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Hospital Struggles With Work Rules (and More) in Kronos Workforce Dimensions

Jul 28, 2020

Home » Kronos » Hospital Struggles With Work Rules (and More) in Kronos Workforce Dimensions

A cloud-native, mobile-first solution, Kronos Workforce Dimensions is an awesome platform for anyone that needs to manage human resources (HR), timekeeping, scheduling, payroll, talent acquisition, and a whole lot more. We’ve written about Kronos Workforce Dimensions before, but today we’d like to focus on a client of ours who ran into some challenges getting it to work for them, and how our consultant was able to solve their issues.

Project Overview

Our client (a hospital) knew that Kronos Workforce Dimensions could do a lot for their organization—especially because they were relying on a handwritten system to keep things running smoothly—but found that setting up the platform to best serve their needs was a struggle. They did their best for a year, trying to create work rules and figuring out what their business structure should look like, but once they finally got to the testing stage, it became clear that things weren’t working. The hospital then hit the pause button on the project and went back to the drawing board. 

Almost a year later, Surety’s consultant entered the picture, and in just a few months, she got them up to speed. Once she’d finished, we connected with our consultant and had a Q&A session to help other clients avoid running into the same issues this hospital faced.

What Makes a Consultant So Useful on a Project Like This One?

When you begin a Dimensions project, Kronos sends you a big spreadsheet to fill out. The issue with this approach is that if you’re not familiar with Kronos (as this client was not) or you’re not used to Dimensions (which is true of a lot of clients, because it’s so new), you might not understand how to fill out the spreadsheet. And if you ask Kronos to explain, they send you to a collection of thousands of hours of training videos, and who has time to go through all of those?

And even if you did have time to watch all of that training material, you’d probably still have questions, because the terminology can be a bit arcane if you’re not already familiar with it. But you could just ask Kronos to expand on those specific topics, right? Well…not so much. Because their resources are stretched rather thin, they often don’t have the time to figure out the optimal solution for your needs and your situation.

For example, if you ask, “What should I put in this box here?” Kronos might say, “Oh, you can just put in XYZ.” And XYZ might make sense for most clients, but it’s possible maybe that structure or way of doing things won’t work for you. (Or maybe it would work for you, but you simply don’t want to do things that way.) 

Because Workforce Dimensions is so new, a Kronos consultant might truly believe that XYZ is literally the only way to solve that problem, which is why an internal advocate (like a Surety consultant) is so vital to have on your side. Because they have experience with Workforce Dimensions, they can stand up for you and say, “No, we can do it this way, and here’s how.”

Who Did You Work With at the Client?

Our consultant worked with a rather odd team at this client—the hospital’s finance business analyst, which is not the norm. She also worked with a project manager, because the client realized mid-project that they’d need more than one person to pull this thing off, and they were right! By the end of the project, our consultant had helped them create around 135 work rules, which is a ton

How Did You Help During the Project?

Because the client had been operating off a homegrown/handwritten time and attendance system, they really had no idea where to even begin when it came to getting set up for Dimensions. (They weren’t sure what a work rule needed to look like, for example.)

As such, they wanted our consultant to document everything, which made everything take quite a while, but after two months, every single piece of the software was documented, which meant the client had the information they needed to make meaningful decisions. And there was a lot to document—when it comes to Kronos Workforce Dimensions and Security, for example, each function access profile can contain ~700 selections to make, because you need to be able to answer if this profile can add a punch, clock someone in, clock someone out, and so on.

What Are Some Common Mistakes You See People Make With This Kind of Project?

Not Taking Into Account Kronos’ New Business Structure Approval Process

In the old system, there were seven labor levels that were definable by the client (things used in a GL, for pay purposes, security, job codes, etc.) that were standalone fields. But in the new system, they’ve all been combined into one Business Unit. This means that you no longer have one large table you can refer to, you need to have every possible permutation of those Labor Accounts. (And that’s like listing every possible combination to a 4-digit PIN.)

Because of this change, Kronos has to approve your business structure, which means you might spend all time and energy tweaking things and getting them just right, only for Kronos to say, “No, you have too many Business Units. Change your structure.” 

This means you need to set up your business structure so that you have all the fields you need without having too many. That’s where it helps to have a skilled consultant on your side—they can help you figure out which ones you can pull out from the business structure and set them up as labor level fields instead.

Why Is it So Important to Set Up Business Structure Correctly?

Considering everything it touches in Workforce Dimensions (including general ledger purposes, security, filtering, reporting, and more), business structure is essentially the backbone of the solution. And when you consider how well you would function if your backbone wasn’t functioning as it should, improperly setting up your business structure is just asking for trouble.
 

Luckily, this particular client had a fairly solid business structure, so our consultant didn’t have to help them too much with it. She still sees many clients make this mistake, however, as well as forgetting the Supervisor labor level, so keep those in mind!

Not Paying Attention to Work Rules

Because they’re fairly complicated, people often don’t set up their work rules correctly. (And since these affect how people get paid, you’re not going to want to mess them up.) Work rules can be especially complicated in the healthcare industry due to all of the various pay rules you might be dealing with. Take a specialty nurse, as an example, who works a shift on the mobile mammography truck. They’d be paid differently for those hours compared to their regular rate.

Before Workforce Dimensions, you’d use certain pay codes to manage situations like these, but now things can be a bit trickier if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Don’t Include the Right People

For whatever reason, our consultant has found that clients often don’t include someone from Payroll or HR when working on a Kronos Workforce Dimensions project, which is strange considering the fact that this is a Payroll and HR system… You’ll also need to make sure that you have someone from IT involved, as well as someone from Finance (for general ledger needs and reporting, although this is usually a smaller need). But trying to pull off a project like this one without a sponsor from Payroll, HR, IT, and Finance is just asking for trouble.

Don’t Plan for After Go-live

Plan for how you’ll handle things after go-live. Far too often, clients invest all this time and effort and energy into setting up their solution but fail to think about how they’ll handle things after flipping the metaphorical switch. In a year’s time, who will you turn to if you need to add a new user or modify a pay code? Someone needs to own the software to handle situations like these, and that person needs to be involved from the beginning to ensure that they have the firm knowledge they’ll need moving forward.

What Advice Would You Give People Running Into This Issue?

Our consultant had two big pieces of advice for anyone starting a project with Kronos Workforce Dimensions. First, get help! Get an internal advocate, a person who can come in and drive your team, who can take the time to understand your system and your unique needs, and who can communicate those needs with everyone else (such as another internal consultant or someone from Kronos). 

Secondly, as we said in our “Common Mistakes” section, ensure that you have someone in your organization who owns the software. All too often, clients get themselves into sticky situations they could have avoided if they’d had one person who was responsible for the platform.


Our client, a hospital moving from a homegrown and handwritten time and attendance system, wanted to move to Kronos Workforce Dimensions but struggled with getting everything set up correctly. After more than a year of time and effort, they brought on our consultant, who helped them get up and running within just a few months. 

Whether you’re just looking into implementing Kronos Workforce Dimensions or you’d like to optimize your current setup, Surety Systems has got you covered. Our senior-level Kronos consulting team has the knowledge, experience, and expertise you need to make your project a success. From the healthcare industry to education, business and more, we can help.

Contact us today to get started.

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