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The Complete Payroll Blog

PeopleWork 10 - Greg Nasso on Time and Attendance Systems

Posted by Complete Payroll | Nov 4, 2019, 1:26:26 PM

PW_20191018_Greg Nasso.00_03_52_03.Still002

In this episode of PeopleWork, we had the pleasure of sitting down with our very own Greg Nasso  at our office in downtown Perry, New York to discuss time and attendance systems, and the impact they can have on your company. Greg shared a ton of insights that should be valuable to business owners, HR managers or anyone that's responsible for managing and elevating a workforce of people. Watch the video or read the entire transcript of the conversation below. And, if you're . interested in setting up or improving your company's time and attendance system, reach out to Greg and his team at the link below. Enjoy!

 

Watch the Video

 

 

Read the Conversation Transcript

CJ:
Hey everybody, CJ Maurer with Complete Payroll back again for another episode of People Work where we interview a variety of professionals spanning the human capital management industry to learn more about what's important as it relates to running a business and managing a workforce of people. Today, I'm really excited because this is the first episode that we're doing with one of our own, our fellow Complete Payroll employee Product Manager and resident Time and Attendance Expert, Greg Nasso. Greg, thanks for being here.

Greg:
CJ. I'm super happy to be here, and excited to be doing this interview.

CJ:
Awesome, thank you. So what we're going to talk about today is we're going to talk about time and attendance, and also some of the latest technology and trends that can really turn labor costs into a competitive advantage for employers by deploying the right time and attendance system. But before we get started, right, I am not somebody who has a lot of experience with time and attendance systems, and when I hear timekeeping, I just think, “Okay, well you punch in, and you punch out, and you send those hours to payroll so that somebody knows how many hours you worked, and they know how much to pay you,” that's it. I don't understand why it would be any more complicated or comprehensive or involved than that, but I know you know differently. So why don't you tell me why time and attendance is a lot more than just punch in, punch out?

Request a timekeeping software demoGreg:
Sure. So I mean any type of attendance system can be a process in which employees are going to report their hours to their company, their supervisor, tracking the different hours that they worked, or maybe different things that they worked on over the course of a period, right? Now, this can be any type of system. It can be as simple as a piece of paper, right that I write my hours on, and it can be as complex as software that's integrated with multiple access points and methods in which employees feed their punches, or their hours worked, that integrates with something like HR and payroll systems, right? So at the beginning, right, you need to focus on, well what is your organization doing? What industry are you in? How many employees do you have?

Greg:
Then what type of system is going to manage your complexity in an efficient, effective manner, right? But then that that can be, again, as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, it can be as simple as a piece of paper, but it can be as complicated as a software that has scheduling components, that it has various punching methods. It could incorporate a mobile application. So it really depends on what type of industry you're in, and the types of employees that you employ, what type of compliance that you might be involved in.

CJ:
What are the common types of systems that you encounter?

Greg:
Okay, so right, we commonly come across clients that do still utilize a paper time sheet. That is something that as a time and attendance expert, someone that has worked in the industry for almost 10 years, right, I'm still kind of taken aback by and surprised by, but that is something that we commonly come across. It is very cost effective in that I mean I guess maybe in terms of dollars and cents, right?

CJ:
Yeah.

Greg:
It doesn't cost very much upfront to utilize that type of system, but something that commonly our clients don't realize is the overhead that comes with utilizing that type of approach in terms of the time for your payroll processor just to gather up all of that data and then enter it into a type of payroll platform, whether it is calling it into your customer service rep, or it's hand keying that data, totaling up the hours, doing the math, right, that can take time, right, that is then costing you at least a higher clip, your payroll processor, or your HR administrator's probably at a higher expense than maybe your employees that right are just punching in and out.

Greg:
But then there's also the high, the cost of your employees maybe just reporting their time, and you not knowing if this is exactly when they started, and this is exactly when they ended. So commonly, employees will estimate their hours in their favor when they report on this paper time card. So if I'm adding maybe seven minutes to my day every day, that can add up to a huge additional labor expense over the course of a year, especially as you have more and more employees. So commonly, we see that clients might still be utilizing this type of paper or Excel based approach. I mean they might not realize the expense that comes along with that, that commonly would pay for itself if you were to pursue a more automated platform that helps you pay your employees more accurately.

CJ:
So you made a couple very interesting points with regard to how moving away from paper time sheets or Excel spreadsheets really benefits the employer in terms of saving a lot of time, and then you're not paying hours that weren't actually worked. Like you said, even something as innocuous as seven minutes a day could really add up to a lot over the course of the year. What about these systems on the employer side or rather the employee side? Do they make the employee's life any easier?

