Two business managers, Hans and Emily, work in almost identical service companies. Same city, same industry, same number of employees and same number and size of

Hans does “timekeeping” and Emily practices “workforce management”. At the end of one year, which manager is $70,000 further in the black than the other? If you picked Emily, you’re right (and maybe lucky) but the more interesting question is, “How can just good workforce management practices make/save me over $1400 per employee per year?

How does timekeeping differ from workforce management?

Good question! Let’s start with a couple of examples using Hans and Emily.

Hans does timekeeping like most busy managers – some kind of time clock to collect punches; manual checking of time cards, correlation of hours and missed punches to submit to payroll, hand-off hours to accounting for re-entry and processing. If employees are scheduled and the company possibly has multiple shifts, Hans marks up the whiteboard or spreadsheet and distributes the schedule. Then he spends time each day monitoring for late or no-show employees and scrambling to fill holes or juggle change requests. Hans does the best he can but has to prioritize and sometimes that means doing corrections to payroll later on. Otherwise, his time is spent planning, reviewing, correcting, changing, reworking and just managing time tracking and time card submission. Technology helps him some…but mainly gives him raw numbers.

Emily on the other hand has implemented a workforce management system. Think of it as timekeeping but with computer assistants. One manages time data and ensures employee punches are accurate, verified, consistent and within constraints required for labor law compliance. Another manages the distribution of schedules, all notifications about changes and even facilitates shift trades between employees. A third assistant is more of a strategic consultant, providing information that helps Emily avoid unplanned overtime, ensures the best-fit skills are in a job role, then predicts ands reviews job and department costs. Finally, a fourth ensures that all time data is directly tied to the payroll service with timely transfer of information, up-to-date employee profiles and accurate summaries of vacation and PTO accruals.

With all of these assistants, Emily can realize significant labor cost reductions and productivity gains that Hans won’t. Here’s a brief summary of her savings:

Reduction in Unplanned Overtime – $18,700

With the ability to monitor overtime thresholds, better scheduling and best-fit employee profiles, premium wage costs can be avoided. Alerts on approaching thresholds and visibility into which employees are available for shifts plus better forecast tools help here.

Reduction in Employee Turnover Savings – $7200

Average US new hire costs are over $4000. Over and understaffing, schedule and communication hassles, and lack of schedule control are major factors in employee turnover. These can all be improved with workforce management resulting directly in less turnover and lower new hire and training expenses.

Schedule Enforcement Savings – $31,200

Workforce management software and intelligent clocks can all but eliminate time theft. Early punches can be blocked, meal and break times enforced, buddy punching eliminated with bio recognition, punch locations verified and wage rates adjusted based on job codes (40% of $18/hr employees clocking in and out 10 minutes early/late will add up to over $30k/year). Real-time visibility of labor activities and costs plus accurate tracking and attribution provide powerful cost management controls.

Payroll Integration Savings – $1300

If the transfer of hour data from time system to payroll is a manual process—savings are possible. Auto-synched employee profiles, one-click transfer of time cards to payroll for processing and with some systems, synchronization of accrual balances all help free up time each pay period that can be better invested.

Manager Time Savings – $12,400

Reducing the need for manager involvement and time spent managing schedule changes is time that can be applied to other high-value management tasks.

Here’s a summary of Emily’s annual savings in dollars, hours or headcount:


Productivity Benefits

Emily’s gains are not just limited to dollar savings—she realizes some great productivity benefits as well. For example, she can be alerted if an employee is late or no-show to a shift. This will help her avoid fines or lost business as a result of no coverage. Employees benefit with self-service and more control over their schedules. Forecasting and cost planning using available workforce management data helps her organization run more efficiently and on budget.


Q: Why automated timekeeping?

A: Automated timekeeping ensures that time data is recorded accurately and is easily reviewed by employees, supervisors and business managers. Calculations and rules are automatically applied, reducing errors and increasing compliance with labor laws governing breaks, overtime, sick leave and so on. Employees gain trust that they are paid fairly, supervisors spend less time reviewing time data and the business has better tactical payroll control. Automation improves efficiency and accuracy of the entire timekeeping process.

