard and labour is one of the hardest and most important problems of the world. That’s what we’re trying to solve. We’re trying to solve how to make people be successful at work and we think there’s a lot of value in that. It’s in the national interest. It’s in the world’s interest, people being productive is a very important thing to do and we think we have the capacity to build the world’s largest team.

[00:39:02] Bryce - Well mate it sounds like you’re well on your way. It’s Friday afternoon here it sounds like the office is gearing up because the beer fridge is open and everything is flowing. Thank you so much for having me in and I really look forward to seeing how it goes over the next couple of years.

[00:39:51] Tasmin - Thanks very much. Thanks.

Bryce Davies

published May 12, 2018

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workforce success

Avoid Recruitment Cringe

*Ring Ring*

It’s the awkward phone call you’re about to have with the sole person who decides your worthiness for your dream job.

You’ve seemingly worked your entire life to get to this phone call.

You’re pleased to get the call, but not so pleased it’s happened while you’re commuting, and it’s loud, or even worse, it’s blatantly obvious from the background that you’re at a bar on a Tuesday night (we’ve all been there).

Let’s not beat around the bush. Applying for employment is cringeworthy for all parties involved*. It’s like an awkward first date with your entire future at stake.

*Note: I was tempted to say demoralising, but cringeworthy seems to do it the most justice.

There’s the cringeworthy recruitment video (trigger warning). Then you’ve got to weed the snakes out of the grass - ‘$200k+OTE’ sounds like a lot of money for an entry level ‘door to door’ role. What’s real and what’s not?

Fast forward to the awkward few minutes before your interview. Do you get there early to show you are eager, if early, how early? What if you get there too early and it’s awkward? Then who hasn’t walked away from an interview thinking, “I should have said” or “I shouldn’t have said”?

It’s pretty clear that at all costs you want to avoid traditional recruitment. The solution is filling the talent tanks so high you avoid a drought, and I believe existing staff are the key to doing this.

Slapping together some sort of referral bonus isn’t enough, although a financial incentive is good validation. You have to create a referral culture.

Here’s what I mean.

At Tanda we’ve hired roughly half the workforce from direct referrals. It’s always a good opportunity for both parties to better know the deal they’re going into and be more certain in their choice.

Our team works with the attitude that no location is too out there to find a potential hire.

Here are a few places our recent referral hires came from:

  • Two of our outstanding sales team members were found by sparking conversation at a local gym
  • One of our longest serving team members sold I.T. hardware to our founders in their early days
  • An (unnamed) highly educated and skilled member of the team was found at a Manila nightclub at 3am
  • One of our hires came to the office to sell us a sponsorship proposal and her proposal was so impressive we had to offer her a job
  • Me personally, I asked a stranger at the university bar if he wanted a game of pool in 2011, who later went on to create a company called Tanda

To avoid recruitment cringe at all costs you need to create a referral culture, the key to scouting talent is to look in places no one else does.

Phil Johnson

published May 10, 2018

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workforce success

How big should teams be?

Small teams are inherently more productive than large teams. Too many communication lines and competing interests necessarily emerge as groups of people get larger.

You should try and structure your business with small teams. The success of a team should be easy to measure, so everyone knows what to focus on. A single performance indicator for the whole team is ideal, so you can measure success and get out of the way.

Keep teams small, generally no larger than 6. Once teams get too big, split them up into two smaller teams.

The benefits of doing this are that it:

  • Allows the team to focus on very specific metrics
  • Keeps the team communication lines simple
  • Keeps work exciting and meaningful; and
  • Provides ample opportunities for leadership and technical development within teams

For workforce success, hire great teams, and get out of their way.

Jake Phillpot

published May 09, 2018

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workforce success

Workforce Success on the journey to 100 team members

Building a business is a wild experience. There are many thrills and many disappointments along the way, but the happiest part is watching the talent that is developed, the confidence that is grown and the relationships that are created. By far the most exciting part of building a business is watching the success of your team.

Today we passed the 100 team-member mark.

With 100 people in the team today, what should we be focusing on? As founders, our only job is to make our team successful. Simple.

