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October 17, 2019 | Time and Attendance | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

Why Automate Your Time and Attendance Functions?

No one is going to claim that managing time and attendance is one of the more thrilling aspects of working in human capital management. There’s a reason that “punching the clock” is a euphemism for doing something dull and repetitive. At the same time, time and attendance is a crucial area for any employer of considerable size. A company that’s content to rely on manual processes or outdated software risks leaving a lot of money on the table.

Reducing errors and wasted time

Let’s back those claims up with some hard numbers. Surveys show that 36.8% of American employees believe their company’s technology is outdated, and 25% feel that inefficient technology and policies have a negative impact on their productivity. The data suggests that these dissatisfied workers are actually quite perceptive.

As a matter of fact, 38% of American companies still rely on manual time-tracking systems, such as paper time sheets or punch clocks. Despite the rise of mobile phones in nearly every other walk of life, only 25% of American employees regularly track time using mobile apps. All of that outdated timekeeping technology is costing companies serious money — studies have found that businesses using a manual workforce management system typically lose between 2% and 3.5% of their total gross payroll.

Those losses are partly because an outdated system simply makes it easier to make mistakes. Around 33% of employers are penalized for payroll errors each year, at a cost of billions of dollars nationwide. At the same time, around 80% of employee time sheets need to be corrected because of worker errors ranging from typos to misremembered hours to simply forgetting to clock out at the end of a shift.

Even looking beyond errors, outdated time and attendance systems lead to workers spending an average of 520 hours a year — more than a full workday per week — on repetitive tasks like onboarding paperwork, resetting passwords, and other minor jobs that could easily be handled by software. In many of these instances, the built-in checks and verifications of an automated workforce management system could virtually eliminate these costly errors and time-wasting processes.

Cutting out fraud

Another of the biggest failings of a non-automated attendance-tracking system is the potential for small-scale fraud. Things like inflated hours and buddy-punching — employees clocking in or out on each other’s behalf — may seem like relatively minor concerns, but nearly half of American employees admit engaging in some degree of time theft. All of those infractions add up over the course of a year. Studies suggest that time theft costs American employers nearly $11 billion dollars annually, with buddy-punching tacking on an extra $373 million.

Lest you think we’re making the case that your employees can’t be trusted, this is a two-way street. Almost 10% of employers in America acknowledge underpaying their employees by altering time sheets. That kind of wage theft costs workers around $22 billion dollars a year, which in turn diverts a significant chunk of money from the national economy.

An up-to-date, automated time and attendance system can go a long way in reducing this kind of fraud. Automated systems provide a uniform experience that offers much more sophisticated security measures, including built-in fraud detection.

Implementing automation

As evident as the benefits of adopting an automated workforce management system might be, some employers still bristle at both the perceived cost and the logistics of training employees into a new system. The first concern should be easy enough to put to bed — the statistics we’ve already cited illustrate that the long-term savings of streamlining time and attendance functions will handily offset the initial investment.

As for the difficulty of switching systems, once you’ve moved past the early teaching stage, most automated workforce management functions are much easier and less time-consuming for your employees than manual timekeeping. Considering that 95% of American workers say that they’re happy to provide accurate records of their work time, it only makes sense to make that process as easy as possible for them.

If you’re convinced that an automated workforce management system is the right path for you (hint: it is!), or if you want to learn more about the specifics and logistics of automating your systems, download our new time and attendance buyer’s guide today!

With more than 35 years of experience in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, Ascentis thought leaders have become a respected source for insights, tips, and innovations in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space.