system failure

What To Do When Workforce Management Systems Fail

3 min read ·  

When a company’s Workforce Management System fails, it can throw sensitive payroll processes into chaos. Not only can this cause delays in paying staff, but it can be a difficult time for employees, and cause long-term compliance issues too. 

In Australia, time and attendance records need to be kept on file for seven years, and companies that don’t comply can face heavy sanctions from Fair Work. If your system goes down, you’ll need to manually record time and attendance to pay your employees, and keep them on file. Fair Work obligations don’t stop while your software is down.

This loss of systems can be devastating, particularly for larger entities. Filling out timesheets with pen and paper, and manually entering hundreds or thousands of them into a system is both labour intensive and error-prone. However, there are a number of mitigating steps you can take to make a systems outage less disruptive for your customers and staff.

Time Clocks

The first thing to consider to get around a systems outage is installing alternative time clocks for your employees. A time clock will allow employees to use a passcode to log in and accurately log their hours. These are then typically saved in a cloud-based database and used for payroll calculations and proof of compliance with Australian law. This will avoid hours of manually processing paper timesheets, which could also go missing, leaving your business exposed should Fair Work audit your arrangements.

Remember Your Employees

It’s important to remember that a systems outage doesn’t just affect you as the business owner or manager, it also makes life very difficult for your employees. Staff in charge of payroll could face a mountain of work trying to process payslips manually. Those in IT will also be frantically trying to fix the issue. It’s important that as a business leader you support your staff in this scenario, and make them aware of how you plan to address the issue. You could also use additional casual employees to support the increased workloads of many staff.

Be Creative With Rostering

There are many ways to make sure your staff are still aware of their roster during a systems outage. One of the best ways is to use the main method of communication you have with your employees – be it text, email, or social media – to keep them informed about the roster. However, this is not a failsafe solution, and you need to ensure you’re aware of potential issues, like overtime rules that take rostered hours into account. Taking a conscientious approach here is key. 

Use Out Of The Box Software

If you’re going to use alternative software as either a stop-gap or permanent change to manage the outage, it needs to be able to be setup quickly. Software that can do this is often called “out of the box”, because it quite literally works straight out of the box.

This is important because rolling out complicated software which needs to be customised for your business can be costly and time-consuming. A systems outage has immediate effects and needs an immediate solution. Another feature to look for is to make sure that the system is built to operate with Australia’s industrial relations framework. Some foreign-designed systems will have difficulty navigating Australia’s workplace laws like award rates and overtime. Selecting a system that has a built-in understanding of Australian workplace laws will help you remain compliant.

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