A large auto retailer with 900+ locations in 29 states was preparing to make some significant internal company policy changes and wanted to ensure they had a supported version of Kronos before implementing the changes.
Without proper testing, the chances of improper pay practices are extremely high. This could lead a company to over or underpay employees, causing potential Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) violations.
Violations to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can be extremely costly, opening a company up to investigation by the Department of Labor (DOL). Fines can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars — and even smaller fines, such as $110 per violation for noncompliance with general FMLA notices requirements, can add up quickly.
In 2014, that led to over $240 million in back wages paid to more than 279,000 workers nationwide.
This particular retailer has an IT team that is capable of handling most of their Kronos needs, but understood that best practices call for testing to be done by someone who is not involved in the project’s implementation.
To ensure unbiased 3rd party testing they sought out an outside consultant. Initially, they reached out to a consultant they had previously contracted for prior projects. However, when he fell behind, Surety Systems was able to quickly provide them with a replacement who was a senior level Kronos expert capable of conducting the testing and getting the project back on track.
The Surety Systems consultant brought in had over 10 years of experience working with Kronos Workforce Central, including implementation, configuration, testing, troubleshooting, and more. Her experience proved invaluable and she would go on to work with the retailer on several separate projects over the course of the next year, helping ensure proper testing was conducted on each.
- Kronos upgrade to V8 to ensure support coverage
- Implementation of Kronos Workforce Record Manager to improve system efficiency and speed
- Customizations to reflect new internal policies for 2017
When she rolled off of the project, the retail company had successfully upgraded to V8 and rolled out its new policies at all of its 29 locations across the US.
From 40-Steps to 15: Testing an Upgrade to Kronos Workforce Central V8
In order to ensure they were operating off of a supported version of Kronos software, the company made the decision to upgrade to Kronos Workforce Central V8. The project was already several weeks behind schedule when Surety’s consultant was brought in to take over testing.
Finishing the project on time was critical to ensure time for customizing the implementation and testing it to align with the company’s policy changes before January 1, 2017 and to stay within the company’s budget for the project.
The previous consultant had begun the process of testing the company’s upgrade to Kronos V8.0 and had created an elaborate 40 step process to test each rule.
While thorough, this process was also very time consuming, which led to him falling behind schedule. When Surety’s consultant stepped in, she quickly needed to find a way to get the project back on track without decreasing the effectiveness of the testing.
With 25 years experience in the payroll field, she quickly reviewed his testing protocol and reduced his 40-step process to a new, equally effective, 15-step process.
Using her new testing protocol, she was able to make up for the time the previous consultant had lost and complete all testing by the project’s original deadline. Once she had finished verifying that the new build could be approved, the company successfully went live with V8.0.
Better Speed, Improved Efficiency: Implementing Kronos Workforce Record Manager
Once the company went live with V8, their focus shifted to improving the performance and speed of their new system.
The company had been on Kronos for over 10 years and during that time had never archived any of the data in their database; so the system still retained every punch for every employee for all of the last 10 years. This had begun to impact the overall speed of the system.
Kronos Workforce Record Manager enables users to easily move data from one Workforce Central suite database to another. This would allow the company to retain data required for compliance with corporate and legal requirements without cluttering up the database that was actively in use for day-to-day operations, so they decided to move ahead with implementation.
However, after initially implementing the module, it wasn’t working as expected — the system would be set to run overnight, and the next morning staff would find it had failed overnight.
Surety System’s consultant worked with them to identify the issue, and together the team determined the problem was being caused by issues within the environment.
Ensuring Legal Compliance: Customizations to reflect new internal policies for 2017
This auto retailer had long been using rules for overtime pay that differed from local state laws in several respects, while still meeting minimum standards. However, they had decided to change their policies to better align with local standards.
Since that would likely lead to a reduction in overtime pay for some employees while leading to additional benefits for others, it was essential that the project be kept confidential until officially announced. However, thorough testing was critical, to ensure all changes were still legally compliant.
Surety’s consultant worked closely with a small team to complete testing on the new rules within Kronos. During testing it became apparent that there were a number of conflicts caused by differences in how their current Kronos implementation was initially configured and their new rules. This was further compounded by key resources who were out on vacation during the middle of the project.
In order to maintain the project’s confidentially, Surety’s consultant was able to step up and assist the in-house team with problem solving to determine new Kronos rules that would ensure employees would be paid correctly, according to the new company policies and in compliance with the law.
Thanks to her help, the company was able to complete testing in a timely manner and prepare the project for an on-schedule launch in January of 2017.
Conclusion: The Flexibility to Focus on What Matters Most
One of the benefits of working with a company like Surety Systems is the flexibility that comes from having a senior level consultant who can tackle Kronos projects based on the company’s most pressing priorities.
Because this particular consultant had deep Kronos knowledge, she seamlessly shifted from testing on the upgrade, to work on the implementation of Kronos Workforce Record Manager — and then, when the company’s new policies were ready for testing within Kronos, she shifted again, to focus her efforts there.
This flexibility to shift priorities allowed the company to ensure they had help where they needed it most; a traditional project-based approach would have left them struggling to meet their most important deadlines while having already exhausted significant portions of their budget.