PW-Short_20191018_Greg Nasso_Mobile Applications

 

Greg:
So again, it probably depends on the system, the platform that you're looking at. I'd say that common ... How do I want to say this? There are platforms today that incorporate something like a mobile application, right, that depending on your vendor place add an extremely high value on the end user. When we're talking about time and attendance, your highest number of users is always going to be the employee. You're going to have more employees than you have supervisors. You have more employees than you have administrators. So a software platform that places emphasis on the access point that's going to impact the most users is a really great fit in this case. Now, right, if you have something like a mobile application that might incorporate time off balances, it might incorporate a timecard view where the employees can see the hours that they work, possibly approve their timecard then signaling back to their supervisor, their HR administrator that their hours look correct.

Greg:
A mobile application that also incorporates scheduling data where if the employees are scheduled regularly, they can see their scheduled shifts available to them on their mobile application, these types of access points that add value to the employee while also possibly making it simple and easy for them to do something like either A still report their hours if that is what you think is going to work better for you culturally then having them actually punch in and punch out, or a mobile application that also incorporates a punching method where the employees now have this really simple place where it's quick and easy for them to record these transactions, commonly clients again that are still using these paper time cards, they might have a cultural issue where it is hard for them to sell their workforce on actually punching in and punching out because they have used this paper time card for so long, and they don't want to do it in other way.

Greg:
A, it's they're comfortable with it, B, maybe they have been working it in their favor, right? But this is a major hurdle for these types of clients. They need to sell this platform, and it needs to add value both to the organization but to the employees as well. So these types of tools can make it simple and easy for them, which might help overcome that roadblock.

CJ:
Yeah. I mean, you had to pause for a second, but you gave a really great answer. There's some pretty clear benefits on the employee side in terms of I mean, just ease of use, right?

Greg:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

CJ:
Yes, there may be some few exceptions where it sounds like if they're used to an old system, the idea of doing something new may be challenging. But generally speaking, having a web based app or something on your phone you can just punch in and punch out or whatever, look up stuff is way easier, way less friction. We're in a world where we're getting more and more used to being able to access any of the information we need right in our pocket-

Greg:
Exactly.

CJ:
... right? Plus obviously being able to look up, “Oh man, how much time do I have left?” Maybe you're one of those situations where, “Do I want to go to this concert in Cleveland” or, “Should I take this day?” It's like one of those things where you got to kind of decide if you want to take today how much time you have off. That's pretty cool to me, right? But let's talk about mobile apps. So I've never used a mobile app to punch in or punch out in my life, but obviously more things are moving mobile. Why don't you talk about we said at the beginning we were going to talk a little bit more about some of the more emerging trends in time and attendance world. Why don't you talk about the aspects of mobile time and attendance, and some of the benefits that it affords employers?

Demo our Employee Scheduling PlatformGreg:
Absolutely. So mobile applications can incorporate a time clock function, right? Commonly it's something that you can restrict depending on your type of employees. Maybe you have-

CJ:
What does that mean to restrict depending on type of employees?

Greg:
So maybe you have some of your employees travel, and they go work at different sites, but then other employees work at your headquarters and they work onsite, right? So you might want your onsite employees that aren't traveling around to not have the ability to punch in and punch out on their phone because you've purchased this physical time clock on the wall, or maybe you prefer that these employees that are on site, they have a computer at their desk, you want them to use this method, and you don't want them punching from their phone because they really don't need that access, or you're more comfortable having them punch from their workstation, they don't need mobile access.

CJ:
Got it.

Greg:
So their mobile phone doesn't show the punch features, but they can still check their time card, add notes to their timecard, make their electronic time off requests, which come to their supervisor to approve, check their ... All those things we talked about so far, where you have your traveling employees, and they're out on the road. So they need to be able to clock in and clock out as they get to different work sites and do different things. So this group of employees you would enable this feature for. So when they pull up their mobile application, they see the time clock features, and they can punch in when they get onsite, the app can collect GPS data so your supervisors or administrators can still go back through and maybe review these transactions to make sure they're where they're supposed to be.

PW-Short_20191018_Greg Nasso_Geo-Fencing

CJ:
Now that's the term you use for this when we were talking about this before was geo-fencing, right?

Greg:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

CJ:
That's geo-fencing, right, basically restricting employee's ability to punch in or punch out based on whether or not they're in a certain location?

Greg:
So geo-fencing is an additional layer, right?

