There is a lot of value to investing in a good time and attendance system. It benefits employees by ensuring that they are paid according to the work they have delivered. It also benefits a business by allowing for efficient and error-free payroll processing that is in compliance with labour regulations. It can also be a good starting point for initiatives that aim to improve productivity.
Time and attendance systems generally fall into two categories—manual and automated. A manual system involves the use of paper cards and stamping machines such as a Bundy clock. The main advantage of using this system is the low cost of acquiring the hardware but the total cost of supporting the system could be much higher compared to using an automated system. A manual attendance system allows an employee to track their actual work hours by having the time clock stamp their log in and log out times on their paper card. The payroll department then checks each stamp on the card in order to give the employee the right amount of money every pay period. This is a lot of work, especially if you are dealing with more than 100 employees. It is also not environmentally friendly as it makes use of a lot of paper.
An automated system, on the other hand, eliminates the need for paper tracking and instead makes use of barcode badges, electronic tags, touch screens, magnetic stripe cards or even biometrics (fingerprints, retinal scans and facial features). This makes life easier for both the employee and the business as work hours are logged automatically when the employee enters and leaves the office. This eliminates the possibility of timesheets getting lost or manipulated. It also saves a lot of time for the payroll department since automated systems usually have integrated reporting functionalities which take care of most of the pay processing.
So which automated system should you choose for your business? You‘ll need to ask yourself a couple of questions first before you can have a clear idea of which system to use:
- What would you like your time and attendance system to do? Is it just for monitoring employee entries and exits? Would you like it to integrate into your business system so you can use it in your performance and progress monitoring process?
- How will your time and attendance system help your business? Answering this question should help you set the budget for your attendance system.
There are also a number of factors that you should consider before you decide on the type of automated system to use for your business.
The Size of Your Business
If you have a small business with just a small number of employees, you can probably settle for an off-the-shelf automated attendance system. You will most likely need to add software that can monitor late arrivals, half-days, holidays and who’s on maternity or paternity leave.
If your organization is a large one, it is better to get your time and attendance system from a supplier who can provide training and ongoing support to your employees. You’ll also need to make sure that the system you choose will integrate seamlessly with your other IT systems, such as your resource planning, cost monitoring and HR systems. You will also require special software that your managers can use to plan and monitor work shifts, track external employees and ensure that the right staff members are available for specific projects.
The Nature of Your Business
If your business has a low security risk and all your employees work under the same roof, you can avail of an attendance system that uses swipe cards or a proximity device (a system that recognises an employee’s badge or key which is waved in front of it).
If you have employees who work remotely, you can get an attendance system that they can log into over the internet or through their mobile phones.
If your business has restricted sections that should only be accessed by a specific number of employees, you’ll need to use a biometric system which relies on recognition of fingerprints, retinas or facial features as a means of identifying and logging employees in.
There’s a long list of automated attendance systems available on the market right now. Once you have a good idea of your business requirements, you can start looking at what’s available and research suppliers of these systems. Consequently, you can use factors such as cost, support process, warranty, complexity of installation and complexity of usage to gauge which among these systems will be the most efficient and effective for your business.
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