In the constant evolving word of technology, the word “manual” now has different interpretations. For some HR pros that have implemented time and attendance for towns government and public sectors, schools or hospitals, HRIS, ATS, and payroll systems manual can mean entering a new hire into other systems like email, or expenses. What about those organizations that are still completely manual? Just take a minute and think about paper time cards that are being handed to a payroll processor who manually keys in the hours to be paid. This processor then manually makes the payroll batch for processing payroll based on numbers that may not be correct. Anyone having flashbacks of manually entering in direct deposit information into a system and double checking it 10 times to make sure that your own human error will not affect your organization? How many of us have NEVER made a data entry mistake?
Let’s look at all the areas where an error can occur:
- Employee writes down time (could be wrong).
- Manager spends so many hours approving manual time sheets that they get distracted or have other critical duties.
- Processor enters time into payroll system (could be fat fingered, or applied to the wrong employee, or both)
If the organization is manual how many people can one processor key in? What about how long it takes the processor to manually enter in everyone’s time?
Time and Attendance System cuts your error rate by 50-75%
If automating time and attendance cuts your error rate by 50-75% and can cut your processing time in half, the only obstacle that comes to mind is cost. When we are thinking about labor forces that are impacted the most by budgets government and state employees come to mind first. Municipal workers are known as the invisible, underpaid people who run our towns and cities. Municipal workers make up the bulk of public sector employees and the government is in a constant process of attempting to do more with less. This is an area that we see manual processing more than others due to more than one issue. The first is cost. With ever dwindling budgets and looming government shutdowns its easy to argue for where that money could be better spent. The second issue is the most dangerous phrase to the HR industry, “we’ve always done it this way”.
What are the other Benefits of a cloud-based Time and Attendance software?
Outside of efficiency and accuracy what are the other benefits of a cloud-based time and attendance software? Online time and attendance streamline the tedious and error ridden process of recording employees time for all parties involved. Employees can do their time from anywhere including a mobile device plus a clock in feature which removes the error point of an employee inaccurately inputting their time. There are also biometric clock ins that remove buddy punching issues that can be very costly. Managers are able to get ahead of attendance in addition to approving and seeing time from anywhere live.
With a workforce that frequently includes shift work there needs to be an additional importance on attendance. The cost of absences are not easily measured, or even tracked. Assuming you are tracking attendance the ability to assign the cost is difficult. There is the actual cost incurred which includes salary, benefits, replacement workers, overtime, etc. How to quantify the cost of the productivity loss is a whole separate issue. There is also a verifiable correlation to employee absences and health care costs. Employees who have frequent absences are more likely to go out on short term disability and are you highest health care receivers.
What if you could cut your payroll processing time from 3 days to having it done in hours?
The normal manual process is one where employees record their time on a PDF and either scan in, or physically hand in their hours. The Managers then attempt to set aside a large chunk of time to approve the time. The actual managerial approval process is confirming that the employee entered time correctly. A processor then manually keys in the hours into a payroll system. If your organization is large enough to have payroll and HR separate HR is frequently in a position to help payroll run down issues when they are in a time crunch.
The typical payroll issues are missing timecards, lost timecards, employees forgot to clock out, and the biggest- overtime. Managers are behind the ball on tracking overtime as they are seeing it once it was worked and the cycle is closed. Effective management of the payroll process is essential to compliance but also eases cashflow issues. As with any effective process this all starts with making sure you have good data. Regardless of what workforce management system or payroll system you can afford many of the issues that organizations run into can be address with an online cloud-based time and attendance system.
With just the time that will be saved by employees, managers and processors the impact is tremendous. When you add in the decreased human error it stops the overflowing dam of errors. Let’s be honest, errors are isolated, they flow over. What was incorrect hours are now incorrect pay, which is now incorrect withholdings and payroll taxes.
How about the ones that are intentional? While a lot of this process is focused on unintentional human error there are also those that add hours to their own paycheck and supervisors that try to hide overtime in order to meet margins. If you can free up time of a manual process to an automated one you allow your HR and payroll team to focus on high level issues of compliance and improvement. If you keep them underwater of manual tasks you will never have a scalable process let alone compliance.
You don’t have to be an HR nerd to be obsessed with the life changing reporting that can happen in a simple time and attendance system. For those of us that have been manually doing time the concept of being able to run reports that capture trends, cost and audits literally knocks your socks off. We in HR are the progressive pushers of change in our organizations. Push for a time and attendance software that will streamline employee management on site and in different locations. Mobile punching and real time attendance tracking system eliminates manual errors and automate payroll for any department like DPW, Police, Fire, Library, County Sheriff offices, for jails and prisons (public and private), public School systems (with unions), public Hospitals.