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Dave Time & Attendance Software Best Practices

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 By Dave Foxall

Leveraging Time & Attendance Software for Best-In-Class Performance

By simply acting as an electronic, automated equivalent of the manual time clock, time and attendance software can facilitate more efficient labor utilization and reduce the cost of human error. However, by widening the scope of this HR software solution and integrating with payroll, HR and business intelligence systems, time and attendance applications can achieve significant impact on overall business performance. Indeed, according to Time & Attendance Strategies (a 2011 Aberdeen Group survey which examined what high-performing organizations have in common when it comes to their time and attendance strategies), best-in-class companies share the following characteristics:

  • Automation of timekeeping and leave management processes, integrated with payroll;
  • Utilization of analytics and reporting tools to leverage time data to make better labor deployment decisions; and
  • Empowerment of employees and managers to be self-sufficient through self-service system access.

Of course, the above characteristics are only as good as an organization's ability to leverage them effectively. To that end, in this article we've included the top factors and best practices that every company should consider when seeking strategic alignment and maximum performance from their time & attendance software.

Time & Attendance Software Strategy #1: The right metrics

Best-in-Class organizations were found to leverage time and attendance technology to uniformly perform well against a set of four key metrics:

  • Payroll errors – the time and cost of correcting errors plus the reduced employee satisfaction and productivity results means, "it is critical that time and attendance data is accurate in order to ensure employees are paid what they deserve." (Best-in-Class error rate: 0.5% or less)
  • Timesheet accuracy – again errors of record have a similar cost, in addition to the time spent addressing actual inaccuracies such as time theft and buddy punching. (Best-in-Class error rate: 0.5% or less)
  • Paid time off accrual calculation – errors result in unearned time off or the loss of earned time; either takes time to correct. (Best-in-Class error rate: 0.6% or less)
  • Compliance – failure to comply with labor laws can result in fines and legal action. (9% improvement between audit scores)

In order to be strategic, the features of time and attendance software solutions must include the functionality to gather, share and report on the above data points. In addition, two further metrics that would indicate a working strategy are overtime costs (an application with accurate tracking and real-time reporting should help lower unplanned overtime) and employee engagement (automation generally brings about a fairer allocation of shifts and leave, leading to a rise in satisfaction).

Time & Attendance Software Strategy #2: Self-Service

According to the Aberdeen report, top organizations leverage the following time and attendance software features to achieve time and attendance excellence:

  • Self-service access to hours worked, schedules and paid time off balances;
  • Reporting tools or productivity dashboards that combine operational and attendance data;
  • Real-time alerts when a scheduled employee doesn't clock in on time;
  • Real-time alerts when an unscheduled employee clocks in;
  • Real-time alerts when employees approach overtime or go beyond desired hours.

This use of time and attendance self-service application functionality alone (for both employees and managers) meant that organizations are 31% more likely to report increased customer and stakeholder satisfaction, and self-service via mobile access increases that figure to 42%.

Time & Attendance Software Strategy #3: Core Actions

Two best practices were observed in high-performing organizations: the use of time and attendance application data to improve the quality of labor deployment; and the standardization of time management processes to improve efficiency. Aberdeen Group further identified three core actions that would lead to Best-in-Class performance:

  • Gain C-level buy-in to the importance of time and attendance strategy and tools as enablers of the achievement of business goals;
  • Provide the foundation for enabling operational managers to leverage time data to improve their decision-making ability;
  • Continue to automate and integrate systems to increase accuracy and relieve HR and business unit managers of time-consuming manual workflows.

Likewise, the time and attendance best practices report notes, "organizations that utilize analytics and dashboards and integrate time and attendance application data into its scheduling system are achieving huge gains in business metrics including customer satisfaction and reduction in labor costs."

Time & Attendance Software Best Practices – The Bottom Line

The purpose of any business software is ultimately to improve business performance and time and attendance applications offer the opportunity to refine and reduce the single biggest operating cost in most organizations: labor. As the Aberdeen Group's report states, "though automation in and of itself may not yield the maximum potential performance gains, having the right tools and capabilities to support it will earn organizations differentiated performance." End

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Two characteristic tactics were observed in high-performing organizations: the use of time and attendance data to improve the quality of labor deployment; and the standardization of time management processes through automation to improve efficiency.


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