Mobile time and attendance applications are transforming the time-tracking process for employers managing a remote or mobile workforce—always the hardest workforce to track. Instead of relying on paper timesheets, which are easy to fudge and hard to verify, employees clock in and out electronically, using the smartphone in their pockets.
Time and attendance apps with GPS verification help curb time theft, which costs employers an estimated $400 billion per year. Because data is uploaded automatically, there’s no manual inputting required—which not only saves time but eliminates human error.
However, one of the challenges of converting to such mobile HR software is that employers may not use it to full advantage. If deployed hastily, managers may overlook valuable features of their company’s new time and attendance app. If not supported by thoughtful HR policies, employees may still find ways to circumvent the system.
With this in mind, we offer you 10 best practices for mobile time and attendance tracking. Because when time and attendance apps are used the way they’re intended, productivity goes up, labor costs go down, employees are paid correctly and employers stay compliant.
10 Best Practices for Mobile Time and Attendance Tracking
1. Establish a Clear, Specific Time and Attendance Policy (Tailored to Mobile Employees)
Your time and attendance policy should spell out what you expect from employees—including procedures for using the app and consequences for failing to follow them. Ask employees to sign an acknowledgement that they understand and agree to observe your time and attendance policies.
2. Train Managers How to Use Your Mobile Time and Attendance App
Beyond basic usage, managers should know how to use your time-tracking app’s more advanced capabilities. For example, some advanced mobile time and attendance apps allow managers to set-up alerts. This way, they can receive real-time text messages if, say, an employee fails to clock in as scheduled. But managers can’t take advantage of these cool features unless they know they exist.
3. Train Employees How to Use Your Mobile HR Software
A good mobile time and attendance app is fast and easy to use, but that’s no reason to skip formal training. Training not only ensures employees know how to complete a mobile punch using the app, but that they’re following procedure.
4. Get Written Consent When Using Employee Smartphones
It’s always preferable to install mobile HR software on company equipment. But if your employees are downloading your mobile time and attendance app on personal smartphones, it’s advisable to get their signed consent.
5. Encourage Good Mobile Time and Attendance Habits
There’s no point having time and attendance policies unless they’re enforced, so give managers the tools and training they need. Consider making mobile punching part of your employees’ job description. And reward great time and attendance behavior—make it part of your everyday culture.
6. Regularly Review Your Time and Attendance Reports
Most mobile HR software offers built-in analytical capabilities—use them. Instead of simply reviewing individual timesheets, you can analyze time and attendance behavior by worksite, crew, manager, etc. This will allow you to spot larger problems and patterns and make corrections as you go.
7. Use Your Time and Attendance App’s Geo-fencing Feature
Geo-fencing allows you to assign specific GPS coordinates to each of your worksites. When employees leave the designated geo-fenced area, the system clocks them out automatically. (This discourages workers from leaving the worksite on the down low, then returning to clock out.) If your mobile time and attendance app offers geo-fencing, take advantage of it.
8. Track Meal Breaks if Your Mobile HR Software Allows It
Some mobile time and attendance apps not only allow employees to clock in and out for mandated meal breaks, but prevent employees from clocking back in before their full break time is taken. This is a great, no-fuss way to protect your company against meal break related lawsuits, which are on the upswing.
9. Activate Your Time and Attendance App’s Geo-tracking Feature
If you employ drivers, or if your employees travel to multiple worksites within a single day, utilize your app’s geo-tracking feature, if it has one. It allows you to verify that workers are making their rounds on schedule by automatically capturing their GPS coordinates at pre-defined intervals during the day.
10. Leverage Facial Recognition Technology If You’ve Got It
While there are only a few biometric time and attendance apps out there, use this valuable feature fully if you can. These apps utilize the smartphone’s camera—paired with facial recognition technology—to verify employee identity through facial features. Biometric time and attendance apps are very effective at thwarting “buddy punching”— a tempting form of time theft for remote employees.
If you don’t yet have a mobile time and attendance app, or if the one you have is lacking key features, checkout EPAY’s Mobile PunchTM. Our time and attendance system was designed for the mobile, hourly workforce. Mobile Punch offers many advanced capabilities, including facial recognition, geo-tracking, geo-fencing and more.