Q: What is timekeeping?

A: Timekeeping traditionally is the tracking of employee hours and totaling them per pay period with submission to a payroll system or department so employees can get paid. Automated timekeeping includes recording start/stop times, verifying time records, complying with labor laws, applying labor codes and submission to a payroll system or department.

Q: What is workforce management?

A: Workforce management optimizes productivity by matching employee skills to labor requirements on an hourly basis. WFM processes include: timekeeping, scheduling, task assignment, reporting, analysis, and planning. Workforce management builds on timekeeping with automated processes, job data and business logic to optimize employee productivity, minimize costs and efficiently manage labor resources.
Workforce management also encompasses accurately predicting and attributing labor costs in order to help businesses be more profitable and compete more effectively. At the heart of workforce management is comprehensive data about work activity and employee profiles. This combination of information about every work session is immediately available to make sure that the right person is in the right job at the right time at the right wage.
Workforce management also empowers employees with the ability to set schedules, select shifts, communicate to managers as well as review and edit time cards and submit time-off requests. Workforce management tools are distributable with options for mobile applications, websites and portals and through interactive hardware/software clocks.

Q: Who benefits from workforce management and why?

A: The benefits of workforce management can be quantified for management interested in labor savings and workforce efficiencies. Business owners can realize significant savings through reductions in overtime, time theft, time management tasks, missed shifts, employee turnover and payroll preparation times. Savings in each of these areas can be quantified using the SwipeClock Workforce Management Savings Calculator.
In addition to business managers, labor supervisors and payroll processors benefit with streamlined, error-free processes. And, individual employees benefit from workforce management solutions as well with the ability to set individual work preferences, self service time card and time-off request activities and trade shifts if needed.

Q: How do workforce management tools help reduce labor costs?

A: There are several categories of labor savings. Here’s a brief summary of each:

  • Manager Time: Employee supervisors and managers can spend significantly less time manually coordinating and tracking hours, time-off requests, schedule changes, time card approvals, job tracking and more. All of the information related to each block of time worked is recorded and available for planning, analysis and costing purposes.
  • Overtime Costs: Overtime pay is expensive and being able to plan for or eliminate it through proactive scheduling and visibility to who’s approaching overtime limits. A workforce management solution can reduce unplanned overtime on average by 20%.
  • Cost of Turnover: Several factors contribute to employee turnover including too many or too few hours, too much overtime, lack of schedule control, difficulty in requesting time-off and little or no visibility to time cards or available PTO/vacation time. All of these factors can be mitigated with workforce management tools which in turn can help reduct expensive employee turnover. US average cost to an organization for one new hire (recruiting, training, manager time, etc.) is over $4,000.
  • Wage and Time Theft: An automated, intelligent timekeeping system helps eliminate the major sources of time theft with prevention of early punching, enforced rest and meal breaks, elimination of missed punches, and employee and location verification on clock-in.
  • Payroll Processing: The routine and manual activities of traditional timekeeping are eliminated. Compiling of hours, routing of time cards for approval, manual hand off and entry for payroll—all of these activities are eliminated. In addition, employee records are synchronized between time and payroll systems, eliminating the need to manage duplicate and outdated records.

Q: How does a workforce management system help ensure labor compliance?

A: Compliance consists chiefly of establishing policies according to regulation, enforcing those policies and then having access to data or reports that verify the policies have been adhered to. A workforce management system supports custom timekeeping rules and helps monitor and enforce punches based on those rules. The following list outlines common areas of compliance and how workforce management helps organizations conform:

  • Overtime Compensation: Recording situations where employees are owed pay or overtime or based on hours accumulated during a time period or at locations
  • Break Compensation: Accurate records of meals or rest breaks with fair rounding practices; schedule or break enforcement based on established policies
  • Authorized Changes: Verifiable updates with visibility to employees by authorized managers
  • Tracked Time Off: Vacation, sick leave and family leave documented according to required regulation
  • Healthcare Compliance: Special rules apply in healthcare with minimum staff to patient ratios and required certifications (ACA)
  • Reporting & Data Analysis: Having access to reports and data in the event of audit or to resolve wage/hour concerns

Q: How does Workforce Management Suite address the following problems?

