Attendance management systems: 6 benefits for your small business

You’ve heard of attendance management systems, but with everything on your plate, it can feel like one more thing on your to-do list. And you already have a paper system, so what’s the problem? Our opinion? A lot. 

Our goal is to make attendance management systems easier for your small business so you can save money and focus on other things––things that aren’t spending hours tallying paper timesheets. We promise there’s a better way.

At its core, attendance management can be simple.

The part that isn’t always simple? Figuring out which system for attendance management is best for your small business. Or why you need one in the first place.

In this article, we talk all things attendance management systems. What it is, why you need it, what the benefits are, and why Homebase may be the best choice for your attendance management system needs.

Let’s do this.

What is attendance management?

Attendance management is the process of tracking your employees’ working hours, their clock ins and outs, their breaks, and their time off. There are many different methods of attendance management, like time clocks, punch cards, and spreadsheets. 

Most employers need attendance management processes to prevent things like time theft and inaccurate payroll, but also, just to make sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be. It’s that simple—but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a system.

What is an attendance management system?

An attendance management system is a cloud-based system that helps your small business automate all of your attendance management steps, like keeping track of your employees’ working hours. 

From tracking hours and breaks, to submitting timesheets for payroll, to organizing time-off requests and missed shifts, the right attendance management system will have it all. And, make it easy.

How to know it’s time for your small business to get an attendance management system

If you run a smaller team, it can be easy to put off implementing an attendance system for employees. But is your current system working? 

Here are some signs that it’s time to switch to a cloud-based attendance management system:

1. You’re still tracking attendance manually

Ok. We don’t want to be too hard on paper. It does have a time and a place, like birthday cards, notes to your grandma, and kids’ art projects. But when every hour worked counts towards your bottom line, you’ll be amazed at how much faster a cloud-based attendance management system will be. 

If your employees are using paper timesheets to write down their clock ins and outs instead of a time clock app, those hours of trying to figure out if that scribble is a 3 or an 8 can really add up.

2. You regularly have payroll errors

Do you have  employees coming to you on a weekly basis wondering why their pay is under? Finding yourself scratching your head when the number of hours worked doesn’t add up to the hours on the schedule? Then it’s time to institute an attendance system for your employees. 

When your system has a time clock that automatically takes punches and turns them into timesheets, and then into payroll, you make that margin of error much smaller.

3. Time theft and buddy punching are all too common at your small business

It happens. We don’t want it to happen, but it happens. The American Society of Employers found that time theft and buddy punching lost approximately 20% of every dollar earned by U.S. companies. A proper attendance management system will have barriers set up––things like GPS capabilities and geofencing––making time theft and buddy punching a thing of the past.

4. You’re not confident in your storage system for important documents

Are you rocking one of those old, beat up filing cabinets that hasn’t been organized in years? It may be time to get an attendance management app that will easily file your important docs in one place. After all, you don’t want to mess with the Fair Labor Standards Act enforcers when they come a knockin’ asking for your records.

5. You keep experiencing scheduling mix-ups

It’s no fun to get the dreaded phone call from your supervisor. Yet again, someone’s saying a team member didn’t show up for their shift, and that that same someone swears up and down they swapped their shift with another employee. 

Whatever happened, that shift is now short. A good system will make scheduling and shift swaps easier on you and reduce being understaffed.

6. You don’t have an attendance policy

An attendance policy is going to be your number one tool to get everyone on the same page when it comes to attendance management. If you don’t have an attendance policy yet, it’s time. This policy gets your team all on the same page about attendance expectations.

6 benefits of an attendance management system

Now that we’ve dug into why you absolutely can’t live without an attendance management system, let’s look at all of the ways it can benefit your small business.

1. Makes time tracking easy

If you want your payroll to be accurate, you’ve got to make time tracking easy for your employees. Dare we say, even fun for your employees. The benefit of an attendance management system that includes a mobile time clock is that your employees can clock in and out right on their mobile devices with the touch of a button. Literally, the easiest. 

2. Reduces buddy punching and time theft

If time theft and buddy punching are a consistent problem for you, an attendance management software that includes GPS tracking and geofencing is the answer. 

With a system that includes GPS capabilities, you can verify clock-in locations, take snapshots, and assign PINs to your employees. Buddy punching will be a thing of the past. 

With geofencing, you can set a perimeter around your business so your employees will only be able to clock in or out when they’re in that perimeter. You can even set up notifications to remind employees that they need to clock in or out once they hit that perimeter. No more forgetting punches.

