As an educator, I am shocked that schools still use paper time tracking. Workforce management solutions exist to help educators save time and money. We need a lot more of both, and workforce management, or WFM for education, is a solution that works.
So Why Aren’t We Using WFM For Education?
There are plenty of reasons, and you aren’t going to believe any of them. Myths, misunderstanding, and simple lack of knowledge.
We’re a busy group, us educators. We don’t have a lot of time to keep up with the latest industry trends. If we did, we wouldn’t have the money, either.
We hardly have the time or money to keep up with our day jobs; educating students.
But therein lies the rub: if we had WFM for education, we’d have a little more time. And a little more money.
Don’t believe me?…
The State Of Education
Educational institutions are still using manual workforce management solutions. In some cases, they aren’t using any system. Old-school solutions rely on the honor code, which leaves us vulnerable to inefficiency.
Time tracking and data analyzation aren’t happening in education. At least not at the level it should be. I’m reminded of the old adage “You can’t fix something you don’t measure.”
We spend a lot of time measuring our students. We do this so we know what to focus on in our classrooms. We are always working to teach better and help students learn more about themselves.
WFM for education promises to help us better measure and optimize our time. These simple and automatic processes can help us save time and money: two things we would like to have a lot more of.
In an informal survey, I learned that many schools rely on “the honor system” to track hours. Teachers don’t record hours, and administrators assume we are meeting our goals. Time gets recorded but not confirmed.
I sat down with a fellow educator and compared notes.
“Do you sign a time card at the end of the period?” I asked. “Nope” came the shocking reply. “How about ACA compliance?” I inquired. “I guess I never worried about it” was the typical answer.
It sounds like they aren’t even using the honor system. In fact, they’re not tracking time at all.
This Is A Problem
Regulations, ACA requirements, and workforce optimizations are compelling commercial organizations to adopt WFM. Saving time and money are the foundation of good business. Optimizing workforce management is a primary concern for companies small and large.
Why don’t educational institutions do the same? We have many of the same problems as a business, and you could make the argument we have even more.
Regulation is no stranger to education. We have the same ACA requirements as every other company. Time and money are always in short supply. And workforce optimization would go a long way to freeing up some weekend time for me and my family.
So let’s dig in and see what this is all about, and why we aren’t using modern workforce management solutions.
The reasons might shock you.
What Is Workforce Management For Education?
WFM for education is time and attendance tracking and scheduling for educators. It includes everything from “clocking in” to “clocking out” for teachers and facilitators. It includes a wide range of workforce management solutions for administrators.
Teachers, custodians and service providers use WFM for education to manage their workday. Clocking in or out is only the beginning. Time tracking and scheduling add functions for collecting and analyzing data.
Things go from helpful to joyful when we start talking about employee self-service.
Keeping an eye on my hours and checking vacation time accruals are a handy treat. Planning time off and managing substitutions with a couple clicks is a wonder. Reviewing payroll history and updating my tax exemptions make my life simple again.
Workforce management solutions include all these benefits and more for teachers.
Administrators use WFM for education to track hours and watch for unplanned overtime. They can manage substitutions and make approvals online from a central location. Single-sign-on provides a one-stop-shopping approach to workforce management.
Throw in mobile access and you have an entire education workforce free to focus on education.
Education Has Diverse Job Roles To Manage
There are many types of employees in the education workforce.
Organizations can be different from one type of institution to another. Job roles are similar, but there are differences in density and groupings.
WFM for education is flexible enough to handle them all.
Take, for instance, daycare. Daycare isn’t a big-time educational institution, but we’ll count it for now. Daycare centers have a small group of multi-purpose employees who perform hourly work.
There are shifts to cover, which means there can be overlap needs. Concerns about absence management and unplanned overtime justify workforce management solutions.
When it comes to K-12, teachers make up the greater share of job roles. A small group of administrators will manage the office. Maintenance and custodial crews are usually small. Some are salaried, and some are hourly. Scheduling is a factor for substitute planning.
Food services are sometimes managed by third-parties. Sometimes not. Regardless, K-12 is a workforce group of teachers with only a handful of job roles to consider.
