The Benefits of Using Time and Attendance Software
Tracking time and attendance is critical for all organizations, no matter its size or the methods used to determine employee pay. Having an automated time and attendance tracking system in place can help organizations across all industries save money and improve operations. Time and attendance software can also be integrated with human resources management systems and payroll systems to simplify and streamline many functions within the organization.
Time and attendance tracking features are a common offering with HRIS software these days and can help organizations to best manage their employees’ hours and productivity. However, time and attendance software isn’t all created equal. Understanding which features come standard with the system and the way that the system works beforehand can help you ensure that the program is optimal for your company.
Even if employees are salaried, time and attendance software can help managers to track productivity and determine ways to improve organizational efficiency and labor management. Valuable labor hours are also saved as human resources or managers aren’t required to compile time cards and calculate payroll. This frees labor hours up for more productive uses.
Reduction of Errors
Human error is always a factor when processes are completed manually. Even when items from one system must be manually transferred or entered into another system, the propensity for errors exists. Linking time and attendance software to payroll processes virtually eliminates the possibility of errors, ensuring greater accuracy in employee compensation and labor tracking.
Improved Employee Morale
Payroll errors can affect an employee’s trust and even loyalty to a company. An employee that does not receive just compensation for work performed or hours put in is less likely to feel valued. When time and attendance software is used as opposed to timesheets or time cards, employees do not have to worry about errors that may affect compensation.
Greater Employee Empowerment
Many types of time and attendance software have employee access capabilities. When employees are able to access their own information to determine hours worked and review attendance records, employees may feel more empowered and accountable. This can increase the “ownership” mentality, leading employees to feel more pride and loyalty toward a company.
Easier Scheduling and Compliance
Time and attendance software makes scheduling easy and painless by managing multiple shift patterns and overlaps, calculating and flagging overtime, and monitoring absence. Time and attendance software can typically be configured for managers to easily make sure that there is compliance with all federal and local regulations regarding overtime, rest days, minor hours worked, and other constraints.
Time and attendance software that includes a timesheet review and approval program can save time and maximize efficiency. Requiring approvals from certain managers can help to prevent errors and labor issues, but having to find the manager to have the schedule physically approved can take time. Having a digitized timesheet approval process that flows automatically can help to overcome these challenges.
Integrated Work Schedules
When employee work schedules can be set up in the HRIS and linked to time and attendance tracking features, it can produce data that may be valuable to managers. Are employees clocking in late regularly or punching out early often? These trends may not be easy to spot if time and attendance tracking is managed separately from scheduling, but it can be a snap to spot these patterns when the two are integrated.
Smart, Rules-Based Configurations
Employees should need to do very little to assist with their own attendance tracking, basically just clocking in and clocking out. The best systems allow rules-based configurations that know automatically when employees had a paid holiday and can alert employees when they are coming close to using the last of their vacation days, half days, or sick days. When employees have to review policies and enter these types of things on their own, errors can occur that can affect paycheck and even put the workplace at risk for lawsuits.
Better Work to Life Balance
In addition to ensuring compliance with regulations, the scheduling functions and constraints may help managers to more easily determine employee’s work to life balance and make alterations if need be. Managers may configure the system to reduce or eliminate very long shifts, shifts that are scheduled less than twelve hours apart, or other types of work schedules that may cause poor work to life balance.
Flexible Clock-In Options
Depending on the workplace structure, it may be helpful to allow employees to clock in from different devices using an employee I.D. number and passcode, to clock in from different computers in the building, or to clock in on a centralized kiosk. In some cases, all of these options may be made available, while in others, one or two of the options may be sufficient. When employees have to go out of their way to clock in, it can affect productivity or cause employees to forget to clock in or out.
When problems exist with an employee’s attendance, automatic time and attendance tracking makes it much simpler to obtain supporting documentation for reprimands. Hours worked are conveniently tracked daily, so it is easy to compile reporting that shows patterns of tardiness or absenteeism. These reports can be very valuable when firing problematic employees or coaching employees that are habitually late.
Custom Payroll Report
Most time and attendance management systems make it very easy to extract the data and translate it to a format that will be usable by payroll software or a payroll company. If a payroll reporting feature or payroll integration option is not included with time and attendance software, it can set you up for disaster, with weekly delays and possible errors in payroll.
Do You Need New Time and Attendance Software?
Efficient time and attendance tracking is one of the most important aspects of any successful HR and workplace strategy. Payroll, finance, employees, and managers all must work with time and attendance tracking systems and the system that is in place directly affects how and when employees get paid. A shoddy or outdated time and attendance tracking system can wreak havoc on your workplace.
Most workplaces have time and attendance tracking software in place. Automating time and attendance makes sense, as it reduces the likelihood of errors, makes it easier to apply complex rules, and aids the workplace in overcoming compliance woes. Unfortunately, many workplaces automated time and attendance tracking before automating other features, so time and attendance tracking software is now in dire need of an upgrade.
