Getting employees to use your new time and attendance module

A new HRMS should bring many benefits, including more efficient systems and procedures. One change that will have an effect on every employee is a new time and attendance module. Perhaps because of that universal impact in the organization, it’s also a function likely to meet with some resistance.

After all, your new time and attendance module is unlikely to be monitoring staff presence less closely. Usually, a new is addressing issues with previous processes, such as buddy punching or excessive flexi-time debits. So, given that this marks a change (which is always a challenge anyway) and also a restriction, how do you tackle introducing this aspect of your new HRMS to the workforce?

As with any change, the key is communication and training.

1. Give as much information as possible

As part of your HRMS selection and implementation process, you will be consulting various stakeholder groups, including various groups of employees (and if you aren’t, you should). This is the perfect channel to open up the topic of time and attendance, be open about any current problems or issues, and invite people to suggest ways in which the process can be improved. In other words, consultation. This is also opportunity to share your what you hope to achieve through a new HRMS, and the most important piece of information is: why does the organization need to introduce a new time and attendance system?

Early engagement like this makes people part of the solution. Ignoring them until the system is in place, on the other hand, is just inviting them to create problems.

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Apart from anything else, ideas for improvements may be suggested. But even if not, this early involvement at least means that the new system will be viewed with less suspicion because it is not a surprise.

2. Written requirements

Presumably you have a written time and attendance policy? Even a simple statement that staff are expected to work their contracted hours, be on the premises or on duty at certain times, etc. If you don’t have one, now’s a good time to draw one up. It needn’t be lengthy or complicated, a paragraph in the employee handbook would be enough. In fact, discreet may be preferable. But if you do have a policy in place, it will need to be amended to reflect the new arrangements. This written requirement then becomes part of your communication strategy (see above).

3. Training, if needed

Much of the resistance to any change is down to the proverbial ‘fear of the unknown’ and while you should never indulge in formal training unless there is a clear need for it, people do need to understand how the new system and equipment works. Keep it simple, don’t make a big deal out it, but do make it crystal-clear; maybe provide a memory jogger or crib sheet so that in those first few days and weeks of use, when somebody cannot remember which button to push, or which eyeball has been biometrically scanned, they have a simple note to remind them. Again, the goal is to avoid unnecessary frustration with the new system.

4. Make it clear that compliance is not optional

Another key part of your communication is that you expect all staff to use the new system. There is no opting out, or clocking as we did in the past. Don’t be mean about it, don’t get heavy, but do clarify that not complying will carry a consequence of some kind.

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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

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