Time and Attendance Rules vs. Business Process
Before an organization implements a new time and attendance system, they need to take an important step back to look at what is most important to them. This is especially true when companies are looking to automate an existing, manual system of time and attendance. That is because too often, they want to automate their manual process. By doing so, companies risk automating a bad process. Instead, they should examine their business process to make sure that their goals are achieved, and that they receive a better ROI.
Too many times, organizations start with the question of “what does our existing system or process do, and can the new system or process also do that?” By approaching a time and attendance implementation from that angle, companies in all industries are missing an opportunity to improve their processes and to deliver even a greater return to their bottom lines. The focus is often on the rules, and not on the goals. For example, if the current process involves employees filling out a vacation bid sheet and handing it to a timekeeper to enter into their existing system, it is commonplace for companies to ask potential time and attendance vendors, “Can your system accept vacations from a spreadsheet import?” While most systems should be able to accept imports from spreadsheets for any number of actions, the question that companies should be asking is, “how can your system improve our process?”
In this case, the process of an employee filling out a piece of paper, handing it to someone else, and having that person then blindly enter it into another system is very inefficient and error-prone. Neither the employee nor the supervisor are performing these tasks on their own time, so the company is usually paying them to go through this exercise. The supervisor also typically needs to look up the employee’s benefit balance in one place, and check to see what other staff members are also on vacation for the same period to make sure that the company isn’t under-staffed for that time. So while most systems can accept an import, there is an opportunity to improve the company’s process, save time, and reduce errors.
Employees can use self-service to submit their own time off requests. When doing so, they can check their benefit balances to make sure that they have available vacation balances for the time off they are requesting. Once the vacation request is submitted, it should be automatically routed to the approver(s) where they can verify employee benefit balances and check staff availability to make sure that they are not short-staffed. All of this can be done with a single system, reducing time, cost, and errors. Finally, everything has a date/time stamp for audit purposes, should they become necessary.
This is but one example of the types of questions that companies should be asking, and the potential value that a time and attendance vendor can deliver to clients that today could be being left on the table. Yes, rules are important; and vendors need to be able to meet a company’s rules. However, companies need to go beyond the rules, and back to the company goals, in order to derive maximum value from their time and attendance implementation.