Hiring the next 1,000 people and getting it right will be largely the job of our foundation 100 employees. We’ve learned a lot about teams, and it’s our job to share what we know so others can be successful.

These are my top tips for workforce success.

Honesty is the only universal trait between successful teams

Lots of elements can contribute to good teams. But every successful team is radically honest with each other. I don’t mean, “I broke a plate” honesty. I mean, “I think your work is bad” honesty. Telling your co-workers when you’re not happy, and building a culture of valuing candid feedback is the most important factor in all of the successful teams that have been created at Tanda.

When teams are unproductive or unhappy, there are usually a number of subtleties that can be impossible to understand as an outsider. Honest teams relentlessly confront these subtleties and constantly eliminate them.

Hire people who won’t get offended at work-related criticism and can deliver honest feedback. Encourage this behavior by being radically open yourself.

Financial capital is never a replacement for human capital

At the beginning, we made a pact to use all the time we would otherwise spend dealing with investors on hiring and developing people with great potential. We still haven’t raised a cent of capital.

I think this is the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. Not just because business is going well, but being part of an extremely talented team is its own reward.

You can’t spend money to make problems go away. We’ve wasted stupid amounts of money trying to solve problems using experts. Every time, we’ve been disappointed. A solid talent pipeline full of hungry people who want to solve problems is the only sustainable way to grow.

Building a talent pipeline is hard. In fact, we haven’t really solved this problem fully. (If you’d like to work at Tanda, click here. It’s a slow-burn that leads to long-term success and makes life at work far more rewarding.

Process is not a replacement for talent

This was hard for me because I am the most process-oriented of our 4 co-founders. I like writing plans rules and processes. We started straight out of university where our business degrees had taught us a lot of theory and zero practical applications. We over-engineered so many things we shouldn’t have. We thought we could build teams and run them like a model-t production line. You can’t.

Hire good people and set them KPI’s that contribute to your business goals. Then get out of the way. It turns out the most talented people like getting things done to a very high standard, and process doesn’t usually help them, and where it is helpful, you’re probably not the best person to create it if you’re not doing the work yourself.

If you can’t set a good KPI or articulate the results you want from that role, you’re not ready to hire.


Things are simple, until you over complicate them.

I recently went through the pages of company policy we have accumulated over the years and eliminated almost all of it. What was left fits on a single page.

When you’re starting out, a lot of people tell you about complicated things you need to mitigate risks and make sure your company is robust. When you don’t really know what you’re doing, it’s easy to listen to these people. The fact is, most of these people sell legal jargon for a living.

Instead we focus on hiring smart people and letting them use their common-sense. Today we have less policies and procedures than we did at 10 staff.

This excessive policy wasn’t helpful for anyone. Keep things simple, and your team will get more shit done.

Come and learn more about achieving workforce success in your business at Beyond 2018.

Jake Phillpot

published May 09, 2018

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workforce success

What you can learn about business from this legendary Australian Speed Skater

The prominently displayed signed copy of Steven Bradbury’s aptly titled biography ‘The Last Man Standing’ gets a lot of interest from our visitors at Tanda HQ.

For our foreign friends and local Aussies who have been living under a rock, Steven Bradbury is a legendary Australian speed skater and a household name. Bradbury rose to fame as the country’s first winter Olympic gold medal winner, accomplishing it in what has been called “the most unexpected Olympic win in history”, when all of his competitors crashed on the final lap.

Bradbury’s stunning victory etched his name in every Australian’s vocabulary, now to “do a Bradbury” or “be Bradburied,” means to achieve unexpected success.

The question on everyone’s minds is what does a story about unexpected success in the Olympics have to do with success in business. The answer is simple. It turns out that there’s more to Steven Bradbury’s unexpected success than meets the eye.

Here are some valuable business lessons we’ve taken from Bradbury.

Keep coming back until you win

Steven Bradbury’s shock victory happened on his fourth winter Olympic campaign. By that time, he had been competing as an athlete for over ten years. The untold story involves living in his parents basement, not to mention suffering a sliced femoral artery and a broken neck on separate occasions amongst many other hardships.

