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    Payroll Blog


March 13, 2018

3 Ways to Save $1,000’s on Employee Labor


Employee wages and benefit expense is the highest cost for most businesses. This cost continues to rise as new laws create increased mandatory time off, paid family leave and higher minimum wage.

Now more than ever, employers seek for a balance between remaining profitable, and in business, and providing the best benefits and wages to valuable employees.

One of the best ways to do this is to eliminate wages for labor that is charged but not worked.

When employees estimate punch times, they usually estimate wrong. Employees often don’t remember or don’t account for arriving late or leaving early. They often don’t realize how the extra few minutes at lunch turned into an extra 10. All of this costs you money in labor that was never realized.

If you’re not using a time clock, you are paying too much for employee labor!


Payroll Errors Cost Employers Money

The American Payroll Association estimates that the rate of human error in time card preparation is between 1% and 8%.

These errors can happen with typos, innocent slips or memory lapses regarding the exact times employees started and ended work.

In addition to the type of errors that cost employers additional money in wages, there is an administrative cost to errors.

These costs are shown in the time and money it costs to re-issue paychecks, re-processing fees, administrative time and more.

The Cost:  A conservative 2% human error rate on a $12,000 payroll would equal $240 in erroneous wages paid per pay period.

Moreover, the cost to re-issue correct payroll amounts (if the error is detected and reported) further increases your cost of human error.

Employee Punch Cards Cost in Administrative Wages

The average payroll clerk spends 7 minutes per time card each pay period:

  • Preparing and handling time cards
  • Verifying time card totals
  • Computing time card totals
  • Computing shift and dept. totals
  • Reconstructing lost/damaged cards

The Cost: Preparing 100 time cards takes an estimated 11.67 hours to complete.  At an average clerical wage of $15.00 per hour, time card preparation would cost $175.05 per pay period.

This time could be eliminated and could free up your Human Resources and Payroll staff for other more effective processes.

Accidental Employee Time Theft

Employees knowingly and unknowingly often steal time from employers.

This can come in the form of untracked breaks, extended lunches and over-approximated punch times.

Did you know that just 15 employees receiving pay for merely 4 minutes of “wasted” time per day will total 1380 minutes of additional pay per month? That’s an additional 23 hours!

The American Payroll Association estimates that employees steal an average of 4.5 hours each week. That’s according to surveys of employees.

The actual time could be much more than employees will even admit on a survey.

4.5 hours per week for 15 employees equal 72 hours in a 4 week period.

The Cost:  If your average pay rate is $10.00 per hour, then you pay an extra $230.00 each month for labor worked. That’s only for 12 minutes of wasted time per week per employee.

That cost multiplies if you account for an average wage loss of 4 and a half hours a week per employee!

Buddy Punching is Expensive

When late or absent employees try to escape notice by employers, they turn to buddy punching. Buddy punching is when a coworker punches in for an employee who is not present. It is illegal and unethical, but it costs employers millions of dollars in unworked wages.

It also affects 75% of all employers.

Buddy punching decreases return on investment, productivity, and decreases the profits of businesses.

It also reduces the employer’s ability to add more benefits for their employees.

Buddy punching costs employers approximately 7% of their total payroll costs.


Recover Overpaid wages

Even through employee labor is among an employer’s greatest expenses, there are ways to reduce expenses. Automated timekeeping helps to reduce costs many ways.

Automated timekeeping can help to reduce overtime costs. Alerts go out to managers when overtime thresholds are encroaching.

Managers can see current times and manage employees who are clocked in on overtime hours. They can also manage those who consistently clock overtime hours.

End Buddy Punching and Time Theft

Through biometric time clocks, employers can end buddy punching. Biometric clocks ensure that employees are physically present when they clock in.

Employers in some states should take extra steps to stay compliant. New York Employers  can use hand geometry time clocks, but cannot force employees to use biometric clocks that scan fingerprints.

Illinois employers must notify employees and disclose the use of biometric information before implementing clocks. These employers are still allowed by law to use biometric time clocks after following state guidelines.

