Southwest Tennessee Community College Controls Labor Costs with More Accurate Workforce Data
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Southwest Tennessee Community College is a comprehensive, multicultural public college that serves the needs of students, employers, and communities in Shelby and Fayette counties and the surrounding Mid-South region. Based in Memphis, the college has eight campuses strategically located throughout the area and a workforce of approximately 1,500 hourly and salaried employees, including 500 full-time professors and 400 adjunct faculty.
Industry: Higher Education
Products: Workforce Timekeeper™, Workforce Absence Manager™, Kronos 4500™ terminals
“We have seen multiple benefits from our Kronos system, including a decrease in payroll processing time and paper consumption.” Renee Hancock, Director of Enterprise Application Services,
- The paper-based timekeeping system created situations of inaccurate and incomplete tracking of employee time
- Without a real-time view of employee hours, overtime was out of control
- Manual timekeeping created a tedious payroll process that didn’t allow payroll staff time to verify timekeeping errors or gather missing data before processing
- A paper-based system made maintaining accurate records of employee leave balances and compensatory time earned nearly impossible
- Every payroll period consumed at least 1,600 sheets of paper for timesheets
- Automated timekeeping and absence management solution to increase efficiencies, control labor costs, and improve compliance through consistent application of workforce policies and rules
- Automated timekeeping provides an accurate accounting of employee time and attendance, helping to ensure employees are accurately and fairly paid for all time worked
- Real-time visibility of employee time helps control labor costs due to unnecessary overtime and has cut overtime abuse
- With accurate leave time information readily available, employees now take only leave time they have accrued
- Up-to-the-minute accuracy of timekeeping data has cut time spent processing payroll information by more than half and virtually eliminated payroll errors
- Complex leave and compensatory time rules are automatically and accurately applied
- The elimination of paper-based attendance and leave management has cut paper costs
THE STORY – Southwest Tennessee Community College
Southwest Tennessee Community College’s paper-based time and attendance system created numerous issues, including increased risk of noncompliance with labor laws and lack of accountability. Manual processing of payroll information allowed no time to verify information. Employee leave balances and compensatory time — tracked on a two-paper system — weren’t always accurate. Unauthorized overtime couldn’t be spotted until after a pay period closed. Some employees worked hours they weren’t compensated for and others were compensated for hours they didn’t work.
Southwest Tennessee Community College elected to solve these issues by implementing the Kronos automated timekeeping and absence management solutions. Following a campus-wide rollout, the college has cut payroll processing time by more than half, reduced overtime costs, and gained confidence in the accuracy of its workforce information.
Increased visibility gives better control of labor costs
The Kronos solution has played a major role in providing greater visibility into employee time. This has been particularly helpful at the college’s physical plants, where employees previously were allowed to be five minutes late but were still considered on time. Also, second and third shift student custodial employees said they left shortly before the next shift arrived but managers had no way of verifying this. Kronos 4500 terminals have eliminated questions about the authenticity of employee time records.
“I now feel comfortable that I know exactly when these employees arrive and when they leave,” shares Stephanie Stevens, director of Physical Plants.
Automated solution improves efficiencies and data accuracy
Tracking time and attendance on paper sheets for Southwest Tennessee Community College employees was time-consuming and sometimes inaccurate, as each sheet moved from an employee to a supervisor to the payroll department for manual entry into the payroll system. The college’s two payroll clerks had no extra time to check for errors and missing data or to decipher illegible handwriting.
“Without time to verify information, they had to assume it was correct,” says Yolanda Smith, director of payroll. “Using our Kronos solution, we now know for sure that our payroll information is accurate.”
The process has been streamlined, too. Payroll processing used to take staff four days to complete, but now takes less than two. Most of this time is spent verifying missed punches and exceptions. Using the solution’s self-service tools, employees and their supervisors can review and approve time and attendance information in a matter of minutes. And an added benefit is a reduction in paper costs and storage, as paper consumption has gone from 1,600 sheets to 10 per pay period.
Accurate time accounting eases compliance concerns
The college’s manual workforce management processes created questions about the accuracy of employee time data, including whether employees were compensated for all time worked. Another challenge was maintaining accurate records of employee leave balances and compensatory time earned, which led to employees taking time they hadn’t accrued.
Leave and comp time was tracked manually using a two-paper system, and then staff had to calculate complex time rules. Rules included unused leave time rolling into sick time, which has no maximum, and comp time maxing out at 240 hours, so anything over required a payout.
“Being able to track usage of exception and comp time in Workforce Timekeeper has had a significant impact,” says Renee Hancock of Southwest Tennessee Community College. “We now know we are accurately tracking leave and comp time earned, are making the right calculations electronically, are paying people correctly, and are maintaining accurate records of this information.”
The Kronos solution seamlessly integrates with Banner, which allows the college to enter new employees’ information quickly, eliminate manual key entry of labor data through daily imports, and help ensure more accountability with accurate reporting. Supervisors also can view real-time data in Kronos and print a time detail report.
Professors and staff like using the solution’s self-service tools to review their leave time. Now, if they don’t have leave time available, they know they can’t take it.
“By automating our payroll and leave processes, we now have confidence in the accuracy of our labor data to adhere to labor law compliance and control costs such as comp time and overtime,” Hancock says.
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