Some businesses still employ ineffective or inefficient time and attendance methods, despite major technological developments. As a result, these companies’ HR and payroll departments may still be at risk for making data entry errors, over- or under-paying employees, or using a sizable chunk of their time on administrative tasks that could be better used elsewhere.
It’s for these reasons that it may be worthwhile to take a closer look at your time and attendance process, and consider solutions that can have a positive impact on your business. With accurate time tracking, you could mitigate data errors, reduce incorrect payments, and limit time spent on related administrative tasks.
Improve accuracy and streamline tracking
Now is a great time to catch up on the latest technology trends in tracking and monitoring employee work-time and attendance. Here are some key developments that can dramatically improve operations within your company:
Automated time tracking
The latest time tracking systems offer real-time access to data, providing employees with an advanced, user-friendly alternative to outdated or manual time-tracking processes. Automated systems feature employee dashboards and flexible punch methods, including the ability to clock in through mobile punches via a smartphone or tablet. Some systems offer a range of additional, customizable online time-collection options — whether by badge, fingerprint scanner, keypad, or web entry — that can help you reduce lost time and boost employee productivity.
WiFi-enabled time clocks
New hardware technology built into a WiFi-enabled time clock can support up to 500 employees’ time and attendance recordkeeping. This solution leverages biometric technology, which helps ensure time-punch accuracy (with an optional image capture), promoting greater efficiency and accuracy.
Advanced scheduling modules with calendar integration
Integrated scheduling can now take place using a time and attendance solution. This offers businesses greater visibility and flexibility in managing employee schedules. Schedules can be digitally monitored on a weekly basis, by organizational unit or employee group, with pre-set capacity requirements per employee shift. Also, employees can clearly communicate their availability to supervisors and receive email notifications of schedule changes in real-time, making things easier in terms of planning and keeping commitments in their personal lives.
These features provide employees with the ability to toggle between Outlook, Google, or an Apple calendar. This function gives employees a more customized approach to managing shifts and overtime schedules, in the format they feel most comfortable using.
Time and attendance is at a point now where, in an emergency situation, an employee can easily modify their schedule and adjust it to their needs. And entering time has become simple to the point where an employee may only need to enter exceptions.
Facial recognition kiosk app
Some businesses are adopting a mobile punch option, using facial recognition software and kiosk app that lets employees easily punch in and out. This app is an ideal resource for people on the move. The enhanced functionality and sleek user interface provides a consistent punch experience, allowing employers to capture “real-time worked” on their mobile device.
This Android-based touch-screen tablet allows employees to confirm work schedules, review their time cards, and request time off. In some versions, employees can easily scan current job listings and other features. As with other biometric time clock devices, employers no longer need to be concerned with incidents of time theft or buddy punching. Fingerprint readers and other forms of authentication like a facial recognition time clock can help to eliminate misconduct related to time and attendance.
Mobile time sheets
Mobile time sheet software, downloaded as an app to a mobile device, enables employees to access time sheets online. The data provided in this user-friendly method can help employers with payroll processing, recordkeeping, and the ability to more closely monitor attendance.
Improved scheduling flexibility
Flex time is a growing trend among employees as well as among employers trying to recruit in a tight labor market. Some new mobile time and attendance systems make it easy for employees to manage their flexible worked hours while their companies can manage regional and local differences in reporting requirements. Even with the latest technology though, it’s important to work with a compliance professional who can help make sure there are no gaps between what the system can manage and what regulations require of your company.
Reimbursement of mileage
Mileage reimbursement can also be accomplished in a time and attendance system. Mobile apps allow employees to input data directly, which eliminates the need for manual tracking for reimbursement purposes.
Improving business management
Time intelligence is a new way of thinking about time and attendance, where time is an asset as real as money, or your people. Think about the number of hours each year that employees work in your company. Are you able to account for all that time? And are you able to tie it to specific outcomes? When you can connect to outcomes, you can use time and attendance to start making decisions in the future based on these insights.
Time and attendance systems have mostly evolved beyond the physical aspects of punching in and out and time sheets to tracking how you pay employees and job costing. But the future may be about thinking of time and attendance as more of a platform than an app. It’s become simpler to collect data and report on it.
Adapt to trends in the changing workforce
In the future, your workforce management system will likely need to be flexible enough to handle more types of employees than before, including a large increase in gig or contract workers. Companies that successfully manage this shift will probably need to include HR and payroll in the sourcing and onboarding of these gig or contract workers.
It’s a missed opportunity for some not to gather insights from these workers’ data and to not be able to pay them accurately and quickly. These workers will have alternatives in the future, and companies that can’t pay them on time and accurately may have a more difficult time attracting the best potential contract workers.
Manage compliance risk
Some regulatory issues that a new time and attendance system may be able to assist with include:
- Applicable wage and hour laws;
- Various forms of leave, such as sick time, along with family or medical leave; and
- Affordable Care Act requirements.
An advanced time and attendance system may also allow companies to capture location and time worked from remote workers for regulatory purposes, such as appropriately applying state income tax if the employee is working in more than one location with different laws.
Gain insight into labor costs
Tools like online timekeeping solutions now fully integrate with payroll to ensure accuracy and eliminate instances of paying for time not worked. Electronic employee consent and acknowledgment can also be collected, which may eliminate the need to retain paper copies for each individual using the time and attendance system. If your company needs to retain an on-site time clock, a solution such as a time clock with biometric technology can mitigate behaviors like buddy punching.
Improved time tracking may also help companies conduct audits. Businesses may be overpaying contract workers today and not know it, because time sheets (usually manual) don’t match up to payments and no one’s checking.
Give managers time to be more productive
Time and attendance systems can help automate repetitive tasks once taken care of by managers. In the future, you may be able to give managers more of their time back to spend on productive tasks, not fixing their employees’ time sheets.
Help your business improve productivity and adapt to technological advances in time tracking. As you research time and attendance systems, consider whether those solutions are flexible and scalable enough to address your business needs.