Bradbury admits that at age 28 he knew heading into the 2002 Olympics that he wouldn’t be the fastest, but evidently turning up is the only part of winning you can’t do without. You could be mistaken for thinking that any able bodied person with a pair of ice skates could have taken out gold, but the point is that they didn’t. They didn’t qualify for the Olympics four times.

Much like winning gold at the Olympics, business isn’t always won on the first phone call.

The fastest skater on the ice doesn’t always win

Ever come across a prospective client to find they have already purchased a less suitable product at a higher price and wondered how? There’s a cautionary tale here, and it’s called getting ‘Bradburied’.

The concept is simple and the lesson a lot harder. You can be the best skater on the rink, but you don’t win gold without execution.

The path to greatness is paved with action, aptitude means nothing without execution.

Know when to enter the race and when to stay out

Olympic short track ice skating is known for their spectacular crashes. Bradbury on going into the finals knew that as his fourth race there wasn’t much left in the tank, nor was he the fastest skater on the ice. In an interview after, Bradbury explains that attempting to keep in the pack would have been counterproductive to securing a gold medal.

Sometimes in business knowing when to sit out of a deal is going to reap larger benefit.

Don’t burn your energy on activities that are counterproductive to your larger goal.


  • Business isn’t done on the first phone call

  • Execution is everything.

  • Sometimes keeping out of the race is the best way to secure a win.

Phil Johnson

published May 08, 2018

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aged care

If you build it, why wouldn't they come?

The American writer, Mark Twain, once wrote that:

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

There’s a fine line between opportunities and risks, and Mark Twain does a good job capturing the flawed assumption that often underpins our decisions.

Ask an organisation about an opportunity they’re pursuing, and what keeps them up at night. More times than not, the answer is whether they can deliver on the product, or service that they’ve promised.

Unpack this, and you’ll find that the subconscious response is often about the risks inherent in developing a product, or implementing a newly designed service. In essence, it’s about making something. Reason follows that, if you make something new, innovative, novel, or cool—consumers will follow.

It’s the now-famous Field of Dreams moment, ‘if you build it, they will come’—although this is actually a misquote from the movie.

As an industry going through considerable changes, aged care is experiencing a moment of equal parts excitement and challenge, where much of what is labelled innovation is open for consideration. Coupled with the idea of technological exponential growth, the options seem awe-inspiringly limitless, if not also downright bewildering.

Yet behind the economist’s quantitative models on our ageing society, the engineer’s technological breakthroughs, the design thinker’s understanding of what consumers want, or the clinician’s latest health findings—one vitally important business element gets short shrift… sales.

Former Apple Chief Evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, one noted that:

“_You can blow all the smoke that you like about brand awareness, corporate image, and feedback from early adopters, but you either make it rain or you don’t.” _

Let’s be honest, sales has an image problem, and of course, no one likes to be reminded that they’re being sold to, but this is no reason why sales is not given a seat at the innovation table.

As PayPal and Palantir, Co-Founder, Peter Thiel, offered:

If you’ve invented something new, but you haven’t invented an effective way to sell it, you have a bad business—no matter how good the product.”

In aged care, the move to consumer directed-care, where funding now goes to the client instead of the provider, signals a business landscape where services have to be ‘sold’. It means that now, hardworking providers need to give compelling reasons for prospective clients to choose their suite of services over other competitors.

Some see this as industry disruption, it’s not—it’s an opportunity. Inventing an effective way to sell is just as important as designing a consumer-centric service, or implementing technology that makes your organisation more productive.

Everyone sells, so it’s time we transcend long standing biases about selling. More importantly, it’s about realising the value of what’s being sold.

This begins by creating meaning for clients—it’s about giving them a life, not just offering a service.

Merlin Kong

published May 02, 2018

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Tanda Hackathon

Tanda Hackathon 2018

When I first heard about the Hackathon, I was a bit skeptical. I mean, the name itself sounds absolutely terrifying to someone who doesn’t really code or program. Nonetheless, I decided I wanted to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. Plus, it seemed like a great way to make some new friends.

