EmpCenter is a mixed bag, be sure you know what you are buying.
Updated April 08, 2015
EmpCenter is a mixed bag, be sure you know what you are buying.
Score 4 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with EmpCenter
EmpCenter was implemented across our entire campus to serve as a time keeping system for all employees. This system allows for us to keep time electronically and load the reported work hours into our payment system. Previously we were using a home grown timeclock program for parts of campus and only some employee types, student employees. This has allowed us to move away from paper processing of time sheets to an electronic web based system.
- EmpCenter is accessible from many platforms, such as, web based computer interface, physical wall clock units, and smart phones and tablet products; making it convient and accessible from many different work locations and operational needs.
- The product is customizable so it can be made to work with different needs and desires of a company. For example we have some employees who clock in and out for lunch and some who do not. We have employees who report work hours and some who only report leave time used. Being flexible in this way allows the program to address the many different employee types we pay.
- The display is user friendly, organized and easy to follow. EmpCenter's main Dashboard screen breaks down the different activities one may want to do into catagories, time sheets are able to be displayed in three different views and printed with different information included or not depending on the users needs and wishes. Reports are available in four different print formats. Most activities are able to be customized by sorting, view type, format, etc.
- EmpCenter's report features need improvement. While it is nice that the user has several options for the format to receive the report in and with a recent update reports can be scheduled to run and be printed or emailed to the user or someone else of their choosing on a regular basis, daily, weekly, monthly. The reports never seem to have all of the information you need on one report and need a lot of manipulating to get the results you actually need. For example we have reports with employees names that show total hours worked, but don't include rates of pay or the job title. When employees have more than one job or rate for the work they are preforming you don't get that breakdown of information with their total hours worked. Another report includes three ways of reporting the same total hours but don't all round the same so, for example the total clocked hours may show 34.3 hours and the work study hours on the same report that should match round to 34.2. We have asked for certain data to be added to certain reports such as a supervisor name and it seems to be such a task for that to be provided and a high cost we are not getting these request met.
- Management of time sheets when a supervisor has many employees is difficult. EmpCenter only allows for one manager to be named for each employee. In most settings this may make sense but in our environment in particular with student employees we often have more than one person who oversee different aspects of that employees work and both need access to their records. In our Housing and Dining department we have three managers who are together overseeing several hundred student employees. One manager may be primarily responsible for the employees pay rates and evaluations while another scheduling and they may not all be working at the same time. Because only one of them can have access to an employee’s time sheet if that person is not in and an employee needs assistance with something in EmpCenter the other managers can't help them. Also the display only shows up to 500 employees or assignments. We have some units who have up to eight different assignments for one employee. These areas will have several employees each with several different assignments which means several individual time sheets. This all will result in more than 500 and the supervisor has to use a search feature to get to the employees who do not display in their more user friendly list. Also this many assignments results in many time sheets and the clock times report separately for each and do not combine into one larger complete time sheet so each must be managed separately. It would be nice if there was a view that combined all hours into one time sheet view. Finally on this note when a supervisor is approving time they can only approve one time sheet per employee at a time so they have to do mass amounts of approvals and ultimately simply don't approve time sheets when they are dealing with so many.
- Probably our largest problem is that when we do have programming that is not working properly or aspects of the system that we would like improved it is difficult to get those corrections made and made in a timely manner. I do not work directly with the company, but it has taken a few payroll cycles to get programming fixed for some things causing a lot of manual work in my area to pay employees correctly. If anyone is looking at purchasing this product I advise that they be very clear and detailed upfront with what they are getting and what is included in the cost they are being quoted. Because this is a customizable program you buy an off the shelf basic and the company works with you to price what programming will be done from there. Things we thought were covered we are finding are not and it is very costly to add other programming to our contract. I often feel it is not a high priority for them to resolve problems we are experiencing however it is very important for us and the work we are trying to do.
