It is (relatively) easy to track attendance in a corporate park or branch. How do you handle attendance tracking and compliance when you have dispersed outlets with varying staff strength of ten to fifty employees? Even large brands have not found the perfect answer. They end up using a mix of methodologies like thumb-based/card-swipe systems in larger stores and some manual registers in smaller ones. Neither are fool-proof and the age-old problem persists even today.
What are the top retail attendance challenges and their solution?
Hardware Installation: Installing a hardware for attendance at every single shop is not practical, especially when the staff strength is not large. Besides, retail chains are always in an expansion mode and installing hardware in all new stores is not a scalable idea.
Solution: Opt for a solution like Truein face attendance which does not require any hardware installation. How face recognition attendance system works? It works on any Android or iOS device. It can also be configured to work from an employee’s own phone. It is scalable to as many stores as one may need, without any added upfront hardware cost.
Remote locations: A lot of retail stores are located in far-off locations, with limited internet access. Most attendance systems require the internet to function and may be redundant in smaller towns.
Solution: Always check if the system you shortlisted works in offline mode. Truein face attendance can work offline and sync data online when the internet comes available. That way, all stores can have a single attendance system. No exceptions!
Parallel systems: When attendance systems like the thumb or card don’t work at all times due to non-detection or errors, people start using parallel systems like manual registers. Smaller stores don’t have the infrastructure for maintenance and resort to alternatives. That makes the organization prone to proxies and leakages in the system which add hidden costs.
Solution: Try to use a system that does not allow people to slip through. A face attendance system like Truein works practically hundred percent of all times. Thumb not being recognised or the card getting damaged are not the kind of excuses you hear with face recognition. It simply works, no matter what!
Store wise reconciliation: With retail chains using multiple systems across multiple stores, it is often a task to bring it all together at the end of the month and calculate salaries. Not to forget, there are sick leaves, casual leaves, public holidays and other such complexities too. It takes many man hours to sync this data across stores and of course, it can never be foolproof.
Solution: An attendance system backed by solid software can link everything from holidays and leaves to shifts and compliances. Everything flows through just one comprehensive system so you can simply export the reports and disburse remunerations. No manual syncs! Truein makes it possible.
No visibility: It is not possible for HR or leadership teams to see what is happening at different outlets on a day-to-day basis. Attendance, compliances and all are left to local teams. Head office comes to know about the attendance percentages only at the end of the month when there is a manual sync. The system is not agile. It is difficult to ensure that rules are complied with.
Solution: It is important to choose a system that syncs data in real-time back to the head office or HR admins. Anybody can see analytics through the web dashboard or on their mobile. Truein brings this power and transparency.
Shift management: Retail stores often operate for twelve hours. They have staff working in rotation shifts. Often, separate morning, afternoon and general shift registers are maintained to manually track the shift allocation and attendance. Again, another manual entry which has to be synced and is prone to human error.
Solution: Have it all as part of the attendance system! Shift allocation is technically an extension of attendance and systems like Truein make it possible to link the two. One can allocate shifts in bulk to the entire staff via a simple spreadsheet upload or can do it individually for every staff member.
Retailers can heave a sigh of relief
Finally, there is an attendance system that works in every situation – offline, with shifts, with compliance rules and more. One click enables complete sync and export for next steps like salary disbursement.
Large retailers like PC Jewellers have trusted Truein and have rolled it out to their entire chain in no time – no hardware installation required, after all! When the pandemic posed more challenges to the already existing retail attendance woes, there was only one solution they could reliably depend on – face attendance with no hardware and a solid software.
One big advantage of activating face recognition attendance system is ‘automation’. All data gets synced back in real-time, churning reports that can go straight into salary calculations and other reporting.
Is that really practical? Can you actually do that without the need for manual overrides and physical syncs? After all, there are so many exceptions – branch wise holidays, employee wise weekly offs and so on.
Well, we worked on all those exceptions and made them a rule within our employee attendance app. You can define all these unique possibilities and automate practically 100%.
Let’s look into top 5 such compliances
Top face attendance automations
Assign weekly off
While most of your employees may have Saturday and Sunday as weekly off, there would be contract workers or shift employees with different week offs. It is particularly true for call centers, plant operations or retail stores.
How would the system know if an employee is absent or just has a weekly off? You get to define it. You can define employee categories (full time, part-time, contract, temporary, factory etc.) and then assign specific weekly offs for them.
Of course, you can do it at an individual level or as a bulk action – either ways weekly offs can be taken care of easily.
Define public holidays
In case of multinational organizations, the geography of the branch office defines the public holidays. For instance, an office in Maharashtra may have a public holiday on Uttaran. However, a branch in Kerela may have a public holiday on Onam instead.
