Published March 29, 2021
Tracking your employees’ time may seem like a no brainer—it’s an integral part of your human resources (HR) department’s responsibility. But are you giving your HR department the tools to do it effectively? If not, it might be hurting your bottom line.
And there are interrelated reasons time tracking is critical for your business. First, businesses need a clear understanding of their time and labor costs for budgeting purposes. Also, employee tracking allows organizations to price their services effectively by providing information regarding how much time and money it takes to complete a project. Finally, time tracking allows employers to chart the performance of individual workers.
Here are five ways organizations can improve their employee time tracking and improve human resources workflow.
Although time tracking software is commonly used, some businesses still use employee timesheets or email to manage labor hours because it may seem like the more simple and affordable way to do it. But the benefits of employee time clock software far outweigh those apparent advantages.
First, software can greatly reduce employee self-reporting errors. The unfortunate reality is that workers have a tendency to underreport the amount of time they spend working on a project. It’s incredibly common for employees to unintentionally exclude time spent on tasks such as client emails or phone calls.
In fact, as reported by HR Daily Advisor, a survey showed that “about 22% of workers underreport their hours—and management was only aware of it about one-half of the time.” Though it might not seem like a big deal on its own, that unaccounted-for time costs organizations thousands per employee per year.
In addition to saving costs, employee time clock software can also be a huge boon to human resources departments. No longer needing to compile labor hours from employee timesheets and then having to import that data into a payroll system will save countless hours.
Physical time clocks track employee hours by recording when employees clock in and clock out. In the past, this method involved using paper punch hole cards. But today physical time clocks use everything from magnetic stripe cards to RFID tags to PIN pads.
Physical time clocks can be very helpful when it comes to improving your budget. By knowing exactly how many hours your workforce spent on a given project, you can create accurate billing statements for clients and better estimate the costs associated with similar projects in the future.
Time clock data can provide key insights into how long it takes individual workers to complete their assigned tasks. This data can be very helpful to understanding which employees are excelling and which might need HR counseling.
Although physical time clocks can be a powerful time tracking tool, they are vulnerable to certain kinds of payroll fraud. For example, “buddy punching” occurs when one employee clocks in for an absent friend. The American Payroll Association found that buddy punching affects 75 percent of American businesses.
Similarly, physical time clock systems are also vulnerable to ghost employees. This type of payroll fraud involves fraudsters within the organization creating fictitious employee profiles to collect multiple paychecks. However, there are digital solutions that can address payroll fraud.
Related: How to outsource your payroll...and get back to doing what you love
Biometric scanners can also log and compile employee hours. But, instead of PIN entries or card swipes, they require workers to scan their fingerprint, iris, palm vein or face to clock in. Depending on the provider, biometric scans can be taken via standalone terminals or software applications.
Because fingerprint and vein scans are extremely hard to fake, they can be highly effective at eliminating buddy punching and ghost employees.
So employers who use this method of time tracking can be assured that their payroll costs accurately reflect actual labor hours. And because of that, biometric scanners can provide organizations with vital insights into individual employee performance.
Despite the benefits they offer, biometric scanners are still an emerging technology. Consequently, their startup and maintenance costs may be too expensive for some companies. And biometric onboarding can be a challenge for organizations that employ a lot of remote workers.
While upgrading to desktop-based labor tracking software is a good idea, transitioning to a cloud-based solution is even better.
The best thing about cloud-based software is that it provides companies with remarkable resiliency. In the event of a natural disaster or data breach, cloud-based data can be preserved and accessed from remote locations. Another advantage of cloud-based solutions is that they allow employees to clock in, clock out and put in a request to use accrued paid time off via desktop or mobile applications.
So cloud-based solutions also give HR the ability to quickly fix punch errors, approve requests and import data to payroll with remarkable speed.
The best way to track employee hours and help HR is to invest in a fully integrated time tracking software. It’s also a cloud-based time and labor management solution with software that is designed to increase productivity and business performance. Primarily, it does this by fully integrating employee labor hours and payroll, so no HR time has to be wasted on manual data entry.
And fully integrated time tracking software allows HR reps to manage time-off balances from the same dashboard, so approving PTO requests is easy and fast. The software also allows users to build schedules and automatically compares them to actual attendance, so employee mistakes can be caught and resolved efficiently.
Some fully integrated time tracking software also provides robust insights into employee performance—and can generate regular time and labor and attendance reports so organizations will know when they need to shift resources to hit project benchmarks.
And the best, most innovative fully integrated solutions also creates automatic alerts for things like schedule changes, tardiness, unapproved overtime and other disparities between hours scheduled and hours worked. They also feature intelligent systems that detect patterns suggestive of buddy punching and other types of payroll theft.
So, the time savings, insights and fraud prevention provided by fully integrated time tracking software can have a truly game-changing effect on an organization’s overall efficiency and profitability.
If you need help streamlining your organization’s payroll process, contact us today.