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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Strategic Time Keeping?

Alright, you might be laughing and wondering how far out I'm going with this "Strategic HR" sh*t. Wipe that smirk off your face and read up.

If you're with HR and haven't outsourced or automated your timekeeping work, then you must still be in some kind of HR purgatory, mechanically summarizing those time records every cutoff trying to ensure accuracy of payroll. Can be a boring, thankless job right? Well, if you're not yet doing it, I have a few suggestions that could make that job just a little more exciting and might earn you some thanks in the process.

Time keeping records tell a lot of story. If you can mine yours, you can come up with pretty useful information. When I was HR Manager I kept track of overtime, undertime, tardiness and absences. I look at trends that might corelate with productivity, quality, cost effectiveness, etc. There are a couple of things I found that might or might not apply to your organization. I matched my data with production records and found that people are more productive during regular hours than when they are working overtime (provided there is no motivation issue). I also found that tardiness is higher when employees were asked to work overtime the day before which made a lot of sense. I also found that quality of work diminishes after four hours of overtime work and that it was costing us more to have people regularly work long hours than hire additional people. When we put departmental records on tardiness, undertime and absences side by side, we are able to report who are doing well and who need to shape up in their attendance performance. When we show attendance history, we are able to show who is improving and who is getting worse. By making all these information available, we are able to help line managers take action that improves productivity, quality and therefore profitability. If that's not being strategic, I don't know what is. You know what else I found, numbers can be pretty convincing in moving managers' asses to action. I'm sure that if you put your mind to it, you'll also be able to come up with trends and matrices that provide useful information.

One last thing, if you are planning to outsource your payroll or automate it, I suggest that you look for features that will allow you to mine, slice and dice your attendance data with ease. We did it manually then and it was a pain in the you-know-where.

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