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Timesheet apps: Ultimate guide for HR Managers

Overview

The current world requires proper management of time as companies try to save operational costs. At the heart of hr management practices is time management. Timesheet applications have become an important asset to modern hr managers.  Top 10 companies have termed use of timesheet apps as a source of information in their practices. However, most software providers focus on selling their hr software to managers, without providing the right guides to use of the information gathered by the systems. This complete guide provides information on the use of timesheet apps as a mandatory tool in timesheet attendance management systems.

Last month we covered the guide on attendance systems which you can find here. We discussed the way to choose a time clock app, which some people may refer to as attendance manager apps. Then, we narrowed down the list based on 5 main questions.  From the list, we analyzed top 5 time clock apps and the winner was FinClock Attendance Management System.   As a cardinal rule, any technology must make things easier to both the managers and employees.  Today we shall focus on timesheet apps and at the end, you will be able to choose wisely. Let us analyze these essential features briefly.

What is a timesheet app?

Before we contextualize timesheet apps, we need to understand the meaning of timesheets and their use to attendance management. A basic definition of a timesheet is a document containing attendance record for an employee department or organization. Here, a timesheet can be generated from manual entries or from biometric attendance system. A timesheet can either be generated into an excel sheet or a google spreadsheet. There are two main ways of generating timesheets which include biometric attendance systems and timesheet apps.

Timesheet apps are based either on android or IOS mobiles. Recently, we have the time clock apps on flutter.  These attendance apps will record the time attendance of an employee, both indoor and outdoor. You may be asking, where to get these time attendance apps by now. Don’t worry because any hr manager can either buy the timesheet apps or get a free trial. After registration, the next step is to set up your company account. Here you can set up your company logo, name, set company goals etc. Then, you will invite employees to join the application platform. When an employee goes to work, they will clock in and clock out when they leave their workstation. The timesheet app will then create an attendance record, which can either be sent to an online attendance system or be retrieved locally. You can find the best online attendance systems here.

Why use Timesheet apps instead of biometric attendance system?

In the recent past, biometric attendance systems have helped generate timesheets as a replacement to manual records. There are advantages of using these attendance management  systems when creating the timesheets. One of the main advantages is to avoid cheating in time records. When an employee clocks in and out, the attendance time is recorded and at the end of the given period, an excel document showing the complete timesheet is generated. In most cases, the biometric attendance timesheets are retrieved from a local device using removable disks or a centralized local area network.

Reports show that there has been a great concern on the excel timesheets recorded on local computers and networks. Recently, hr managers have found out that some cheating employees may edit their timesheet when they get access to the biometric attendance system. As such, they are not able to track the actual timesheets records. A biometric attendance system that does not allow cheating must provide a backup of the timesheet records, which cannot be edited. The only online attendance system that offers that capability is FinClock attendance management system. You can find a free demo here.

What are the best timesheet apps?

Essentially, a good timesheet app must provide the managers with features that help them to make the right decisions. Some of the tools include time card reports, employee location, lateness reports, absence management, staff performance and standardization of the reports. We need to define the assessment criteria when analyzing the best timesheet apps and then focus the 8 essential features of timesheet apps.

Essential Features in a Timesheet apps

This guide will focus more on the functionalities of the timesheet apps, in relation to the fundamental roles of an HRM system. Further, we shall consider the needs of a human resource manager, without narrowing the focus on technical issues. So we begin by asking the fundamental questions that recur in the mind of most managers and business owners when they think of purchasing Attendance systems;

  1. Where will the attendance system be applied?
  2. Is the timesheet app meant for indoor or outdoor staff attendance?
  3. If it is meant for outdoor staff management, how do we ensure that the timesheet app is going to work with or without internet?
  4. Does the attendance system support many employees?
  5. Does the application have staff location tracking?
  6. Does the timesheet app work with all computer operating systems?
  7. Does the whole attendance system integrate with other HRIS or HRM systems?
  8. Is the pricing within my budget today, tomorrow and in the far future?

To answer these questions my research team documented these essential features in any attendance management system, which supports the timesheet apps.

1.      Nature of Timesheet reports

The aim of a staff attendance system is to provide the best analysis of staff performance. This is a broad topic which we shall be covering in the next section. Here, we focus on the timesheet reports as a feature in timesheet apps. You may realize that most attendance systems will provide bulk data which will end up as another time record that may never be analyzed. In the past, it was understandable to ignore the bulk timesheet records because of the time constraints. Thanks to hr management systems, now it is possible to obtain a close analysis of reports from different stages.

I would recommend starting the timesheet reports analysis from a single employee attendance report, workstation reports (post reports), departmental attendance reports and then overall company reports. The only way to achieve this kind of an analysis is to either have a Local Area network or to have an online employee management system. Now the 5 questions you will have to ask yourself before settling to a given timesheet app include;

  1. How many employees do the timesheet reports serve?
  2. How many Branches, posts and workstations are there in your organization?
  3. How do you expect to access the timesheet reports?
  4. What expertise does your company have to analyze the timesheets

When you ask yourself these questions, you will come up with answers that will contextualize the timesheet reports that will fit your company needs. From that, consider the other factors such as price and technical support. I recommend you register a free demo here with the top 5 attendance management systems and evaluate each of the reports. Maybe you can start by registering a free 21-day trial.