This year’s topic focussed on how we can improve the employee experience at Tanda. It began on Friday night, where we got the low down on what the next 24 hours would entail. We then pitched our ideas and began to form teams. There was one idea which had caught my attention. It was called ‘Secret Tanda’ — a play on Secret Santa.

The idea behind the project was to focus on improving office culture by allowing people to interact with others who they may, or may not, know around the office. Good company culture is something that I truly believe makes work a lot more enjoyable. Having these close friendships at work will not only boost employee satisfaction, but also increase productivity in the office. I decided that this was the project that I wanted to work on as it is something that I am extremely passionate about.

Saturday morning came and we had a little more of a brainstorming session to see how we could improve and flesh out this idea. We decided that Secret Tanda will work by randomly generating a challenge, where the employee can decide whether to accept or decline. Once the challenge is completed, the employee earns points towards their place on the leaderboard. At the end of the week, the employee with the highest amount of points will win a prize. The social interaction challenges the person to step outside their comfort zone and get to know people ,which they may not have ever interacted with in the past. Having this social aspect, and getting people to interact with one another, is a way to merge many groups together and helps avoid many of the ‘cliques’ which tends to happen in some workplaces.

It was decided that Ruby on Rails was suited most for the project — a framework I was very unfamiliar with, however it provided an opportunity for us to learn and grow as a team. Since our team was relatively new to Ruby on Rails I can honestly say we encountered a couple of hurdles. The team worked extremely hard in the next couple of hours to pump out a MVP that we would be able to showcase in the presentation. I focussed primarily on the design of the interface as it was the part I was most confident with. Over the 24 hours I worked to create the basic markup of what the web-application would look like. We decided that we wanted to follow Tanda’s style to keep it consistent with what the employees already know.


Presentations began, and I was extremely impressed with the products that other teams had produced over the 24 hours that we had. The quality of work that people created in that period of time was outstanding. There were some projects that were fully functional, many of which I would seriously consider using in my everyday life.

I cannot recommend a Tanda Hackathon enough. It was such a great experience and you don’t need to be a coder! I had such a great time, and walked away having learnt many new skills which will aid me in my future endeavours. Seeing such highly produced products and such talent is extremely motivating and makes me want to learn so much more. I’ll definitely be attending the next one!


Special thanks to my teammates Nic, Isaac, and Chris.

Amanda Chen

published May 02, 2018

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Growth Strategy

What do you do here? (Growth Gang edition)

From the outside looking in, it’s sometimes hard to know what everyone at a software as a service company actually does. Tanda employs over 80 people, but I imagine to the outside world it’s a mystery what most of them do (that’s certainly how I feel looking at other software companies, and I feel like I should have an understanding of it!).

I’m not going to bore you with 80 position descriptions, but I am going to talk a little bit about the Growth team — or Growth Gang, as we call it. I choose the GG because I’ve been working a lot with this team lately (so I have specific examples), and also because I’ve found it’s usually a hard team to explain (so it’s worth talking about). For context, I tend to move between different teams at Tanda a lot and help out where I can. I’ve been focusing on better understanding how the GG works, as well as helping it out, for the last month or so.

The Growth Gang’s job is to find ways to help Tanda grow more quickly or efficiently. Isn’t that everyone’s job? Yes it is, but in other teams it’s easier to get bogged down by the day to day and get distracted from the real goal. Having a growth team is important because they can create a growth culture which rubs off on other teams, as well as finding and executing on growth-inducing projects themselves.

So you could say they have two jobs:

  1. Create a culture of growth
  2. Create growth

The hardest thing to create is culture, so let’s come back to that later. How do we create growth? Again, you can split this into two parts:

  1. Pick valuable projects
  2. Execute well

For execution, we generally use the Sprint methodology. We are pretty big fans of it — we’ve talked about it here (video) and here (blog) and here (workshop) — so if you want to learn more about it go and check those out once you finish reading this.

