A Complete Guide to Time and Attendance Systems

One of the main and most daunting factors affecting productivity within businesses - and therefore negatively affecting potential money-making opportunities and company-wide morale - is the poor or inefficient management of staff hours and performance. There are a multitude of different ways by which a company can measure, record and oversee employee attendance, but with so many aspects of your working day now being made quicker and easier through the introduction of more and more sophisticated automation - allowing you to focus on the key functions of your business and improve performance - surely there’s a way to reduce the hours you still have to spend trawling through timesheets, writing out clock cards and manually calculating hours and wages. If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re absolutely right - there is indeed a simpler answer. This is where a Time and Attendance System can be used. Time and Attendance has developed Ceequel®, a selection of human resources management modules that specialise in the management and administration of employee time and attendance records through the use of Microsoft SQL software. SQL is a digital language used when particular systems communicate with set databases, drawing information from specified fields and applying it to current activity. So, in short, a system that utilises this language will ensure that day to day activity within a business is recorded as data, then that data will be used to calculate what changes can be made to the current status quo to improve functionality and increase efficiency. ELF Time and Attendance mission statement vows that they will “provide a cost-effective solution to monitor and record all personnel attendance, utilising the latest technology, whilst delivering 100% customer satisfaction”, and all in the name of improving the performance and productivity of individual businesses. Read on to explore their handy guide that will tell you more about ELF Time and Attendance, how they work and what they could do to improve your company’s productivity and future prospects.

 

What is a Time and Attendance System?

Through the use of up to the minute database software, Time and Attendance modules can be installed from scratch as a brand new addition to the resources of your company. It is also possible for them to be integrated into existing systems to improve their performance. They are innovative programs that are able to automatically calculate employee hours worked - factoring in flexitime and overtime and even holiday allowance according to an employee’s length of service. These calculations and the resulting data can be produced and viewed in real time.

A Time and Attendance System can also help business owners and managers keep on top of irregularities in individual clocking in, such as lateness, missed clockings, unplanned clockings, unscheduled overtime or fewer hours worked than expected, enabling you to factor them into paycheck calculations, resolve any issues and plan expected absences in advance. They can also make roster generation a great deal easier by managing complex shift patterns for you - even going to far as to take into account specific skill sets necessary at certain times, such as ensuring a first aider is present on shift. Shift patterns can be stored within a library-style filing system, and regular, varied rotations can be managed across multiple sites, locations and businesses. You can even decide whether you require separate night and day shift reports. Reports can be created from the data extrapolated from your Time and Attendance System and exported, which allows you the option of a paperless, clutter-free office along with the opportunity to distribute said reports to all relevant colleagues. Graphical reporting is readily available with this software to allow for easy, straightforward analysis at HR meetings and with management teams, as is the option for automatic email reports, exception reports, basic HR reports and payroll export - meaning that even dealing with your employees’ paychecks can be automatically made many times quicker and easier! Your personnel can be easily registered with the software using any number of features, such as configurable profiles as part of an active directory featuring vital details, the option to view employees by photograph and the opportunity to set up an advanced fire register. A Time and Attendance System can even create bespoke ID badge designs for individual staff members.

 

Types of Time and Attendance Systems available

There are many available kinds of adapted Time and Attendance Systems available, each of which is suitable for a wide range of businesses and requirements. At ELF Productivity Limited, a Time and Attendance System integrated with Employee Access Control system can be used for company-wide security coverage, restricting or authorising access to certain restricted areas for specified individuals, as well as managing their attendance and performance.

If you choose to include a Human Resources Management software module, you’ll also be able to see what training each individual on shift has received, access their employee contracts, understand what equipment they have been issued or trained to use, report accidents and incidents, schedule their training and match their skills to specific tasks, keep up to date with salary changes and much more.

A Shop Floor Data Capture system allows the monitoring of employee time management and real-time progress updates. You can follow the progress of a particular project and form a database of standards against which each task can be checked. Through this system, you will be able to check the speed at which employees work, and whether they are performing to a higher or lower level than has been stated as standard for their assigned task. This software can also monitor the performance of machines, allowing for the timely identification of equipment malfunctions and calculating the cost per hour of each machine in use.

With the Employee Self Service option, you can give each of your employees access to their own individual profiles on the system, allowing them to keep track of their performance, stay motivated and track their progress. Any requests for holiday leave or explanations for absences can be recorded through this system, and internal notices can also be displayed. This particular software can be extremely helpful for individuals who often work remotely or from home, but also works well for on-site staff who wish to check or update their details or view their rota. There is an app available for both Android and Apple products for these purposes, and the system is completely secure, ensuring that only the relevant individual can access their own information.

Finally, the Web E-Manager System allows for cloud-based time and attendance management that is quick and straightforward, leaving more time for administrative staff to undertake further vital work. All facets of the basic Time and Attendance System - plus any additions - can be accessed remotely from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing you to keep up wherever you are while avoiding messy paper-based systems.

