This DATIS Blog article, Building the Case for Automating Time and Attendance was originally written by Stephen Bruce, PhD, PHR, editor of HR Daily Advisor, on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 and was re-posted with permission. HR Daily Advisor presents HR tips, news, and advice to more than 240,000 HR professionals daily.
What Can Be Gained with Technology and Integration?
In a word, efficiency and productivity, says Mansfield. An employee asks for a day off. The request is logged, the manager is alerted and reviews the request. If approved, the information gets onto the schedule and to payroll. If necessary, qualified substitutes are found.
There are lots of challenges for managers in today’s complex workplace, says Lombardi. One way to help is to reduce the time spent on routine workforce management. Especially in jobs like retail and manufacturing, but really in any workplace, you want your managers out there making it happen, not in a back office dealing with time and attendance recording and reporting.
Building the Case for Automation
As you build your case for automation, consider the following factors, Lombardi says:
Productivity. Productivity is king. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your workforce and the resources you have. Studies show that organizations with automated time and attendance achieve 12 percent greater productivity.
Awareness. Gain a better handle on who’s working, when they’re working and integrate this with performance data.
Cost savings. A well-designed system should produce significant direct and indirect cost savings.
Compliance. Improved data and reporting means better audits and better documentation in case of suits and charges.
Engagement. Supervisors and managers and employees are more engaged when less of their time is spent on routine annoyances and more on what’s important to the organization.
Influence. HR’s influence in the organization will grow when it can offer more meaningful and accurate data and demonstrate cost savings.
Decision making. Automation helps ensure that data are clean and accurate. That results in better data, better reports, and better decisions.
Accuracy. A decrease in the error rate means less manual involvement. In turn, that results in savings in labor costs.
So, when making your case, certainly mention efficiency, effectiveness, and accuracy, but also mention what it does for managers and employees, Lombardi says.
The Curveball of the ACA
And then there’s the big curveball, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It may have a significant impact on workforce management strategy and also a significant impact on workforce technology. Many companies will have important—and potentially costly—strategic decisions to make. And many of those decisions will be data-driven.
Regardless of your ACA strategy (pay or play, etc.) your administrative burden is huge. Especially, the burdens of tracking eligibility and reporting will be eased by automation and the associated tools.
Millennial Generation Offers Clues
Mansfield coaches his son’s hockey team. After a game in which they didn’t play very well, he put them in a room and told them to work together to figure out how to play better. After a while, he went into the room, and they were doing what he had asked—talking to each other via smartphones and tablets.
Mansfield realizes that companies may not be able to meet all their employees’ technological preferences and, in those circumstances, you have to work to find a balance.
But you can still work toward a system that is:
- Attractive and engaging
- Easy to use and intuitive
- With information available real time.
- Able to produce data that help view employees as assets