Automated timekeeping systems offer an impressive payroll solution for even the most complex workforces. However, one-in-three companies still use manual timekeeping methods. In 2017, a study showed that 38% of employers were still using paper time cards, traditional punch clocks, or some other manual method.
The rise of computerized data entry, clock-ins, and worksite reports may have upped security and accuracy standards, but it didn’t eliminate the need for manual competency or compliant practices. Not only do many businesses still operate manually, but all require the security of having manual procedures in place should automation fail.
Here are six ways to ensure your manual time tracking is keeping up with modern compliance regulations and data standards.
1. Accountability matters: designate and verify.
Many hourly crews and mobile workforces start and end their workdays at the same time, under the same manager, and with the same co-workers each day. Having a manager track punches or a teammate record times might seem like a reasonable idea. However, only an employee should be held accountable for the times submitted on their behalf. Where data entry is concerned, all inputs should come from the source.
In regard to having a manager record data for an employee, it’s important to recognize that- regardless of who is putting it in- if manual input is present, there's room for human error. You do not want employees to be punished for mistakes they didn’t make. It would not only damage morale, but likely result in costly lawsuits. Instead, managers should systematically verify times are accurate and correctly submitted by each member of their team.
2. Reduce the need for re-entry.
Every time data or hours have to be re-keyed, there’s an opportunity for mistakes. The cost of employees’ inability to correctly fill out time sheets climbs into the billions every day, according to the Harvard Business Review. And those losses are only the beginning. Your employees' time and productivity are wasted the more unnecessary information transfers you have to make. The less steps between your paper time sheets, time cards, and internal systems- the less likely there is to be miscalculations.
One way to ensure quality data is to capture it directly at the source, in a centralized location. Verify its input into the system with as few steps as possible and you lower your risk of another expensive typo.
3. Make sure all data is classified and recoverable.
Manual compliance is about more than inputs. It’s about record-keeping and the ability to recall critical, classified information like employees' hours and schedules. Misclassified hours have the potential to trigger a range of compliance missteps and unwanted fees. Your best bet is to set rules which address the correct way to categorize and record hours, and to provide procedures with all details on how to classify time, submit requests, verify shifts, and protect sensitive company data.
Keeping a digital copy or having some sort of duplicate of time sheets, PTO requests, or other time and labor reports has some risks... but it's also the best defense you have against compliance inquiries or internal disputes should any information be changed, misplaced, or destroyed.. You always want to be able to recover and present hourly data to major authorities without delay.
4. Document Retention Scheduling.
Is it important to properly classify and preserve old data? Yes. However, establishing proper document retention regulations can reduce legal risks and liabilities as well. A retention schedule- or destruction/termination deadline- ensures specific types of information are stored for the proper amount of time in accordance with government or industry regulations.
Moreover, it makes certain that all documents/information are properly stored and are not being shared with unauthorized personnel. In short, documents should be easily accessible when necessary and removed as dictated by your industry's compliance laws.
5. Set up the appropriate HR policies.
Laws associated with business compliance are constantly being updated and expanded. It is the responsibility of companies to be aware and proactive in updating their handbooks and policies. Therefore, it is crucial that company-wide processes and policies are established and frequently referred to, especially if an update has occurred. Manual policies are often simple outlines of the correct way to record hours, daily reports, and hour requests. The more you refer to these conduct rules, the smoother your manual workforce management will be overall.
6. Incorporate tools, even if that doesn’t mean full automation.
For those of you who are set on resisting the automation wave, intelligent data capture tools are a good stepping stone towards a full-blown time and labor system. Dashboards provide insight into your time and payroll management by showing trends and inconsistencies in a variety of ways.
Visibility is huge for monitoring unauthorized changes, unexpected drops in productivity, or abnormalities in shifts and overtime numbers. Maintaining these records also assists with budgeting and managing your employees' pay stub summaries, time off requests, and totals earnings. The more you are able to summarize and monitor the trends of your manually entered data, the safer you are against false compensation claims or compliance fees.
EPAY Time and Labor Management
As an industry leader, our streamline, fully customizable solution saves you time and money by optimizing your hourly workforce management. We specialize in distributed workforces, whose industries are largely dominated by manual compliance pitfalls, difficult payroll requirements, and time theft to name just a few.
Our flexible Time and Labor Management solution helps eliminate manual input errors, time rounding, buddy punching, and calculation errors with compliance safeguards, workforce analytics, and easy accessibility. Ready to take your business to the next level? Choose confidently with EPAY Systems. Watch a two minute demo here.