Time is money, especially in this age of tight public-sector budgets.

For the Human Resources Department of El Paso, Texas, getting a better system to track and manage employee time was important to the city's bottom line. Employees, too, benefit from an accurate timekeeping system.

"Our system before was very archaic, it was all done with paper and pencil," said Terry Bond, Human Resources director, adding that timesheets came in every week from each department after being manually signed by all the supervisors.

Out With the Old

Now dealing with reams of paper time sheets is a thing of the past.

Instead, employees simply swipe their clock-in, clock-out times at a time clock and/or computer, automatically registering the information in the city's new Time and Labor work force management system from Kronos.

This makes the process easier for employees because they no longer have to track their time manually, said Linda Thomas, the city's assistant HR director.

For the HR Department, the automated employee time management system helps streamline the payroll process and makes tracking time for more than 6,000 employees in 33 departments more efficient and detailed.

With the new Web-enabled system, supervisors can use a browser to continuously access the system to track employee hours and eliminate overtime, while employees can track their attendance statistics through the city's private network. Although the city only allows access at work, the software can support access via the Internet.

Employees were initially reluctant to approve of the changes.

"As with any change, initial reaction to an automated timekeeping system was compliance with complaining," said Thomas. "Three years plus later, the employees are satisfied."

Better on the Back End

Payroll personnel have a much lighter workload, Thomas said, explaining that prior to rolling out the new system, staff collected time sheets, reviewed the data and manually input it into the payroll system, filing the back-up paperwork after they finished.

This was a cumbersome process they were glad to be rid of, Thomas said, and staff members now routinely monitor the system and check for errors. By alleviating manual payroll tasks, the HR department has decreased payroll staff and reallocated employees to other areas in need of help.

The new system also simplifies life at the top. Previously Bond manually reviewed and signed off on all payroll-pertinent time statistics for city departments. The software now allows her to select "pay period close," which prompts the system to provide an easy-to-read synopsis of payroll status. This speeds up the decision-making process and makes it much quicker to sign off.

Time Saver

Kronos offers software solutions geared toward helping government organizations manage their services to the public, said Dave Roth, director of Industry Marketing for Kronos.

Due to budget constraints, he said, El Paso knew it had to create a cost-efficient balance between providing quality service, running a business and improving employee satisfaction.

"No more filing, no more tracking down paper, no more unexplainable discrepancies in data," said El Paso's Thomas. "Employees can check their swipe data and are confident the system is accurately recording their swipe times."

To read more about available Kronos software, visit the Web site.

Sherry Watkins  |  Contributing Writer