Do You Need to Update Your Time Tracking Software?

Do You Need to Update Your Time Tracking Software?

Who? What? When? Where? Why? These are the questions every business should be able to answer with their employee time tracking software.

The 5 W’s of Workforce Management

The importance of establishing “who,” “what,” when,” “where,” and “why” is Workforce Management 101.  The 5 W’s affect labor budgets, workflow efficiency, employee productivity, and recordkeeping compliance.

Updated Time Tracking Software is the Low Hanging Fruit

Perhaps you think the answer to growing your company is applying some new business philosophy or implementing the latest online marketing technique. These may be valuable, but if you are ignoring basic Workforce Management principles you are failing to pick the low hanging fruit in your quest for business growth.

Time Tracking Software Tracks Those All-Important W’s

Effective employee time tracking software that your managers, employees, and HR staff can easily use is your tool for making sure the 5 W’s are accurately tracked.

Who is punching in?

What shift is the employee working? What certifications or specialized skills are necessary for the job duties? What is the job code for this punch?

When does this employee begin the shift? When does the employee end the shift? When do his breaks begin and end? When will he begin working overtime? When do I need to send him home to keep him in part-time status per ACA provisions?

Where is he located when he punches in? Onsite at Location A? Offsite at Job Site B? In transit? Making a delivery? Doing a job bid? Picking up supplies?

If your employee time tracking software doesn’t accurately track the W’s, you end up asking a lot of “why’s.”


  • is everyone confused about the schedule?
  • can’t I keep all shifts covered adequately?
  • does it take so long to process payroll?
  • are my labor costs so high?
  • do I have to hire a new payroll manager every six months?
  • why can’t I kill my persistent headache with Advil and an excessive amount of caffeine?

Tracking the 5 W’s is Not Complicated With Time Tracking Software

Does this sound like a no-brainer? Maybe. But you would be surprised at how many employers fail to accurately track this so-called “no-brainer” information. Sure, they might attempt to manage it with an old punch clock or paper timesheets. These systems rely on perfectly honest employees who remember to punch in/out every single time exactly when authorized. (Sarcasm alert.) I am sure that describes each and every one of your employees.

You Need a Time Tracking App Because Your Managers Can’t be Everywhere

Some employers have first or second generation automated time tracking software that does a passable job with standard onsite shifts. The problem is that it can’t track mobile workers. Some rely on a manager at the remote location to record the time an employee begins working.

Think about the challenges in such a system. What if the manager is busy on an important call with a client when the employees show up to begin a shift? What if nine workers arrive on time but the tenth member of the crew arrives twenty minutes late when the manager is checking a shipment of supplies? Modern mobile time tracking apps allow your employees to clock in on their smartphone or tablet.

Employees are Also Busy (Hopefully)

Suppose an employee forgets to punch out for an unpaid break. Will the worker correct that on the timecard? What if you are using a key fob system and an employee loses their key fob? What if there is a line at the punch clock and customers waiting at the counter? Do you really want the customers to wait while everyone finds their card and punches in?

Time Tracking Software With GPS

The “where” of the 5 W’s has long been a weak link for companies with mobile or offsite workers. Ditto for businesses with multiple locations. If your company has either of these needs, learn about Swipeclock employee time tracking software with GPS tracking capabilities.

Signs That Your Employee Time Tracking Software is Outdated

This article is for employers with time tracking software that is not capturing the 5 W’s accurately. How do you know if you are one of those employers?

Frequent Timecard Errors

Does your system detect a missed punch? A timecard for a restaurant server that shows an 18-hour shift should raise an eyebrow in the system, so to speak—especially if the business is only open from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Does your HR or payroll manager have to correct timecards with missing punches? This may require looking at the schedule for the pay period and trying to figure out some of the W’s. Who was working? When did this employee punch in? Why does the timecard not include punches for breaks and meals? Why do I have to do this every single pay period?

I have met business owners who upgraded their system a few years ago and still believe that it’s adequate. However, their managers spend several hours a week just reconciling timecards.

Employees Can’t Access the Schedule

If you are not taking advantage of time tracking apps that allow everyone to see the schedule on any mobile device, you are creating unnecessary confusion. If Steve doesn’t know he is supposed to be working today because the schedule was changed after he looked at it on the whiteboard—you are in trouble. When an employee can’t see the revisions, it leads to shorthanded shifts, frustrated employees, and dissatisfied customers.

You Aren’t 100% Sure You Are Compliant

If you are a business owner, hopefully, you know the federal, state, and local labor laws that affect you. In addition, you should understand any laws that are specific to your industry or employee status. We will assume this is true. The next step is making sure you are following the recordkeeping provisions attached to each and every one of those laws.

Imagine if a DOL investigator showed up tomorrow morning and asked to see the timecards for all employees who worked overtime last quarter. Gulp. Does imagining that scenario make your heart race? If so, chances are that you need to rethink your employee time tracking software.

Your Employees Frequently Contact HR

Kelly wants to know how many vacation days she has earned. Randy needs to know how many sick days he has used since the beginning of the year. Andrew just needs to tell HR that he moved so they can send his W-2 to his new address. If your current time tracking software doesn’t have an employee self-service portal, your HR team probably spends a lot of time accommodating very simple requests. If one of your goals is reducing the time spent on tasks that don’t generate any revenue, look here first.

You Have No Idea if Your Employees Are Stealing Time

If you don’t have a biometric time clock, you are paying for time not worked. Period. It’s a sad fact of life for employers. Paper timesheets and honor-based online systems are routinely exploited. To learn how to save, see 3 Ways to Save $1000’s on Labor Costs.

Employee Time Tracking Software For Your Business

Ready to update your employee time tracking software? You have everything to gain:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Lower labor costs
  • Simplified compliance
  • Happier employees

This information is provided with the understanding that Payroll Partners is not rendering legal, human resources, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from a lawyer, HR consultant or other professional.