College and University
Colleges and universities have complex job role structures. These places operate like a small city. Job roles include the classics such as teachers and administrators. They also include security, groundskeeping, special events staff, and catering. Among many others.
Colleges and universities include a diverse range of job roles. They also compound diversity with a wide range of employee types. Part time, full time, hourly and salaried; they have them all.
To complicate the matter further, there are even jobs that don’t get paid. Students fill job roles that accumulate experience or certification time. Interns and students need time tracking for qualification requirements.
There are a host of other types of educational institutions. I’ll end my list with a grouping called “private education.”
Private schools are similar in every way to public schools. They include the same job roles and logistics.
Do private schools need WFM for education, too?
You bet they do. They all do. So why aren’t they using it?
Keep reading. I’m almost to the shocking part…
Education Faculty Management
Before we get to the shocking details, let’s conduct a quick review of the job roles we find in many of our schools.
It takes a lot of people to manage an educational institution. There are many different job roles. Each job role includes unique time requirements and restrictions.
For example, administrators. These are the office people who manage the school and oversee operations. Front desk employees might be hourly. Supervisors, counselors, and principles will be on salary.
In either case, tracking time helps generate data for workforce optimization.
It makes good sense to incorporate a workforce management solution. Tracking data is automatic and can help make improvements that save time and money.
Teachers are often in salaried positions, but they have hourly responsibilities.
For example, teachers in my neck of the woods must be in their classroom 30 minutes before the first bell. Expectations include next-day preparations that consume 90 minutes after the last class.
The Affordable Care Act mandates that we track hours for eligibility requirements. So whether your teachers are salary or hourly wage earners, we need to track their time on the clock.
WFM for education would make this easy. Yet many schools are missing the opportunity with no workforce management solutions.
Outsourcing services manage substitute teachers in many parts of the country. This helps reduce cost and delegates responsibility to a third party for qualification. Qualifications can include specialty certifications and background checks as well as base requirements.
Outsourcing services track hours and handle their own payroll. These professional companies use workforce management solutions to optimize their profitability.
Non-profit educational institutions could learn a lesson or two from these examples of commercial efficiency.
Human capital outsourcing services focus their energy on optimization to remain viable. Without tools to save time and money, they would perish in a pool of resource waste and inefficiency.
Workforce management solutions are the cornerstone of their enterprise for good reason.
Janitorial services, IT technicians, and on-site maintenance all work to keep things running. We’re lost without these specialists who are often on call when not on site.
These functions are hourly wage positions. Part-time workers fill these roles and often split coverage between several short shifts.
Scheduling and shift-swapping with employee self-service features can save a lot of time. Intelligent clock functions can help save unplanned overtime and ensure records are complete.
Foodservice employees are also part-time hourly workers. These employees clock in for food preparation and clock out after cleanup. It’s a short day, but a lot of work goes into feeding our students.
Like our maintenance staff, food services employees can enjoy the benefits of WFM. Clock lockout can help ensure that employees aren’t racking up extra time. That alone can save a small fortune better spent on STEM supplies.
Integrated biometric clocks can stop buddy punching and other costly behaviors. These budget-draining expenses are costing our schools a lot of money. Food services are important, but even part-time workers can achieve optimization with WFM.
Security personnel can be hourly or salaried employees. This depends on many factors. Security might even be an outsourced resource at your school—much like substitute teachers.
So it depends on the circumstances whether this is an area that WFM for education can help.
If you have a security staff on the payroll, WFM for education can help you manage with efficiency. Efficiency means fewer resources are being wasted and more time and money saved.
Full-Time vs Part-Time In Education Staffing
I’d be remiss to skip a quick explanation of the differences between full and part-time.
Full-time employees are different than part-time employees. But you already knew that. What you may not know is that they each have different pay scales, benefits, and ACA regulations.
Job role assignment in workforce management solutions can help you manage the differences.
WFM helps you track pay scales by job roles. When one person performs two different roles, they may qualify for different pay. Automation can help you avoid conflating part-time and full-time pay scales. Assigning job roles to each employee means error-proof scheduling and accurate time tracking.