SwipeClock biometric time clocks do one of two things to identify the individual.

Fingerprint: The employee places their fingerprint on the clock. It scans the finger and uses a hash to identify specific points on the finger.

The fingerprint is not stored in the clock or software. The clock matches the hash to the employee’s finger to identify them. Fingerprints cannot be recreated from the hash. All biometric information is automatically deleted when the employee is terminated in the timekeeping system.

Hand Geometry: The hand geometry time clocks measure the employee’s fingers length and width. It does not scan the surface area of the hand. As a result hand geometry time clocks are legal for employers to require employees to use in New York.

Eliminate Overhead & Administrative Time

Small business owners often have smaller margins than larger companies. As a result, reducing overhead costs can be vital to growth.

Large employers can save thousands each month by reducing payroll overhead and administration time.

Automation is more effective than outsourcing.

Take the pain out of collecting time and preparing payroll! Turn tasks that take days days into only hours and minutes.

Automated timekeeping allows managers to track hours, manage overtime, track holidays & time off requests. Employees can view accruals balances, employer  notifications, and manage personal information through an employee self service portal.

People make mistakes, so tracking this stuff usually results in costly errors and time. Automated timekeeping will simplify the process and change how you do business.

Preparing time card data for payroll takes a few clicks when time keeping is automated.

Whether it’s the convenience of gathering punch data in a fraction of the time or simply minimizing the cost of human error, with automated timekeeping submitting payroll doesn’t get much easier!

Compliance Fines Kill

Employers in New York City who failed to properly comply with the new sick leave law were fined over $800,000 in only 4 months of 2016.

An Oregon restaurant failed to pay $30 for a working interview and ended up paying $30,000 in fines for non-compliance.

Mandatory sick leave laws, local minimum wage ordinances, and secure scheduling laws are only a few of the employee-wage related laws that employers must be aware of and track.

These laws require tracking of employee hours for accrual purposes. They require employee location tracking for minimum wage compliance. They also require planned schedules to be posted and employee input and requests for specific schedules.

Employers who do not automate timekeeping and payroll often find themselves hiring additional positions to manage the overhead and documentation these laws require. Plus, they are more likely to be found non-compliant.

Unfortunately, many employer laws require proof of compliance from the employer or the law assumes employer guilt. SwipeClock’s software tracks, retains, and helps employers to stay compliant.


March 7, 2018

7 Ways Employee Self Service Benefits Your Business

One important component of the Workforce Management Suite is the Employee Self Service (ESS) portal. Today’s post looks at the specific benefits of employee self-service workforce management.

1. Empowers Employees

Employees are able to view their schedule, time cards, and accruals without having to go through a supervisor or the HR department. Instead of waiting for their supervisors to circulate shift-change requests on their behalf, staff members simply place requests on the Virtual Trade Board. Managers can conveniently view, monitor and authorize shift request changes online. Managers choose which associates are allowed to manage their own time cards.

2. Prevents Understaffing

Interested employees can request open shifts from the Virtual Trade Board. Managers approve shift changes which triggers automatic notifications to all parties involved.

3. Eliminates Confusion

When time cards, schedules, accruals, and shift changes are centrally managed, managers and associates are all on the same page and can access the information any time. Automatic notifications inform all parties of important scheduling and time card information.

4. Eases Burden on Managers

Supervisors transfer tedious admin tasks to authorized employees and are spared from all the back-and-forth of shift changes and HR info monitoring. Let the associates check their own accruals and total hours worked—they are happy to take you out of the loop.

5. Leverages the Power of Mobility

The Workforce Management Suite mobile app gives employees and supervisors 24/7 anywhere access and convenience.

6. Reduces Admin Time

When the automated system takes over tedious assignments, supervisors can work on other projects. Growing companies won’t need to hire as many HR people as their workforce grows.

