Reviewing Your Time Capture, Attendance and Leave Management Processes

Time capture, employee attendance, leave management and the reconciliation of data related to their processing tasks are among the most labour-intensive activities within the HR and Payroll departments of many organizations. It’s ironic that all too often, so much extra and unnecessary time is consumed in managing the capture, review, adjustment and payment of your employees’ time data.

The types of time capture systems and mechanisms vary widely within the industry. While most organizations have now moved to electronic time capture systems, still others continue to use hard copy time cards with impression stamp punch clocks. Yes – those still exist among some organizations that have not as yet realized the benefits of an investment in modern technology to streamline their processes and eliminate the manual steps that come with paper-driven archaic systems.

Whether the employee’s time data is captured electronically through scanning devices, web-based time-keeping applications, biometric clocks or proximity devices, for example, the time-related data generally must travel along a path to payroll to ensure that the correct number of hours are gathered, categorized and have the correct business rules applied against those hours for accurate payment to the employee.

Time and attendance data may be captured for either salaried or hourly employees, depending upon the requirements and policies within the organization. For hourly-paid employees, the process is typically more involved and requires a number of critical steps within an established and well-documented routine. The business rules which control the weekly hourly limits, thresholds and calculations on regular time, overtime, shift work and statutory holiday premiums, etc., may be complex in nature. This complexity depends largely upon the industry of the organization, and the granularity of any project or job costing which may also need to be applied to the captured hours for financial management purposes.

For time-related data that needs to be exported from time and attendance systems and then imported into payroll and / or financial systems, there is generally a review or audit process that’s required mid-steam. This is to ensure the validity and accuracy of the imported data, followed by any required adjustments within the import file if errors are found within the audit, or in the balancing and reconciliation exercise.

Relative to employee scheduling, some organizations employ a work force with varying shifts and non-standard hours from week to week among their employees. Managing these schedules may be done with a variety of tools, including paper, spreadsheets, lunchroom whiteboards, or on-line applications specific to the scheduling functions, for example.

Key challenges among some organizations relative to Time Capture, Attendance, Leave Management and Scheduling processes include:

  • Multiple systems, steps and manual processes required to capture time, allocate project hours and process those hours for payroll and costing purposes.
  • Overuse and reliance upon Excel spreadsheets as the data entry vehicle into which hours may be input or reconciled prior to importing that data into the payroll system for processing.
  • Manual methodologies and decentralized tools to monitor and manage vacation accruals, absence activity or shift scheduling.
  • Manual and paper-based or email-driven processes to request, approve and manage time-off requests and work scheduling adjustments.
  • Limited sharing of information and minimal reporting capabilities within many existing time capture systems.

Alternatively many key opportunities exist within modern technology relative to time capture, attendance, leave management and scheduling processes, including:

  • Replacement of the mechanical or legacy electronic time clocks with up-to-date time capture technology which would greatly reduce manual record updating and hardware maintenance.
  • Implementing modern technology to eliminate the time-consuming manual data entry of time card data through the use of automated time capture devices and processing methods.
  • Implementing this technology to configure and utilize automated vacation accrual business rules as they pertain to specific conditions, years of service and employee groups within the organization.
  • Adopting the use of automated workflow and self service tools to submit, manage and approve / deny time-off requests from within a unified Human Capital Management (HCM) solution.
  • Implementing a solution which includes a scheduling component to reduce additional supported systems and simplify the overall scheduling, time capture and payment process.
  • Extending the sharing of relevant data among time capture information and HCM data to support decision making using reporting tools within a unified single-vendor solution.

Many organizations would certainly benefit from a more-automated technology solution to improve efficiencies and reporting capabilities to support time capture, attendance, vacation entitlement, absence management and scheduling. Solutions enabling the capture and management of time allocation and scheduling are becoming increasingly available within many single-vendor’s HCM solutions – either as their own developed and integrated solution bundled with HR and Payroll, or through a partnering relationship with a trusted and reputable time management solution vendor for which their HCM solution is reliably integrated and essentially unified as one supported business solution.