At all levels of government, employees are accustomed to regulation. From the workplace environment, to interactions with other agencies, to workforce scheduling, regulations touch almost every aspect of government. However, agencies often struggle with meeting some of these regulations due to a lack of resources, ineffective technology and outdated processes. Fortunately, agencies can turn to outside partners with proven best practice solutions to help them.
To better understand the current workforce regulation environment and solutions for efficiently complying with new regulations, GovLoop spoke with Rock Regan, Industry Director for the Public Sector at Kronos, a workforce management company.
Recent changes in overtime rules have made compliance with workforce regulations even more pertinent. The Department of Labor has adapted the rules of overtime to expand overtime protections for salaried workers. “As a result it is important for agencies to know where their employees fall within the new rules and whether or not they are effected,” Regan explained.
However, many state and local agencies have outdated, manual processes for tracking workforce rules and roles. Regan emphasized, “it is nearly impossible to know if you are fully complying with the new rules when your processes include spreadsheets and paper timecards.” Lacking the ability to comply with workforce regulations is costly for agencies if they are audited and found to not be in compliance.
As a result, many agencies are automating workforce management processes to eliminate inefficient spreadsheets. Kronos offers automated systems to ensure agencies are complying with workforce regulations. “We implement real-time management of workforce data so managers can ensure their employees are compliant with new and existing workforce laws and regulations,” Regan explained.
For example, if an employee is not properly entering their breaks or not taking their breaks at the correct times, it may not be caught until it’s too late with current paper systems. With an automated process, the system can flag a manager and let them know immediately that an employee is not correctly logging their breaks. “This system enables managers to take a proactive approach to compliance and enforce necessary changes to ensure good audit reports,” said Regan.
According to Regan, most workforce management solutions only cover the basics of time and attendance of employees. “Kronos started with time and attendance, of course, but we didn’t stop there. We’ve grown our workforce management solutions to include absence management, schedule management, overtime management, analytics, and more,” he said.
Automating systems that manage every aspect of the workforce also allows agencies to explore their workforce data and identify trends to gain a more holistic picture of the organization. For example, if there is a leak at an elementary school, that would explain increased amounts of custodial staff overtime at that specific location, and management could easily see the need for overtime.
This holistic approach also promotes transparency. According to Regan, “automated processes give managers the ability to make informed decisions in the open and present the data that guided the decision to the public.” This diminishes the lack of clarity that often surrounds government processes and allows the public to see how their tax dollars are being spent.
Kronos also provides solutions for government agencies that are at different places in their digital modernization efforts. “We provide solutions on-premises or in the cloud, and our solutions are able to effectively support whatever infrastructure the partner organization has in place,” Regan explained. However, as many governments are making the transition to the cloud, Regan emphasized that Kronos workforce management solutions are shifting to provide more cloud-based services to those who need it.
At the end of the day, state and local agencies must comply with new and existing workforce management regulations, but it is up to them how they get there. “The good news is that any way an agency chooses to work towards compliance, Kronos can support them and ensure they have the capabilities and data at their fingertips to show they are compliant,” Regan said. This allows managers to spend less time worrying about compliance and more time doing their job that drives the mission forward and actually helps improve services to citizens.