7. Accommodates Employees’ Shift Preferences

TimeSimplicity and the Virtual Trade Board make it easy to compose schedules that are best for you and your employees. When a shift comes open unexpectedly, employees who want to pick up extra hours request the shift. This eliminates the need for a manager to try to guess which employee wants the extra shift or beg an unwilling employee. Happy staff members are more engaged, loyal, and productive.

If you are still using manual systems, imagine how Workforce Management Suite could improve your WFM processes and labor force morale.

September 20, 2017

Case Study Call Center

call center human capital optimization South Jordan

Call centers that optimize their human capital can significantly increase efficiency and productivity. This was the intent of our example company, a customer service center which had launched eight years previously with one healthcare client. Last year, when they adopted Workforce Management Suite, they provided inbound and outbound support for six health insurers, three nationwide financial clients, and two auto insurance firms.

In optimizing human capital, the business had four specific goals:

  • Increase precision of scheduling to maximize employee efficiency
  • Decrease overtime and better enforce employee breaks
  • Keep labor costs in check while still providing a high level of service
  • Accommodate associates’ scheduling preferences to increase employee morale and reduce turnover

Our case study had purchased a software-based, onsite WFM system five years before switching to Workforce Management Suite. It was fairly sophisticated when installed, but the manufacturer had not kept up with the latest technology and its value diminished as the organization evolved. Furthermore, the software updates were expensive and the system was down for days when something went wrong.

Solution – Workforce Management Suite

The forward-thinking owners were eager to upgrade to a call center Workforce Management system that made it effortless to implement the latest Workforce Management best practices to get a leg up in a crowded call center market. Though they had spent thousands on their onsite software, they knew their needs would be better met with an SaaS solution. Workforce Management Suite, which contains TimeWorksPlus, TimeSimplicity, and TimeWorksTouch, capably met each of their targets, as outlined below.

Scheduling Precision

With TimeSimplicity, the scheduling solution in Workforce Management Suite, department managers can create standard schedule templates for busy and slow sales periods, which vary per department. With the standard schedule in place, managers can drag and drop to customize for each client, employee group, or other department-specific factors. The system has essentially eliminated coverage gaps, over-staffing, and departmental imbalances.

Strategic Forecasting

TimeSimplicity gives managers innovative tools to evaluate attendance history, identify trends, and forecast future needs. As the weeks go by, supervisors have an ever-increasing amount of key data to help elevate the accuracy of scheduling.

Overtime and Break Management

Companies that fail to control overtime, can really take a financial hit. Workforce Management Suite customizable overtime warnings have reduced labor expenses while proving to be a huge timesaver for managers.

Reduced Labor Costs

Timecard estimation was common at the business prior to Workforce Management Suite. The call center employees would estimate start and end times after the fact if they forgot to punch in. TimeWorksPlus has a schedule adherence function which doesn’t clock employee time outside of prescribed hours and enforces authorized break and meal duration. Tardies and absences are monitored and controlled and buddy-punching has become impossible. The firm is now only paying employees for time actually worked.

Accurate Time Cards and Hassle-free Payroll

TimeWorksTouch has PunchLogic, a feature that makes it ’employee-aware.’ For example, it doesn’t allow staff members to unwittingly clock into the wrong activity. It gives the employees only the options that apply to their current work status (shift beginning, break, meal, or shift ending). Time card accuracy has improved dramatically, saving managers countless admin hours previously spent fixing inaccurate time cards.

Accommodate Scheduling Preferences While Retaining Quality of Service

Call centers generally have a high attrition rate because customer service is an entry-level job for many young workers and a common short-term stint for students and men and women who are temporarily unemployed in their chosen field. Call centers that succeed are able to attract competent employees, quickly train them to be excellent service reps, pay a competitive wage, and maintain low employee turnover.

Increased Employee Accountability

The management at our example office had discovered that accommodating employee scheduling preferences let them to pay slightly less than the median rate in their metro area. The benefits were two-fold: a savings in labor costs and improved worker retention. These savings increase exponentially as they continue to expand their workforce.