WFM for education can help you track pay differences and keep historical records. Records can help protect you from audit trouble or employee disputes. They also come in handy for analytics and spotting performance improvement opportunities.
Integration with payroll means you can limit opportunities for mistakes while saving time. You won’t have to figure time and attendance on paper. The system tracks time for you and makes transferring data to payroll easy.
Benefits And Job Roles
Calculating benefits and ACA compliance can be a drain on time. Automating these functions with WFM for education can save you that time. And it can help you avoid errors and backtracking.
Benefits and compliance regulations depend on time tracking and pay scales. WFM for education uses job roles to track these details so you don’t have to.
Alerts can keep you from unplanned overtime or regulatory infraction. Both important considerations when calculating part-time or full-time benefits.
Automated WFM provides a lot of advantages that don’t add extra work. Most features save more time than you spend already. Even in small organizations such as daycare centers or private schools.
Building The Case For Workforce Management Solutions
I’ve touched on a handful of features and benefits in using WFM for education. I’ve discussed some of the reasons why you want to use workforce management solutions.
Let’s look at eight reasons why you don’t have workforce management in your school right now…
8 New School Reasons You Need WFM For Education
Warning: the following is not for the faint of heart. I’m about to disclose shocking reasons why your educational institution needs workforce management. I’ll also reveal why you don’t already have them.
If you do already have a workforce management solution in your school; congratulations! I’m not sure why you are reading this article, but it may provide justification to upgrade.
There are more than “7 Terrifying Reasons” to upgrade to cloud-based WFM. I’ll cover a few of the reasons below, but an upgrade is something to consider. You can save even more time and money working in the cloud. Look into it.
Until then, buckle your seatbelts and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle. Let’s explore the shocking reasons why you don’t have WFM for education in your school…
1. Control Overtime of Non-Exempt Staff
On a recent stop at my child’s school, I had a conversation with the HR manager. I asked her what the most time-consuming part of her job is. She reported that it was tracking time cards for hourly employees.
Like most schools, she has a book of time cards. Hourly employees stop by the front desk on their way to work and sign in. With a pencil. I asked her if this works, and she said “no” with a forced look of futility.
She explained that employees often forget to complete the cards. At the end of the week, there is a mad rush to remember hours and report missing time.
“How do you watch for unplanned overtime?” I asked.
“I don’t” she replied. And then she gave me another forced look that assured me she would like to if she could.
Tracking unplanned overtime is impossible on paper time cards. With WFM for education, it’s easy. Real-time tracking keeps administrators up to date with current data. Overtime alerts warn of overtime problems before they happen. Intelligent clocking helps assure that clock ins and clock outs aren’t forgotten.
Why isn’t her school using automated workforce management solutions? Because they haven’t installed it. The reason this is so shocking is that it only takes an hour or two to install. That’s it.
She could save more time in her first week of running payroll than it will take to install the software to do it for her.
She didn’t know, but that isn’t shocking. Most are unaware how easy it is to upgrade to workforce management solutions.
2. Defend Against Potential Lawsuits
We educators don’t spend a lot of time thinking about avoiding lawsuits. But we should because they happen a lot. The money spent defending a legal claim, or paying fines, could go to the classroom instead.
A surprising number of lawsuits are payroll-related. Employees file claims when hours are incorrect. State and federal regulators impose fines when we overstep payroll compliance laws. New Affordable Care Act requirements make this even more important.
A common open-door to payroll problems is rubber-stamping time cards. At the end of the week, we tend to rush through the time card process, approving at large. This is a dangerous practice that inflates costs and fosters compliance errors.
Workforce management systems help guard against potential lawsuits with automated tracking. Automated tracking eliminates the need for rubber stamped time card approvals. It also creates an audit trail with alerts and warnings against compliance issues.
Reliable and credible data is the best defense against employee wage dispute challenges. WFM for education helps maintain accurate and current records.
When problems do occur, you discover them immediately with automated alerts. You’ll get more done by doing less work. And you’ll protect your school from potential legal problems at the same time.
