8 Must-Have Time Tracking Tools For High-Performing Businesses

employee time tracking tools

Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, CloserIQ, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

5 Minute Read

Updated November 5, 2021

How do you choose time tracking tools?

First things first: What is a time tracking tool?

  • Time tracking tools automate employee time and attendance
  • Employees clock in and out for shifts
  • The software creates timecards and stores them online
  • Punch information is imported directly into the payroll system
  • For punch in/out, employees can use multiple methods including integrated hardware clocks
  • Web-based time clocks are included in most systems
    • This allows employees to punch in on any internet-enabled device
    • Geotracking and geofencing help employees track mobile employees
  • Systems may also include employee scheduling
  • Employee self-service is becoming almost universal
  • Extra functions include shift scheduling, job costing, tip or mileage tracking, and PTO management

The ultimate goal is to help employers optimize their workforce. This includes reducing labor costs and streamlining administration. Compliance tools protect employers from wage and hour violations. Newer systems include tools for employee engagement, performance reviews, and benefits enrollment.

What should I look for when choosing the best time tracking tools?

  1. A unified Time and Labor system
  2. Payroll Integration
  3. Compliance Tracking
  4. Advanced Reporting
  5. Accruals Management
  6. Time Off Requests
  7. Drag-and-drop Scheduling

Time Tracking Needs For Multi-State Employers

If you have recently added a location this year—kudos to you! It’s an achievement many companies never attain. Employee management takes on a new level of complexity. Here are some tools to help you avoid pitfalls:

  • Advanced employee scheduling
    • Set rules for predictive scheduling, overtime, meals/breaks.
  • Biometric time clocks: ensure accurate timekeeping for state-specific minimum wage.
  • Schedule adherence: prevent early punch in from mandated breaks. Restrict unauthorized punch outs that could affect overtime and minimum wage.
  • Schedule alerts: Set overtime and out-of-schedule punch notifications.
  • Records management: Compile documents in searchable databases to simplify recordkeeping requirements. (If using a software vendor, check their data security standards.)

Time Tracking Needs For International Teams

When your teams are spread across the globe, cloud-based access is a priority. Remote oversight is becoming easier and cheaper. Look for:

  • Screenshot monitoring
  • Job tracking for accurate client billing
  • Website and app tracking

Time Tracking Needs For Manufacturing

In manufacturing, time theft and unnecessary overtime drive up payroll costs. Labor management software paired with biometric time clocks solve these problems. Biometric clocks make buddy punching and hours padding impossible. Schedule adherence restricts out-of-schedule punches. Limiting overtime also requires a two-pronged approach. Advanced scheduling software helps managers create schedules that limit overtime. Overtime alerts are an extra measure of protection. Look for:

  • Biometric time clocks
  • Schedule adherence
  • Meals/breaks tracking
  • Overtime alerts
  • PTO tracking
  • Customizable pay rules

Time Tracking Needs For Retail

When employees work at multiple stores, double booking is common with spreadsheet scheduling. The solution for shift coverage gaps is customizable scheduling software. You set shift rules that guide schedule creation. The system won’t allow you to double book an employee. Managers can easily view multiple calendars and locations. Online timecard management speeds up approvals. Schedule adherence keeps payroll costs in check. Look for:

  • Multi-location scheduling
  • Fair workweek settings
  • Schedule adherence
  • Missed punch alerts

Time Tracking Needs for Education

The average elementary school has more employees than 90% of U.S. businesses. They also have numerous employee types, pay rates, and pay frequencies. Seasonal schedules, union contracts, and grant tracking add to workforce management challenges. Look for:

  • Mobile app for convenient clock in/out regardless of location
  • Work-hours tracking for multiple job roles
  • Settings for seasonal staffing fluctuations
  • Multiple pay frequencies
  • PTO, vacation, leave management
  • Work-study hours and grant-tracking alignment

Time Tracking Needs For Construction

Tracking employees at remote job sites is difficult with traditional punch clocks. Mobile apps with GPS allow managers to see when and where employees clock in. Consider:

  • Portable, dust/water resistant time clocks + mobile app with GPS
  • Integration with project management software
  • Self-service timecard, schedule, accruals
  • Multi-crew scheduling
  • License expiration alerts

Time Tracking Needs for Hospitality

The quality of workforce management affects both the guest experience and profit margin. In an environment where employees are largely unsupervised, oversight is a challenge. A capable scheduling solution handles around-the-clock shifts, numerous job roles, and multiple locations. Look for:

  • Schedule forecasting helps match staffing demands to expected occupancy
  • Track multiple employee types and locations
  • Mobile punch in/biometric clocks reduce shift change confusion
  • Online trade boards let employees pick up extra hours without back-and-forth texting
  • Compliance tracking prevents wage and hour violations

Time Tracking Needs For Healthcare

Preventing understaffing, scheduling confusion, and staffing imbalances are necessary to take the best care of your patients. Employee self-service reduces absenteeism and employee burnout. Advanced reporting ensures compliance with FLSA, ACA, and Payroll Based Journal. Consider:

  • Schedule by department, shift, skill, or job position
  • Certifications tracking
  • Online shift-swapping
  • Auto-alerts for no-shows and encroaching overtime

Time Tracking Needs For Non-Profits

First off, non-profits need an affordable system. Then they must unlock value from every tool and process. Dispersed teams are common. Tracking volunteer hours is essential for compliance. Running a tight ship bolsters fundraising efforts. Carefully-chosen workforce management software reduces waste and overlap.

  • Priced per employee—scales up or down
  • Mobile app for any time, anywhere punch in/out
  • Track paid/volunteer hours
  • Advanced Reporting

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