Columbia EDP Blog

Welcome to the Columbia EDP Blog where we discuss various topics concerning our clients in the areas of payroll, tax, and HR management.

Workforce Management Systems – Is it worth your time?

slideshow edp at work for youWorkforce Management? What's that? Do I really need it? How does it fit for my business? Workforce Management is a fancy word for Time and Attendance, Timekeeping, or if you are from the old school – Punching the Time Clock! Whatever term you choose to use, managing your workforce is not as easy as it used to be. Grab a card, slide it in the slot on the time clock, listen for that satisfying "stamp", drop it back in the rack and off to work your employees go – Hi Ho Hi Ho Hi Ho.

In our current day and age, creating schedules, managing shifts, tracking absences and reviewing timecards can be a daunting task. But with an effective and efficient time keeping system it doesn't have to be! If you haven't jumped into the waters of an electronic time and attendance system yet, here are a few Q&A's you might want to take a look at before you do. See if any of these ring true:

What problem am I trying to solve?

Everything I read says I need to track the time of my employees to reduce overhead, increase accountability and reduce overall labor costs but I only have two employees! It may not be a wise decision to invest in a workforce management system for your business. Really evaluate your process, your workforce and your work environment. The old adage of "If it isn't broke don't fix it" would apply in many situations. If you're concerned about making sure you're meeting the requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act then by all means look into an effective Time and Attendance system, but if you have a very small workforce and FLSA isn't going to be an issue then it may be wiser to hold off until you have a larger workforce. Ultimately you know your business, don't create a solution to a problem you don't have.

I have what seems like a large amount of overtime. I spend too much time collecting payroll hours.

A good time and attendance system will allow you to quickly see hours worked in a pay period and track it over a period time. Reducing unnecessary overtime is crucial to having a productive workforce and equally important to your bottom line. Payroll tends to be the largest expense of any organization, taking control of unnecessary overtime is a good way to improve your financial outlook.

I need a quick and easy way to verify hours worked on a project or job for a client.

If you work on projects that require submitting labor reports for jobs or to clients for hour verification, we see this a lot for federal and state contracts, you'll want a system that has a good reports offering. It is one thing to record time and job information on a timesheet, what makes it extremely valuable is getting that information out in a format that you need.

Is my business too small or too large for Workforce Management?

No business is too small or too large for a Workforce Management solution. Businesses that bill by the hour may need an efficient and effective way of tracking that time, even if it is for only one employee. Only you can really answer that question based on what industry your organization is in.

How simple or complex can I have it?

The answer to this question really spans from one end of the spectrum to the other. You may need to decide how involved in "managing" the time system do I want to be. Do I want a system that my employees just clock in and out and they are off to work or do I want them to be able to see their time cards, schedule, time off requests and even perhaps time off accrual balances? Do you want to spend a lot of time setting up new employees? Do you want the ability to have department supervisors monitoring and approving timecards? You can have systems were they are primarily hands off and requires very little interaction from you but the tradeoff is that their functionality may be very limited as well. The more complex systems offer much more functionality, but also a greater need for you to know and understand the system. With more complex systems comes a more robust customer support offering as well.

Can it be integrated into my payroll software?

This is a critical question to answer before investing time and money into a Workforce Management solution. The optimal situation would be that the Workforce Management system offers integration into the payroll system you are currently using. However some vendors may only offer a limited payroll export option. Most industry leading Workforce Management solutions will offer either a multitude of export formats or offer to create an interface for your payroll service bureau. If you find a system that you really like make and it does not offer the ability to export/import your payroll hours, make sure that what it does offer you will outweigh the time spent either hand punching your hours in or getting it to your payroll provider.

What benefit does an automated time and attendance system afford me?

Ultimately the benefit of having an automated Workforce Management solution will provide you with peace of mind, accountability and the freedom to work at what you do best – your business.

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