The shocking reason we don’t have these features in our schools? Administrators are unaware that WFM for education solves the problem.
That’s it. It’s a matter of knowing. The rest is easy.
3. PTO Management and Reduction
Managing Paid Time Off (PTO) is another hassle for the education administrator.
Education staff has an allotment of days for paid sick leave. Some are for “sick days” and others are for “personal time.” Some roll over to the next year if not used, and others don’t.
You have to track them.
Our system doesn’t track them, so it becomes the unwieldy task of our local administrator. She records hours in a separate system by hand.
When a teacher is out for the day, the administrator must follow up to confirm the type of time off. This is a hassle and prone to error. Errors, as we have already discussed, can lead to legal trouble. At best, errors erode time and productivity.
Ain’t nobody got time for that. (sic …I’m an educator after all.)
Workforce management solutions can help you manage PTO and reduce errors. It can also help you reduce the impact of personal time off, and save your school some money.
Teachers don’t always report PTO. When they do, there can be confusion between sick leave or personal time. Automated workforce management solutions take the thinking out of the equation.
When a teacher uses PTO, they report it instead of regular clocking in. Prompts encourage teachers to report the correct PTO designations. Automated rollover time ensures accurate tracking. Everything is automatic and error-free.
Alerts warn against insufficient balances and empower teachers to plan their own time. Administrators enjoy hands-free management of PTO time.
Everyone sees a little extra money available for education.
Why aren’t you using this to save time at your school?
If I were being sarcastic I would say “because we enjoy wasting time.” That would be shocking, but it isn’t far from the truth. The fact of the matter is that workforce management solutions save more time than they take.
There isn’t a good reason not to be using it. Especially considering the time it can save managing PTO, alone.
4. Reduce Teacher Absenteeism With Automatic Data Analysis
Have you ever wondered how much money you could save by managing teacher absenteeism? It’s a lot.
There are several opportunities to save. Employee absenteeism costs in administrative time. You have to hire substitute teachers and provide overhead support. Chronic absenteeism can be costly.
Solutions are hard to propose, too, if you don’t have the data to substantiate your concern. You can’t approach a chronic absentee and have a productive discussion without evidence. There are legal concerns and protocols to follow.
One of the best ways to reduce chronic absenteeism is with data analysis. Your workforce management solution should be collecting absentee data for you. Reports will show which employees are abusing the system.
With evidence, you can discuss chronic absenteeism with an employee without baseless accusations. This sets a confident framework for a productive discussion.
Your next discussion about chronic absences can focus on addressing the issue.
WFM for education provides reports that show chronic absentees. You can use this information for productive communication with your employee. Time off requests and PTO balances provide valuable data for consideration.
Talking to employees about chronic absences, or chronic lateness, is a difficult prospect. Having accurate data to back up your concern goes a long way to make the conversation a lot less personal.
Are you shocked to learn you don’t have to have uncomfortable employee discussions? I was. Any reason you can think of for not using this feature is shocking. It’s too easy to set up, and the cost is far less than the potential savings.
My workforce management solutions take care of the data for me so I don’t have to worry about it anymore.
5. Improve Grant Eligibility With Project Time Tracking
Grants are the rocket fuel of many an educational institution. Grant money can make or break a research project or experimental fabrication.
Getting grants is often a matter of eligibility. Eligibility is often tied to employment, hours worked, and hours volunteered. Yes; tracking hours is critical to grant eligibility.
Responsible hourly tracking can prepare you for future grants, too. Tracking hours contributed demonstrates responsible grant management. Showing a responsible track record can make future grant applications more appealing.
Job roles in workforce management systems help you track hours by contributor. Reports will show who devoted time to a project. At the end of your grant project, you can analyze time required. Your next grant application will be more accurate and more complete.
Want grants? WFM for education can help in a big way.
Why wouldn’t we use WFM for education to improve our chances of getting another grant? —I don’t know. Considering it will help, it’s shocking that we aren’t.
Added bonus: your next grant could include the cost of upgrading to WFM for education. That’s “grant optimization.”