How Does the System Track time?
Workplaces are changing, so “punch cards” that were once used for time tracking may not work as well anymore. If your employees must clock in on certain kiosks but are now on the go more often than they are in the office, it may be hindering your progress. Make sure that your time and attendance tracking system still makes sense for your company’s set up.
Is the System Integrated?
Having time and attendance tracking software that is not integrated is a recipe for inefficiency. Having to manually transfer numbers from a time and attendance tracking system into payroll or having to view schedules that have been created in a separate system against actual hours worked can yield discrepancies and errors while wasting valuable time. When systems jive, organizations prosper.
How is Time Off Approved?
It is inevitable that employees will request time off and that managers will have to review the requests and grant or deny the time off. If time and attendance tracking software does nothing to facilitate this communication, it may be time for an upgrade. The most efficient time and attendance tracking software allows employees to put in time off requests using a mobile device and allows managers to remotely approve or deny requests.
Does the Software Help with Performance Management?
When time and attendance tracking software can be set to capture trends in tardiness and absenteeism, it can become a valuable tool for performance management. When companies have hundreds of employees or more, having a “smart” system that can provide instant notifications regarding performance lags can be helpful. These systems also make it easy to print evidence of tardiness and absences as documentation to support disciplinary actions.
Can the Software Help with Decision Making?
When reports can be customized with filters and labor can be tracked against hours to spot trends, it can make it easier for management to make smart decisions. If business rushes have occurred every Thursday at roughly 6:00 pm, labor can be optimized and geared towards covering the peak times and cut at lows. This can help to save money and improve business performance.
Will an Upgrade Help the Company?
After reviewing the ways that a time and attendance tracking software system handles the above functions, it should be clear whether or not an upgrade will help your company. If your company would not benefit from the above functions or if your system performs the functions well, you may not need an upgrade. If your system doesn’t handle these functions well, you have an easy starting point for tracking a new system’s ROI and legitimate reasons to bring up to management regarding the new acquisition.
Can You Use HRIS for Time and Attendance Tracking?
Time and attendance tracking software is a common feature that’s included with most HRIS systems. Whether or not you should switch your time and attendance tracking to an HRIS depends on a few different factors.
Like all HR functions, certain time and attendance tracking systems may work better for some companies than others depending on the structure and culture.
How Can Businesses Track Time and Attendance Efficiently?
Before pivoting and finding a new time tracking and attendance solution, consider the following questions to put your current systems into perspective:
- How are time and attendance currently tracked?
- Do you already have an HRIS solution?
- How well can you track absences?
- Can you track time-off requests?
How Are Time and Attendance Currently Tracked?
If you are currently using a separate automated time and attendance system, there may be no need to go to the trouble of transitioning to using your HRIS for time and attendance tracking.
If you are using manual processes, however, you may not realize the immense amount of labor time that is being wasted. Keeping up with requests, absence tracking, figuring out how to schedule for the coming weeks based on attendance and sales information, and exporting attendance information to payroll can be very time-consuming.
Do You Already Have an HRIS?
If you don’t have an HRIS, it may not make sense to acquire a system simply for tracking time and attendance.
If you are already planning on restructuring several different HR systems, it may help to include time and attendance tracking in your restructuring after you acquire the HRIS, however. If you do have an HRIS, beginning to use it for time and attendance may be helpful under certain circumstances.
Is Your System Working?
The old idiom works well here: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If your time and attendance tracking system is working, switching your system around completely in order to use an HRIS may not be worth the amount of time that it will take to transition and get used to the system. If your system could use some improvement, however, an HRIS may end up being your saving grace.
How Well Can You Track Absences?
Along with tracking the hours that employees work, it’s important to track the time that employees miss. Attendance problems can cost your company a lot of money in lost productivity and potentially lost customers if your customer service is suffering.
Tracking absences may help you get a grasp on which employees have attendance problems or may help you to spot patterns (such as parents missing time during the flu season) so that you can plan accordingly.
If you have a working system for tracking absences and can extract patterns and optimize productivity using the system, there may be no reason to switch systems. However, if your workplace is suffering because of absence problems, switching to an HRIS can help you track absences and get a handle on the issues stemming from this dilemma.
What About time Off Requests?
Time off requests can cause major problems for a workplace if not handled correctly. Employees’ time off needs are very important to them and can have a massive impact on their perceived quality of life and job satisfaction.
If an HRIS could help to minimize the occurrence of missed time off requests and can save HR professionals’ or managers’ time in dealing with these requests, it may be worth it to invest the time and money needed to switch to using the system.
Extracting and importing time and attendance data or using features that automate the process of forwarding time and attendance data over to payroll can save many hours when compared to manually entering this data and can help to ensure greater accuracy.
Authored by: Dave Rietsema