Whether you manage a physical or a virtual team, an attendance tracker can be one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal. There was a time when attendance management was simple. Employees all came to the same office and punched into the same easy-to-manage time clock. And except on the rare occasion, they worked the entire day in a single location. Then, at the end of the week, HR gathered this attendance information and magically turned it into a paycheck.
Were things better back then? Who knows, right? Every era comes with its own set of unique difficulties, and measuring them against one another is just a waste of time. But one thing is certain– easy attendance management is a thing of the past. Today’s business world is far too complex for simplistic solutions to attendance problems. Fortunately, using an employee attendance app of one sort or another can help you keep up.
In the following sections, we’ll have a look at X common attendance management problems and how time tracking software can help solve them.
Attendance Management: A Central Human Resources Function
Managing employee attendance is one of your human resources department most important daily tasks. The term attendance management means more or less what it sounds like, but it has several different components. It refers to the systems a business uses to track employee hours and help management maximize the value of their work. These systems record when, where, and how long employees work during a given timeframe.
Understanding the multi-layered functions involved in time tracking will show why attendance management software is a necessity in the contemporary workplace. Attendance management keeps track of sick leave, paid time off (PTO) and vacations. Communicating with payroll departments is another important part of attendance management. It’s designed to calculate work hours accurately and help analyze labor costs. Lastly, attendance management includes monitoring the punctuality of your employees.
Knowing all this should make it very clear why attendance management systems are so important. People are a company’s most significant asset. That’s why knowing where they are what they’re doing at all times is an HR necessity.
As you can see, managing attendance presents a number of difficult challenges. And this holds true no matter large your company is. The ultra-competitive nature of a globalized market makes time tracking a top priority.
A Quick History of Attendance Management
Companies have used a number of vastly different methods to manage employee hours. Here’s a quick summary of the evolving ways HR departments have tracked this critical information:
1. Pen and Paper Time Tracking
It’s possible to track employee attendance by simply using a piece of paper or notebook. With this system, supervisors or employees themselves can write out the number of hours worked. Then, this information is used to generate payroll.
This is the simplest form of time tracking, but it has many significant disadvantages. There’s the possibility of lost or illegible timesheets, for instance. It’s also difficult to get the info contained in paper timesheets where it needs to go. Perhaps most importantly, written timesheet leave far too much room for costly employee time theft.
2. The Old, (Un)Reliable Time Clock
The old-fashioned time clock is the image most people have of employee time tracking. And while there are now cloud-based time clocks, the process is similar to the one used in the so-called ‘good old days.’ These cloud-based time clocks do offer more convenience than older versions, but they retain certain limitations.
Although you can take certain preventative measures, a time clock alone leaves gaps in your attendance management system. First, installing and maintaining can be rather costly. They also allow for time theft maneuvers like long lunches and buddy punching.
3. Using a Spreadsheet as an Attendance Tracker
At the advent of the digital age, companies began to use spreadsheet technology to track attendance. While spreadsheets represented an improvement over older methods, they still suffered from analogous problems. Employers had to enter hours manually, for instance. This resulted in a lot of wasted time. Additionally, spreadsheets often require complicated formulas to calculate hours and wages properly.
4. Attendance Management Software
The next in the evolution of time tracking is attendance management software. Essentially, these are cloud-based platforms that can be set up to automate tracking and payroll procedures. They can be used by employers and employees, or some combination of both. The ability to calculate paid time off automatically is another useful feature.
Additionally, some tracking software offers seamless integration with your company’s payroll system. Pending supervisor approval, the information in the employee attendance app automatically transfers to payroll software systems. Then, employee wages and taxes are calculated with perfect accuracy.
All in all, time management software offers the best solution for employers and employees alike. It frees up managers to focus on actually running their departments. This provides sizeable benefits all by itself. Add in the reduced time employees spend disputing their hours and you’ll see why time management software is well worth considering.
Contemporary Problems in Attendance Management
Proper attendance management is more important now than it’s ever been in the past. The reasons for this are almost self-evident. First, the high quality of your industry competitors makes efficient time management an absolute must. The growing size of today’s average company is another important factor. Next, the mobility of the current workforce makes inefficiencies and time theft that much more likely. Lastly, the prevalence of virtual teams presents time management challenges that require increasingly complex solutions.
We’ll describe some of the most common time tracking problems in the next few sections. Alongside these discussions, we’ll tell you just what time management can do to help.
Employee absenteeism is a perennial problem for HR departments in every industry sector. It’s also one that HR personnel must find creative ways to solve. Poor employee attendance can lead to the following negative outcomes:
- Work quality suffers when employees don’t show up where they’re supposed to be
- Effective teamwork becomes incredibly difficult with the gaps left by poor employee attendance
- Morale tends to dip when absenteeism becomes pervasive
- Resentment between team members and frequents conflicts arise
- Productivity and profits decrease without consistently adequate staffing
A quick look at this list will remind you of what you already know– absenteeism is a major problem. The first requirement for dealing with absenteeism is creating a detailed attendance policy. With that in place, automated time tracking will give you all the information you need to apply and enforce it.
2. Locating and Addressing Inefficiencies
Employees failing to show up for work isn’t the only time management problem you face. In fact, many companies have holes to fill throughout their attendance management system. These problems vary from company to company, but most of them hinge on less than optimal resource distribution. In other words, problems often arise when people are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This can lead to costly inefficiencies, especially when left unchecked. Fortunately, advance time tracking software or an attendance tracker allows you to make detailed labor analyses to locate and address these inefficiencies. Then, you can use them to put your employees where they’ll be most effective.
3. Holding Employees Accountable
Without good attendance management, it’s hard to hold employees accountable for how much they work and what they accomplish. You can also be caught unawares if employees are taking liberties with company time. Additionally, poor attendance management can keep you from spotting opportunities for cost-effective task redistribution.
An attendance tracker addresses these problems in a number of ways. First, advance platforms feature GPS and biometric technology that ensures everyone is where they’re supposed to be. They can also provide labor analyses in real time. By using these tools to track employee location, you can address each phase of the accountability problem.
4. The Challenge of Time Management in Virtual Teams
One of the biggest challenges of attendance arises in the context of a virtual team. As you well know, the purpose of virtual teams is high-octane collaboration. Unfortunately, this level of collaboration is often difficult to achieve. There are many reasons behind these difficulties, but a high percentage of them arise from poor coordination and attendance problems. This is where employee attendance software enters the picture.
The right employee attendance software will help ensure that the right people are working together at critical times. This will give you a big assist in your coordination efforts, as well as facilitate clear communication. All in all, time tracking software can help you achieve what virtual teams are designed to accomplish.
Virtual teams are quickly becoming the norm instead of the exception. Despite their inherent difficulties, virtual teams offer benefits your company can’t afford to ignore. That’s why good time management systems are so necessary to your success in a virtual economy.
Solving Attendance Problems With an Attendance Tracker and Going Forward
The need for high-quality attendance management will continue to grow as the economy expands into more and more parts of the globe. Fortunately, there are tools that can help. Choosing the right one depends on your company’s changing needs, but a combination of vigilance and an open mind is a surefire way to help you keep up.
The time tracking technology available today will give your company a big boost in many important areas. In fact, it contributes to teamwork, efficiency, and productivity across the board. Only time will tell what challenges time tracking will present in the future, but two things are certain– HR will have to meet these challenges and attendance tracker software will be the tool they use to do so.