By Joel Nuernberger and Otto Khamphouy
Healthcare organizations face a particularly challenging environment when it comes to employee timekeeping. Government compliance and reporting requirements, union contracts, shift differentials and non-discretionary bonuses all contribute to the complexity.
But you can streamline your organization’s timekeeping and save significant staff hours by moving to a modern timekeeping solution. We’ve put together the top four benefits for healthcare organizations.
1. Gain quick, easy and detailed reporting
Reporting is perhaps the most significant challenge healthcare organizations face when it comes to timekeeping. Older systems often don’t have detailed historical records that you can reference if there’s an audit; you can’t run easy and quick reports on the time employees spend on shift, on overtime and in which departments; and so you’re not getting an accurate picture — over the short-term or long-term — of where your dollars are going.
Then there’s payroll-based journal (PBJ) reporting. Long-term care facilities must report direct care staff hours to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) every quarter, within 45 days of the new quarter’s start.
Having timely and accurate data is critical. But there’s an additional challenge in that CMS wants the hours reported broken down per day, not per payroll period.
Modern timekeeping solutions are a lifesaver when it comes to getting back significant manhours, especially if you have hundreds of employees. Your staff won’t have to spend hours pulling the data manually. The timekeeping solution does it automatically. Some even have pre-defined job codes used to report to CMS, and you can map your current job titles and structures to these codes and begin generating reports in the proper format. With the right solution, it takes no time at all to pull the report and upload it to the CMS website.
2. Stay in compliance
We mentioned above the chance of getting audited and how a modern timekeeping solution can provide the data needed. It can also calculate shift differentials, which play a huge role in labor audits, based on specific requirements you set — ensuring you’re covering all your bases.
One of the most commonly missed compliance factors is the non-discretionary bonus. When calculating the weighted average overtime rate, you must factor in these bonuses. We’ve seen an organization that overlooked this have to work with the Department of Labor to calculate backpay for impacted employees.
A modern timekeeping solution can help you avoid this situation through its comprehensive blended overtime calculations. It can also take things like union contracts into account, as well as acquisitions. Normally acquisitions would pose a big challenge if they have a different way of recording time, as well as different holiday schedules and PTO plans. However, a modern timekeeping solution is flexible enough to handle multiple systems and rules.
3. Boost employee morale and retention
Keeping employees can be a challenge for healthcare organizations, so whatever you can do to retain good employees is worth pursuing. Timekeeping can actually play a role.
Old-school timekeeping methods — paper, Excel documents, punch cards, etc. — aren’t interactive and don’t provide employees with visibility into their hours. But a modern system does things digitally and provides a platform that allows employees to view historic data. They can also actively monitor their current timecard and catch any mis-punches or time going into the wrong department, which saves employers time on the backend.
As for punching in, there are different options for time clock software. You could have a web-based punch-in system done through a computer. Or you could have a physical clock with the integrated software, located somewhere with easy access and different security integrations. RFID card readers, biometric fingerprint readers and other security measures can be put in place to verify that the person punching in and out is who they say they are.
You could also utilize a mobile app for employees who travel frequently, allowing them to easily clock in and out and keep track of their time, while making things easier on the backend for your HR staff.
Overall, the convenience, visibility and interactivity make employees’ lives easier and are a point in your favor when it comes to retention.
4. Integrate your functions into one system
The last benefit is a big one: integration with your other HR functions. When you have your HR, benefits, payroll, onboarding and timekeeping all on one system, everything flows together seamlessly. You don’t have to maintain and update separate employee records in two or more systems. You don’t have to spend time importing and exporting data between them. The system is built with each function in mind, giving you the best of every world.
Plus, from the employee’s perspective, they don’t have one system they have to log into to view their paystub and an entirely separate system they have to log into to view their timecard. It’s another point of convenience increasing your ability to retain talent.
You can even integrate scheduling. A modern, integrated timekeeping solution can create schedules and make them available to employees. No longer do you need to go to yet another third-party vendor to get the capabilities and customization you need.
Looking to make a change?
We live in a digital world of convenience, where an investment you make now can save you big when it comes to time, money and efficiency in the long-term. If you’re looking to upgrade your time clock software, set your organization up for success. The consultants at Wipfli are experienced in helping clients select the right timekeeping solution for them, as well as assisting with a smooth implementation. Contact us to learn more or get started.