What I will talk about here is picking valuable projects. It’s great if you can execute a perfect sprint, but if you’re working on something that’s going to have very little impact what’s the point? If you think about it that way, I think being able to pick the best project to work on might be more important than how well you actually do it.

We use a few tools to help with picking projects, but I think the most fundamental thing we try to do is give the Growth Gang a really good understanding of the business. Our sales, marketing, and implementation teams are split between our Brisbane and Manila offices, and I thought it was important that the Growth Gang be familiar with both from day 1. So on day 1 of the Growth Gang (which was literally day 1 at Tanda in Brod’s case), we all flew to the Manila office and spent two weeks getting to know the team there. As a result, the GG got a good understanding of how customers find out about Tanda and go through the buying & onboarding process in all of our markets. This differs a lot by country and it’s important to not build solutions that will make life easier in one country but harder in all the others.

The big thing we learned from this trip is that Tanda’s a complex business with a lot going on. To try and make this easier to understand, we spent a lot of time thinking about key indicators of growth — simple metrics we can find that are indicative of general behaviours of successful customers. The idea being that we could then try and improve these metrics on a micro scale, and we’d expect this to result in significant improvement at a higher level (where significant improvement == more customers!). We found pirate metrics to be a helpful way of categorising these indicators.

Since setting up pirate metrics, I’ve been focusing a lot on the Acquisition step. We use Amplitude for data analytics, it makes it easy to find things that are performing well, set up dashboards so we can see if metrics change, and ultimately to gauge the impact of what we are doing.

Here’s a chart in Amplitude that I’m quite a big fan of:


Without going too much into the details, this chart is a pretty good metric for the “quality” of a new lead, which is a pretty important metric on the Acquisition side of the funnel. It’s a “conversion over time” chart, so basically for the first half of April, about 20% of people who completed a specific task would go on to complete another task afterwards. If you complete both tasks it indicates you’re probably going to find Tanda useful (if you just complete the first task, it’s not that clear).

I had an idea for what I thought would slightly improve the quality of this. I shipped it on April 17… but didn’t update the Amplitude code properly, hence conversions dropping by 50% in the next few days. I realised this and shipped a fix on the 24th, which resulted in conversions skyrocketing.

This jump in conversions was awesome, and since then I’ve been working on improving what I think the next step in the user journey is. We are here at the moment (note the small numbers on the Y axis):


I’ve got a few things I’m building to try and improve this, and I know other people in the team are brainstorming ideas around it too. Because we are moving further down the funnel, the impact, if they go well, is going to be even more significant.

To take a step back from this example, what worked well here is that we spent a lot of time understanding our customers, our product, and our business model. By having a good knowledge of all three we were able to find a metric that we could improve quickly and easily and would have a big impact. Then we were able to execute on it.

Other examples of projects that came out of the Growth Gang are our referral program (which focuses on the Referral pirate metric), an internal Trello/Google Sheets/Zapier Scripts mashup that we use to identify customers who are struggling and need a bit of extra help (Retention), and a redesign of our credit card input pages to make it more transparent what people would be paying and the various billing options available (Revenue).

There’s still a lot to do, and the biggest area we as a team can improve is being a bit more disciplined. Pirate metrics gives you a view across the entire business, but especially in a creative & ambitious business like ours, that means that you are going to be hit with such a huge variety of ideas. I’ve personally found it helpful to pick just one of the areas (eg. Acquisition in the above example) and iterate on that for a while until I don’t have any more great ideas.

Creating a growth culture

I think having a Growth Gang has encouraged other teams to think about growth in a variety of ways.

First, the non-subtle — the Growth Gang are very good at collecting & analysing data, and it’s been good to see them sharing their dashboards with other teams and helping them make better sense of their own metrics.

But they’ve also been more subtle about it, primarily through introducing the Sprint process at Tanda. One of the important things about a sprint is that you get people from a variety of teams involved, both as experts who you interview, but also in the brainstorming and voting processes. As well as getting more useful and more diverse inputs, this introduces sprints to people from all over the business. As a result of this I’ve seen people in dev, customer success, and business ops all running sprints to solve their own problems.

