Time and attendance systems are used by all types and sizes of organisations to plan and optimise the value of their workforce. After all, ensuring every Employee hour paid for effectively contributes to the bottom-line is a key element of every business’s success.
A simple but effective method of planning your workforce hours to satisfy production, customer expectations or safety needs can ensure the business operates smoothly and efficiently and optimises the value and cost of their Employees.
A good Time and Attendance System should offer the capability to allocate the required staff to the hours that will support the demands of your operation, whether that be for fixed working patterns, Rotating Shift patterns or variable Rota/Rosta based hours.
Employee Hours Worked
Once the workforce has been scheduled, a simple and reliable method of capturing the data for the hours actually worked is essential. Expecting to get accurate hours reported by a workforce that submits manually completed Timesheets may involve a substantial risk of inaccuracy, whether that be by intentional time-theft or simply because Employees may not record their times correctly. A modern and effective method for Employees to record their start, end and break times at work, delivering accurate clocking data that reflect the true hours at the workplace, should be available as part of any Time and Attendance Solution.
Examples of Clocking Terminals include: RFID Card or Fob Clocking, Biometric Fingerprint Clocking, Face Clocking or Hand Clocking or by using a mobile device or PC.
It became clear we needed more information on hours worked and absences.
Timesheets, hours, rules
Once you’ve accurately captured Employees Hours worked, the business rules that apply to them and should be automatically applied and recorded appropriately. There also needs to be a process of approval by relevant line-managers and ultimately Payroll or Finance prior to use for Payroll input.
Many hours can be wasted collating, checking and going through approval processes when manual methods of reporting hours accrued or manual Timesheets are used. Complexities of different pay rates for Basic, Overtime and Breaks, mean that manual calculation of hours that should be paid, are often subject to error.
We were using paper timesheets and compiling rotas using Microsoft Word, then performing weekly analysis, cross checking timesheets against the rota. This was time-consuming and open to human errors. Payroll was then sent to our accounts department via a spreadsheet.
In a Time and Attendance System, where appropriate, Managers should to be able to approve the Employee Timesheets to authorise Hours accrued including Overtime, Bonus and other elements that are not part of your standard contracted hours for the Employee. This may be needed at more than one level of authority.
This capability prevents errors further down the line such as the generation of time-consuming Employee queries, unhappy Employees and the potential for the overpayment of wages and a financial loss to the business.
Manual completion of timesheets sometimes led to employees over-estimating the time they had worked and to potential inaccuracies in data transfer from timesheets to payroll.
Reporting and Payroll
Knowing that Employees arrive on time and aren’t leaving early can be difficult to manage if they work in a remote location or are not easily visible to you or their Line Manager locally. Clearly, such practices can have a detrimental effect on your business, customers and other colleagues who have to take on additional responsibilities for the missing Employee. A Time and Attendance System should offer options to alert you of late arrivals and early leavers and record their hours correctly including any time infringements, something that may be overlooked if Employees record time manually on a Timesheet.
Reporting should also be an integral part of any such solution, and include at least a Payroll Report that you can use to input accurate accrued Hours data into your Payroll System. If there is a Payroll System specific report that can be directly imported to your Payroll System then this is an additional bonus. It will not only save time but also ensure the accurate data produced is input into the Payroll System quickly and without risk of human error.
We needed a system that would give us data we could work with quickly, and reduce our payroll processing time down from 3 days!
Generally other reports that may be available, and that are relevant to your business, have the potential to save further time, where otherwise manually prepared, ensure accuracy and enable access when you need them.
Absence and Holiday Management
Unplanned Employee Absence can have a detrimental effect on any organisation’s ability to maintain productivity and customer satisfaction. Being able to recognise and record Employee Absence is essential in managing the workload with a diminished resource or skill-sets and manage the Employee absence record and any actions that need to be taken. If a System is capable of doing this simply it may replace any manual or duplicated system or practice, consolidating this into a single resource and retaining an accurate record of Absence.
Holiday allowance setting, recording and management is also key in supporting minimum staffing level management as well as ensuring that Employees receive this benefit in line with their contractual arrangements. Manual paper or similar request methods can be cumbersome and take up valuable management time as well as cause interruptions to the Employee and Manager’s day. If a paper or spreadsheet method is being used to record and monitor Holiday for Employees, this can make the process difficult to manage and may be ineffective in achieving a simple Holiday system for all.
Holidays were requested on a paper form. We were looking to streamline our admin processes and be able to more accurately monitor attendance, time-keeping and sickness.
Good Time and Attendance Systems offer Employees the ability to simply request holiday though a secure web portal, possibly on a company PC in a staff room or canteen, or by using a mobile device or home computer. Pending requests should be easily seen or alerted to relevant Managers who can review these when they have time, within the System, and be able to grant or refuse the request in a number of clicks. There should also be a capability for Managers to review their Workforce status for the relevant period to ensure minimum staffing levels are maintained when considering Employee requests. This will reduce the interruptions and time taken by both parties in the process and help maintain a workforce that fully supports the staffing needs of the organisation.
For businesses that need it, the System must also provide the ability to report on Employee Absence history and Holiday balances and status. This data should be available in the chosen System if required.
Whenever you select a Time and Attendance, or indeed, any other business critical System it is essential that the supplier can and does deliver a suitable level of Support and System updates. This will ensure that your System is kept in a fully operational state and that any questions can be answered to help maximise the value of the System to your operation.
Every business or organisation is different. Each has its own practices and needs. But for nearly all, planning, management, monitoring and accurate reporting of Employee Hours is essential in ensuring their Employees’ time is optimised and in line with their contractual arrangements. Minimising the time spent by Managers and Finance staff, in what are often mundane tasks, by offering automation and accuracy releases valuable resource for more productive activities. Accurate and fast reporting for Payroll, Absence and Holiday ensures compliance and eliminates the risk of inaccuracies in the wage bill. It also ensures Employer and Employee have visibility and can easily manage Absence issues and the Holiday process whilst minimising the effect on business continuity.
A good Time and Attendance Solution can help you achieve this and usually pays for itself many times over in its lifetime.