A: Specific Problems/Solutions

  • Early Punches: Clock lock-out prevents employees from clocking in early and displays a warning message with the minutes before clock-in will be possible. Early thresholds are settable by employer.
  • Buddy Punching: Biometric readers (fingerprint) are available as well as RFID devices. In addition, mobile apps can record GPS to ensure employees are on location.
  • Unnecessary overtime: Warnings are generated on approaching overtime thresholds and schedule rules can prevent/warn if shifts will incur overtime.
  • Schedule Holes: Managers can be alerted in late/no-show situations and schedule coverage view highlights holes/li>
  • Over/Under staffing: reporting and data analysis provides insights into locations, shifts, jobs or departments with correlations to overtime, sales or other productivity metrics
  • Missed meals or rest breaks: rules can be set to require meals and breaks
  • Pay code mistakes: online system with pre-set department, job and location codes all but eliminate errors
  • Guessing at hours: State-aware capability notifies on missed punches and requires that time be accounted for regularly.
  • Manual time card handling: All data transfer can be automated and directly imported depending on payroll systems used.
  • Insufficient data for audits: Data associated with all punches is available for any review or audit.
  • Requests for schedule changes: If desired, schedule change requests can be submitted to trade board where other qualified employees can pick up the shift without the need for supervisor intervention.
  • Shift filling with qualified employees: Customizable shift requirements can include certifications, skills or experience and system will only allows qualifying employees to be scheduled.

Q: Which roles in an organization benefit from a workforce management system and how?

A: Here are a few before and after activities of organization roles with workforce management in place:


  • Before: tallies and approves time cards manually (could be paper or spreadsheet)
  • After: approves time cards on mobile phone

Scheduling Supervisor

  • Before: Creates new schedules on whiteboard, paper or spreadsheet every week; manually assigns slots then distributes to employees; makes each schedule change personally
  • After: Creates schedule once; is distributed and replicated automatically; employees reschedule through shift trade board


  • Before: Asks manager or schedule supervisor for shift preferences, time-off requests, accrued PTO balances and for schedule changes; manually provides job code or locations
  • After: From mobile app or portal can see schedule and get notifications on changes, view time cards and balances, request time off and easily select job, department or locations for job costing

Q: What is Workforce Management Suite?

A: Workforce Management Suite combines time and attendance tracking (TimeWorksPlus) with advanced scheduling features (TimeSimplicity). TimeWorksPlus accommodates clocking in and out, accruals, reporting, job costing and basic scheduling including schedule enforcement. TimeSimplicity accommodates dynamic, multi-shift, multi-location schedules with employee preferences, role requirements and a shift trade board. Workforce Management Suite unifies the management of both products and packages them as a single product at a lower price point.

Q: What clocks work with Workforce Management Suite?

A: While all hardware and software clocks work with Workforce Management Suite certain intelligent features are only available on software clocks. Features that are “employee-state-aware” require active internet connections and software logic to be executed at the clock. Examples include alerts or lockout on early punching, selectable lists of departments or job codes and including of GPS information with punches. Intelligent clock features are available with TimeWorksTouch (touch-screen interactive hardware clock), web-based clocks and mobile apps.

Q: What kind of training is available?

A: Training for timekeeping partners and clients is available online. Training content consists of knowledge base articles, example videos and full training certification modules.

Q: Does Workforce Management Suite have a mobile application?

A: Yes. Most functions are available from the TimeWorksPlus Mobile Application available for iOS and Android. Managers are able to see where and when employees clock in/out as well as respond to time card approvals and PTO requests.

Q: Who do I call with questions?

A: Timekeeping providers can contact SwipeClock at, call 888.223.2450 or work directly with your SwipeClock Channel Development Manager reached at the same number. Clients of providers should work directly with their timekeeping provider.