8 features you should expect from a time and attendance module
This article is part an ongoing series looking at commonly available features in different HR apps. Sometimes basic information is the most useful, and so, when it comes to time and attendance modules, here are some of the features you can expect to find when looking at the market…
1. Clocking in and out
To start with the most obvious feature, the basic function of a time and attendance module is to allow employees to clock in and out - i.e. keep a record of their hours. The punch clock might be a manual piece of technology, or it might be linked to staff logging in to the office IT systems. Options include magnetic card readers, PIN numbers or even biometric scanners that identify employees by fingerprint or facial recognition.
2. Employee scheduling
These systems are about more than just monitoring the presence (or otherwise) of staff. Most time and attendance modules or apps will allow you to create and manage schedules and rotas, and such functionality usually comes equipped with alerts and notifications relating to overtime, poor attendance, etc.
3. Absence management
As well as monitoring presence, such software can be expected to help you manage absence. Whether it’s unexpected due to sickness, holidays or vacation days, or paid time off – it should be easy for managers to see at a glance who’s in, who isn’t, and what each person’s remaining ‘allowances’ are.
Assuming you manage your payroll using technology, your time and attendance module should be easily integrated with your payroll functionality; providing accurate attendance data for the payroll cycle that can be used to rapidly and accurately calculate salary and other benefits.
Whatever territory or country you’re in, labor legislation and regulations probably lay down minimum rest breaks and/or limits to the hours people can work in a shift. The software should monitor breaks on your behalf, using that data for reporting and compliance purposes, and providing automatic notifications if break patterns are not meeting the legislative norms.
These days, workforces are much more likely to be scattered, working in the field, from home, or elsewhere. A mobile version of your time and attendance software should allow and monitor remote clocking in, giving you a picture of the hours worked by the whole workforce and not only those ‘on-premises’. Mobile apps may also include GPS tracking systems for worker safety and/or location monitoring.
7. Cost estimates
To get a little more advanced, some software offers an estimate feature, using historical data to provide time estimates for defined projects, allowing better forecasting of the likely resources needed.
Finally, data (especially Big Data) is the new rock’n’roll and any current HR software should be able to provide tailored (ideally customizable) reports and analytics using the system’s data. Expect your management dashboard to include various attendance-related reports, offering insights into hours worked, shift patterns, and so on with a view to constantly improving productivity.
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