If you manage an hourly workforce—especially one that’s distributed over multiple worksites—your company needs a robust workforce management program. One that not only tracks time and attendance but gives you cutting-edges tools to manage it closely. Today, one of the most powerful tools in the workforce management arsenal are real-time, custom alerts.
Not all workforce management programs boast real-time alert capabilities, and not all employers who have them actually use them. But once you understand how they work, chances are, you’ll want to put them to work for you.
Just What Is a Real-time Alert?
Remember how you suspected you mom had eyes in the back of her head? Real-time alerts are like that, but for field managers.
Real-time alerts are a feature of advanced cloud-based time and attendance systems with sophisticated workforce management programs. Once field managers create their alerts, they’ll receive notices from the system whenever certain activities take place (or don’t) at their worksites.
They’re called “real-time alerts” because they’re sent the instant they’re triggered by system. They’re also called “custom alerts” because managers can customize them to fit their work environments.
Typically, managers can elect to receive alerts in the form of text messages, email messages or both.
Four Ways Real-Time Alerts Benefit Employers
While different HR software providers offer different custom alerts, they generally help companies in the following ways.
Real-Time Alerts Curtail Unplanned Overtime
If you’re committed to reducing overtime costs—and who isn’t?—you’ll find this particular real-time alert quite useful. Some time and labor systems provide a custom alert that enables field managers to receive notice before employees cross over into overtime. Managers can specify how far in advance the alert will be activated.
This way, they can choose to let employees finish up or direct them to clock out right away. Either way, they’re in control. It’s a great tool when field managers are located off-site or when workers tend to lose track of time—deliberately or otherwise.
Real-Time Alerts Keep Labor Costs within Budget
Some time and labor software includes a labor budgeting/job costing module that tracks wages as they accrue. These are useful for allocating costs by location, monitoring project costs and more.
In conjunction with this, some time and labor solutions offer real-time budget alerts that are triggered when labor costs hit a pre-set threshold. This allows field managers to make quick changes to the schedule, notify the client proactively, or otherwise get on top of the issue. In budget-sensitive industries such as construction and staffing, this offers employers a unique competitive advantage.
Real-Time Alerts Improve Labor Compliance
Missed or shortened meal breaks are among workers’ five top allegations for wage and hour lawsuits. However, some time and labor solutions allow field managers to set custom alerts that closely monitor meal break activities, based on time clock activity.
Field managers can arrange to be alerted when an employee misses a meal break, fails to take a full meal break or fails to take their meal break within the mandated timeframe. Meal break alerts allow managers to address non-compliance issues as they occur, nipping potential lawsuits in the bud.
Real-Time Alerts Improve Customer Service
Unplanned absences can have a negative effect on customer service—but busy field managers may not know about it until after the fact. Some time and labor providers have created real-time alerts to fix this problem.
Managers can set up alerts that tell them 1) when specific employees fail to punch in as scheduled and 2) when not enough employees punch in at a certain worksite/shift.
For example, if the minimum number of janitors at Worksite A is set at seven employees, but only six clock in, the manager immediately receives a text. This allows her to call in a substitute asap, so the property gets cleaned as usual. In many cases, the client may not be perceive a dip in service.
Where Can You Find Real-Time Alerts?
Clearly, real-time alerts are a valuable, high-tech tool. If your current time and labor system doesn’t provide them, learn about ours. EPAY’s time and labor solution was designed to help employers manage an hourly, distributed workforce. We offer advanced workforce management capabilities, some you won’t find anywhere else.
In addition, our system features a full suite of custom alerts. In addition to all those described above, we offer a unique real-time alert that can you better manage reported workplace injuries.
Our time clocks can ask employees if they “had a safe day” each time they clock out. If someone answers “no,” managers are instantly alerted. If a workplace accident truly happened, management can address it at once. However, if a worker reports a safe day but later files a suspect Workers’ Comp claim, the employer has back-up for refuting the claim.