2.      Timesheet templates Samples and customization

The first step to embracing a time attendance system is to have custom timesheet templates that fit the goals of your business. Here, we consider a good template to have all the fields needed to show the employee data, attendance records and the attendance time calculations. We can focus on mandatory employee information, which includes the Employee name and Identity number. The identity number can be the workforce number, National ID number or even the social security number. In many organizations, staff allocation is based on defined workstations. Thus, the employee workstation becomes another important field of a good timesheet template.

Timesheet template must be provided in standard formats, which include excel or pdf. In most cases, the timesheet apps shall work with a standard excel format. This format is acceptable but there needs to be a backup that cannot be edited. The main reason for this condition is to ensure the integrity of the information stored in the timesheet templates. Here is a timesheet template sample in excel.

The timesheet templates must allow customization. It is important to choose the best timesheet app with automated customization features. Our research last month shows that there are many options to timesheet templates in the market. However, a further analysis shows that only two attendance systems have fully customized timesheet templates that can fit any staff attendance manager’s needs. Find the top timesheet templates and samples we got from our research here,

3.       Find Best timesheet calculator

A timesheet calculator should be able to show the time of clocking in, time of clock out, total hours worked per day, total hours worked to be a week and most importantly, total hours worked per month. The timesheet calculator must, therefore, be able to show the total expected wages for a given employee. The most important feature here is simplicity and accuracy. This means that when choosing an online employee attendance management system, ensure that the timesheet calculator has the capacity to replace all manual time card calculations. Look closely and ensure that all levels are well captured.  We need to understand that a normal timesheet app will just record the timecard of employees. Here, we are talking of an attendance calculations, which as a manager you would be required to do manually. Here is a good timesheet app demo that you can sign up for free.

4.      Absence manager in timesheet apps

A common challenge to hr managers is to manage absenteeism. Ideal state would be to have no cases of absenteeism in a company. However, this is not possible. Absence manager in a timesheet app should allow staff to handle the cases of absenteeism, either by reporting directly through the mobile app or by making prior arrangements.

We all agree that absence should be reported before, but some cases may lead to late reporting. The late reporting is the main challenge. The best way is to have absence management in the timesheet app, where the employees can make requests directly. The absence reports should then be sent directly to the right department.

A good absence manager app or a timesheet application should enable the employees to make direct requests for absenteeism. The managers are therefore in a position to make proper plans for their employees. Since absenteeism reports will affect human resource productivity negatively, the hr manager will view the absence reports and either approve or reject requests from the employees. Thus, a good absence manager app, either in a mobile application, online employee attendance management system, or hosted in a Local Area network will ensure that each employee is able to report their cases using a mobile phone. With the help of a good attendance management system, the hr manager is able to find real-time reports and make the right decisions on time. Here is a list of the top 5 absenteeism management tips and benefits.

5.      Lateness Manager in Timesheet apps

The standard lateness management method is to record the lateness time and store the data for future use. However, best hr management practices recommend that the staff attendance and records management system should provide automated lateness management. We have reviewed many timesheet apps and found that the missing link is where the app crucifies the employees for lateness, without reminding them when they are late. As such, the best solution is to have the timesheet app to send automated alerts to the employees, 30 minutes to the expected time of work.

The best time clock app that served this auto-notification is FinClock staff attendance management system. The number 2 in the list is humanity and the third spot goes to SAP attendance. We, therefore, recommend you to start a trial with FinClock attendance and experience the features for 21 free days. If that does not work, leave a comment and we shall contact you for further guidance.

6.      Staff location tracking in time clock apps

Gone are the days when a company operated in a single building. This case provides a need to have employees in different locations to mark attendance. How will a good timesheet app handle this case? The best way is to have the application do background staff tracking. Every time and employee clocks in or out, the time clock app must store the location. Using such a feature, the employees will have a good time at work and will not have to worry about too much interaction with the attendance management system. There are several staff location trackers which range from tags, stand-alone application and others. However, the time has come for staff to be left to take responsibility for their actions.

Time clock apps that allow tracking of GPS location benefit both the employee and the boss. You will realize that some employee works very hard and are always on the move, trying to meet the goals of the company. But there are other lazy employees and the best way to separate these two groups of workers is to have real-time staff location. At the end of the day, the hardworking employees should be rewarded based on the data and the lazy workers may be motivated through the standard methods of performance management.

Many staff tracking apps do not have the timesheet and time clocking features. There are a few applications which have all the features. A good survey shows that the top of the list is Silvertrac android app and feetpot. Silvertrac lacks the time clock app features, but fits  is is a wonderful app for guard scheduling in the field. thus it does not attain the first position. Feetpot has both the attendance management and location tracking, but only works when connected to the internet. Thus, the other competitor to look for may be FinClock Attendance. Find more information on the FinClock Attendance app here.

