Time and attendance is frequently an issue regardless of your industry. Maybe you have time and attendance shortages, employees not accurately recording time, or, the personal favorite, not completing their time at all. Now imagine that the workforce you are trying to manage is spread over 30 different states in 3 different time zones that all remotely complete their time via a cloud based system. There are tons to choose from. Most systems have additional modules that attempt to streamline the process. Think about payroll, accounting or HR modules right where you manage time, it’s a great advancement.
The best part about cloud-based time and attendance systems have to be the ease of payroll and reporting. An additional feature for those that base their business around the direct billability of the workforce is essentially automated invoice generation with said reporting. Even without invoicing lets talk about the type of reports that come with every time and attendance system. Actual vs. scheduled, approaching weekly overtime, attendance report, daily schedule report, department Hours, punch source report, supervisor approval status. The list literally goes on and on. From the HR perspective this information is invaluable for the ability to see emerging trends.
With time and attendance systems there are a plethora of ways for the organization to enter their time. There are actual punching stations that have been upgraded to finger scans to avoid “buddy punching”. But let’s be honest, the level of technology in the current workplaces makes punching stations obsolete. Why you ask? With everyone connected instantly in all forms you can hire the best talent regardless of location. Not only can you hire the best talent, you can service a wider customer base. As a manager you need to be thinking about how you are going to manage time and attendance from anywhere, anytime.
The simplest version of time and attendance is a mobile app that you download to your phone. It looks like timecards have for the last 100 years. A simple grid to enter your hours, possibly an earnings code and a project code. This is the most ideal way of capturing time for most companies. It allows a huge amount of flexibility but all the perks of cloud-based time and attendance. One thing worth mentioning is that while it has all the perks, it also has all the cons of traditional timesheets. You are relying on employees to enter the information accurately and on time. Every company says, “that’s an easy fix, we will have managers approve time”. Conceptually, yes, managers approving time would catch all the errors, but it never works. It never has and never will, based on the simple fact that it’s humans and therefor will have errors on both sides.
Now imagine not being able to walk over to Bob’s desk and give him a gentle nudge to get his time in. What if Bob is not only a remote worker, but also in the field? Time and attendance has now become the same issue it always was.
The ideal form of time and attendance entry for a remote workforce is geolocation. It combines the perks of a punching station with cloud-based time and attendance. From their smart phone they “punch in”. The geolocation ensures that they are at work, or anywhere assigned for that matter for their time to start in addition to throughout the day tracking. You might say, sure, I can see how this is helpful for the trucking industry, but not my organization. We encourage you to think again. Besides those organizations that have actual office locations let’s take it a step further to landscaping, cleaning companies, delivery services or any business with field employees or jobsites. There is one obstacle of if the staff does not have a smartphone. This can be easily solved if you have clusters of employees where they can each use the same device with their own log in or signature. Regardless how the workforce gets the information in, the benefits are game changing.
Now let’s talk scheduling. All the cloud-based systems have automated scheduling. This is a time saver for managers on the front end, but also great when it comes to shift swaps. When we are talking about spending less on labor or unplanned overtime that is the strategic bottom line influence that HR needs in order impact the organization. If your workforce is entering time as worked, you now have real time analytics that help you keep your job costing and budgets in line.
Are you compliant? Are you positive that you have never missed an hour of overtime? Do you wake up on payroll Monday in a cold sweat? Every cloud-based time and attendance system on the market automatically calculates overtime and many are customizable based on state-level wage and hour laws. With the leaps and bounds that technology has come in the years we have also moved past an ink signature on a timecard. Some systems rely on secure and unique usernames and password with extensive audit logs. There are others that accommodate actual sign with your finger options. Both will keep you in compliance.
The goal for every business is to get things done faster, cheaper and easier. Technology is often the solution. While there are obstacles with each time and attendance software, time entry option, etc. They are nothing compared to what using paper timecards or excel timecards are. Those have the ability to be corrupted on two separate levels; from both the employee entering the time and the processer compiling the information into payroll.
Regardless of the solution that works best for your organization, moving to a cloud-based time and attendance software cuts out half the possible errors. The challenges from there are all based on consistent, accurate and timely submittals of data, which has always been a challenge. Now, the ways we combat those issues are evolving, just like the technology.