Have you ever been in a situation either as an employee, supervisor, or administrator where your time clocks go offline and nobody can punch? How about remote workers trying to track their time who have poor cell service and can’t clock in? Or worse, they think they punched in but because the signal was poor the punch was lost.
If you’ve ever been in this situation, you know it is an enormous hassle. Nothing is more frustrating than an employee who is trying to get to work and technology is preventing them from starting (or stopping) the clock.
Not only is the employee disrupted, typically a supervisor is involved in troubleshooting the clock, attempting to play an “IT” role for which they aren’t qualified, and ultimately having to manually enter a large set of punches. None of this is something the supervisor had planned on doing. Worse, when this happens with remote workers there is no way to verify they were at the right place and time when punching in.
Beyond the frustration and time expense of managing the challenge of a clock that goes offline, another more subtle problem quickly emerges. If a clock is unable to handle offline punching, it gives the supervisor an opportunity to allow and commit time fraud.
Don’t believe your supervisors commit fraud? Perhaps you’re right. However, it is well known to be one of largest challenges time systems are currently facing.
Any technological excuse a time clock provides your front-line workers or supervisors to avoid using the automated punch system, and instead enter manual punches, gives them opportunities to abuse the system.
Here is how it works.
At first the supervisors are hard at work trying to do the best job possible managing employees. As they grow close to those they work with, they hear of injustices in pay and supposed overwork by employers. Some of these complaints may be justified. Some may be human nature. Nevertheless, the supervisor will look for subtle ways to gain favor with those they are charged with leading. The easiest way for this to happen is time manipulation.
Once the supervisor realizes there are situations a clock can’t process punches, they now know they can manually manipulate time. Once they can enter time for this reason, they have an opportunity to enter time for late employees and employees who are looking to leave early. They justify this by telling themselves that the employee deserves the extra “bonus” or they’ve worked extra in the past. Perhaps they are correct at times. Perhaps they are just playing favorites. However, it shouldn’t be something supervisors are doing without the blessing of management or ownership. These issues should be discussed openly and the time system should not be used as a tool by supervisors to make adjustments as they see fit.
If the time data is wrong, then the project job costing is incorrect. If actual pay is incorrect, it creates bad data for estimates. Worse, this can lead to a misunderstanding of a company’s winning and losing projects, departments, and divisions.
How do you solve this?
The solution is simple.
- Ensure your time clock is offline capable, with full functionality online or offline. This way there is no excuse. When an employee can still use the clock when offline to punch in and out, they can always punch. Will the clock at times loose signal? Yes. But getting signal to a clock so that it can offload punches that have already occurred and are certified is very different from allowing supervisors to manually enter these punches.
- Ensure your biometric clock is not a gatekeeper system.
- Have open and honest conversations with supervisors about employee morale. Include an open dialogue about pay, breaks, and treatment of the employees. If there is a sense of unfairness or work conditions that are demotivating, attempt to address this by giving your supervisor power to reward employees with true bonuses or perks that are known to the entire organization, not hidden in the dark corners of the time system data.