So, you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade to a new automated time and attendance system. Your business has grown and it’s taking too long to total up time cards by hand every week… or keying in the data from those Excel spreadsheets is getting cumbersome (and you’re tired of correcting data entry errors)… or perhaps you already have a computer-based system, but it no longer meets your needs.
A wise decision! Many businesses find a modern time tracking system saves them a lot of time, money and headaches when it comes time to run payroll. But in order to see those savings, you need to select and configure the system, and your workers and supervisors have to use it consistently and correctly.
It’s easy to get started with our timeQplus and AcroTime systems. Unlike some alternatives, you don’t need to hire expensive consultants or spend months on project management and implementation. That said, you can ensure your system rollout is even smoother by investing just a little extra effort. Here are a few tips to help you select the right options for you, avoid any last-minute glitches and ensure employee acceptance of the new system:
Assemble the right team. Avoid making your decision in a vacuum. Before you make your final decision on which options you need, meet with representatives from all the areas that will be affected by the new system: employees, supervisors and managers, payroll department, IT/IS, etc. Listen to their input! They know better than anyone else what they need to do their jobs better.
These folks can also serve as “evangelists” for the new system, helping get their co-workers on board and excited about the transition before the new system is even installed.
Review and document your current time tracking and payroll policies and procedures. But be careful not to simply duplicate your current practices. Some steps may be inefficient or unnecessary, having been put in place because of limitations in your current “system.” Think about how you would like your processes to work. That input I mentioned in Step #1 can be invaluable here.
Once you’ve jotted down what you have and what you want, share this information with our representative. The more we know about what you do now and where you’re headed, the better job we can do of helping you pick the right system for your organization’s future.
Your notes will also prove invaluable when it comes time to configure the new system. It will help make sure you don’t forget anything, and enable you to quickly and easily configure the system exactly the way you want to accommodate your business rules.
Select an appropriate system. For instance, biometrics are the “big thing” these days, but different types of biometrics are suitable for different environments — and some environments may be too harsh for any type of electronics. Be honest about your needs versus your wants, your working environment and the level of technical expertise of your staff.
Listen to your sales representative and the reasons we give for recommending one type of system over another. It’s in our best interest to steer you towards the right system for your environment and business requirements. There’s no point spending a fortune on a system that offers all the bells and whistles if you’re not going to use 90% of what the program offers. On the other hand, an inexpensive system is no bargain if the system doesn’t meet your essential needs.
Communicate to your workers. Then communicate again. This is probably one of the most important steps. It’s almost impossible to over-communicate on this topic. Your employees are bound to be anxious about anything that potentially impacts their paycheck. A new time and attendance system falls squarely into that category.
We’ve probably all heard stories about workers rebelling or refusing to cooperate when a new time tracking system is installed. You don’t need that kind of headache, so do what you can to head that situation off at the pass.
Workers will likely wonder why you’re implementing the new system, and will probably have a lot of questions about how things will change once the new system is in place. Consider implementing some sort of feedback system so they can ask those questions. Then post your answers somewhere everyone can read them, email them to everyone or read them out at a company meeting. If you’re comfortable with the idea you could even hold a live Q&A session.
Focus on how the new system will make things easier for your employees, supervisors and managers. You’ll get much better acceptance if employees understand how a new system can benefit them as well as the company. (Need some talking points? See our newsletter article: Why Employees (Should) Love Time & Attendance for ideas.)
Test, train and document. Rather than simply switching all at once over to the new system, consider running the new system in parallel with your existing system for a payroll cycle (or two or three — however long it takes you to feel comfortable the new system is capturing time and calculating totals properly).
Make sure everyone — employees, supervisors, IT/IS and the payroll department — are trained on how to use the new system. Our systems are intuitive for basic tasks, but also powerful, with many useful features. If you want to get maximum benefit from your investment, you won’t skimp on the training.
Be sure to write down any new procedures or other useful information about the system (such as the administrator password!) and store this information somewhere secure. This will not only help your people as they adjust to the new system, it will also prove useful in the future in the event of staff turnover or new hires.
We get support calls all the time from companies frantic because their old system administrator quit — and now they don’t know the system password or how to export time or how to set up a new employee. A few minutes documenting system procedures could have saved them a lot of worry and headaches.
Review and, if necessary, revise. For maximum return on your investment, after you’ve used the system for a couple of months, take a few minutes to review the new processes and procedures to make sure you’re experiencing the anticipated benefits.
See if there are any bottlenecks or rough spots in the process. You might discover hold-over procedures that can be eliminated or changed, now that everyone has become familiar with the capabilities of the new system. Perhaps you want to add additional data-collection terminals to eliminate delays at the clock-in/clock-out stations or relocate the stations to more convenient areas. Or maybe you need to make some tweaks to the system configuration.
In any case, after you’ve used the system for a while, a little fine-tuning can make your investment pay off even more.
Change is often hard, but when it comes to modernizing your time tracking technology, it can pay off for you and your business in a big way: improved employee satisfaction, reduced time preparing payroll, fewer paycheck errors… all adding up to time and money saved for your business.
Ready to get started? Give us a call and we’ll help you find the right time tracking solution for your business.