There’s always more we can do to improve on this — culture (like growth!) is never finished and you can always get better — but I think we are moving in the right direction. It’s very easy, especially as a developer, to forget that your primary goal is to help more people discover, buy, and use the software you’re building. Having a team whose job is to constantly make that process work better is a good way of being reminded about it and inspired to do it better.

To sum things up

The Growth Gang at Tanda:

  • Understands the entire business
  • Uses data to find projects where they can have a big impact
  • Prototypes simple solutions to these problems
  • Builds & ships improvements and measures their impact
  • Teaches everyone else to do the same!

Ps. The Growth Gang is hiring. Come along to our Sprints workshop if you want to meet them, or to learn more about what they do!

Alex Ghiculescu

published May 01, 2018

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Managing 5 Pain Points in Hospitality Employment

Hospitality is a high-pressure industry, and the largest cost is employment. Employees have good days and bad days, opinions, aspirations, families, and a greater or lesser commitment to their job. A friend of mine recently sold his cafe, and said the criteria for his next business will be simple - no staff! We know where he’s coming from.

The good news is that modern technology and workplace psychology gives us a lot more tools for managing the workforce. Here are the top 5 challenges for most business operators, and how to handle them…

Can’t find skilled staff.

Good candidates are out there, but how well are you promoting the positions you want filled? Do the job ads talk about benefits, or do they just talk about ‘highly-motivated, passionate and committed team players’. Of course we want those people, but those hyped-up terms won’t impress the A-players. They’re tuned to Radio WII-FM - What’s In It For Me. Your ad will get a much greater response when you list the benefits you offer: flexible roster, good pay, training and development, modern equipment, close to transport, uniform provided and opportunities for promotion. You probably offer many of these, so why are they left out of advertisements? There are many good people looking for a better job - your venue could be just the ticket if promoted the right way.

Can’t cope with the employment bureaucracy.

Modern technology can streamline most processes, from advertising, recruitment and induction, through to employment records, rostering, leave management, workcover and training – no more paper! Setting up and running systems like these requires a new set of skills - modern operators and chefs are learning about cloud-based systems and online communication. Old-time management is stuck in 1998, whinging and complaining. They’ll be out of business very soon.

Can’t get on top of wage costs.

The award wage system isn’t going away, and rates are unlikely to fall - these are some of the lowest-paid people in Australia. What you can take more control of is the cost of your roster on a day by day and even hour by hour basis - no more shocks about last week’s wages when you do the payroll. Connect a modern rostering system like Tanda to your Point of Sale results and bookkeeping system, and the increased control can slice hundreds and thousands of dollars from weekly wages. Staff are available when they’re needed most, and off duty when it’s quiet.

Can’t handle the lack of discipline.

You want a motivated, skilled and conscientious workforce. But all they seem to want is unlimited flexibility and a party atmosphere - how do we compromise? The foundation of a productive workplace is a positive culture. It’s a term that’s used more and more, and is based on a set of agreed values that are followed by all levels of management. When you put in the work to get employees and management aligned with these, you’ll attract steadier and more productive people. Discipline becomes much less of an issue.

Can’t sack people when you want to.

Another fact of life: you can’t push people out the door without a good reason, backed up by evidence. That’s also 2018 thinking - we want government and big business to be transparent and accountable, so that means small operators have to embrace the same principles. Once you have proper Job Descriptions and review systems in place, you’ll find staff management much simpler – expectations are clear, and when people step out of line, the issue can be handled quickly. A workplace based on fairness attracts and keeps the best.

Ken Burgin

published April 30, 2018

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workforce success

Why are we putting on a Workforce Success Conference?

When we started Tanda in 2012, we didn’t know very much about running a business. It’s fair to say the only qualification we had was enthusiasm and a good idea.

To paint a picture, 4 blokes with bad haircuts standing around in a student bar:

❌ No uni degrees

❌ Had never built commercial software before

❌ Didn’t know much about employing people, or marketing, or making sales

❌ No savings

Looking back, I think we only had two things going for us:

✅ We were confident we could design & build the best product for our (future) customers

✅ We were keen to learn

In the last 6 years, we have learned a lot about how to grow a business. We didn’t do this by trying to apply theories from the classroom - instead we tried to find the best and simplest way to do things, and iterated a lot.

