In today’s competitive business environment, effective time and attendance management is critical for managing costs, running payroll and compliance while improving operational efficiencies. It’s also a key component of delivering a great experience for your employees — outdated processes, manual workarounds, lack of visibility, an inability to view key data like hours worked, schedules or PTO requests are all things that could be creating a negative experience for managers and employees.You may know your current approach doesn’t cut it anymore, but fully automating timekeeping for the first time — or even simply replacing an outdated system — can seem overwhelming. And, because budget and resources are often limited, the pressure is on to get it right.

Coworkers examining plan - time and attendance concept

It’s just picking software, right? Wrong!

In my experience, when companies are shopping for a new time and attendance system, they’re looking for a complete solution. What does that mean? Let’s break it down a bit:

Technology that goes beyond just automation and improves the employee experience

Creating a culture of trust, inclusion, transparency, and purpose is top of mind for many leaders today. But, all too often, manual processes and outdated technology hold them back from achieving that goal. Without an updated time and attendance solution:

  • Manual processes and workarounds can drain productivity from your managers and result in slow or inaccurate payroll.

  • Lack of visibility and transparency into employee performance can impede real time decision making and create opportunity for favoritism or manager bias.

  • Inaccurate payroll can create a negative employee experience, and add costs to your bottom-line.

Identifying a solution that completely automates all your pay and work rules (not just some or for certain employees and not others), provides self-service technology on timeclocks, mobile devices and via a browser should be table stakes for any vendor you evaluate. An easy to use, intuitive interface will ensure your employees use the technology as well.

A roadmap designed for your long-term success

Another key consideration when evaluating technology is how the vendor can help provide a roadmap for your long-term success. The reality is, you may not have the budget or time to tackle everything you want now; timekeeping, payroll, HR and talent for example. But, to achieve real success you need to make sure you select a solution that can address the critical business issues you have today while also laying a foundation for future success. Selecting a solution that has it all on one unified system ensures that even as your business grows or your needs expand, you maintain one database, one employee record and one single source of truth.

You don’t want to find yourself automating disjointed process again down the road!

A proven implementation approach so you get it right the first time

The main reason many projects don’t get funded or organizations don’t move forward with automation or replacing a broken system is because they either don’t think their employees will use the software or that implementing it will be a nightmare. When evaluating solutions, you want to realize operational benefits and financial returns as soon as possible. Make sure you dig deep into the vendor’s approach—making you successful is critical. Here are a few questions you should ask: 

  • Do they take a one-size-fits all approach or do they tailor the approach based on best practices gained from implementing time and attendance in your industry or for an organization of your size?

  • Does the project plan include specific goals and milestones? And, does the vendor formally ask for feedback at each milestone to assess progress and you ensure success is on track?

  • Will the team be there to guide you and partner with you through every step to meet your requirements through a guided, strategically directed experience designed to get you up and running quickly?

  • How is the implementation team’s success measured by the vendor? Are they measured on quantity of go-lives? Or, are they measured on quality of the service they deliver?

A well-managed implementation — completed on time and within budget — gets you off to a strong start and lays the foundation for early success. Finding a partner with an implementation approach that can be predictable, efficient and timely without forcing you into a one-size-fits-all approach should be top of mind to achieve this.

A customer-success focus as part of their culture

In my 15 years in the workforce management space, the biggest mistake I hear from people who are in the market to replace their current solution is that they didn’t get it right the first time. They went for the lowest cost vendor or the one that promised the fastest go-live. Fast forward a few years, they’ve either outgrown the solution or that fast go-live left them hanging with no real ongoing support, lots of different people or numbers to call when there is a problem, no ongoing training or focus on continued success.

How can you tell if the vendor has a customer first approach? A few key questions to ask are:

  • Is there an onboarding process for new customers to help with change management and drive adoption of the solution?

  • What educational services—both product and technical—does the vendor offer?

  • Does the vendor offer a variety of learning tools and methods? Tutorials, user guides, etc.?

  • What ongoing resources are available to ensure continued success? A few examples include; best practice webinars, user groups, product update webinars, and customer advisory boards. Another key resource to look for is whether they have an active online community to share ideas, network with other users or get questions answered by customer support.

  • Do they have a formal customer success program or team in place?

  • Can they provide best practices for your specific industry?

The reality is, software is not a “set it and forget it” investment. People leave your organization, people join your organization and need to be trained, technology evolves and your needs change. To achieve maximum value, you need a partner that is focused on your long-term success. One that is committed to understanding the needs of your organization and is focused on ensuring you receive long-term value from your investment.

While each organization has different requirements when it comes to managing their people, they’re all looking to achieve better business outcomes by controlling labor costs, increasing workforce productivity, minimizing compliance risk, and creating an exceptional employee experience. Automating time and attendance is the first step towards removing hassles to make work easier for you and your employees and creating a culture of transparency and trust with your technology.

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2018