Meeting Scheduling Preferences

TimeSimplicity allows supervisors to set minimum/maximum hour preferences per employee. Automated time-off requests simplify life for employees. Mobile Employee Self Service (ESS) enables employees to view their schedule, shift opportunities, and accruals from anywhere. The management team also experimented with allowing fully trained employees within the same skill set group (phone, email, or live chat certified) to handle their own shift trades. When presented with this display of confidence, the reps rose to the occasion and the policy has since become permanent. The practice has not been abused, and turnover has decreased.

Improved Employee Work/Life Balance

The management team believes that prior to the change in policy, most associates were afraid of requesting too many shift trades per week. Now that they are trusted to cover their own shifts when they make a trade, they have more schedule flexibility than ever before. The dedicated crew does not want to give up this valuable perk, even to make a slightly higher wage at a competitor’s business.

Higher morale has improved the quality of service provided by the reps. Employees who are respected and trusted by management can concentrate on doing quality work and meeting production goals.

Workforce Management Suite: Essential For Continued Growth

Now that the office has optimized human capital, the owners plan to expand their services to include order processing and lead response. They are certain that Workforce Management Suite will help them successfully accommodate this growth.

August 30, 2017

Case Study Chinese Buffet

restaurant employee overtime management South Jordan

Today’s post is a case study of a Chinese buffet restaurant chain that increased profitability with TimeWorksTouch schedule enforcement. The eight location restaurant chain’s margins were shrinking due to rising food costs, so the owner was searching for ways to bolster the bottom line. Competition was tight in the working class community and an attempt to raise menu prices resulted in fewer diners.

He decided to figure out how to limit the cost of labor. All of his employees were hourly except eight full-time head cooks and four managers, each of whom managed two restaurants. Several prep cooks and servers also split hours between locations.

He knew he was paying a lot in overtime and wanted an employee timekeeping system for restaurants that could automatically track and prevent overtime shifts.  During busy times, the managers were juggling so many balls that checking which associates had moved into overtime hours was impossible. Few employees wanted to work overtime anyway, so he knew that proactive overtime management would be welcomed by the workforce.

Solution – Workforce Management Suite

Workforce Management Suite consists of TimeWorksPlus, TimeSimplicity, TimeWorks Mobile, and TimeWorksTouch. Each component integrates seamlessly for comprehensive restaurant Workforce Management.

Schedule Enforcement

Each supervisor was able to enter all their employee and shift information in less time that it had previously taken to establish just one monthly schedule in Excel. The schedule enforcement tool prevents out-of-schedule punches and sends notifications before a worker hits the customized threshold. When a warning goes off on a manager’s phone, the manager is able to send the staff member home before overtime kicks in. Accurate break tracking has also delivered a savings in labor costs.

Timekeeping Accuracy for Mobile Staff members

The mobile functionality has quickly proven to be an invaluable feature for managers and associates that split hours between locations. No more retroactively guessing punch times after the fact.

Workforce Management Suite delivered an affordable solution that quickly paid for itself in a few weeks and continues to limit the cost of labor with every single shift.

If you would like more info, please contact us at 503.968.5409.

August 8, 2017

3 Benefits of Cloud-Based Workforce Management

benefits of cloud based WFM South Jordan

It’s easy to see why companies have been steadily moving from premise-based operations to cloud-based, or SaaS (software as a service) solutions. Today’s message highlights 3 significant benefits of cloud-based WFM systems.

1. Saves Money

Low cost setup.
Eliminates expense of IT maintenance.
Avoid rates for software updates.
Easily grows with your organization.

2. Anywhere/Anytime Access

All you need is a web browser.
Centralized records and management.
Customize features and access per user.
Mobile access increases productivity.
Ideal solution for companies with multiple sites and mobile employees.

3. Quick Implementation

Infrastructure already in place.
With login credentials, you are ready to go.
Integrates with your payroll processing platform.

To learn how cloud-based Workforce Management Suite benefits your specific business and industry, call us today!

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