We’re contrarians in a world where the tech space is full of “free money” and we decided in the beginning that human capital is more powerful than venture capital.

Fast forward 6 years and many offers of funding later, we’ve built a business of 95 staff without raising capital.

We think the magic sauce of this success is in the people we hire and our obsession with unlocking human potential.

We call it Workforce Success.

We didn’t invent it, in fact you could say we stumbled upon it, but it is the key thing that has led to our success. Workforce Success is the philosophy of giving more power and responsibility to those who do - the doers of the world.

On June 14 & 15 we’ll be running the world’s first Workforce Success Conference, and I invite you to come along and see some of the techniques we’ve used to build our business. Hopefully, they will help you build yours.

Why another conference?

Tanda employees have cumulatively attended over 100 industry conferences - and there’s one frustrating thing in common with all.

One of the pillars of Workforce Success is giving as much responsibility and resource as possible to people who are closest to the action, rather than centralising authority among bureaucratic roles.

It’s the belief that the corporate pyramid should be flipped whereby those at the top only exist to empower those at the base.

Other conferences encourage you to think about your workforce as an expense or commodity (seriously, some of our competitors describe your staff as a commodity on their websites) - an area you should try and cut expenses.

Our goal is to teach your managers how to think about their workforce differently, so that rather than focussing on ways to purely cut costs, they are looking to create growth.

Here are some of the presentations your team will see at Beyond 2018:

  • Measuring outcomes over effort, and celebrating those who get things done
  • Gen Z in the workplace and how to turn pesky annoying young people into really successful & productive young people
  • How smaller teams lead to more successful teams
  • How to use Zapier to automate boring admin throughout your business
  • Radical Candor - techniques for developing as a leader through caring personally & challenging directly
  • How to build your own self-driving car (I can guarantee there’s a session with this name, but I can’t guarantee we’ll have all the answers)

For more information and to buy tickets for your team, visit https://www.workforcesuccess.com/. If you have any questions about the conference, you can email me personally at alex@tanda.co. I hope to see you there!

Alex Ghiculescu

published April 26, 2018

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Tanda Student Clubs Promise

At Tanda we love student clubs. Tanda was born out of a student club at QUT where our four founders met. As we’ve grown the business, we’ve always tried to support clubs as much as we can, through running our own events, sponsoring theirs, or just putting up bar tabs for no reason.

The thing that’s both exciting and challenging about working with student clubs is that in some ways you start fresh every year. Clubs are always trying to grow and improve constantly (just like we are), but their leadership changes every 12 months.

To make things a bit simpler for everyone involved, I thought I’d write down what we offer to all student clubs. You don’t need to do anything to be eligible for this offer, other than to be a student club at a university, and to take us up on it.

Hackathons: $10/ticket

Whenever we run a hackathon, one of the questions we ask when buying a ticket is “which student club do you come from?”. For every ticket sold where this question is answered, we’ll give $10 to the relevant club.

Get in touch with us ahead of time so that we can ensure that your club’s name is on the list. You will need to send us an invoice for $10 x number of tickets after the event — we’ll tell you the exact amount after the event.

Hires: $500-$1000/hire

If a student club directly introduces us to a member of theirs who we end up hiring, we’ll give the club $1000 for a full time hire, or $500 for a part time hire.

Note: having your member attend one of our events doesn’t count for this. It needs to be a direct introduction — send us an email, cc the member, tell us a little bit about them, and we’ll take it from there. If you aren’t sure who to email, you can start with developers@tanda.co, or come to one of our events and meet our team!

The club will need to invoice us once we’ve made the hire and the member has started working at Tanda.

Btw, this is the same offer that we make internally to everyone at Tanda.


We are putting both of these offers online so there is no confusion about them, and in the hope that more clubs take us up on them. If there’s something else you think we can do to support clubs, please tell us about it!

Dave Allie

published April 25, 2018

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