7.      Staff scheduling and shift planning features

Staff scheduling is another important aspect of any attendance management system. Be it web-based, mobile or even locally hosted, shift scheduling should be a mandatory feature of a timesheet app. This is because most hr managers need a tool that replaces most of the routine workload. Thus, an ideal attendance management system must have the capability to help an already busy hr manager. Both timesheet apps and time clock apps have some of the necessities in this area.  However, we conducted an analysis on 5 main shift scheduling systems in the market and the results depict that multiple enterprises have invested significant resources in niche-based applications. I would call this a mature field since most of the needs of indoor staff scheduling have been met in by the existing timesheet apps.

Outdoor staff scheduling is still a green area to many tech companies today. The requirements of most outdoor workforce dictate the staff scheduling app must work both in online and offline conditions. This means that most timesheet apps will not work without internet, thus only a few can solve the real challenge. At the same time, a reliable staff scheduling system would require proper communication with the entire hrm systems. It is, therefore, a tag of war between the work environment and staff needs.

If you are looking to solve challenges and serve outdoor staff scheduling needs, I would recommend you pick from top 5 attendance management systems. Then, take a look at the specific workforce needs in your area of work. Experience has shown that some of the available staff records management systems will target a narrow niche, due to the demands of outdoor workforce management. A good staff scheduling for construction workers may not fit the needs of the guard management system. If you still need help, here is my previous guide on staff scheduling software.

8.      Integration of timesheet apps to Hr management systems

Most attendance management solutions come as a stand-alone time attendance software. However, a visionary manager will look at the systems that will help them resolve most employee management at the same time. This necessitates choosing the best attendance manager software that solves as many challenges as possible. If you cannot find a complete software, the next step is to find an attendance manager system that integrates with timesheet apps, hr management systems and even payroll software.Finclock biometric Attendance Timesheet report, Absence management, Absenteeism, Staff Management, Attendance management system, Attendance manager, Performance management, Employee management system, Employee scheduler, Scheduling software, Hrm software, Hr software, Hr system, HRMS software, Shift planning, Staff scheduling, Employee scheduler, Timesheet app, timesheet calculator, timesheet template, Time card app, Time clock app, Online time clock app, Time clock plus timesheet system, Online time clock, time tracking app,

We have reviewed some of the necessary items to look for when making this important decision. Our findings show that as a visionary manager, the best way is to choose an online attendance management system, which will easily integrate with your current hr systems. The list is long but the methods of integration helped us decide on the best choices. I will recommend this list of integration rules based on the previous guide we covered last month.

Note that you may need the help of enterprise management solution companies to do the integrations. Thus, choose a competent company in employee management systems. Here are the top 5 companies that offer business management systems in the world.

Pricing of timesheet apps

The last item to consider when choosing a timesheet app or any other attendance management system is the pricing. There are free timesheet apps in the market. However, the functions and features present may limit the business growth. As such, it is advised that you choose the premium timesheet apps in the market. The best way is to find the cost of attendance management per employee. Then, inquire from the companies on the terms of payment. Luckily here is the best attendance management system that offers monthly and annual subscription options. This model is good because as your company expands, you will realize the need to incorporate more employees into the attendance system. So, you will increase the number of employees as per your budget.  Find a free trial here and start your 21 days trial. During the trial period, you will not be charged and you will interact with the support team, who will offer guidance and support you during the implementation.

Summary of Timesheet Apps Complete guide

Employee management remains a key role of hr manager. Also, the changing technology requires a critical understanding of the company needs when selecting a timesheet app. We have discussed the main aspects of a timesheet app, where we have explained the needed features. It is clear now that top considerations to make have been covered. Here is the list again:

  1. Nature of timesheet reports
  2. Timesheet templates Samples and customization
  3. Find Best timesheet calculator
  4. Absence manager in timesheet apps
  5. Lateness Manager in Timesheet apps
  6. Staff location tracking in time clock apps
  7. Staff scheduling and shift planning features
  8. Integration of timesheet apps to Hr management systems
  9. Pricing of Timesheet apps

We conducted the analysis and we have summarized the timesheet complete guide. As a business owner or an hr manager, now you can choose from the best. We have listed the features of the attendance management systems and in our list, you can choose from the best timesheet apps we have evaluated. In the list, the top 3 timesheet apps emerge to be the following,

  1. FinClock Attendance Management system
  2. Humanity HR system
  3. Zoho HRM.

Our Parting Shot is that as a manger, go ahead and choose wisely among the three top attendance systems. From the list, feel free to subscribe for a free trial and start experiencing the features. I am glad to have been of help and we believe that you shall be able to grow your business, motivate your employees and even improve employee engagement now and in the future. Register for a 21 days free trial here and let the support team guide you to the journey of enjoyable and efficient employee management.

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About the Author:

Passionate software systems developer, specializing in physical Employee management software systems and Resource Automation systems. The technology of automation of command and response to fast track and change the scope of burden in labor intensive industries. A proud engineer who loves cracking problems and offering solutions to all markets.

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