When mistakes shake employees’ trust: Working-time evaluation

by Dr. Jörg Herbers

Iris-scanner, fingerprint or a classic time stamp clock – the options for time recording are manifold. They register when and where an employee starts work, takes a break or finishes work. In some cases, the hardware can even record which task an employee is working on. Subsequently, a lot of data is accumulated. These data need to be managed and evaluated. Moreover, they have to be correct. The data are relevant for accounting and the pay slip – and, above all, the pay slip has to be correct.

However, inaccurate pay slips do occur, especially within shift work. This is due to many different allowances and premiums, for example, for alternating shifts, night shifts, or work on weekends and public holidays. They add to the complexity of accounting. Furthermore, work can be compensated with salary or time off. The fine details are regulated by labor and company agreements.

Moreover, difficulties arise from employees arriving too early or too late, working overtime or leaving early. Mistakes when clocking in (with electronic time recording) can lead to erroneous or incomplete time recording data, for instance when employees forget to clock in, or clock in twice. Time evaluation becomes especially important when there are large or frequent deviations between planned and actual times. Most shift working companies don’t pay for the planned shifts, but rather for the actual time of attendance.

When accounting becomes expensive

Wage accounting and pay slips are highly sensitive topics. Trust is a very important factor. The more deviations, regulations and “special cases” there are, the more difficult it is to comprehend the pay slip. Mistakes in accounting are expensive since they can cost employees’ trust.

Therefore, it is vital for companies to eliminate potential sources of error. When mistakes do occur, this also can prove to be quite time-consuming. Working-time is required to evaluate contradicting, deviating or incomplete time recording data. Errors need to be retrospectively corrected. Many companies have a designated person responsible for making sure wage accounting uses correct and complete time data. This is not always an easy task. Take, for example, employees who clock in 5 or 13 minutes late – the designated person has to record whether time is adjusted in favor of the employee on a case-by-case basis.   

Integrated Software: fast and accurate

The use of qualified software saves a lot of time. Certain criteria can automatically be drawn into time evaluation and areas of tolerance can be defined. Commonly, such programs can automatically assess and correct deviations within the tolerance range. The system can be configured to deal with deviations that exceed the threshold values. For example, in general, tardiness of merely a few minutes is rounded in favor of the employee; beyond that, the actual clock in time is used.

This considerably reduces the amount of work required for time evaluation. The person in charge of time evaluation only needs to deal with the complicated cases, while the system takes care of the routine work. It works fast and accurate due to the deposited set of rules.

Some cases cannot be automatically assessed by the system and therefore require manual confirmation. The system can create an accurate overview of these cases. Subsequently, post-processing becomes easy and fast. This is done best without many interfaces, integrated into the staff scheduling software. The result is an accurate account – and, moreover, employees who can place trust in it.

Learning from the past for the future

There are several positive side effects resulting from a smooth time evaluation process. For instance, a planner, in turn, deduces from the planned-actual-alignment, if the schedule that he created was really a good one. These empirical values are used for future planning. Scheduling doesn’t just end with a roster. It evaluates experience in order to constantly improve. The benefit is noticeable for employees and the company.

How does your company prevent mistakes with time evaluation?



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About the author

  • Dr. Jörg Herbers

    Jörg Herbers is Senior Vice President Workforce Management at Inform GmbH. He specializes in all topics related to staff planning and optimization.

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