Not only today, but long ago, Time Management (TM) has been a critical process and approach that needs to be managed consistently in the business market. In the digital field, selecting the right Cloud Time tool should help companies reduce costs and increase organisational efficiency. Automating and connecting Time Processes with HR, Finance, Payroll or other business systems will certainly help streamline routing tasks and have a positive impact on employee engagement.
Although in most processes where Time Management is analysed, budget and resources are very limited, there are some other, but no less important, aspects that need to be considered when selecting and implementing a good solution. Here are some essential features that a Time Management tool can provide to successfully meet the needs of the company.
Time Management Features
- Open and flexible platform, easy to use and maintain, with quick user adoption. With minimal training, users should be able to communicate with the tool and deliver good performance.
- Fulfills all your business needs and is valid for all types of employees and locations in your organisation. Sometimes there are companies with totally different tools for different types of employees, which involves additional costs.
- Driven alerts. Tools that offer a more flexible and proactive way of communicating represent significant progress. Managers who receive notifications in the absence of an employee, approval processes, overtime, … are pure examples of this progress.
Going into more detail…
- Time registration
It is essential and extremely important. Whenever different input data methods are used, for example Timesheet and Time Off Requests / CAT’s and Time Infotypes (SAP) – a connection between these applications becomes essential. In this way, employees have full insight into the planned working hours and leisure time.
- Badging application
Factories or hospitals are good examples that may use badging machines. In addition, it is also very useful if the Time Management solution offers the possibility of a web or mobile application where they can “punch-in / punch-out”. This functionality brings the mobile application and the geolocation into view.
- Mobile application
With the mobile application, managers are empowered to approve overtime, shift swaps, and leave requests at this moment and on the go. Ideal is to include most of the web application features, or at least the most common ones.This also considers the geolocation location, which offers the possibility to track and follow where a clock-in/out time has been entered. It is also interesting to inform managers when an employee is absent or late, when replacements are needed.
- Project and task management
This is a review of the activities.
- Absence Management
Without addressing this subject in detail, I would like to mention the absences that have a potential impact in HR and Payroll processes, such as Sickness, Maternity or Paternity Leave. These kinds of absences are introduced repeatedly and therefore it should be possible to differentiate them. Document attachment or pre-configured specific processes are a very valuable attribute to think about.
- On call Time
Sometimes employers are interested in having employees quickly available to work. Control over this time and possible reimbursement methods for the employee.
- Periodic registration or prolonged absences/attendance
This is a very important feature that helps both Employees and Administrators to enter data into a timesheet application. Timesheet applications normally work daily, which means that for an absence of 15 days, 15 entries must be entered. Allowing a period registration in a timesheet helps saving time and provides benefits at the time of reporting.
- Retroactive and future changes
Sometimes it is a matter of who should be able to make changes in the past or even how many days in the future they could enter time. As this is often used, it should be considered at the time of selecting the solution. Please note that allowing earlier registrations would require recalculations and off-cycle payments.
- Approval process
- Pre-approval of overtime hours
- Several levels of approval
Sometimes the line manager is not the only one to approve the time (e.g. trade union representatives, project managers, …). Somehow, this is a highly demanded feature.
Overtime for instance, which allows compensation with time or money. In my case, I was used to work with On-Premise Time Management tools where manual actions or scheduled background jobs were needed to calculate the time results. Nowadays some cloud Time Management solutions offer real-time time results (after the employee saves time or the Managers accept time) that make employees immediately aware of the time results, so that they can plan their program in advance or know how much money/time they will receive for the overtime.
- Group Calendar
Coordination and planning help managers to deal with their teams, but it is also useful if employees can check the calendar of their colleagues. To know if there is an absence (not the type, because that is data protected), resulting in time savings and requests that will not be approved later….
In this blog, I only discuss the aspect of managing and allocating schedules, without going into the new “intelligent solution” (g. Advance Scheduler for Workforce Software, or AIMEE for KRONOS… etc) that can help to plan who, when, based on a number of statistics, skills….. etc. This is a big step forward in this area and something we will certainly discuss in the future.The fact is, these schedules are a crucial part of an employee’s planned working time. Employees who work in different schedules, employees who select their own work schedules, Manager assigning schedules… are very common tasks that need to be covered by a Time Management tool.
- Leave Balance
It would be easy for an employee if a summary of the total time used or remaining is displayed or accessible when creating a new data entry.Below are the most important methods used to deal with the leave balance:
- Accrual – e.g. Start of the year or after overtime
- Clearing & Transfers – e.g. at the end of the year
Even though there is always a corporate language, there are many companies present in other countries where the main language is not the corporate language. This requires a multilingual tool, where for example, depending on the location or the user’s choice, users can interact with the application which is displayed in the corresponding language. Countries such as Belgium really appreciate this.
Reporting functionality is a mandatory feature that every TM application should offer, less or more powerful, with standard or custom reports, but it must be there. I haven’t heard about a company where no reporting is needed.
- KPIs & Analytics
Providing access to useful statistics with the aim of creating more effective planning or schedules or even helping to speed up strategic decisions within the enterprise can be an interesting feature for many companies. If included in the tool or at least accessible through other modules within the same solution, this would be a positive point.Easy and powerful analysis of workforce data, providing managers with a better planning and productivity.
Employees who act on behalf of the person who has delegated the tasks. Frequently used by managers during holiday periods.
Without a doubt one of the most important points to be addressed. Whichever solution will be chosen, it must always be accompanied by a security service, including a good infrastructure, with global SaaS facilities and a disaster recovery plan. Data encryption, user authentication and authorisations are also part of this group. For more information on Security & Privacy processes (GDPR), then please go to the blog of my colleague Rudolf.
As mentioned above in the introduction, a connection to third party systems is often required, either to receive data (e.g. HR employee data) or to export data (e.g. time calculations). Under some attributes that are often desired:
- Incoming/outgoing integrations
- Different formats for receiving or transmitting data (CSV, Webservice…)
- Single Sign On (SSO)
Facilitating access for users reduces, among other things, the time required to re-enter passwords for the same identity.
As the budget and resources are very limited, it is important to invest time in selecting the right time management tool. By using time management, you can plan your work more accurately and efficiently and you can manage time and tasks more effectively, thereby reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Above all, streamlining routing tasks will certainly have a positive impact on employee engagement.
I hope that the aspects that need to be considered when selecting and implementing a TM tool are clear. Of course, each company is different and has its own needs and requirements, which is why we are here to advise you in this transition phase. So, do not hesitate to contact us for advice.