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SuccessFactors gets serious about employee time management

COVID-19 has increased demand by employers for flextime management capabilities. That will be a significant feature in the new SAP SuccessFactors employee time management system.

SAP SuccessFactors has created a new employee time management system it said is in response to changing workforce needs.

A notable feature is its flextime capabilities. It gives employees the ability to determine their start and end times. Flextime is more in demand right now because of restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The product, SAP SuccessFactors Time Tracking, also signals a change for the cloud-based HCM platform. The vendor said it has been investing in employee time management capabilities but in a "very lightweight way," said Amy Wilson, senior vice president of products and design at SAP SuccessFactors.

"We're serious about our investment here," Wilson said.

SuccessFactors customers have been demanding more beyond the "bare-bones time sheet" it offers, Wilson said. The new product includes improved administration and features such as warning systems that spot excessive overtime, automated batch time sheet approvals and tools for managing the workforce that also account for law and regulations worldwide.

The need for flextime capability, in particular, went from a customer desire to a "heavy-duty requirement during this COVID time period," Wilson said.

Many customers are finding themselves in situations "where they don't have a lot of money to give people to keep up their well-being and to keep them engaged," Wilson said. "So, things like flextime become even more important."

The time tracking product will be available in January.

Demand for flextime rises

White-collar workers often benefit from flextime, but HCM systems don't track their flextime as a benefit, said Katy Tynan, a Forrester Research analyst. Managers care about the work getting done, but they don't care what time of day it gets done, she said.

However, for retail and call centers, the demand for flextime is rising, Tynan said. In call centers, for instance, agents may have trouble focusing if they have childcare responsibilities. From the employer side, COVID-19 has also changed customer call patterns, which makes broken shifts -- where an employee splits their time up during different parts of the day -- desirable for an employer as well.

Two things shifted simultaneously: Your workforce needed flexibility, but your customers also changed their calling patterns.
Katy TynanAnalyst, Forrester Research

"Two things shifted simultaneously: Your workforce needed flexibility, but your customers also changed their calling patterns," Tynan said. "It's not just what the employees need -- it's also the adaptation to what customers are asking for and their need for more flexibility."

Tynan believes some of the pandemic-driven flextime changes will continue.

"There were a lot of companies that were very resistant to flexible working, remote work and broken shifts -- all these kinds of different things," Tynan said. Employers said they couldn't do it because they didn't have systems to manage it. "Well, now you don't have that excuse anymore," she said.

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