By Allie Blackham
As a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), your business is responsible for managing many tasks for its clients. Having access to the right tools and solutions is critical to ensuring that every client gets what they need to manage their workforce more efficiently and effectively. But many of the timekeeping solutions PEOs currently rely on are clunky, outdated and hard to use.
Whether your organization is currently offering a timekeeping solution or looking for the right software, this article can help you better understand the critical importance of automating employee time and data collection.
What Is Automated Timekeeping?
First things first: This term refers to a system that automates the collection, management and processing of employee time data. Unlike manual processes, like spreadsheets and paper timesheets, automated systems ensure that all the information is kept in a single place with minimal work involved to track when employees are working. Employees simply clock in and out for shifts, and the hours data flows to a virtual timecard that aligns with the pay period.
With the right system in place, timekeeping automation can save hours every week across multiple departments. Employees no longer have to manage their own hours (which can be a serious problem if they’re not 100% honest about their arrival and departure times), while those involved in the payroll processing no longer have to use manual processes for data entry.
Here, we’ll explore five ways automated timekeeping can save your PEO time, money and effort. Saving time benefits you and your clients as it provides additional resources to focus on other needs. Reducing the costs associated with running a business is highly beneficial to the bottom line and freeing up some of those efforts typically spent on creating, reviewing and manually entering employee time data allows supervisors to handle other tasks that are more beneficial for the organization.
1) Eliminate Buddy Punching and Other Time Fraud Practices
One of the key advantages of automated timekeeping is the ability to eliminate time fraud practices, including the ever-common buddy punching. This occurs when one employee records a punch on behalf of another employee who isn’t physically present to do so themselves. Buddy punching results in significant costs. According to one study, time theft impacts 75% of all employers. It can also decrease productivity, return on investment and profit margins, as well as increase payroll costs.
When looking into automated timekeeping options, make sure to assess whether the system includes features that prevent time fraud. For example, using a clock that relies on facial, fingertip or other physical identifiers ensures that only an employee can clock themselves in or out. Clock lockout is another option that’s designed to prevent employees from clocking in early and padding their timesheets with extra minutes every day.
Utilizing scheduling tools is also vital in managing employee shifts and setting clear expectations for when team members should plan to be at work. Using scheduling tools also provides a reference point for tracking attendance and minimizing the risk of time theft, allows supervisors to quickly spot any discrepancies.
2) Empower Clients With Self-Service Access
Empowering your clients with self-service access is a significant time-saver for your PEO. Providing access to a wealth of information and the ability to make changes ensures that every client can manage their own data and view what they need to without having to reach out to you or a member of your team. Your clients’ employees can also handle updating their personal data, including tax withholdings and other vital elements of payroll processing, view time-off balances and even request to use paid time-off (PTO).
WorkforceHub, a useful platform from Swipeclock available with full integration with PrismHR, offers self-service tools to support clients and their employees. One helpful tool built into this platform is the Payroll Review Wizard. It’s designed to reduce errors while simplifying the process of running payroll. All the information is visible before payroll is processed, which means any potential issues can be addressed before it’s too late and a costly correction is necessary.
3) Reduce Excess Labor Costs by Ending Unplanned Overtime
Unplanned overtime will wreak havoc on any business budget. But with automated timekeeping, your clients can eliminate it from their everyday operations. Employees may work overtime intentionally (to pad their paychecks) or unknowingly, such as during busy times of the year. But no matter how it happens, it still costs a lot of extra money that companies don’t typically plan for in their budgets.
Automated timekeeping ends unplanned overtime in several ways. First, employees are scheduled for specific shifts that total their total number of hours for the week or pay period. You can set up notifications to inform employees and supervisors when their hours are nearing the overtime threshold, which allows for changes to be made before the OT clock starts ticking.
4) Say Goodbye to Data Entry and Other Manual Processes
Data entry and other manual processes are highly problematic when it comes to keeping accurate time records. The rate of error on a manual timesheet can be as high as 8%. When you think about every employee in a 50-person company overestimating by 8%, you can see how quickly this can become a very expensive concern. Whether done intentionally or by accident, falsifying a timecard is a significant problem.
But with automation, your clients will no longer have to worry about these manual processes. Instead, all time data will flow throughout the system seamlessly. They can choose from various time collection methods, including a web clock, mobile app or physical hardware. All of which should all be compatible with the system.
With this integration, WorkforceHub works well within the PrismHR platform and even allows clients to access timekeeping features right from the PrismHR dashboard. Clients can use the data to process payroll or manage HR tasks without having to enter information more than once or rely on manual data entry.
5) Manage Accruals Easily and Remain in Compliance
Managing accruals can be challenging without automation in tracking time, as many employers link the accrual of paid time off to the number of hours worked. Even those that offer a lump sum at the start of the year need to be able to track and manage time-off requests and usage. With a simplified solution in place, your clients can easily track PTO balances, requests and approvals all from the same system used for employee timekeeping. All the data syncs up for accuracy and efficiency.
The WorkforceHub platform will display PTO balances on employee pay stubs. This tool ensures that employees are always aware of their available PTO as well as improved tracking on the manager side.
As a time and attendance leader, Swipeclock has years of experience in the industry and a deep understanding of your clients’ needs. Let the integrated partnership between Prism and Swipeclock help you offer a robust automated timekeeping solution to your clients!
Allie Blackham is the marketing content manager at Swipeclock, bringing more than a decade of experience into this role. Her work has been featured on Indeed, LinkedIn and countless payroll and HR blogs and websites.