Blog: Now I have a time clock how do I get my staff to remember to use it!

This is a reasonably common experience for managers or business owners who implement a new time clock system. During the first few weeks after installation employees many need a little prompting so that they remember but if the problem is ongoing then the time clock is not doing its job and the investment has not been worthwhile.

Why do employees forget to clock in or out? This can be for a number of reasons but generally speaking its either deliberate or simply forgetful. If its deliberate then it could be because they arrive late and finish early and do not want those times recorded in the time clock. It could also be that they follow the lead of others or, sometimes even management staff who are equally uncommitted to the system.

If it is forgetfulness this is because there a no consequences of forgetting. Consequences such as being short paid for the week or being reprimanded by a senior manager. People respond to consequences and they generally want to do the right thing.

Perhaps the best way to overcome this problem is to look at the success stories and who their approach has worked in the respective organisations.

Within our client base of some 3,000 companies ranging from under 5 employees to over 1000 employees by far the best examples
of employee compliance in using the time clocks comes from those companies who adopt the following practices.

1) Commitment to the process at all levels of management – This means that Management also use the system to clock in and out and are clear in communicating their exceptions that all staff will do the same. Management must address the issues with non compliant staff.

2) Each day is paid according to attendance records and no attempt is made to follow up on employees who have not clocked IN and OUT. If an employee forgets to clocking out for the day then they must have their direct manager correct the issue and log a time for them by the end of the payroll week otherwise that days pay will be help off until the following week.

As ruthless as this may sound to some this strategy will have an immediate impact on the “forgetful employee”.

Both these strategies rely on there being consequences of the employee’s non compliant performance… short paid for the week or a negative performance appraisal by his or her manager. Staff in general want to comply with the rules and the practices adhered to by the rest of the employees and the management team so you can leverage off that to influence their behavior.

While there are some methods of improving the reliability of employees clocking such as linking the system to open the front door of your building, there are ways around this as employees can “Tailgate” other employees through the door. In any case this does not help with the out clocking and you cannot restrict access on the door when going out as this contravenes fire safety regulations.

Employee logins can be linked to their PC log In and Log Out but that is not foolproof either. Quite simply there is no practical physical way to make sure employees always clock in and out… it must be done on a “consequence” basis.

An employee time clock is rarely a substitute for good management. If management do not set a good example and set clear expectations for employees it is inevitable that employee performance in many eras will slowly erode. Your management should set clear and enforceable expectations for performance in all aspects of the business. Compliance to attendance recording is as important as the quality of work produced by employees on behalf of their business and it should be treated as such.

These important factors may assist you in getting the message across regarding the importance of employee attendance recording.

Employees are required to use the company’s time recording system if requested by their employee on as evidence of their attendance as a general condition of any employment.

Employee attendance is a requirement under the OH&S act and, in the event of a fire, Directors and Company Officers may be fined under the act for failure to have an adequate evacuation plan in place which includes a record of employees on the site. Fines can applied regardless of whether there are any injuries or fatalities.

Employees may have a reason for not wanting to use your time clock, particularly if it is a fingerprint time clock as they may perceive that there are privacy issues. Biometric time clocks do not record actual fingerprints but rather construct a mathematical representation of selected points of the subjects finger, These cannot be reverse engineered into a fingerprint.

This article is reproduced by permission from the Time and Attendance Consultant Newsletter.

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