These differences don’t have to be manually entered. Each branch can be defined as a separate site with its own set of public holidays and other rules.
Set workhour calculations
Are your salary calculations dependent on total hours clocked by the employee? There are several ways organizations can calculate it and it is possible to define your own rules.
You can set the system in a way that it uses the ‘First in, Last out’ rule to report total hours clocked. Alternately, the system can calculate the actual time based on every single in and every single out.
Either ways, it is easy to spot outliers who have too many outs or break-time. You can go a step further and define all days with less than 5 hours as part-time.
If you have workers who get daily wages or whose renumeration is calculated ‘per hour’, you might have to pay them overtime for every extra hour. It is a common practice in factories and even BPOs or Government organizations.
Even this can be automated using a simple toggle (on/off) for each of the below pre-defined rules
- Above 9 hours in a day to be auto added as overtime
- Consecutive 7th day of work to be auto added as overtime (public holiday not counted)
- Work hours on public holiday will be added to overtime
- Overtime apply only when OT is more than 30 minutes
- Work hours on weekly off will be added to overtime
If you would like to apply these rules to only a specific set of employees, you can segregate them by categories and tick or untick ‘apply overtime’ on relevant categories.
Would you like to restrict entry to employees who are not wearing mask? Truein face recognition attendance system is geared to identify masks on their faces. It will deny entry in case attendance is marked without it.
There are other Covid compliances also. They can be activated in the form of a quick survey to include questions like – are you experiencing any symptoms, did you travel anywhere etc.
When convenience meets compliance
Truein has always had its ears to the ground. We release a new upgrade almost every month, resulting in over hundred features in the last four years. Objective? Ease the life of our HR colleagues so they can focus on the most crucial tasks.
They are legal mandatories which take days to reconcile and are mostly done manually even today. Is it time to upgrade? A lot of productive manhours are wasted on clerical work which can be easily assigned to AI & automation.
Make your attendance system practically 100% automated to save time and effort, whilst taking care of all compliances.
Face recognition based attendance is the straight off answer to the touchless solution the world is seeking today. Or may it is not as straight. Not all face recognition attendance is made equal. It is important to consider specific use-cases before picking the one that works for you.
Today, we will focus on use-cases for geo-fencing – a powerful feature on Truein’s contactless attendance system.
What is geo-fencing?
With Truein, organizations can allow users to mark attendance from their very own phone. Organization’s ability to limit such attendance to only a specific geography (usually a radius around the office) is called geo-fencing.
Geo-fencing can be activated to ensure that employees don’t queue up in front of the kiosk at the main gates, conveniently use their own phone but do not misuse it while vacationing.
Who is it most relevant for?
Large retail chains can avoid putting a kiosk at every store. Each individual store can geo-fence attendance for their site and employees can mark attendance from their devices. It can result in huge savings while ensuring automation that syncs data back to the head-office in real-time.
In case of outdoor locations, the supervisors need not report to office before going to the site. They can go to their work site directly and mark attendance after reaching that geo-fenced boundary.
It makes sense for even contract workers who keep changing and report to site directly.
Marketing and event agencies
Any organization that employs a large workforce that is on their feet and always on field, would find geo-fencing very useful. The geo-fencing feature can be used to mark radius around the distributor’s office where sales team reports. It can also be used to mark an event location where the marketing team is working.
Any other large organization
In case you have a large employee strength, you can shorten the queue at the main gate by activating user-device based geo-fenced attendance.
What are the key advantages?
We believe that automation of attendance should always be 100%. If you leave scope for manual entries in case of remote sites, on-field force etc., you are increasing chances of proxy and plenty of paperwork.
When data for the entire workforce gets automated – no matter where they are, all of it can feed back into compliance and salary calculations.
The hard part about allowing employees to report directly to remote sites is the ability to track and trust. You can leave all of it behind and embrace progressive HR policies. Geo-fencing is your safety net – an assurance that all will be well even when you adopt laissez-faire policies.
It sure leaves a good impact on employee satisfaction score as well.
When social-distancing is active and you have a large workforce queuing up at the kiosk, you could consider moving to geo-fenced user-device attendance.
People can space out and mark attendance from their desks if they please.
What should you know about geo-fencing on Truein?
Truein has evolved over the last 4 years to include more than hundred features. Geo-fencing is only one of them. Like always we have focused on keeping it simple.
- It can be activated or deactivated by the user at a click of a button
- There is no limit to how many locations can be activated
- It is possible to geo-fence attendance by adding Google location address or latitude/longitude co-ordinates
- It is also possible to define the radius around the marked address.
The bottom line
Face recognition is the buzzword in touchless attendance. However, that is just the beginning. Making it more widespread and employee-friendly is what true evolution would be. Activate geo-fencing and other hundred plus features to suit your specific HR policies.