6 Time & Attendance Questions to Ask Your HRMS Vendor

Time and attendance is a fundamental HR function – knowing where people are and how long for (and keeping track of leave and absence entitlements) is basic stuff and easily automated. It’s also a function that might well be in the running for having the biggest choice of applications on the HR software market, so it’s as well to have your HRMS vendor questions ready in order to whittle down the list of possibilities.

HRMS Time and Attendance Question #1 – How flexible is your system?

Everybody’s needs are different… different terms and conditions, different standard hours, different contracts, different leave and absence management policies… different. Just how customizable and configurable is the application in question? Off-the-shelf undoubtedly makes for a quick and easy install, but it’s the tweaking that gives you the time and money savings compared to your old system.

HRMS Time and Attendance Question #2 – How simple/intuitive is the UX?

Among vendors, the cloud is probably at a level of majority adoption; in other words, most time and attendance systems are SaaS deployments rather than on-premises. However, some research suggests that cloud time and attendance systems have had lower satisfaction levels for user experience. Just how is the vendor making it easy for your people to use?

HRMS Time and Attendance Question #3 – Can you provide a demo tailored to our needs?

The risk with software demos is that you’re shown exactly what the vendor wants you to see; and the vendor’s strengths aren’t necessarily your priority requirements. Design your own script or list of scenarios that you want to see the product handle. Not only does that put you, the buyer, in charge but it also means you can judge several vendors against the same basic criteria – much more efficient!

HRMS Time and Attendance Question #4 – Is your system flexible enough for our workforce?

Not everybody ‘punches in’ the same way. With workforces increasingly scattered across multiple sites, plus home and field workers, plus the rising use of independent and temporary contractors, a time and attendance tracking system has to present some options, including stand-alone time clocks, biometric fingerprints, iButtons, proximity cards, barcode badges, cell phones or PDAs, touch-tone telephones, computer (via desktop icons, web portals, or an offline that auto-uploads when a connection is established).

HRMS Time and Attendance Question #5 – What anti-fraud measures do you offer?

Sadly, time theft is a problem, often by the practice of buddy punching (one employee clocking in on behalf of another). The question is how can your vendor help you reduce this to a reasonable (or negligible) level?

HRMS Time and Attendance Question #6 – How flexible are the reporting options?

Any time and attendance system will print out a summary of hours worked, leave taken, absences noted, etc. However, can the system put that data to use as well as just present it prettily? Can it use that information to assess performance against key metrics? Can it interface with your other HR systems, perhaps providing data that can inform sophisticated analytics?

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall