5 Easy Steps to Automating Your Employee Punch Clock System
Introducing Your New Employee Punch Clock System Takes Some Prep WorkRunning any successful business takes planning, patience, and a good eye for detail. From interviewing and hiring staff, researching and launching the newest promotional avenues, all the way to deciding how to implement new technology—there is a lot to think about and many points that will require your undivided attention.
Unfortunately, that means there is also a lot of room for errors. Every manager knows that even the tiniest mistake can blow up into a huge, costly issue if it's not taken care of right away, and this is especially true for the fast-paced world of technology for business. Most companies have contingency plans in place for when things go wrong, a plan of action to mitigate damages and salvage as much time and resources as possible. It's a good idea to create a set of steps to take when things get out of control, and we're willing to bet you have at least one or two emergency plans of your own already in place.
But wouldn't it be better to just avoid the mistakes in the first place? We think so, which is why we've created this quick guide of five easy steps to automating your employee punch clock system. Your time punch system is your main connection between employees and management, so it deserves your undivided attention when it's time to upgrade. Though this article will concentrate on staff time punch systems and procedures, these steps can easily be modified for any technology changes you need to make within your business.
Why Begin with the Punch Clock System?As we mentioned briefly above, the employee punch clock system is your main connection to your employees. Employees use this system to check their schedules, clock in and out of work, and to track how much they've earned. Employees will see this system at least twice a day, will interact with it and will come to depend on it.
On the managerial side, the punch clock system shows you which employees are performing well, which ones call out often, and which ones clock in late. It helps accounting keep track of paychecks, and it's the main source of data you need in order to come up with, and stick to, a labor budgeting plan.
Since the punch clock solution you choose to use for your business plays such a major role in your company's success, you can see why we'd suggest starting here when you decide to upgrade your current business systems.
Without further ado, here are our 5 easy steps to automating your employee punch clock system.
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Ask the Right Questions
First and foremost, you need to decide what problems you're trying to solve by upgrading your punch clock system. Is your old one slow, cumbersome, or prone to breaking? Are your employees complaining about the time punch procedures? Does each time punch take too long to complete, or are there too many mistakes at the end of each week? Do you suspect an employee is guilty of time theft, costing your company too much money?
These are all common reasons why a small to medium business might consider an upgrade to the punch clock system. It's become common knowledge in the past few years that a digital, mobile time punch and employee attendance solution solves the issues above, plus some. If that sounds like you, it's time to make the switch.
Write your questions, concerns, and issues down. You'll need this list in the next step, so be thorough. If you have concerns other than the punch clock system, you can write those down, too, but keep that on a separate list. We'll cover that other stuff in step five.
Plan, Plan, Plan
We cannot stress this step enough. Every business, no matter your industry, should take the time and spend the effort to research, plan, and then plan a bit more. You know why you're making the change - we covered that in step one - so now it's time to figure out how to do it. Get your list out, and fire up the web browser. It's time to find solutions
a. You'll need to research your punch clock options and choose one that is flexible, can evolve with your company (so you won't have to switch solutions again in the future), affordable, and simple to set up.
Bonus points if your candidates offer awesome customer service and a free trial.
Compare contracts—we suggest finding one that doesn't require a contract; having no contract gives you more freedom, and it helps you keep control of your finances, too. Ask about extra features and compatibility, too. You want to know what each punch clock solution offers, and then compare them to your list of current issues. Choose the one that solves most, if not all.
b. Once you've chosen a new punch clock system, make a list of all your employees, including their employee numbers, or whatever you use to identify them in your particular system. Gathering all this information now will speed the process of entering everyone into the new system later. It's also a great way to keep track of which employees haven't been entered into the new system yet, so keep that list handy until your switch is 100 complete
c. It's not a bad idea to take this time to go over the local regulations for your business. Make sure you're currently in compliance, and if you're not, fix it Labor rules can change quickly and sometimes happen without much notice, especially if you're like most managers and have your head buried in paperwork and everyday tasks. Before you implement your new time punch system, talk to your legal department and make sure you're totally in compliance. If need be, make the changes you need to before you get everything else setup. It's worth a bit of extra effort now to help prevent slowdowns when you do start to implement the new punch clock system. Remember- we're trying to avoid issues altogether, not find ways to try out our emergency plans.
Give Them Something to Talk About… And a Way to Do It
Of course, management is in charge and has the right and responsibility to make changes when it's time. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep your employees abreast of the situation. In fact, making a change like this without informing them is a great way to cause a stir in the staff room—and it's not the good kind, either. Switching to a mobile punch clock and attendance system is the perfect opportunity to communicate with your staff, and it's a great time to show them you're listening, too.
Set up a meeting, write up a packet explaining the changes (why, how, and when, for example), or do things a bit more casually and plan an employee BBQ or picnic to go over the basics. How you choose to inform employees and get their feedback will depend on your company's policies and vibe, so go with whatever feels right. The main point here is that your employees deserve to be in the loop, so make sure you give them the opportunity to be there.
