Are your time & attendance clocking systems trapped in the 1980s?

Hot pants. Man-perms. Milli Vanilla. There’s plenty of 1980s artifacts that we’re glad to put behind us, but many businesses are still using old-school time & attendance technology. Punch-clocks. Signing in at the front desk. Hand-written timesheets. These outdated technologies result in inaccurate time clocking, which means payroll is calculated on hours that aren’t reflective of actual time worked. You risk underpayment, and often overpayment, of staff – costing your business. Not only that, old technology can’t offer you the efficiency gains that newer time & attendance technology can.So we’ll take a closer look at old tech versus new tech — and what that means for your bottom line.

The downsides of old-school time & attendance clocking

Whether it’s punching in, swiping in or signing on, old-school technology is vulnerable because it depends on the honesty and accuracy of your employees.

In a handful of cases, businesses face out-and-out dishonesty, where an employee sets out to rort the system. For example, they ask a colleague to clock on for them so they can take the day off. Then there is a raft of other situations which employees may not consider in the same league, but which still hit your bottom line. Let’s say, an employee just rounds up their timesheet by a few minutes so it’s a nice even number.

For that one employee on that one day, the dollar amount involved is miniscule. Across an organisation, though, and across a whole year, it adds up. Let’s take an organisation of 20 employees with an average pay rate of $20 per hour. Just five minutes of time-creep a day will cost that organisation $35,000 a year!

Old-school time-clocking is also prone to accidental errors. For example, an employee finished early last Tuesday, but forgets about it when she fills in her timesheet, and claims hours as if she’d worked right up till five. Another employee types an 8, not a 3.

It’s not just your immediate bottom-line that’s at stake. In heavily regulated industries such as aged-care and child-care, you have to show that your staffing ratios are in order at all times. You need absolute confidence that you’ve got accurate records of who’s rostered on.

We see some businesses that have partly adopted new technology, by switching to online timesheets. Here, the format has changed, but the working practices remain the same. Instead of completing timesheets by hand, employees type into a table. The data is easier to wrangle than a ring-binder full of timesheets, but the system is still vulnerable to accidental and intentional inaccuracies.

The benefits of new time & attendance technology

New time clocking technology comes in many different forms. The most effective technology is biometric scanning, with fingerprint scanning being particularly popular. What ties these new technologies together are the following benefits.

Greater data integrity

New technology can cut down on many of the opportunities for error. If your timesheet is captured directly using biometrics, there’s no room for your staff to get their 8’s and 3’s mixed up. There’s also no room for deliberate manipulation.

Business intelligence

When you automate your time & attendance, it becomes quick and easy to analyse the data and pull out useful insights. You can drill into questions of attendance: is that one employee really consistently turning up late, or was it just a one-off? Is that person always calling in sick on Mondays? Many managers appreciate the visibility they gain from having this tracking automated: they don’t need to constantly monitor their staff’s movements to make sure they’re doing the right thing.

New time clocking technology also makes it easier to aggregate data. For example, in easyEMPLOYER’s attendance reporting, you can break down the timesheet data by location, department, or by staffing level, so you can check whether there may be a culture of absenteeism developing. With this kind of intelligence behind you, you can step in and address the issues before they become an issue.

Improved efficiency

When time & attendance is totally automated, workforce management gets a whole lot easier. Timesheet data is populated automatically, and just needs final review and sign-off. You save time at the employee side, with reduced data entry time. And you save time at the HR resourcing side, with massively reduced administration overheads.

The efficiency gains of automated timesheet management don’t stop there, though. We’ll share more about that in our next post, on timesheet processing and management.

If you are having trouble managing your time clocking, or want to know more about what automated time clocking can do for you, sign up for our Health Check. Normally valued at $1495 we are offering it free for a limited time to our blog readers.