James Stovall

Your workforce is your greatest asset, and most likely, your largest expense. But if your team isn’t logging correct hours, you may find yourself dealing with costly regulatory headaches or inaccuracies. An automated time and attendance system for your organization can help prevent – and even eliminate unreliable timekeeping.  Here are 6 ways it can help your school:


While recent legal action has indefinitely frozen the US Department of Labor‘s final rule amending the “white collar” overtime exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), schools  should nevertheless track time for non-exempt employees to correctly pay their overtime.

An automated time and attendance system in itself doesn’t guarantee your compliance with employment laws, but a “time and attendance” system, as they are commonly called, make it far easier and faster for employers to add or reclassify employees who need to track their time. It will also make pulling the data simpler if you’re faced with an audit.  When the Department of Labor comes knocking, consistency in your timekeeping and the ability to quickly pull reports will be your best friend.


While improving payroll accuracy and reliability are two of the best reasons to install a time and attendance system, many schools still rely on pen and paper to track their employee’s work hours.  What’s worse, they often do this after the fact – recording arrival and departure times way after they’ve occurred. This is a big no-no as it increases the chances of inaccurate time keeping.  With pen and paper, you are also susceptible to other forms of inaccuracies, from the simple–illegible handwriting– to the nefarious–fraudulent documentation of hours.

Capturing employee time by using an electronic system throughout a pay period – instead of at the end of the period – can drastically reduce data errors. Most automated systems can also alert supervisors and administrators of early or late in/out punches as they happen, providing real-time insight so you can address issues before they become bad habits. These systems also track time worked and attendance of faculty, staff, student workers, volunteers, and part-time employees, so you can get staffing insights from every possible angle.


Just ask any payroll administrator how much paperwork they have to sort through, and you’ll know you’ve got to find a way to help them out. Manually tracking time and processing payroll can take many hours each pay period. Even if just one person is responsible for running payroll, the amount of time adds up, taking the employee away from other important tasks. Using an automated system to integrate time and attendance data into payroll processing can drastically increase productivity. The hours spent manually tracking time can now be allocated to other key tasks. Automating your time collection also allows that data to be synched with your payroll solution for processing, eliminating the need for manual data re-entry.  This reduces the time it takes to run payroll and increases the accuracy of your data.


Automating your time and attendance process can result in significant cost savings by reducing human error in payroll processing, eliminating time theft and overtime costs, and saving wage expenses through increased productivity. There are also indirect cost savings, such as improving employee retention, because you have better insight into who is working when and for how long. You’ll have the information to more appropriately and proportionately assign work. For example, if an operations associate or school aide constantly works overtime, that may be your cue to investigate whether they need additional support to lighten their workload or whether they need training to improve their time management skills.  Either way, your time and attendance system can help you make effective business decisions that affect your bottom line.


When one person or department manages a system, it can create a bottleneck when information needs to be shared across the organization.  The self-service functionality in modern time and attendance systems allows employees to actively maintain their own information. This reduces potential bottlenecks in processes, relieves the burden of responsibility, and does away with the collection of paper timecards as employees enter their time worked when it occurs. Plus, with the ability to track accruals, such as earned paid time off (“PTO”), employees can check their PTO balance online wherever and whenever they wish.


Everybody knows that a positive culture is a major contributor to retaining top talent. And managing schedules is one area that can really affect employee satisfaction. With an automated time and attendance system that can also manage scheduling, employees’ feel more in control – and time off requests can also be managed more easily and fluidly, avoiding miscommunication. When employees can be proactive in their own work/life balance, they just feel happier. The improved visibility you get through automation also means managers and direct reports can make realistic scheduling decisions. For example, schools may want to implement blackout periods to prevent, or at least warn, employees from taking time off during very busy periods, such as testing days, where their absence can have a major negative impact.

Your ability to electronically track employees’ in/out times also allows you to reward employees for good attendance, making them feel motivated, seen, and appreciated.

Got a question about time & attendance automation? Just ask Little Bird at hello@littlebird.hr.