CJ:
Oh okay.

Greg:
So you can have mobile punching where your employees can punch from their phone, and it's not necessarily tracking based on specific locations. Now geo-fencing is something that I am incredibly excited about. This is again emerging trends in technology. What geo-fencing allows you to do is specify within your system specific locations that employees really are supposed to be punching from, right? So now again you can still control it at an employee level. So maybe you have your handful of employees that work all over the place, and so you don't want to be notified when they punch outside of your fence. They're not really restricted by a fence, right? But if we think about maybe ourselves, our company for example, we have essentially four different main locations that employees would punch from. So we could tag them in our system, and now employees, they could punch from their phone, and as long as they're punching at one of these locations, it's an acceptable punch.

Greg:
If I were to punch from home, let's say, I'm outside of the fence, the system would generate an email notification to my supervisor, so they know that I violated the rule, and they can see it represented right on my time card. There's all sorts of reports that they can run in the system that help track when I'm abusing the system, right?

CJ:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Greg:
Now the big, big, big value piece that this adds is that this is the direction that just our whole society is moving, right? Everyone has, most people have a smartphone, right?

CJ:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Greg:
While some employers might feel more comfortable having their employees use a physical clock, a physical clock, which costs substantial money up front to purchase and acquire, right, so it's a higher upfront cost could even restrict you from moving forward with a software platform that is going to help cut down on your labor expense, and it is going to cut down on your time to process payroll. So in the long run, it really is going to save your organization money, right?

CJ:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Greg:
Outside of that, right, mobile punching allows the employee to have a better experience overall, and could potentially help you attract higher quality labor, retain your higher quality employees because you are investing in these different platforms that make their experience working all the more better. The downside, the cost to you is really minimal, right? Geo-fencing is a feature that costs very little if any additional to incorporate in your software platform, right? Now, okay, I could pull into the parking lot and then maybe that's within the fence and then okay I could clock in there and maybe get an extra 30 seconds as I walk into the building, right?

Greg:
But the other side of that is your employees sprinting into the building because they know that they're almost late, and then trying to punch in on your fingerprint scanner, having the first scan not work, right?

CJ:
Because there's sweat on their finger?

Greg:
Right because they're worried, and so now they're smashing their finger on the clock, and the sweat's beading down their face because they are just anxious. They don't want to be late, they don't want to have that conversation with their supervisor. They really were in the building on time, right? Now they're trying to enter their password in their computer, and it doesn't work, and then they have to enter it again, and now they're starting off their day anxious, worried, concerned, right-

CJ:
Right.

Greg:
... not the best.

CJ:
So the mobile app, it's just, it's there, right? You're within the fence, you're within restricted area, you punch in frictionless, at the same time, it gives the employers a little bit of credibility, right? So they can make sure one, they give their employees an easier way of punching in. They also make sure that people aren't punching in when they're not actually-

Greg:
Exactly.

CJ:
... onsite.

Greg:
I can still track all the data, right? We can still see it all. So we are encouraging our clients to pursue this technology A, because we want our clients to be industry leaders in their tools and technology that they can incorporate with their staff, right? But then they add verbiage in their employee handbook that just sets standards in terms of how they're going to manage infractions and exceptions. We leave it to department heads, supervisors to kind of really dictate what it is they want to do, and the exceptions they want to make for their staff. But the record is on the employee's time card.

Greg:
We have all the detail. The audit history is there. So if you were to choose to do something with an employee that has abused your system, you have the documentation in your handbook, you have the record on the timecard, and so you're really well protected in regard of an employee that maybe is abusing these opportunities. Then right, in the same case, if maybe an employee abuses it but you're not going to part ways, you could still choose to remove that access from them, and force them to punch from a computer, or an onsite terminal, or other employees are afforded this-

CJ:
So it's pretty flexible.

Greg:
... privilege, right?

CJ:
Okay. So we've covered a lot, right? We've covered why is time and attendance something beyond just punching in and out, right? Most of the common systems that people use, and we got into mobile app and geo-fencing, and I personally I think we should do this again. I think there's a whole lot it seems like to talk about when it comes to the world of time and attendance, employee scheduling and things like that. But for the purpose of putting a bow on this conversation, based on everything we've talked about, one of the things that I'd be interested to hear and maybe anybody who's watching is what would you recommend to somebody who has identified that there's some steps to take improving their time and attendance system for efficiency sake on both the employer and employee side, and maybe they're considering making a change or something. What would you recommend to people in those situations?

