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3 Steps to Fixing Broken Timekeeping Processes – and Why It Matters

Old time cards
Article Highlights:

  • Unchecked timekeeping issues can snowball into serious problems.
  • What headaches are your timekeeping processes causing your staff?

When your business is as complex as the average dealership, with all its various moving parts working together to achieve profitability, it can be easy to forget the little things.

Examples might be the inconvenience and potential for error found in paper time cards, poorly planned employee schedules that leave gaps in coverage or hinder productivity, or the time put into validating each payroll cycle.

But together, these issues add up. What might seem like minor inconveniences to higher-level management – issues that employees and their supervisors can and should work out without too much fuss – can snowball.

What do unchecked timekeeping issues morph into? Lower morale, reduced productivity, and higher turnover. That should raise red flags right up to the ownership level, since employee turnover costs the automotive retailing industry billions each year.

Take a look at the processes governing your employees’ hours to understand the roadblocks and headaches afflicting employees, supervisors, and ultimately, your dealership as a whole.

Simplifying the Little Things

As with many problems in the dealership, the issues I’ve touched on above can each be traced back to a breakdown in processes. Disconnected and manual procedures – such as paper time cards – are unnecessarily time-consuming, present too many opportunities for error, and represent the kind of waste that always seems to accompany outdated processes.

You may be thinking, “Surely having to fill out a physical time card as opposed to something on the computer isn’t enough to make an employee disgruntled?”  But consider the broader spectrum of issues I’ve presented and the cumulative impact they have:

  • Inaccurate, lost, or otherwise compromised paper time cards result in frustrated employees, stressed supervisors, and an overall nosedive in employee-dealer trust. According to the American Payroll Association, paper time cards cost businesses an average of four hours per employee, per week.
  • Poorly executed work schedules result in periods of being overstaffed (wasted pay to idle workers) and understaffed (missed revenue opportunities). They also contribute to employee feelings of frustration.
  • Tracking hours to maintain worker accountability as well as compliance with overtime compensation and employee healthcare regulations is a never-ending undertaking that sucks up productive hours and department resources.

Alone, none of these issues are probably enough to drive up employee dissatisfaction. Together, however, they paint a damning picture of your dealership as a place that simply doesn’t prioritize the employee experience. Again, the snowball effect.

What’s the solution? The best antidote to the cost and waste from outdated, clunky processes has always been innovation, whether that’s adopting new best practices and standards or a new technological solution.

When it comes to fixing your dealership’s broken timekeeping processes, here are three specific steps that, when backed by the right technology, simplify the little things and improve your employees’ experience and performance:

  • Digitize time cards. Workers can quickly clock in and out with existing credentials, supervisors (or upper-management) can easily approve numerous time cards immediately, and records are automatic and easy to review.
  • Create a single point of access. With a digital timekeeping solution in place, everything from scheduling employee hours to running overtime exception reports can be accessed from a single point of entry, edited, and reviewed quickly and seamlessly. Managers can spot conflicts or redundancies in scheduling earlier and effortlessly, allowing for quick fixes before the problem has a real impact.
  • Focus on accountability. Increased accuracy and ease of access to digital records increases employee accountability, resulting in both less wasted time and less pay for time not worked.

The difficulties and frustrations your employees and supervisors face in timekeeping and scheduling might seem like small potatoes next to declining vehicle sales or stagnant performance in service, but dealers ignore these issues at their own peril.

Left alone, the little things can snowball. Don’t allow these preventable errors to derail your dealership’s long-term profitability. Take action today to put your employees’ experience first and maximize their productivity and accountability. You’ll be thanking yourself in the not-too-distant future.

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Product Planning Manager, Reynolds and Reynolds

Todd Polak is a product planning manager with Reynolds and Reynolds. He is currently responsible for business employee management applications, GAS, security management, and general systems. He joined Reynolds and Reynolds in 2012, working with the remote software implementation department specializing in accounting and payroll products and installations.

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