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7 must-have time and attendance system features

With the majority of an organisation’s annual expenditure being workforce-related, gaining true visibility and control in this area is of vital importance to reducing overall costs and improving margins. A better quality of time and attendance data and the tools to use this data to make smarter decisions are becoming increasingly important.

More and more businesses are turning towards software solutions like advanced time and attendance (T&A) systems to help them. But with a dizzying array of options available, what features should companies be looking for? Whether you’re upgrading your legacy system or investing in T&A for the first time, here are our 7 must-have features.

1. Time recording

The ability to record hours worked is the bread and butter of any time and attendance system. However, there is a huge disparity between the capabilities of the best solutions on the market and the rest.

Clock in/clock out functionality is a complete necessity - enabling organisations to track employees’ working time to the minute rather than having to work from backdated timesheets. This ensures more accurate data that is instantly available, eliminating mistakes around overtime and inaccuracies in payroll.

Another area to look at is input devices. A good time and attendance system should allow staff to clock in and out in whatever way is most suitable for your organisation. Crown Workforce Management offers a wide range of different input devices for our T&A system from the very best global suppliers.

We can tailor the devices used to your company’s specialist requirements - for instance we provide heavy-duty devices for rugged environments, stainless steel devices for food manufacturers and facial recognition scanners for organisations that need to guarantee biometric security.

And it’s not just in-person clocking that can be catered for, with online and telephone clocking available for remote workers.

2. Absence management

Gaining full visibility over attendance and absences is one of the most important steps towards an efficient and streamlined workforce. This is true for dealing with both planned leave and unexpected absences.

The best time and attendance systems allow organisations to monitor absenteeism closely in order to improve absence processes and reduce rates of absence. They do this by systematically comparing real hours worked and patterns of absence against expected ‘normal’ working patterns. This enables organisations to instantly flag up concerning absence trends, with managers automatically notified.

Defined rules can also be established around absence - for instance triggering return-to-work processes, and opening disciplinary procedures which kick in automatically when a certain absence threshold has been reached.

3. Payroll and HR integration

As part of a wider workforce management solution, time and attendance systems are the prime source of data required to populate payroll and HR applications. One point of data entry (when staff clock in and out) creates a single point of data truth, making duplicated data a thing of the past.

Time and attendance systems are able to convey a much more nuanced picture of time worked to the payroll system. For instance, it won’t just communicate that a member of staff worked a 40 hour week; it will specify how many of these hours were overtime, which hours were being paid at which rate and whether any were paid time off. This instantly enables payroll to be processed more quickly and more accurately.

Integrating your organisation’s existing HR applications with a flexible, best-of-breed T&A system like Crown will deliver far superior data than using the basic built-in T&A capabilities of many HR applications. This is because solutions like Crown enable organisations to deploy more powerful payment rules, enabling greater accuracy and in more varied ways.

Crown Time and Attendance is able to integrate with all major payroll and HR applications as standard, and are flexible enough to adapt to any custom-built systems.

4. Management information

As well as reducing wastage from payroll and high absence rates, T&A systems allow organisations to utilise their staff more cost-effectively through powerful reporting features.

Managers can take a top-level overview of T&A data to accurately calculate the true cost of individual projects, identify inefficiencies and take informed action to resolve them. This can help eliminate the problem of overstaffing, by reallocating staff to where they are needed most, while also cutting down agency and locum spending.

5. Employee self-service

It’s never been more important for organisations to allow staff to manage their working life in the way that suits them best. Giving employees access to their employment details, rosters and schedules, timesheets and absence data wherever they are allows them to better manage their time and leave.
The best solutions will come complete with web or app-based versions, enabling all staff to log time accurately, book leave and access their schedule no matter where they are in the world. Mobile self-service features are also beneficial to managers, helping them manage their teams, respond to fluctuating staffing levels and obtain insights quickly, whilst on the move.

6. Real-time employee management

In fast-paced business environments, it’s imperative that attendance data is not only accurate, but accurate up-to-the-minute. Managers and executives need instant access to staffing levels so decisions can be made quickly about how best to deploy available employees. Having these real-time insights about staff and their skills can make all the difference when it comes to re-deploying staff to where they are needed most, and in recruiting agency staff if required.

7. Flexibility

It’s also vital that an organisation’s time and attendance system gives them the control they need to adapt to changes to company structure and business rules. This is important for a number of reasons - not least because of today’s volatile business environment, where the pandemic has created unprecedented levels of unpredictability and where flexible working is becoming more and more prevalent. The best T&A systems are able to seamlessly respond to changing working patterns and payment processes, ensuring no disruption.

Time and attendance systems also need to be flexible in order to facilitate business growth; the best systems need to be able to accommodate growing employee pools and constantly changing business structures.

Complete Time & Attendance from Crown

Crown Workforce Management supports businesses across the UK and Ireland with some of the most advanced time and attendance features on the market. Our system allows organisations to capture unprecedented levels of information about the real hours staff work through a range of input devices. This data can be used for detailed analysis of staff attendance and efficiency, to inform the most intelligent future schedules, to ensure more efficient and accurate payroll processing and much more.

To find out more about how Crown T&A can drive efficiency and growth in your organisation, contact one of our specialists today!

  Case Study  How Unilever use time and attendance to drive down labour costs  Read the free case study

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