Greg:
So the first thing I would consider is just how much time are you spending gathering up your hours for your employees, and incorporating that in the payroll? Is it an efficient process, or is it taking you time, dollars? Is it easy, or is it a pain, right? The next thing that I would ask is just what are our primary business needs in terms of tracking time? Do we just need a clock that employees can punch in and punch out on? Do we have different jobs, or projects, or cost centers we're really trying to expense our employees hours across? Do we have different override rates, shift differentials that we need to track and automate? Then if the answer is yes to any of those things, then go back. Is your current platform, is your current system doing that efficiently? Is it effective, or is it a manual process?

Greg:
Is it taking substantial hours and time for you or your supervisors to get you the right information so that then you again can incorporate it in payroll? The last thing that I would really consider too is do you have a scheduling need? Do you need to create schedules for your staff on a weekly or biweekly basis? Do you need ... Do their schedules change? Do you need to communicate this data to them? If the answer is yes, do your employee schedules then change after it's been published? How do you manage those scheduling changes? Do you have some type of coverage or compliance need that you're trying to schedule for?

Greg:
If you schedule your staff, how well are you scheduling them, forecasting their hours, trying to reduce your overtime expense? What is your system there that helps you in that regard? If you don't really have one, think about what is the cost then of not proactively planning my overtime expense, proactively planning the hours that I'm assigning to different individuals to make sure that we're doing everything we can to plan appropriately, and then afterwards go back through and audit exceptions to that to understand why I had more hours than I planned on, why had overtime for a particular individual when I really only scheduled them for a certain amount of hours.

CJ:
That it seems like a common theme here with planning and making sure that things stay efficient and really generating a benefit for both sides, so that's really interesting. Hey, thanks so much for carving out some time. I think we should do this again. Really appreciate diving a little bit more into the world of time and attendance, and some of the more emerging trends within that process. So everybody, thanks for watching. Thanks for sticking around. We're going to provide some ways to get in touch with Greg if you're interested in picking his brain, and learning a little bit more about his expertise. Aside from that, we'll be back soon with a another episode of People Work. Thanks so much.

 



CJ:
Now that's the term you use for this when we were talking about this before was geo-fencing, right?

Greg:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

CJ:
That's geo-fencing, right, basically restricting employee's ability to punch in or punch out based on whether or not they're in a certain location?

Greg:
So geo-fencing is an additional layer, right?

CJ:
Oh okay.

Greg:
So you can have mobile punching where your employees can punch from their phone, and it's not necessarily tracking based on specific locations. Now geo-fencing is something that I am incredibly excited about. This is again emerging trends in technology. What geo-fencing allows you to do is specify within your system specific locations that employees really are supposed to be punching from, right? So now again you can still control it at an employee level. So maybe you have your handful of employees that work all over the place, and so you don't want to be notified when they punch outside of your fence. They're not really restricted by a fence, right? But if we think about maybe ourselves, our company for example, we have essentially four different main locations that employees would punch from. So we could tag them in our system, and now employees, they could punch from their phone, and as long as they're punching at one of these locations, it's an acceptable punch.

Greg:
If I were to punch from home, let's say, I'm outside of the fence, the system would generate an email notification to my supervisor, so they know that I violated the rule, and they can see it represented right on my time card. There's all sorts of reports that they can run in the system that help track when I'm abusing the system, right?

CJ:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Greg:
Now the big, big, big value piece that this adds is that this is the direction that just our whole society is moving, right? Everyone has, most people have a smartphone, right?

CJ:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Greg:
While some employers might feel more comfortable having their employees use a physical clock, a physical clock, which costs substantial money up front to purchase and acquire, right, so it's a higher upfront cost could even restrict you from moving forward with a software platform that is going to help cut down on your labor expense, and it is going to cut down on your time to process payroll. So in the long run, it really is going to save your organization money, right?

CJ:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Greg:
Outside of that, right, mobile punching allows the employee to have a better experience overall, and could potentially help you attract higher quality labor, retain your higher quality employees because you are investing in these different platforms that make their experience working all the more better. The downside, the cost to you is really minimal, right? Geo-fencing is a feature that costs very little if any additional to incorporate in your software platform, right? Now, okay, I could pull into the parking lot and then maybe that's within the fence and then okay I could clock in there and maybe get an extra 30 seconds as I walk into the building, right?

Greg:
But the other side of that is your employees sprinting into the building because they know that they're almost late, and then trying to punch in on your fingerprint scanner, having the first scan not work, right?

CJ:
Because there's sweat on their finger?

