The Future of Time & Attendance Part 2 – Avoiding Phase Never

A recent report by Jayson Saba at Aberdeen (Time and Attendance Strategies, June 2011) states that 31% of organizations still depend on spreadsheets as part of their time & attendance/payroll process! How stringent is the quality and testing process for your spreadsheets? According to Professor Raymond R. Panko at the University of Hawaii, 20-40% of spreadsheets contain errors, and 88% of all spreadsheets with over 150 rows have errors.

Clearly, the level of maturity when it comes to workforce management automation varies drastically amongst companies. While most companies have evolved beyond manual, paper-based timekeeping, the data collected may only be used to automate payroll. This is the “Phase Never” scenario.

If your company has invested in an automated time and attendance system, it was likely presented and sold as a component of a larger workforce management strategy. This vision often encompasses a complete employee lifecycle automation strategy, from hiring to on-boarding, scheduling, time & attendance, payroll, absence management, labor productivity tracking and labor analytics. However, because time and attendance automation typically has a more immediate return on investment, companies may focus on that as phase one of their journey. Unfortunately, subsequent phases are often delayed indefinitely, resulting in larger business benefits not attained – Phase Never.

Depending on how far along the workforce management maturity curve you are, your future may be drastically different from other companies. Your next step may be simply integrating automated time collection with your payroll system (vs importing it to spreadsheets). Or, you may add automated scheduling and absence management capabilities, tracking optimal employees for scheduling based on hours worked, and integrating leave and accrual information with scheduling and payroll while expanding to offer employee self service solutions. As you evolve, labor productivity tracking and labor analytics can be used to influence more impactful business decisions with a fully integrated workforce management suite.

Most importantly, avoid phase never. Regardless of where you are on the road to workforce optimization, your future of time and attendance can evolve to yield significant impact to your organization.

In part three we’ll discuss how time and attendance data can be used in other areas, beyond just payroll.

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