Identify Time Theft Through Big Data: 5 Tools for HR Leaders

Identify Time Theft Through Big Data: 5 Tools for HR Leaders

This article was updated on September 9, 2018.

Employee time theft is a big problem, but it doesn't have to be. While the ACA has put pressure on HR leaders to improve time tracking for compliance, the right systems can also allow you to identify time theft through big data aggregation. Even more, time and attendance tools have the potential to save managers 40 minutes of manual effort each week, according to ADP.

Using big data to help identify time theft on an individual and organizational level can unlock a huge potential for cost control. Even if you believe your organization is immune to time theft, without the right tools for time analysis it's impossible to understand your exposure.

Here are five ways HR leaders can use big data to help combat unnecessary payroll expenditures.

1. Improve Data Collection

The right method of time data collection can vary significantly, depending on your organization's workforce, size and technological capabilities. Understanding your options and their potential for falsification can enable better data inputs. Time-tracking methods include:

  • Web time sheets — employee-entered data
  • Mobile time sheets — mobile access to time data entry
  • Time clocks — biometrics, ID badges or PIN time punches

2. Enable Self-Service

While HR may be tasked with driving cost savings through more accurate attendance data, they're not always able to recognize risks on an individual or team basis — from first-hand exposure to unusual worker behaviors. Enabling mobile accessible self-service for managers can allow individuals throughout the organization to participate in fraud recognition. With 24-hour access to time data, managers can notice and report discrepancies between worker attendance and recorded time data. Self-service can allow your leadership to take an active role in combating time theft.

3. Compare Data Sources

With the right technologies for HCM, you can discover discrepancies between data sources that reveal falsification trends. You may discover fraud by comparing payroll data against:

  • Biometric data on employee physical attendance
  • User engagement metrics from apps and tools
  • Team-wide time clock trends that point to employee collusion

Using multiple data sets to identify time theft requires an integrated approach to HCM. While it's certainly possible to manually compare data sources, integrated HCM enables easy, accurate reporting.

4. Benchmark Your Workforce

Proactive analytics on your workforce can allow you to exert payroll expenditure control. Continually monitoring trends can reveal risks within departments or the discovery of individual, serial time theft. In many cases, time theft is obvious with the right tools. Simple statistics can be an effective tool for analysis.

According to LinkedIn, employees whose manual time adjustments are two standard deviations above your organization's mean could reveal potential falsification or collusion. Using reporting to track adjustments can reveal a need for better data collection, overtime control or time theft.

5. Improve Efficiency

If your HR department is struggling to cover the bare minimum required for ACA compliance and payroll, you may not have the tools necessary to identify time theft through big data. With HCM technologies that make time tracking, overtime control and data analysis simple, you can gain the capacity to perform HR analytics in real time. HR leaders need quality data inputs and integrated HCM tools to identify risks of time theft within their organization. While biometrics are an important tool for controlling fraud, they're not always the right approach for all organizations or foolproof. A big data approach to monitoring fraud could enable your organization to reduce risk.

Time and attendance tools aren't just important for compliance with health care reform. They're also an important way to reduce internal fraud and control payroll expenditures.

To see what the three-step success model is for turning people data into business impact, check out the Better Decisions Start with HR Insights guide.