How To Choose WFM Software: A Checklist For Small Business Owners

SwipeClock workforce management software
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Liz Strikwerda

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

Researching workforce management systems? That’s great. A well-chosen system will benefit your business immensely. Not sure exactly which features you need? Don’t waste time on a free trial for software that doesn’t work for your organization. Here’s a quick checklist to help you make the best choice when shopping for employee time and attendance software

  1. Make Sure it Can Accommodate Your Workforce
  2. Don’t Choose the Cheapest
  3. Understand Mobile Capability
  4. Look for Outstanding Provider Support
  5. Key Analytics to Guide Your Business Decisions
  6. Sync With the Right Time Clock
  7. Integration is Important
  8. Industry Templates Save Time
  9. Compliance Counts
  10. Employee Self-Management is a Must

1. Find The Right Fit

Choose a time and attendance system that can accommodate your current workforce and allow for growth. You will save yourself the hassle of having to switch systems down the line.

2. ROI Is More Important Than Cost

Don’t go for the cheapest—even if you are tempted by a “free download” offer. Free time and attendance systems are bare-bones and have very limited functions. Companies use a free basic version as a marketing ploy. They make their money by charging for the features that you really need. They wouldn’t be in business if their “free” users didn’t upgrade to a better version which they pay for. Don’t waste your time trying to make a free system work.

When you have eliminated free time and attendance systems, now the choice is between an enterprise or cloud-based system. Before cloud computing came into its own, most workforce management systems were custom-built. The software resided on company servers and was maintained by the in-house IT department. Enterprise systems required a large upfront cost. Many small business owners couldn’t afford them.

Cloud computing has made sophisticated systems affordable for the smallest businesses. Cloud-based workforce management systems are stored on your WFM provider’s servers. They work like a subscription service and offer many cost savings. Some workforce management vendors charge per employee. This works well for staffs that fluctuate in number. The monthly rate is based on the number of employees and can vary from month to month. If you prefer a predictable monthly cost-per-employee, cloud-based is your best bet.

Workforce management software saves you money in administrative costs, a reduction in time theft, and tools for boosting productivity. Remember that a time and attendance system is an investment. If you choose the right system, you will recoup your investment many times over.

3. Basic or Advanced Mobile Functions?

Most WFM systems have at least a basic mobile app. If you have several mobile or offsite employees, make sure the mobile app has advanced features. These include schedule adherence and geo-fencing.

4. Time and Attendance Vendor Support

Even the most robust time and attendance system is sub-par if your vendor doesn’t provide adequate support. Find out what hours their tech support is available. Is it live support or an email ticket system? Evaluate the quality and cost of training. What set-up is included? Will they help train your employees? Talk to current clients to see if the support lives up to the promises of your salesperson.

5. Analytics For Date-Driven Decisions

Workforce analytics are underutilized by many business owners. Consider which employee problems are limiting profitability. Make sure your system tracks these so you can remove barriers to growth. Basic systems measure overtime, absenteeism, and missed punches. More sophisticated systems have real-time productivity dashboards.

6. Pick The Right Time Clock

If you have hourly employees who clock in unsupervised, you are probably losing money to time theft. The best defense against time theft is a verification time clock. This type of clock uses a biological identifier that employees can’t duplicate. For example, a finger, palm, or iris scan. With this type of clock, it’s impossible for an employee to buddy clock for a co-worker. Scanning clocks are also ideal for high-security work environments and controlled access.

If you don’t have a problem with buddy punching or time card padding, an online clock-in portal may be ideal. They are affordable and allow offsite employees to clock in on any mobile device.

7. Integrate With Existing Applications

Payroll system integration is a must. If you are considering software that can’t import directly to your payroll, move on. What other applications do you use? When requesting a demo, ask the presenter to show you how the system works with your current applications.

8. Industry-Specific Templates and Tools

Templates save time. Look for a system with templates for scheduling, job tracking, CRM, and mobile employee management. Unified Human Resources portals like WorkforceHUB from SwipeClock handle virtually all HR workflows. These include timekeeping, scheduling, payroll, benefits enrollment, onboarding, engagement, advancement, and performance reviews.

9. Simplify Compliance

If you are subject to Payroll Based Journal or Predictive Scheduling laws, make sure the system has these tools. Calculating PTO can get be tricky for any business. If you offer paid time off, you definitely want a system with PTO tracking. If you have a variety of employee types, employee profiles can help you classify employees, independent contractors, interns, temps, and seasonal workers correctly. If you have over 50 employees, you’ll want Affordable Care Act compliance tools.

10. Employee Self-Management

Workforce management software allows your employees to become active participants in Human Resources. Your employees want to manage their time cards and schedules. Self-service portals accommodate remote punch in/out, accruals, and automated schedule change requests. Your supervisors will enjoy drag-and-drop scheduling and fast shift change approvals. Employee notifications and overtime alerts save time and money. Self-managed HR improves engagement and reduces administrative costs. It makes life easier for every member of your team.

Over 30,000 small to mid-size employers use WorkforceHub to optimize their human capital. For information on how SwipeClock can help your business, schedule a demo today.

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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