Top Ten Tips and Tricks for Timekeeping Transitions
Automating labor management processes or upgrading to a more robust time and attendance system are both intelligent business improvements. For organizations about to embark upon this undertaking there are important guidelines to follow. Datamatics Management Services, Inc., a leading developer of advanced time and attendance systems, asked various industry experts for the most important steps to follow when implementing a labor management system. Following these tips and tricks will help businesses obtain maximum value from their new system, while also ensuring that the new processes are implemented as seamlessly as possible.
1. Pick your team!
The first step in selecting an automated time and attendance system is to assemble a selection team. Typically, a project leader is chosen to coordinate various activities and manage the selection process. The team should reflect an extensive cross-section of your labor force.
“Encouraging a broad range of employees to provide input will address a diverse array of labor management issues that need to be addressed with the new system. The more thorough and diverse the selection, the greater likelihood that the selected solution will be a success.”
-Susan Lee, TimesheetPlus Application Specialist
2. Evaluate the out-dated
Each member of your team needs to understand the limitations and frustrations caused by the current system that is encouraging the transition. The more conversation and knowledge, the more likely you are to resolve those issues with the new system.
“Several areas to focus on include employee interaction, managerial access and reporting needs, along with a simple data exchange with your payroll provider.”
-Laura Nelson, Datamatics Training Manager
It is time more organizations universalize time and attendance tracking, thus bucking the traditional trend of limiting clocking to hourly-waged employees. A labor management practice such as this creates fairness and balance in the workplace. With advancements in technology, labor management systems now offer organizations much more than merely tracking hours worked. Time off, benefit accruals, labor production costs and immediate reporting capabilities are just a few of the extremely valuable pieces that significantly benefit businesses. In addition, documentation of an employee’s work history is vital not only in operating business, but can be a savior when it comes to threatened or actual litigation.
“The fundamental debate – privacy or full disclosure – is also the heart of the question: who clocks in and out. With abuse of benefit time so rampant, it seems obvious that in consideration of payment, accurate record-keeping is justified. It’s simple: if someone is paying you, the basic record belongs to the payer. This is critical documentation for any organization.
-Norman Heinle, Chairman of Datamatics Management Services, Inc.
4. Enterprise or web-based?
Herein lies one of the most difficult decisions companies face when selecting a new time and attendance system. The decision can be made easier by determining the available resources for initial investment and level of internal IT support.
“Do not let anybody tell you that a web-based system is always the best solution, or vice versa; both systems have distinct advantages which will be enhanced based upon your unique workplace needs. Once these needs are outlined, it will be apparent if your organization is best suited for a system that can be installed on your own infrastructure and managed by your in-house IT staff, or one that is accessed via the internet and maintained by an external service provider.”
-Ray Embry, Datamatics Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
5. Data collection
When considering your investment of a labor management system, your organizational environment plays a key role. Data collection devices are as diverse and compatible as you need them to be. From biometric hand readers and fingerprint scanners to PCs, make sure to choose what is most likely to be effective in every division of your organization.
“Organizations with a mobile workforce may gain greater productivity from collecting time via a mobile phone application or hosted telephonic IVR (interactive voice response) system. For employers who spend a predominant part of their day on a computer, clock-ins can be as simple as logging into Windows.”
-Kevin Heinle, President of Datamatics Management Services, Inc.
6. Return on investment (ROI)
Preparing an estimated savings worksheet will determine the payback period of your investment. This information will also assist in establishing the project’s budget. Quantitative, or hard dollar savings, include eliminating payroll calculation errors, minimizing unauthorized overtime, decreasing paper costs, and complying with finely-tuned work rules. While qualitative, or soft dollar savings, are more difficult to measure, their impact should not be overlooked. Soft dollar savings include increased employee productivity, greater managerial insight for decision-making, and more efficient use of time and resources.
“Not only can data satisfy the obvious need for information, it empowers the system to control activity, ensure security, spotlight problems, and even maximize revenue. Using time and labor management systems the right way makes information about the business ‘glow in the dark’ —showing management things they could never see before.”
-Lisa Disselkamp, President of Athena Enterprises and author of No Boundaries (John Wiley and Sons, 2009)
7. Do your research
A helpful reminder: a vendor is not just selling you a time and attendance system. Your selection notes the start of a long-term business relationship that extends far beyond system features and functionality. The implementation phase, training and on-going support are all vital to obtaining the desired value from the new software system. Be sure to take an in-depth look at the vendor’s performance record and history in the industry, which can be achieved by a simple request for references.
“The area that causes the most problems, and leads to the most dissatisfaction, is Implementation Planning and Execution. While the salesperson promises a smooth transition, the only way to ensure that the transition goes as planned is to first develop, and then scrupulously follow a detailed, step-by-step Implementation Plan - not a generic, off-the-shelf pre-printed product of the vendor’s Marketing department, but one that has been customized for your unique environment. It should be developed in conjunction with the vendor and your CIO, contain specific go/no-go milestones, with payments linked to satisfactory attainment of those milestones.”
-Bernard M. Aller, SPHR, HR systems consultant
8. Compliance review
A time and attendance project involves close inspection of the organization’s labor management practices. Many businesses benefit when they go one step further and perform an audits at this time. Some time and attendance software vendors may offer these types of expert HR, legal and labor-related services to assist you. The transitional phase is an excellent time to review and revise internal policies and procedures both internally and using neutral, third-party professionals.
“There is no difference if you have 20 employees in your workforce or 2,000; there are rules and regulations that must be followed. With increased enforcement initiatives at the federal and state levels, Labor Departments are cracking down on employer non-compliance. Implementing a labor management software system is a convenient time to audit wage-and-hour processes; and could help prevent severe headaches later on.”
-Somer Vail, Esq., PHR, Legal & Labor Consultant
9. Making change welcome
Sounds tough, right? Luckily, a quality system’s ease of use makes its introduction simple and practical. Be sure to communicate the benefits associated with the new system specific to each section of your workforce. Talk to your employees so they understand how to take advantage of the new levels of self-service, transparency and recognition.
“Today’s managers focus on motivating their employees to be more efficient and effective. Quality labor management systems give managers quick access to an array of error-free reports and data which help define the level of effectiveness each employee displays. Communicating the advantages that the new system delivers should motivate employees to welcome this change to the workplace. Also to note: do not forget to update employee handbooks with details of new procedures.”
-Joe Markert, Associate Professor Rutgers Business School
10. Implementation Phase
During a transition and trial period, the system responsible for calculating the official time and attendance data must be the first and last task performed by all employees. Any directives to do otherwise may result in costly wage-and-hour claims.
“When implementing new time and attendance software, you must ensure that accurate records are maintained within your current system. To do so, clearly instruct employees to use the ‘live’ system as the first and last database. Failure to do so invalidates employee work hours, opening the door to potential lawsuits.”
-Dina Amontis, TC-1 Software Support Manager
Following these tips will assist your organization in a seamless and effective timekeeping transition. Just remember: your time and attendance vendor should not be asking you to travel this journey alone. At Datamatics Management Services, Inc., we pride ourselves on providing the live, personal, and expert support needed to get your new labor solution running effortlessly.
Visit TC-1-Labor-Management-System for more information.
Note: The information presented should not be construed as legal advice.