What You Need to Know About Automating Time and Attendance

If you’re trying to decide which HR function to automate first, take it from us — make it time and attendance.

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automating time and attendance

82 million workers in the United States are paid hourly, representing nearly 60% of all wage and salary workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With such a large portion of the workforce paid hourly, the time spent manually scheduling employees is costing your business. Big time.

Managers waste 140 hours a year manually creating schedules for their employees. Employees also admit to wasting 50% of their time at work when they have an inconsistent schedule. On top of that, 35% of employees between the ages of 18 and 25 think they have inconsistent work schedules, and half of them leave their jobs for this reason.

Manually scheduling also makes it hard to scale. As your company grows and hires new employees, opens new locations, or expands in other ways, scheduling gets more complicated.

The solution? You guessed it — automating scheduling by introducing a cloud-based system allows you to offer employee self-service, set schedule rules, track potential compliance issues, and automatically generate schedules. Find out how automated time and attendance can save your People team headaches and save your business thousands of dollars.

Employees also admit to wasting 50% of their time at work when they have an inconsistent schedule. On top of that, 35% of employees between the ages of 18 and 25 think they have inconsistent work schedules.

Finding a solution

You want to identify a solution that 100% automates your pay and work rules, while providing self-serve options accessible via an Internet browser or mobile device. The software should also be easy-to-use and intuitive, so employees will embrace the technology as well.

As you evaluate software solutions and vendors, put together a roadmap to determine what long-term success looks like, and steps to achieve it. Due to budget or lack of support, you may not be able to get all the features you want. Instead, you should focus on building a solid foundation you can build upon later. And the software solution you choose should be able to accommodate your business’ growth.

To help you, assemble a project team of key stakeholders within your business. This will help gain cross-departmental support while ensuring the solution you pick will support the needs of various departments. This also helps move the project forward, making sure it gets buy-in from the decision makers at your business.

Consider forming a team that has representatives from:

  • Human Resources / The People team: To determine how the solution simplifies data management and workforce compliance
  • Finance: Can help evaluate and measure ROI of the software solution
  • Payroll: To ensure the software integrates into payroll systems (more on that in Chapter 9)
  • IT: Make sure that they will support the software chosen
  • Managers: To ensure the solution streamlines scheduling and is easy-to-use for employees

Once you have assembled a team, you want to take a critical look at the current state of your HR Department and how they administer time and attendance.

What is the state of your HR department?

Check in: What’s the state of your HR department? Here are some questions to ask:

  • What is the current state of your timekeeping processes?
  • How does your HR department track employees’ hours? Can they batch edit hours? Do you have capabilities to round hours worked, differentiate pay between overtime, holidays worked, or weekend hours?
  • Are managers or supervisors alerted if an employee clocked in late, missed a day of work, or started their work day at a different location?
  • Can employees enter and submit their hours for approval using a web browser or a digital app on their phone?
  • How is time approved?
  • Do you think time theft is an issue at your business?
  • Does time automatically sync to your payroll system?
  • How is paid time off managed? Can employees and supervisors track PTO hours and requests (whether pending, approved, or denied) in one place?
  • Have you ever missed a payroll run?
  • How often do you have to run payroll corrections?
  • Where are there opportunities for time- and cost-savings?

As you take a critical look at your existing processes, also think about how automation can solve some of the issues your project team brings to light, such as time-consuming data entry, payroll errors, high administrative costs, and employee disengagement. We found that creating a document outlining the current time and attendance practices will bring to light problem areas.

We also suggest talking to hourly employees and managers who have to approve time cards to see what they dislike about your business’ current implementation. You may unearth some issues you never thought about, like if they’re able to record their hours easily, or if they often find mistakes in their paychecks. This has the added benefit of getting them invested in whatever solution you choose, and make implementation a smoother process.

Automate employees’ shifts and schedules

With a shift scheduling system, you can track employee-to-manager transactions, such as time off requests, shift scheduling preferences, requests to fill any open shifts, and employee availability.

If you run your business in the retail, restaurant, construction, healthcare, transportation, logistics, or any other industry that relies on hourly workers, you’ll want to look for a time and attendance system that includes shift scheduling, or an integration that meet’s your business’ needs.

With a shift scheduling system, you can track employee-to-manager transactions, such as time off requests, shift scheduling preferences, requests to fill any open shifts, and employee availability.

You can also track employee-to-employee transactions, including requests to swap shifts or asking a coworker to cover a shift.

Depending on the size and complexity of your business (How many hourly employees do you have? Do you operate across multiple locations?), you’ll have to evaluate if you need a basic or advanced employee scheduling software.

As you evaluate different shift scheduling integrations and software solutions, here are the most needed tools to look for:

Employee management

It probably goes without saying that you want a platform that is able to house employee information so it’s easy to review your list of employees, what locations they work at, and availability.

Schedule management

A sophisticated employee scheduling system will help manage work times for your entire operation and build schedules that predict how many employees you’ll need per shift. Schedule management should also take the guesswork out of who is on vacation, who is teetering on the edge of overtime, and any other conflicts you can forecast.

Shift management

An advanced system would be able to allow employees to pick up open shifts or swap with their colleagues. It can also help match employees’ skill sets to shifts (for example, having your best restaurant servers working during the dinner rush). You can also track who is absent from a shift.

Payroll and budget management

Since schedules and payroll are so closely linked, it’s important to have a system that can export data to a payroll system while alerting managers about overtime and forecasting budgets.

Reporting and data analytics

You’ll have access to a lot of information, so it’s important that you can easily pull data points to get a view of how your scheduling process impacts your overall business performance. Many platforms have real-time updates, where you can look at time off summaries, labor costs, employee trends, and more.

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