What to Look For in a Time & Attendance Solution

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Giving your punch cards a makeover by adopting a more modern time & attendance solution can be an attractive option.

 Not only does it show your employees that your company is moving forward and investing in productivity, but it can drastically reduce friction caused by common human errors (like payroll).

Yet here’s the thing: Not all T&A systems are created equally. Finding one that’s accurate and adapted to meet your business realities, requires a degree of reflection.

Here are a few things to keep in mind during your buyer’s journey:

What is a Time & Attendance Solution?

Before we get to that, let’s start with the basics: What is a time and attendance solution?

 Time & attendance can mean different things for everyone. However, we most often define it as a solution that incorporates both time clock solutions (punch) and the timesheets they fill. Some solutions may also offer leave management, payroll pre-processing and other related features. 

Or better yet,  even integrate a full-fledged scheduling system like yours truly.

Types of solutions

If we focus on the timekeeping part of the system, you can find various options, ranging from manually filled timesheets to biometric clocking.

The most popular solutions include the following:

Web-based clocking

Web-based clocking has become a golden standard over the past years. 

It’s simple to set up, allows employees to clock in and out using a PIN or other identifier. Making it an ideal option for manufacturing companies with employees that can’t carry many things with them (including their phones and even keycards).

While some web-based clocks are offered as tablet apps, others can be operated from any browser, letting you deploy it on any model or hardware you already own and support.

Biometric punch

While web punches can take a photo of the employee punching to validate their identity, biometric clocks go the extra mile. 

They can identify each employee through various ways including fingerprint, hand or retina scans. While some employers may find the concept intrusive, this high-tech technology has seen its share of popularity from the pandemic due to its touch-free ability to identify employees.

RFID or barcode scanners

RFID or barcode scanners work in a similar fashion to timecards. Employees simply scan their badges to get clocked in and out of work. Like biometric scanners, these can be linked to a display device if more information is required from the employee to know what project or task they are actually clocking into.

Mobile clocking

Mobile clocking is often the most efficient solution when a supervisor isn’t on-premise. Employees can clock in directly from their phone and are usually geolocated to confirm they’re on-premise. Ensuring employees are physically at work helps to avoid fraudulent behaviour like time theft from taking place.

 Mobile clocking has been seen as a favourite in many client services industries. It enables employers to confirm the arrival and departure times of their employees’ service customers and has the ability to bill them accordingly and automatically.

Phone line timeclocks

Even though this solution tends to lose popularity (due to the lack of identity validation and time it takes to clock in) phone line clockings are useful when your employees work remotely and the network is not steady or available. 

It lets employees call the clocking center from a fixed-line and validate their presence through the phone line they are calling from and validate their identity through a provided PIN.

Key Benefits of Adopting a Time & Attendance Solution

It goes without saying that the benefits from switching from timecards to a T&A system are numerous. 

For starters, it makes clocking in and out a more seamless and simpler experience for your employees. It also reduces the risk of employees stealing time, through buddy punching or other ways. As well as reduce the number of human errors.

From a payroll processing standpoint, an up-to-date T&A will help you save time, as it can automatically validate timesheets and point out any inconsistencies, and avoid mistakes as it can connect to your payroll processing system.

What to Look For When Selecting a Time & Attendance System

Now that you’re aware of all the benefits that come from implementing a time & attendance solution, here’s what you should keep an eye out for while comparing available solutions:

Accuracy

The main goal behind implementing a T&A solution is to precisely track the time worked by your employees. 

To do so, validate that the chosen systems do not let employees or managers alter clocked time and that you can always refer to the exact punched data when you need it. Another important factor is to make sure that data transfer delays do not impact the actual timestamp of when the employee clocked in or out.

Multiple time tracking capabilities

Different departments have different realities. 

You’ll want to make sure your T&A system can adapt to your business and offer solutions that meet your employee’s needs. Like factory employees that can clock in from a fixed device when entering a production line or office workers who could complete their timesheets from their work computer.

Multi-platform timesheet management

It’s nice to let employees punch from their phones, but if they need a computer to submit or request a timesheet adjustment later on, what’s the point? 

Even if most T&A systems offer timesheet features on both web and mobile, you’re always better off verifying it.

Smart normalization and approval rules

Once your employees clocked their time, your system should be smart enough to separate compliant and non-compliant entries.

 It’s generally easier to know what is expected from your employees when the chosen T&A solution connects to your schedules. A smart solution will be able to adjust, round up and approve most entries, letting your manager focus only on the remaining discrepancies.

Ease of use

You’re probably thinking: If it’s only a punch, how complex can it be?

Well, if your employees have to remember an ID that’s 13 characters long or wash their hands twice after a greasy shift to scan their fingers, your solution will quickly generate more tension than engagement. It goes without saying that interfaces must ALL be user-friendly and fast to respond to!

Real-time notifications

One of the advantages of having a connected T&A solution is being in the know of who is at work. 

As a manager, it’s important to understand which notifications are sent out to who and when. If an employee is missing or forgot to clock in, you should quickly be able to take action before it impacts your productivity.

 Third-party integrations

A solid time and attendance system will help you, but its true power lies in its ability to integrate into your entire IT ecosystem. 

Pay attention to see if it can import data from your schedules to validate shifts and time entries, connects to your payroll to transfer hours worked and automatically syncs users as employees are hired or terminated to your HR system.

Part-Time off (PTO) & Expense tracking

Payroll doesn’t only comprise of hours worked. 

Some T&A systems like Voilà! lets you manage time-off requests, including statutory holidays, and expenses accounts. It can also calculate and apply premiums and overtime rules automatically in order for your timesheets to reflect payroll in their entirety.

Support & implementation

Once you’ve found the ideal software take the time to analyze the support it offers by asking the following questions:

 Is a support team available when your employees are at work?

 How fast can they answer if your punch system goes down?

 Are they in the same time zone as you are?

To avoid too many support requests, make sure to ask your provider to give you training material and help you set up your T&A system. That way your employees and managers both know how to use it efficiently.

Return on Investment

Last but not least, evaluate the return on investment your selected solution can generate. 

All the previous boxes are checked, but hefty upfront costs or implementation delays can be a clear dealbreaker. Automations, errors controls and integrations can also help save valuable time which should weigh in on your decision making.

Final Thoughts

All these key features may seem like a big change compared to your old timecard. As the saying goes: “With great power, comes great responsibility”! 

It may take longer to adjust to the new features but once you experience the benefits that come from implementing a time and attendance solution, you won’t look back.

Interested in upgrading to a time and attendance solution? Or better yet, want to know more about what Voilà! has in store to cover your time & attendance needs?

Feel free to reach out to our sales team for a free demo!