 

Advantages of Managing Employee Time and Attendance

Even smaller companies can benefit hugely from monitoring their employees’ attendance and use of time - in fact, correct task-assignment and the keeping of proper records can often make equally as great a difference to them as it can to their larger competitors. The ability to quantify the effects your employees’ current time management has on your company’s productivity - whether positive or negative - can be revolutionary, particularly when the data you are able to extrapolate can be used to make numerous changes in order to advance your performance. The application of Time and Attendance software can mean the difference between being stuck in a rut - and in the worst case, wasting precious time and money - and developing a highly functional, high-performing body of staff and work regime. Of course, you’ll also benefit no end from the time saved by automating administrative and HR work such as the management of flexitime and holiday leave, rostering, skill searching and absence management. It has been calculated than managers, employees and HR staff can spend up to eighteen minutes per employee every week on these arduous tasks, while more constructive tasks fall by the wayside or are afforded less attention. A good Time and Attendance System can save you a huge amount of time - whittling that figure down to just two minutes per employee each week - and, of course, time gained is money gained.

 

How to install a Time and Attendance System

ELF Time and Attendance will assist you in choosing the perfect system for your needs, and, after that, they’ll set about installing the software at your earliest convenience - as swiftly and efficiently as possible. Each installation is assigned its very own dedicated systems engineer to oversee the project and ensure everything runs perfectly smoothly. First and foremost, detailed information about your existing employee management activities will be collected, so that ELF can discuss your options with you and show you how you might be able to save a little time and money within the installation process. Their systems can be merged with existing software to make the transition simpler if you prefer. Engineers will also advise you on the placement of the necessary data capture terminals after a thorough examination of your site, to ensure the most efficient of arrangements. Ongoing consultations and forthcoming communication on their part every step of the way will render them able to install the perfect software for you, to an even higher and more efficient standard than you expected! Training will also be offered to any and all members of staff who will be using the terminals and software, to ensure comprehensive understanding of each element. It is recommended that this training takes place prior to the system going live, but if that is not possible then it can be rearranged for a future time at your convenience.

 

How much do Time and Attendance Systems cost?

Most versions of Time and Attendance software start at around the £300 mark, although with many customizable extras and add-ons available, the easiest way to determine the exact price of your ideal system is to request a quote directly from the providers you’re currently considering. These programs are designed to help your company improve its overall efficiency, saving money in the process, so it may be worth investing in a number of specialised features that will meet your company’s needs exactly. You’ll have a number of opportunities to discuss your requirements in the early stages of the installation, and, should certain necessary aspects of an employee management system already be in place, your chosen specialists may be able to find ways to integrate it with the new software, making it both more efficient and more cost-effective.

So, what’s the next step?

There are a huge number of employee Time and Attendance Systems available, so the best way to start looking for one is to make a list of all the features you feel your company would benefit from. As you’ve read above, the number of options available is considerable and rather comprehensive, so it’s likely you’ll be able to find exactly what you need. A good approach is to research the starting price for each software brand you’re considering, then enquire into the cost of a bespoke version featuring every additional facet you may conceivably need. The next step is to adjust the potential add-ons until you come to a price you feel is reasonable for a product that you know will benefit your company to the greatest degree possible. Once you have a clear idea of the product you require, you can then begin to compare brands online. If a particular type of software looks like it may offer you a good number of the facets on your checklist, take the time to request a consultation from the company. While many brands have set modules available, many elements are customisable, so they may be able to go even further towards creating your perfect bespoke product. Once you are happy with the options you have discovered, make a note of the pros and cons of each, including prices and projections of how much you estimate you may save per brand. It’s also advisable to involve any relevant HR staff and line managers in your decisions throughout, as they may see a different side to the current employee management climate that you were not initially fully aware of. Once you are happy with your decision, it’s time to contact your chosen provider and set the ball rolling.

Of course, it’s absolutely possible for a business to run effectively without a Time and Attendance System in place, but managing staff hours without one can prove exceptionally time consuming, particularly within companies that offer flexi-time, part time work or zero hour arrangements. Even if you clear time in your schedule each week for this type of administration, factoring in annual leave, sick pay, maternity leave and unplanned absences can eat even further into the rest of your working life unexpectedly. The ability to automate this aspect of your duties may even free up enough time to enable you to launch a new project or take on overdue work that has been piling up. The time you could save will be yours to utilise and invest as you see fit, and business can only improve as a result.

ELF Time and Attendance was named as one of Acquisition International’s Top 50 Technology Companies in 2016, then went on to receive Softech International Magazine’s 'Best Time and Attendance Systems Specialists’ award in March 2017. The company is committed to the complete satisfaction of all clients and customers, which is why they work to ensure that their Ceequel® Time and Attendance System is as cost effective and user-friendly as possible, and that it is able to match all specific or bespoke requirements. Along with the comprehensive installation service that is included included in the packages and as well as the aforementioned company-wide system training they offer, you can also benefit from on-going technical support from their specialists, so whether any individuals on your staff have queries about the functions or operation of the Ceequel® terminals, or you just need a quick reminder of how to access a certain report or module facet, there will be an expert at the end of the phone ready to take your call at any time.

Moving Forward with ELF Productivity Limited

If you’re considering contacting ELF Productivity Limited to discuss your Time and Attendance System needs and discover which particular modules are right for your company, you can request a free quote today by entering a few simple details and a summary of your requirements here.

An expert advisor will contact you as soon as possible to talk you through the first steps and work with you towards creating your perfect system. For initial queries, you can also call 01257 256000 or email sales@elf.uk.com. Someone will be available to respond to you between 9 am and 5 pm from Monday to Friday. You can find further details about ELF Productivity Limited and the products and services they offer by visiting www.timeandattendance.co.uk now.

 


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