That means giving them the means to provide feedback, too. Some people won't feel comfortable complaining or bringing up worries in person, and that's okay. Anything that involves their attendance and their paycheck is bound to make them a bit nervous. Show them you understand, listen when they bring up a concern, and try to find ways to alleviate their fears. Give employees a way to contact you privately, just in case they don't feel like they can say something face to face. The goal is transparency and showing your staff you care about their concerns and their thoughts.
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Train and Adjust
By this step, you're ready to install the new employee punch clock system, and your staff should be on board, too. Even if they still have concerns, remember that it's normal, and show them by example that you can handle anything that may arise. Ideally, you've chosen a mobile time punch and attendance solution that comes with a super simple and fast setup. If you have to go through complicated manuals and frustrated emails and phone calls to the punch clock system provider, you may have chosen the wrong solution for your business.
Remember what we said about free trials and no contracts? This step is where those suggestions come in handy. If you don't like the setup process or the training process, you're probably not going to like the system either. Back out before it's too late There are far too many powerful, affordable, and flexible punch clock apps on the market to be stuck using something you hate.
Either way, once you're all set up, it's time to train everyone. This is the time for managers, supervisors, and all staff to learn how the new punch clock system works, how to report any issues or give feedback, and what to do if something goes wrong. This is where all of your prep work pays off You have your employee list and their ID numbers all ready to go, so getting everyone into the system should be a piece of cake. If you're using a biometric system—fingerprints—then obviously, your employees will need to be present when everything is set up, but the right digital time punch system will allow you to make changes at any time simple, and in real-time.
After everything is up and running, if you're hearing unhappy reports from employees, you may need to look deeper into their comments and see if perhaps more training is needed or if the system isn't working quite right. You can keep your old punch clock system running in tandem with the new one, just for a few weeks, in case. Think of the old system like training wheels. You can remove it completely when it seems like everyone has learned the new punch clock system.
Be Prepared for the Future
You may be thinking that the steps to automating your employee punch clock system should have ended at number 4, but bear with us a moment. Upgrading to a digital, mobile employee time punch and attendance system is only the first step in a much bigger plan. You can, of course, try that system out for a while before you make any additional big changes, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't be prepared for the future. Remember step two? It's all about planning, and thanks to the internet, it's easy to stay up to date on the latest trends in business technology.
The day will come when everything is digital, not just the time punch system, so why not be prepared now? Even better, you can start making the switch today by slowly changing all of your business systems to mobile versions. Once you see how efficient and error-free a mobile employee punch clock solution is, we bet you'll be curious to see how other productivity apps can help, too. That's why we say that step 5 is to prepare your business for the future; but how, exactly, do you prepare for the future?
Look at your business - ask yourself what could be better and then start this process once more. Did you happen to make a second list during step one? Things that needed to be better, but weren't related to the time punch system? If so, that's a good place to start; these are items you're already aware of, so they need your attention. You can also ask employees what they think. Since they're on the front lines of your business, they know what's working and what could use some help. Get their opinions; see what they'd change
Don't be too quick, though. Choose one area at a time that could use some help, and look into other apps and solutions that work well with your new punch clock system. Hopefully, you've chosen one that already has a big list of compatible apps, so your next big switch will be even easier. Now that's being prepared for the future
How Switching to a Digital Time Punch Solution Saves Money. Time. Stress and frustration. Manpower. Poor planning, low-quality tools, and inefficient processes affect all of these. That's been a fact of life for businesses since the dawn of time. Managers and owner-operators are tasked every day with the job of shaving costs and finding better, more efficient ways to do things.
We're living in a time of major technological advances that save time, money, and even the environment. Let's look at the old-time punch systems, for example. They were usually big, heavy, clunky machines that needed frequent maintenance or even to be fully replaced. Employees had to use paper punch cards. The machines and the cards were both a major waste of resources—not just money and manpower, but physical resources, too. Where do you think all the broken time clock parts went? And what about all that paper from weeks gone by?
Digital, mobile punch clock apps remove the clunky machines and the wasteful paper, making the clock in process faster, more efficient, and less costly. The data is stored in the cloud, making it easily accessible by any connected devices. That means reports are always just a tap or swipe away. Even if something catastrophic happens to your physical business, all your data is safe and sound in the cloud and your employees will be paid on time and the correct amount. You can't say the same for those old dinosaurs with the paper cards.
Now, imagine the efficiency and accessibility of that punch clock app expanded out to inventory control, food safety, shift scheduling, daily task lists, and employee records. How about real-time communication with all your branches, even if you're not physically present? Technology can do all of that. In fact, it's doing it right now. You can buy new equipment and install complicated software, but wouldn't it be easier to simply use what most people have in their pockets anyway? Smart phones, tablets, mobile devices of all shapes and sizes—that's the future of business, and the future is now.
Have we got your attention? If you'd like to learn more about managing a small to medium business using productivity apps of all types, check out some of our other articles.