Selection of a time management system

Time management, working hours and time recording

All working models can be displayed via the systems and make times transparent

Interview with Stefan Claßen, Senior Sales Manager at SD Worx GmbH, a leading European provider of digital HR solutions:

Mr. Claßen, what are the advantages of a cloud solution, i.e. web-based time recording, and what opportunities does it open up for companies?

A cloud solution for time management offers flexibility compared to a fixed “on-premise” installation at the customer’s premises. Primarily in terms of software updates. An on-premise installation always means that a consultant has to visit the customer. Or that a consultant sets up and configures the updates online at the customer’s premises. This effort is necessary because time models and workflows have been programmed into the software and are therefore difficult for the customer to change. This means costs for the customer, which can become more complex and therefore more expensive with every update they skip.

With a cloud-based solution, the system is always at the same level for all customers. This means that everyone always works on the same software release. For example, we currently update our time management solution every third Thursday of the month by installing new features or making any corrections to the software that may have been made. All customers then work directly with these updates and are up to date. These updates are already included in the monthly costs.

Another advantage of web-based time recording is that I can offer an employee self-service, which is also in the cloud. This means that all employees can access the system from anywhere in the world with internet access – regardless of whether they are sitting at a work computer or using their private smartphone: Everyone can access their time accounts and, if necessary, start workflows and request absences or shift changes.

Many companies already have hardware for time recording. What happens to it?

In our opinion, companies have three options. In the first option, I “clock in” my times at a fixed terminal by holding my chip or key fob in front of it and thereby completing a clock-in or clock-out booking. Secondly, you can work with preset clock-in times. This can, for example, affect all those who do not have to actively participate in the time management system – executive employees and non-tariff employees, or AT employees for short, for example. However, they are still connected to the absence management system, to workflows for vacation approval or sick leave, etc. The third option is to make everything (additionally) mobile via a web call – for us, this is not an app. Everything is in the cloud and nothing is installed on end devices. There is the option of doing everything online. I can use a button to “book” my coming and going, take a break or, for example, change a cost center, etc.

Another question about employee self-services: What can be regulated or initiated by the employees themselves?

Employees can view their accounts via the employee self-service portal – they can see how many vacation days have already been planned or are still available, what the status of the workflows is, which ones have been approved or who is currently handling the applications. And, of course, absences/attendances can also be entered there, for example sick notes or home office. The certificate of incapacity for work, the “yellow slip”, can then also be uploaded there directly and is thus immediately available to the HR department. The line manager and, if applicable, the planner are also immediately informed that the employee has called in sick and how long they will be absent.

Now, time recording is not just about coming and going, vacation and sick leave. The topic is extremely complex. Can digital solutions also be used to map shift work, for example?

Yes, it’s all possible. And employees can even see which shifts they have in the Employee Self-Service Portal calendar. It is also possible to enter specific working times there. This is necessary for alternating shifts. All variants can be displayed via the systems and make the times transparent. With the additional “cost center” module, employees can even see at which work locations or in which projects they are scheduled.

The same probably also applies to flexible working time models and different collective agreements – all of this can also be mapped using digital solutions?

Exactly. Think of the hybrid working time models from the last two years of the pandemic. On the one hand, we can use the cloud solution to see who is working from home or in the office. This allows us to see who has clocked in and is therefore available.

Can the time management solution also be linked to payroll accounting, are there corresponding interfaces between the systems?

Of course. With our time management software, we are independent of payroll accounting. It doesn’t matter to us which system our customers want to use for payroll accounting. Of course, we have interfaces to our in-house payroll systems, but we also have interfaces to third-party systems that are not part of the SD Worx portfolio. Basically, it’s just a matter of exchanging data between two different databases.

Apart from the functionalities: What else is important in a time management system?

The system must not be too overloaded for individual employees and the solution must be easy to use – even on a smartphone. It must be informative for managers, as they need to know how their team is set up. Various dashboards are available for this purpose. They can process applications from anywhere. For the HR department, it needs to be a consistent tool so that the workload is reduced: responsibility is transferred to the employees and their line managers.

The HR department can create its own evaluations from all the processes, as a complete reporting system is integrated into the system. This can be used to evaluate errors ad hoc or provide information manually or automatically to specific users.

Do you have an example of the reports?

Yes, for example, you also have the option of posting to cost centers, such as activities or departments. Or to work locations, customers or services. All of this is possible via the employee self-service portal and of course creates transparency.

So staff scheduling is also possible via your time management system?

Exactly. An additional module can be used to plan employees with certain qualifications for orders or jobs.

Simple planning is also possible in our time management system. It is possible to create groups with different functions, for example for first aiders, works council members or team leaders, etc. Or office-controlled in individual areas. The latter is interesting for open-plan offices, for example, where it is necessary to determine how many employees may be in the office at the same time. Employees can thus be grouped according to groups or shifts.

Can the time management system also be linked to an access control system?

We have integrated access control into our “ProTime” product, but it only works with our end devices. We cannot use third-party hardware, only hardware that has been specially developed for us. We can monitor this hardware. The hardware can be purchased or rented. With hardware rental, for example, an outdated device is replaced with a modern one free of charge.

How is the issue of data protection addressed in your solutions?

Data protection plays a crucial role in our solutions. We are committed to the GDPR. This means that our data centers and all communication between the end devices are encrypted and the data is transmitted in encrypted form via secure connections. Of course, we are also continuously monitored accordingly. All data for our solutions is stored in data centers in Antwerp, Belgium.

The systems are designed for flexible working time models. But how flexible are the systems themselves?

Our systems are structured in modules. This means that the customer can decide for themselves which modules they want.

And what are the costs associated with such a system?

Depending on the modules selected, customers pay us a monthly fee. The employee self-service module for employees and line managers is included in the price.

And how can one imagine the implementation of such a system?

This varies from customer to customer and can be customized. For some, it is enough if the system is set up. Others, usually with very complex requirements due to the time models or any number of shift models, want a support and test phase in which there is parallel operation with an existing system. Or to compare the manual system with the new digital system. The advantage with us is that our customers set up their system themselves together with our consultants. This has the advantage that our customers can independently maintain their system (absences, time models, shift models, workflows, etc.) and thus adapt changes themselves. 95 percent of everything can be managed by the company itself. This also creates flexibility and saves a lot of time and money.

The benefits of digitalized time management

  • Time savings and less administrative effort
  • Standardized processes
  • Easy approval of applications
  • Simple time and data recording
  • Automatic monitoring and reporting
  • Legal certainty and compliance with legal regulations
  • Fast capacity planning
  • Effective vacation management
  • Flexibility and independence of location
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Automatic data transfer via interfaces to payroll accounting and/or payroll accounting
  • If required, with integrated access control

Criteria in the selection process for a time management solution

  • The provider’s data center should be in the European Union
  • The selection of a time management solution should be based on the individual requirements of the customer, which is why a catalog of requirements is indispensable as a decision-making aid
  • Interfaces must be clarified
  • The choice of time management solution must be made in close coordination with the access control system to ensure compatibility
  • Cloud versus on-premise

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