Time and Attendance Tracking Goes Much Beyond Biometric Devices and Swipe Cards

Be it a small organisation or a large one, all of them make use of time and attendance tracking systems to keep an account of the number of hours the employees or workers put in, in the course of one day. Maintaining this record is a crucial aspect of the company management system since a lot of factors such as employee performance, wages, payroll, appraisals, and appreciation depend on it. Most time and attendance tracking devices are in the form of biometric devices or swipe cards. These can essentially be categorised under the umbrella of hardware solutions. They have a small software component which offers certain basic reports - in-time, out-time, the number of hours punched in daily, and a segregation of the total number of hours that an employee has completed in course of a month. This is what the data is generally limited to.

But a good time-tracking solution needs to offer many more features than a simple collection of numbers. The degree of efficiency of the system is inversely related to the Human Resource department of the company. The more the number of tasks the system can handle, lesser will be the workload in terms of the reporting The HR teams need to do manually. So how can a time and attendance tracking system be made more efficient? With the use of the right kind of software. Documentation of data that goes beyond the basic information can offer advanced analytics and help companies solve real business problems. It can help companies improve their compliance and increase productivity. Not only can it help managers to keep a track of the consumption of resources, but also can allow them to identify the effectiveness of the work for a long-term growth and success of the company.

Some of the features that companies should really look at while evaluating the time and attendance tracking systems are:

1) Advanced Reporting Capabilities

Advanced reporting options provide deeper insights into the mechanics of the business. They also provide filters to refine the data that is displayed. The HR heads can make use of visual models, dashboards, interactive charts, and maps to present the data in different formats. This can then be used in important presentations or board meetings so as to present the data in an organised manner to the stakeholder. The flexible data formats allow them to embed it into the web or thick-client applications, if necessary. This makes the data analysis easier and quicker as they do not have to spend hours in manual reports creation. Thus, the time and attendance system with advanced reporting can allow the management to get the real pulse of the business and take appropriate actions in real-time - thereby improving the business health.

2) Workflow and Process Customisations

Each organisation has its own set of processes and workflows. Implementation of a standard time and attendance tracking system does not mean that the organisation will change its workflows and processes. The system, in fact, should allow the customisations in the workflow, reporting rules and processes. Only when the time-tracking system is suitable for the organisation will it make the company more efficient in the long run.

3) Email Notifications and Alerts

Emails can prove to be extremely useful when it comes to taking care of the queries/doubts that employees have. A good system allows the HR departments to send automatic responses to the frequently asked questions. In the case of doubts pertaining to a certain department or a specific function, the system sends out notification directly to that department, thereby reducing the job of the HR as an intermediary. In the case of manufacturing industries, this feature helps in automated communication within labourers, contractors and the HR department. Activities such as the weekly attendance chart of labourers, the number of hours they have worked for and the intimation for joining of a new labourer can all be worked out by means of email notifications and alerts so as to save time and effort. This feature leads to faster approvals and more streamlined processes overall - leading to faster resolution of queries.

4) Mobility

Mobiles have become an integral part of our lives and an HR system that is mobile can prove to be of great benefit to the enterprise. Managers can view employee leave requests from any mobile device and process them. A calendar for the team can allow managers and co-workers to view and mark important dates on a common platform. Individual profiles along with contact details, qualifications, competencies and other such critical data can be viewed on the mobile anytime providing flexibility and convenience to employees. The feature also helps in enhancing employee communication and ultimately leads to higher employee satisfaction.

5) Cloud-Based

A cloud-based time and attendance tracking system can be implemented more easily than an on-premise system. It guarantees faster uptimes and lesser service issues. Infrastructure costs and maintenance costs also reduce with cloud-based solution. When it comes to expanding the size of the business, a cloud-based system provides easy scalability in terms of the configuration of new features and re-assigning or adding of new roles and projects. A cloud-based time and attendance tracking system is an ideal solution for the organisations with multiple locations, which are looking for centralised time and attendance tracking and analysis.

6) Compatibility

One of the characteristics of a good time and attendance tracking system is its compatibility with various hardware technologies. If data from a swipe cards needs to be transferred to the software system or there is a need for the data from biometric devices to be captured and analysed in real-time, the system should be equipped with features to do so. Companies which have already invested heavily in the hardware solutions such as swipe cards or biometric devices need not have to re-invest in newer tools just for the need of advanced reporting or customised workflows. The time and attendance management solution should be tool agnostic.

7) Integration Readiness

Many organizations has multiple business support systems like ERP, it may be by various vendors like SAP, Oracle etc. Integration is an important aspect of linking various business support systems. A flawless integration ensures that the data is stored at a centralized location and flows easily between the systems to facilitate faster business decisions. Through proper integration, the data collection and processing is automated, resulting in considerable time and cost savings. It also eliminates delays and an error caused by human intervention and ensures data accuracy. It is, therefore, important that the time and attendance system which you chose offers an option for seamless integration with the other existing IT systems within the organization.

A fully integrated system that can take care of all these requirements is what both big and small companies need to adopt to ensure the best future for the organisation as well as its employees.