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Getting School District Employees Buy-in for A New Time Tracking System

Time & Attendance

Sometimes, change is hard — even when it’s for the better. It’s relatively easy to get staff buy-in for things like dress-down days, unlimited printing or discount programs. But other changes can be a little harder to rally your employees around, even when the switch is integral to the school district’s operations.

Take time tracking, for example. Having an accurate picture of employee time is a key part of staying compliant with labor laws and managing the district’s expenses, but moving to a new time tracking system is rarely on any employee’s wish list. Even so, you want to make sure that your people are on board as much as possible when you make a change that affects their work day.

So, how can you make a new time tracking system a win-win for you and your employees?

1. Be open about why you’re moving to the new time tracking system

People always appreciate honesty, so be upfront about the reasons why the district is making the change. If it’s to keep costs under control, it’s okay to say so — everyone knows that school district budgets are tight, but it’s not as well-known that organizations overpay by an average 1.2% due to payroll errors. And according to research by the American Payroll Association, payroll errors could cost anywhere from 1% to 8% of your annual gross payroll if your organization uses paper-based time cards. So, explain that moving to an electronic time tracking system will save the district money, without needing to make cuts.

Or, you may be moving to a new system to improve accountability. Maybe you’ve found that employees work additional hours off the clock in order to get their work done, and need to make sure that all of your employees are compensated fairly for their time. Or perhaps you’ve had issues with “buddy-punching”, where one employee clocks in on another’s behalf. Consider being transparent about the effect this behavior has had on the school district’s finances.

2. Make sure you pick a time tracking system that works for employees and the school district

First and foremost: when you move to a new time tracking system, make sure that it’s the best one for the district. It can be demoralizing for employees (and your payroll office) to jump from one system to another, to another, and yet another ad infinitum in search of the right one. So, when you choose the new system, make sure it’ll meet everyone’s needs.

It should be flexible enough to work with K-12’s unique needs, like different employee groups, or staff who hold multiple positions or work in multiple locations. At the same time, it needs to put you in control of who can clock in where, or how.

For employees in particular, one of the most visible parts of time tracking is actually clocking in and out. The most effective clock-in/clock-out device for one group may not be best for another, so choose a system that can work with a variety of time capture methods.

Obligatory vendor note: Time & Attendance from Frontline lets you use any compatible time-tracking device or method that works for your district: electronic timesheets, proximity scanners, biometrics, a mobile app and more. Bonus: you can use different methods for different employee groups — whatever works best for your district’s needs.


3. Communicate!

Throughout the process, communicate with your employees. In addition to being open about why the district is moving to the new system, share the reasons why you chose the new system, and address their concerns. Maybe you heard from bus drivers that the clock-in method used for other employees wasn’t working as well for them, and the new system makes sure that everyone’s needs are met.

Remember that communication goes both ways. In addition to sharing the reasons behind the change, make sure that employees feel heard. You may find they have valuable feedback that improves the overall process, and staff will feel included and respected.

Thinking of moving to a better system for tracking and managing employee time? Check out Time & Attendance. As part of Frontline Absence & Time, it works with Absence Management (formerly Aesop) to give you the full picture of employee attendance.

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Annie GrunwellAnnie Grunwell

Annie is a writer and part of the award-winning content team at Frontline Education. She's passionate about learning, exploring data and sharing knowledge. Her specialties include substitute management, the teacher shortage and best practices in human capital management.