When you manage an hourly, distributed workforce, it’s not easy to connect with every employee every day. But now more than ever, employers need daily health and safety check-ins with workers, even when managers aren’t around. Fortunately, some time and labor software platforms offer a clever solution: fast, simple questions served up to workers automatically at and through their time clock!
There are several names for this feature: clock-in/clock-out questions, worker attestations, or—our personal favorite—dynamic punch questions. Whatever you call it, it’s an extremely useful tool, especially given COVID-19. With one quick question, employers can prevent sick employees from starting their shift, ensure workers wore their mask all day, and anything else they need to know.
If your time and labor software provides this feature, take full advantage of it. And if your current software does not, get up to speed—because you may determine it’s something you need.
How Dynamic Punch Questions Work
Typically, dynamic punch questions are programmed into the system from the time and labor dashboard, usually by HR or operation managers. It’s generally a simple, three-part process:
- Create the question—i.e., “Do you have cold or flu symptoms?
- Choose when it’s to be asked, at clock-in or clock-out.
- Specify who will receive it—all employees or specific\ groups of workers.
Once the question is programmed into the system, it will be served up to workers when they begin to clock in or out for shift. The question must be answered before their punch can be completed.
Depending on the provider, such questions can also be asked not only through conventional time clocks, but alternative data collection methods, such as mobile time-tracking apps.
Most time and labor systems can be programmed to deliver real-time alerts to specific managers in the event a response is cause for concern. For example, is a worker answers “no” to a “did you have a safe workday?” question, his/her manager is instantly alerted, so he or she can immediately address the incident.
In addition, most systems can also generate reports, allowing employers to track and document their workers’ responses. These reports can not only help employers verify that workers are following health and safety protocols, but protect against liability in certain situations.
3 Ways to Use Clock in/Clock Out Questions Effectively
While employers can create questions that serve their specific business needs, right now, most companies are using them to achieve one of three goals:
To Guard against COVID-19 Outbreaks
Many EPAY customers are currently using dynamic punch questions to maintain healthy worksites and encourage COVID-safe behavior. They’re asking questions like “Have you been exposed to someone confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19 in the last 14 days?” at clock in, and “Did you wear a mask all day today?” at clock out.
To Maintain Workplace Safety
Employers also use these questions to build safety awareness and stay ahead of potential Workers’ Comp claims. Questions like “Did you have an accident-free shift?” can alert managers to potential injuries. On the other hand, should a worker who confirmed he/she had a safe workday later file a Workers’ Comp claim, employers can use that documentation to challenge a potentially false claim.
Maintain Labor Compliance
Employers can also use clock-out questions to encourage and document wage and hour compliance. For example, in states where meal breaks are required, workers can be asked, “Did you take your 30-minute meal break today?”—or whatever the law specifies. This allows managers to quickly halt noncompliant behavior and show proof of compliance in the event of an audit or lawsuit.
About EPAY’s Dynamic Punch Question Feature
EPAY’s HCM and time and labor solutions are designed for employers that manage an hourly, distributed workforce—so it’s not surprising that many of our customers use our dynamic punch question feature. While many are currently using it to protect against COVID-19, they appreciate the flexibility to design their own questions.
In a nutshell, with EPAY, employers can:
- Program questions to be asked at clock-in and/or clock-out.
- Ask questions via all our data collection methods: biometric time clocks, mobile app, online time-tracking, and telephone time-time tracking.
- Set up real-time alerts, to be texted or emailed to specific managers when workers’ responses are cause for alarm.
- Generate reports that may be used for review purposes and to refute false Workers’ Comp claims.
In our experience, once employers start utilizing dynamic punch questions, they find endless ways to use it—and they come to rely on it to touch base daily with their workforce.
If you’re an EPAY customer and need help setting up dynamic punch questions, contact your Account Manager for assistance. And if you’re an employer who’d like to know more about EPAY’s HCM and time and labor solutions—including dynamic punch questions—watch our quick intro video, then contact us.