3. Tracks absenteeism

Mistakes happen. Emergencies come up. Employees can get their days confused. Even though all of this is relatively normal, you still have to keep an eye on who isn’t showing up for their shifts. A great attendance management system will be able to notify you if someone doesn’t clock in for their shift. This means you can be ready to take over or sub another employee in. 

The system will also allow you to keep records in a cloud-based system so you can see if absenteeism is a problem for certain employees. 

4. Automates systems that lead to less payroll errors

One of the biggest benefits of attendance management software is that it can connect and automate many of your payroll processes. The more automated, the less chance for errors. 

Your employees can time track with a time clock app that sends all of the information to a central hub. You can then turn those punches into time sheets and those time sheets into paychecks. Every step easily leads to the next. 

Less errors mean less knocks on your door once those paychecks have been handed out.

5. Clarifies attendance management policies in one place

Where there’s a system, there needs to be a policy. A great policy is one that gets everyone on the same page. Trust us: that attendance policy is going to save a lot of confusion in the workplace.

Common stressors without an attendance management policy

  • Track time: How do employees clock in and out? 
  • Breaks: What constitutes a break? How many breaks can you take during a shift? Do you need to clock out for breaks?
  • Shift swaps: How do you swap a shift? Who do you notify when you swap shifts?
  • Calling in sick: Who do you call when you’re sick? Are you responsible for getting your shift covered?
  • Disciplinary consequences: What are the consequences of a no-call, no-show? What’s the escalation protocol for frequent late clock ins? 
  • Paid time off (PTO) and vacation: If your employees receive PTO or vacation time, how do they submit those requests for time off? How are the accruals and use of PTO tracked?

Step 1: create a thorough attendance policy. Step 2: have the document signed by each employee stating they read the policy. And yes, that includes any time it changes. 

An attendance management system can store this important document in the cloud and can allow you and your team to have access to it if ever there’s a debate around the policy.

Just remember when setting up an attendance policy, you’ll need to take a look at state PTO rules and regulations.

6. Saves your business money

There are so many ways an attendance management system saves your business money. We’ve talked about a bunch already. 

Reducing buddy punching and time theft means not paying for those 10-15 minutes that sneak under the radar regularly and only paying for hours worked. 

But what about the hours and hours spent trying to piece together the puzzle that’s paper time tracking? Adding up those dollars saved from reduced admin hours will have you dancing for joy. 

And last, but certainly not least, there are attendance management systems out there that are free of charge depending on the size of your staff. But even the paid plans are affordable––no matter the size of your small business. Paying for a cloud-based attendance management system is going to be less expensive than an entire HR or payroll person on the team.

Choose Homebase for your attendance management system

Okay, you know why you need an attendance system for your employees, and what the benefits are. Now, it’s time to choose the best one. We want to show you why Homebase should be your choice for an attendance management system.

  • We offer a free plan. Homebase has a free plan for our mobile time clock if your business has 20 employees or less.
  • Automated systems. Our suite of tools are all interconnected. Time clock punches turn into timesheets, which turn into paychecks.
  • It’s time tracking made easy. We make it easy for you and your employees to accurately track time. Your employees can use their phones, computers, or even POS systems to easily clock in and out. Want to level up? You can also use our GPS capabilities to make sure there’s no buddy punching going on.
  • Notifications keep everyone in the loop. Set up notifications to let your employees know when they have shifts coming up, or to let you know when an employee is late to clock in.
  • Recordkeeping. You can store important documents—like an attendance management policy—in the cloud so you and your employees can access them when needed. As a bonus, your employees can also sign these docs, acknowledging receiving them, right in the app.

Use Homebase for your attendance management system

Homebase has a suite of tools—from a time clock to payroll—that can help you manage your attendance for your small business. Try it for free today.

Attendance management system FAQs

What is attendance management?

Attendance management is the simple act of keeping track of your employees’ hours on the job, breaks taken, paid time off, and shift swaps. Basically, anything to do with tracking your employees’ hours worked.

What is an attendance management system?

An attendance management system keeps a record of your employees’ hours worked and any other attendance based data with a software-based system. The advantage of an attendance management system is that you can automate many of the steps it takes to record punches in and out and then turn that data into payroll.

Why do I need an attendance management system?

You need an attendance management system to help you avoid costly timekeeping pitfalls every business can fall into. Things like payroll errors due to paper timesheets, buddy punching and time theft from employees, and not establishing a clear attendance policy.

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