Greg:
Right because they're worried, and so now they're smashing their finger on the clock, and the sweat's beading down their face because they are just anxious. They don't want to be late, they don't want to have that conversation with their supervisor. They really were in the building on time, right? Now they're trying to enter their password in their computer, and it doesn't work, and then they have to enter it again, and now they're starting off their day anxious, worried, concerned, right-

CJ:
Right.

Greg:
... not the best.

CJ:
So the mobile app, it's just, it's there, right? You're within the fence, you're within restricted area, you punch in frictionless, at the same time, it gives the employers a little bit of credibility, right? So they can make sure one, they give their employees an easier way of punching in. They also make sure that people aren't punching in when they're not actually-

Greg:
Exactly.

CJ:
... onsite.

Greg:
I can still track all the data, right? We can still see it all. So we are encouraging our clients to pursue this technology A, because we want our clients to be industry leaders in their tools and technology that they can incorporate with their staff, right? But then they add verbiage in their employee handbook that just sets standards in terms of how they're going to manage infractions and exceptions. We leave it to department heads, supervisors to kind of really dictate what it is they want to do, and the exceptions they want to make for their staff. But the record is on the employee's time card.

Greg:
We have all the detail. The audit history is there. So if you were to choose to do something with an employee that has abused your system, you have the documentation in your handbook, you have the record on the timecard, and so you're really well protected in regard of an employee that maybe is abusing these opportunities. Then right, in the same case, if maybe an employee abuses it but you're not going to part ways, you could still choose to remove that access from them, and force them to punch from a computer, or an onsite terminal, or other employees are afforded this-

CJ:
So it's pretty flexible.

Greg:
... privilege, right?

CJ:
Okay. So we've covered a lot, right? We've covered why is time and attendance something beyond just punching in and out, right? Most of the common systems that people use, and we got into mobile app and geo-fencing, and I personally I think we should do this again. I think there's a whole lot it seems like to talk about when it comes to the world of time and attendance, employee scheduling and things like that. But for the purpose of putting a bow on this conversation, based on everything we've talked about, one of the things that I'd be interested to hear and maybe anybody who's watching is what would you recommend to somebody who has identified that there's some steps to take improving their time and attendance system for efficiency sake on both the employer and employee side, and maybe they're considering making a change or something. What would you recommend to people in those situations?

Greg:
So the first thing I would consider is just how much time are you spending gathering up your hours for your employees, and incorporating that in the payroll? Is it an efficient process, or is it taking you time, dollars? Is it easy, or is it a pain, right? The next thing that I would ask is just what are our primary business needs in terms of tracking time? Do we just need a clock that employees can punch in and punch out on? Do we have different jobs, or projects, or cost centers we're really trying to expense our employees hours across? Do we have different override rates, shift differentials that we need to track and automate? Then if the answer is yes to any of those things, then go back. Is your current platform, is your current system doing that efficiently? Is it effective, or is it a manual process?

Greg:
Is it taking substantial hours and time for you or your supervisors to get you the right information so that then you again can incorporate it in payroll? The last thing that I would really consider too is do you have a scheduling need? Do you need to create schedules for your staff on a weekly or biweekly basis? Do you need ... Do their schedules change? Do you need to communicate this data to them? If the answer is yes, do your employee schedules then change after it's been published? How do you manage those scheduling changes? Do you have some type of coverage or compliance need that you're trying to schedule for?

Greg:
If you schedule your staff, how well are you scheduling them, forecasting their hours, trying to reduce your overtime expense? What is your system there that helps you in that regard? If you don't really have one, think about what is the cost then of not proactively planning my overtime expense, proactively planning the hours that I'm assigning to different individuals to make sure that we're doing everything we can to plan appropriately, and then afterwards go back through and audit exceptions to that to understand why I had more hours than I planned on, why had overtime for a particular individual when I really only scheduled them for a certain amount of hours.

CJ:
That it seems like a common theme here with planning and making sure that things stay efficient and really generating a benefit for both sides, so that's really interesting. Hey, thanks so much for carving out some time. I think we should do this again. Really appreciate diving a little bit more into the world of time and attendance, and some of the more emerging trends within that process. So everybody, thanks for watching. Thanks for sticking around. We're going to provide some ways to get in touch with Greg if you're interested in picking his brain, and learning a little bit more about his expertise. Aside from that, we'll be back soon with a another episode of People Work. Thanks so much.

 

Contact Greg Nasso

If you have any questions about time and attendance systems, contact Greg Nasso, our Product Manager for Time & Attendance solutions, at gnasso@completepayroll.com.

Topics: PeopleWork

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