6. Get Serious About ACA Compliance For Education
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that you track employee hours. A lot of schools are skipping this step. That won’t end well for anyone who is. This is a strict rule with legal implications.
The handful of administrators I recently spoke to say they aren’t tracking for ACA. They rely on the function of routine to make it all right in the end. This is a dangerous way to follow ACA. It opens the door to employee claims that you can’t oppose without the data.
For example, ACA has moved the bar for full-time benefits to 30 hours. If a part-time employee works more than 30 hours they may be eligible for special benefits. If you aren’t clocking hours, you are at risk for unplanned overtime. You will have a hard time defending against undocumented employee claims.
WFM for education can help you get serious about ACA compliance. Workforce management solutions help you track employee hours to ensure 30-hour restrictions. Overtime alerts warn of potential problems before they happen. Automatic ACA compliance will save you more time and money than you will spend on the solution.
Even better, you can add intelligent clocks that enforce time restrictions. You can manage your employees right at the clock to make sure they clock in at appropriate times.
Restricting your part-time employees to specific clock in times will reduce costs. The same goes for clocking out. Employees who clock in 5 minutes early, and five minutes late, are stealing as many as four hours each week. That’s a lot of extra hours you are paying for.
It also puts you at risk for unplanned overtime and ACA compliance failure. WFM for education will keep you informed with ACA reports.
Federal compliance and audit protection have never been so easy.
The shocking realization here is that without WFM for education, we could be in federal hot water. It was shocking for me to learn that many administrators are not aware of this regulation.
7. Improve Communications
One of the areas that we could all use a little help with is communication. Communication means more things are getting done and fewer roadblocks are in the way. This can be particularly true in time tracking and payroll.
Everyone has payroll questions. We love to educate, but when it comes down to it, we are here for the money. It’s important for us as educators and it’s important for administrators, too.
Payroll questions can range from simple PTO inquiries to complex tax preparation. WFM for education makes these problems simple with employee self-service.
Employee self-service (ESS) empowers employees to check their own data when they need. Employees can change withholding status or download historical records without asking. This relieves a huge burden on administrators and gives employees a lot of freedom.
Automated text messaging alerts and responsive email make communications more complete. Employees receive alerts about PTO, overtime, and schedule changes. Administrators don’t have to worry about following up on every change. The system takes care of it for you.
One administrator I spoke to found it shocking that she wouldn’t have to craft a new email for each change. Freedom to work on catching up in other areas seemed to be a relief.
Communication is a shocking reason why some administrators aren’t using WFM for education. Tell your friends about it so we can stop the cycle.
8. No IT Department Required
One of the shocking reasons your school doesn’t use WFM for education is the IT Department. Or lack of one, to be more specific.
But this isn’t a good reason at all:
It is a fallacy that workforce management solutions need dedicated computer staff. Cloud-based WFM for education is easy to install and requires no maintenance.
There is no software to install. You access the system through a browser on your computer or smartphone. There isn’t any software to update, either. Cloud-based WFM is always up-to-date.
You don’t need a dedicated IT staff to manage your workforce management software. Shocking.
Are You Shocked?
That’s it. By the time you read this entire article, you know enough to solve these problems at your school. And you can solve them in about the same time it takes to read this whole article. Easy!
WFM for education is a simple upgrade. Installing the software can take as little as 30 minutes. Start an account, enter some employee data, and you’re ready to go. Workforce management solutions have come a long way and they are easy to install. There is no good reason you should have to waste time on time tracking, payroll, or scheduling.
WFM for education can save you a lot of time. And a lot of money.
The shocking part is that there aren’t any shocking reasons you aren’t using WFM for education. It comes down to three things, and they are easy to overcome:
1. Didn’t know about it; now you do.
2. We can’t afford it: it can save more than it costs.
3. It’s too hard to set up: it only takes an hour and anyone can do it.
SwipeClock WorkforceHUB™ is WFM for education. It includes all the features I’ve discussed in this article and a lot more.
Educators who use WFM for education can expect to save a lot of time and money. And that’s good for everyone: Administrators, teachers, and students.