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Align Time & Attendance With Your WFM Corporate Strategy

BY: Ginnette Clark, CPP | 12/21/20

Workforce management (WFM) programs are designed to optimize workforce productivity on an individual and company-wide basis. Time and attendance is an area covered by WFM, but time and attendance is not just about clocking in and out to record time anymore.

Companies can use time and attendance to align with their corporate strategies to ensure acceptable levels of control and risk management, especially where safety is concerned and to reduce costs and improve productivity.

Improve Operational Efficiency

Utilizing multiple ways to capture time and analyze coverage areas has changed. Traditional time clocks and biometric readers are the old standby. Capturing this data can now be done via the web through HTML clocks on desktop computers as well as personal devices such as cell phones. If you are using paper or Excel-based tracking, now is the time to eliminate them.

You can help your company improve operational efficiency with accurate time tracking, which can be done with digital time clocking that feeds into your WFM system. Aligning your time tracking will also help your organization’s bottom line with less time being spent on manual tasks, which can also cause errors, and more time on strategic tasks.

Using real-time analytics can also assist in achieving operational efficiency to measure and track any potential shortages. Analytics through reporting makes it much quicker and easier to identify labor or budget issues. Integrating your time and attendance system will assist with preventing any redundant data entry. You can make better decisions related to workload, labor, and skill deficiencies.

Improve Compliance

Time and attendance practices and labor costs need to be monitored carefully, especially now with many employees working from home due to the pandemic. You must know the state laws where your employees are working as you review how your employees are being paid. This will go a long way in alleviating headaches and class action lawsuits later. Be sure to keep in mind any union work rules, if applicable to your employees, and compare them to state rules. While union work rules must generally be followed when reviewing your pay practices, care should be taken to ensure state compliance as well.

Program your rules into the WFM system to eliminate any manual processes. Make sure you understand the rules and what is programmed. Keep a logbook detailing what is in the programming. This will ensure that as you have staff turnover, you can keep track of what the system is doing and make it easier to review processes in the future as state and federal laws change. The more that is automated, the more time you and your team will have to audit for compliance and the less risk of incorrect entries. The downstream effects of those incorrect entries can include the loss of integrity to the department, incorrect paychecks, and additional work through off-cycle payments.

Improve Budget Forecasting

Use your time and attendance WFM system to implement strategies to prevent headcount shortages. Knowing the hours and dollars that are forecasted in the department workload and watching for their rise will assist in building your case for additional headcounts; otherwise the department will need to operate with overtime. If no overtime is the goal, this is a good way to watch for the rise and fall of needed staff.

Many companies do not fully use the abilities of their WFM system to create punitive attendance policies (that comply with applicable laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act). The assignment of ratings or points to various absences should provide input to the employee performance process. Having this process come directly from the time and attendance system allows for a more automated approach and allows staff to audit the approach rather than administer it directly. Utilizing those abilities will allow you to control unplanned time off.

Overall, when used correctly, companies can align WFM with their corporate strategies to ensure acceptable levels of control and risk management when it comes to time and attendance. In the end, this can help organizations improve productivity and reduce costs.

Ginnette Clark, CPP, is Implementation Consultant for Wise Consulting. She is an APA Vice President and a member of the APA’s Government Relations Task Force (GRTF) Child Support and Garnishments Subcommittees, Social Networking Committee, Strategic Payroll Leadership Task Force (SPLTF) Emerging Technologies Subcommittee, a mentor for the Certification Item Development Task Force (CIDTF), and on the Board of Contributing Writers for PAYTECH.