- We also have problems with access to the system in different ways and needing more roles. EmpCenter has a role for a user who only has access to certain activity such as reporting their time and requesting time off, a role as a manager who can approve time off and time sheets and see their employees records, and a super user role who has more administrative access to override things and handle some of the errors and issue we may experience. in my role I am an administrator for several different areas of the campus and need to access the system at a higher level to assist employees and managers but can only have the manager role but with wider access granted. So by this I mean that I see the features a manager sees but am seen as a manager of all employees in several areas on campus where the other manager role is restricted to just that managers employees alone. In this sense I suppose this is a fourth role the system allows, but I can't do any more actions than a manager can i can just see more people. The super user role is not granted because it is at such a higher level that they can actually effect programming and this role is highly restricted so that users don't inadvertently corrupt the program. I feel there needs to be one more layer in between the super user level and the manager level. I would like to be able to delete time when employees have clocked in by mistake and simply want that removed or when there are more minor problems with a record that I can't correct. Also when a manager is out and has not delegated their employees to someone else to manage I would like to be able to make that delegation so that someone in the unit can review, correct and approve time in place of that supervisor who is gone.
- Overall we have had many problems with things not working right and trying to get the system to calculate properly, finding ways to get information we need from it, and managing and using it. I am sure these are general growing pains anyone would have when transitioning an entire university to a new electronic system, but it has been a difficult first year. If you are thinking of implementing this program have a good communication plan, someone who is the lead and will get things taken care of when they need to be, and clear roles and responsibilities lined out so that everyone knows who does what and who to go to when there is a problem.
- EmpCenter has reduced the amount of time administrators are spending on payroll. Certainly it has made our entry to our pay system more efficient since we can simply load the data from the time keeping system and we are not collecting actual physical signatures and paper timesheets that must be reviewed for accuracy and completeness. The system does this for us and some automatic calculating of certain pay due that we were hand adding. However the feedback I am getting is that the supervisors feel their work has been increased greatly. They are spending more time correcting and approving time. Essentially the work we were doing in our central offices to review and correct time the supervisor must now do as they approve the time. We have now asked them to be more responsible for proper reporting and use which requires they know more about the rules and many different aspects of pay than they had before. We have employees who are union represented and get some benefits from the contract others do not receive, contract employees who have certain pay aspects in their contracts that must be known, as well as temporary employees and students who get very different pay from the other employees. While some things have been programmed for the system to know and handle, some things must be added to the time sheet to pay properly or the way time is reported is different (some clock out for lunch some don't) supervisors must now know these differences while that used to be a role that was more mine as an administrator. Now I just help them and audit and review.
- Kronos Workforce Management
I did not make the decision to select EmpCenter and only know our university also considered Kronos although I assume there were other products considered. My use of Kronos was only at an employee level and I am not sure how it all stacks up for sure. What I do think is that EmpCenter is more customizable than other products and was seen to be able to adapt to fit all of our needs so it was a system that could be used by everyone. I think it is good we have one time keeping system and don't have some employees using paper or a different system because the one could not meet our needs, but as I said this also makes it more difficult to network with other users and to get improvements made quickly.
EmpCenter is really well suited for companies with minimal variety in time keeping needs. Certainly somewhere that has fairly regular work schedules and operational needs the system would be programmed for and meet those needs quite well. I think they assert themselves as a product specifically for those more complex companies, and I believe it is one of a few products available for companies with many employee types and complex work schedule and pay needs, but because of those complexities each have their own specific customizations I feel it is difficult for the company to then manage the different products that end up existing. Each ends up being unique so applying large scale changes doesn't work well as something we may request and need if applied over EmpCenter in general may cause problems for another company. Therefore everything has to be done on an individual basis and is more time consuming and costly.
50 - There are super users who have almost ultimate control and only 4 or 5 of these. Then there is a management level who can access time sheets and reports for all users and there are at least 5 of these people in each admin center around campus. There are 7 admin centers. Finally there are users who clock in and out and submit or approve time. We have about 1000th employees around the world. There are also some technical computer support doing program loads and upgraded. So maybe 3 of these people.
Now that we have gone through so much time to implement the program and transition our employees to use it I don't see the university dropping it and going to another system any time soon. I think we will continue to find ways to make it work and to work around the areas that are lacking for us and work for improvments to be made as they can be.