clock in clock out on your phone

Clock-In Clock-Out Process: A Helpful Guide for Managers

Want to improve productivity, employee satisfaction, recordkeeping, and payroll all in one fell swoop? Streamline your employee clock-in/clock-out process.

An effective time-tracking program can help make daily work activities easier to manage and help simplify the more complex jobs — like payroll and compliance — that you have to deal with on a regular basis.

In this article, we discuss some of the best ways to make your business’s time tracking-program more efficient and effective for everyone involved.

Table of contents

Why your clock-in/clock-out process is important

Women on a computer that she can use to clock in clock out

Maintain compliance

Complying with the rules and regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is an important part of running a successful business.

A simple and effective clock-in/clock-out process can help you accumulate and maintain accurate records for metrics such as:

Without a good time-tracking process, managing all of this data for short- and long-term use can be a logistical nightmare.

Prevent time theft

Left unchecked, time theft can dramatically affect your business and your bottom line.

Maintaining a simple and effective clock-in/clock-out process can help cut down on activities like:

  • Buddy punching
  • Ghosting
  • Long breaks
  • Unauthorized personal time
  • Timesheet fraud
  • Non-work-related internet use
  • Excessive socializing
  • Mistakes (both accidental and deliberate)
  • And more

Some time tracking programs even make use of advanced tools such as geofencing — virtual borders around a job site that restrict an employee’s ability to clock in and out to that location — and two-factor verification to prevent time theft in all its forms.

Improve time and attendance management

Time and attendance management is a big part of what makes many businesses successful, and the clock-in/clock-out process plays a pivotal role in making it all work.

Keeping your team on track — and on task — for success can be a difficult job all by itself. With a streamlined time tracking program and the numbers it produces, you may be much better positioned to help your employees concentrate their efforts where they’re needed the most.

Your business’s time tracking program can also help you maintain accurate attendance so that you know your employees are on the job when they should be.

Reduce scheduling issues

It’s not uncommon for one or a handful of employees to get more hours than other employees. That could be for a reason (e.g., seniority, skill set, etc.), but it could also be due to a simple error during the scheduling process.

With the data that a good time-tracking process provides, you may be better positioned to maintain consistent hours for all employees and avoid scheduling issues that can lead to overtime, hurt feelings, and burnout.

How to streamline your clock-in/clock-out process

Man serving coffee to go

1) Put together a time-tracking policy

Mounting a time clock on the wall or downloading an app onto a device and telling your team to use it will only go so far. You’re also going to need a time-tracking policy to go with it.

An effective policy includes:

  • What you expect from your team when it comes to recording hours
  • Rules about time theft
  • A tutorial or detailed instructions about how to use the system
  • Consequences for failing to abide by the rules

Make this policy available to everyone on your team by publishing it in the employee handbook, posting it in the cloud, or saving it in a shared drive on your network so individuals can access it any time they have a question or an issue.

2) Use a time-tracking app

It doesn’t matter if everyone on your team works in-office, remotely, or a combination of the two, modern time-tracking apps are the best way to streamline the clock-in/clock-out process.

In many cases, employees can use the app on their personal device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop) to start and stop their time for different tasks and jobs wherever they may have to work — be it on-site or off.

And even if your business still needs to maintain a single point of entry for all employees, time-tracking apps may be an effective upgrade for the analog punch clock and punch cards that you currently use.

3) Keep it simple

Woman on the phone

However you choose to structure your clock-in/clock-out process — and whatever software you choose to use — it’s important to make the system as easy to use as possible.

If your team members have trouble with the simple act of recording one data point (e.g., their start time), they may be much more likely to stop using the whole system correctly or altogether.

This can lead to problems down the road — for them and for you — that may not be easy to overcome or resolve.

Choose an app that is user-friendly, has a one-touch interface, and doesn’t require a lot of skill or training to operate.

4) Train your employees

Regardless of the system you put in place, it’s essential to train your employees to use the software and hardware correctly if you want good results.

Yes, some team members may be able to follow the written instructions you put together, but others may need hands-on training before they feel comfortable enough to navigate the process efficiently and effectively.

Consider scheduling training sessions so everyone gets a chance to operate the equipment and ask questions before the system goes live.

It’s also a good idea to incorporate time clock training into your onboarding process so all new employees know how to clock in and clock out when necessary.

5) Encourage your team to use the available features

It may be a bit more work for them, but encourage your team to use advanced features of the process — like tags and entry descriptions — if they’re available.

Tagging time entries can help you and your employees sort work hours by client, job, or team (just to name a few) so that everyone involved can better understand how they’re spending their time and how they can improve.

Similarly, entry descriptions — text that explains what an employee did during a certain period of time — can be a big help when it comes time to verify timesheets and when you want to verify that everyone is working where, and on what, they’re supposed to.

6) Get first-hand experience

When it comes to streamlining your clock-in/clock-out process, few things beat first-hand experience.

Take the time to use the system yourself in a variety of situations (e.g., starting your day, ending your day, and tracking time on task) so you know what your team has to contend with to do their jobs correctly.

Tracking time in a busy restaurant

waitress that has to clock in clock out

For busy restaurant managers, creating a streamlined clock-in/clock-out process can be challenging. In many cases, a single employee may perform different jobs at different pay rates all within the span of a single shift.

What’s the best way to make all of that as easy as possible? Implement a time tracking app into your workflow.

Some advanced options — like Sling — even allow employees to start and stop time right from their own personal device so they can switch tasks (and pay rates) without having to waste time returning to a central kiosk.

The mobility and flexibility that come with modern time tracking software may help you improve the workflow in your restaurant so that maintaining accurate time and attendance — for as many jobs and pay rates as you need — is as easy as possible for you and your team.

Streamlined Time Tracking with Sling

Streamlined Time Tracking with Sling

Whether you run a small business with a handful of employees, a growing restaurant with 20 employees, or an enterprise-scale business with 100 or more employees, an advanced clock-in/clock-out app, like Sling, can help you simplify the time-tracking process for everyone.

The Sling software suite gives managers the power to organize, optimize, and track time for a workforce of any size and location with mobile and on-site tools such as:

And, Sling can grow with your business so that when it’s time to expand from 10 to 20 to 100 employees, you and your team don’t have to go through the headache of implementing and learning new software.

Try Sling for free today to experience firsthand how the workforce management app can help you manage a team of any size and make the clock-in/clock-out process as simple as possible.

This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR, or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.

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