WC Smith is an award-winning property management and development company serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for over 50 years. The company is committed to the long-term viability and sustainability of the neighborhoods it creates and to the wellbeing of neighborhood residents. WC Smith manages 10,000 rental, market, and affordable units and also operates WC Construction and District Electrical Services.
WC Smith had been using paper timesheets to track the time of its more than 300 hourly employees at its 80 property management locations. Managers entered their employees’ regular, vacation, and overtime hours into a summary timesheet, with some rounding up employee time and not entering actual time. Several managers also included vacation time when calculating overtime, which resulted in the overpayment of employees. Managers faxed or emailed 80 timesheet summaries to HR, where a payroll clerk entered this information into a rudimentary payroll system that required annual updating of IRS tax withholding tables. The system also required monitoring of accruals and did not automatically track sick leave.
When the District of Columbia passed the Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act requiring accurate tracking of nonexempt employees’ actual time worked, WC Smith sought an automated solution to capture exact in and out punches, including for breaks.
WC Smith selected and implemented the UKG Ready® solution to capture the actual time of nonexempt employees working for its real estate and property management company. A year or more later, it added WCS Construction to the solution. Many nonexempt employees in the field use the solution’s mobile app to clock in and out, others use a PC, and some track their time using biometrics at a site kiosk. Exempt employees access the solution on the mobile app or their PCs.
“[With UKG Ready] we’re decades ahead of where we were just five years ago.”
Vice President of HR
Compliance was a primary driver in WC Smith moving to an automated solution. To be in compliance with the D.C. Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act, organizations must incorporate employment law changes within 30 days. “What I really value and leverage with UKG Ready is if I need to make a change, I can just make it instantaneously,” said Stephanie Colvin, Vice President of HR for WC Smith companies.
No longer are some employees paid by their schedule of eight and sometimes 10 hours a day. “Now we’re paying them for their actual time worked, which is invaluable, not only in terms of overall overhead costs but in terms of compliance, because it could cost us if we’re not compliant,” noted Colvin.
Time savings have been achieved too. Managers save four hours per pay period by not having to collect, review, and submit employee time. And the payroll department is saving considerable time ― and its added costs ― by mostly no longer needing to gather timesheets and manually calculate time, which sometimes resulted in errors.
Using special pay codes for time not worked during early closings and inclement weather is saving overtime expenditures, and having a callback pay code for the maintenance team has enabled the company to easily track callback hours and add notes in the timesheets.
“We’re decades ahead of where we were just five years ago,” said Colvin about the process efficiencies and improvements they are realizing with UKG Ready.
An added benefit of the solution is the company’s ability to determine employee costs by project for its construction and development companies. “We’re able to calculate not only balance liability in terms of accruals and PTO, but we’re able to calculate what we’re spending on every single project we have ― employees, project costs, cost-code charges,” explained Colvin. One development company employee charges 90 to 92 entries per two-week pay period in the solution.
Extensive reporting functionality, including for project charging, is a significant benefit of the solution, she said. They are able to flag missed punches as well as when a reported shift exceeds 12 hours and when a part-time employee’s hours approach the full-time threshold. They can also monitor hours, accruals, and activities, such as who frequently takes Fridays off or leaves early.
“I have everything in a snapshot, which speaks to the 46 reports that I’m running,” said Colvin. “We’re able to have oversight of almost everything.”
Colvin has 32 saved reports for the construction company alone and runs them frequently. One corporate department runs reports against schedules and doesn’t allow its employees to work outside of their UKG schedules, saving the company considerable labor costs as employees are paid only for their actual time. Colvin also is now able to hold employees accountable to complete their workload in the allotted time, increasing their efficiency.
Having access to reports about employees’ actual time worked is critical in maintaining compliance with Affordable Care Act regulations, Colvin noted. The company has a number of part-time employees, and running reports on their time helps HR realize when it needs to inquire why a part-time employee is working more than 30 hours a week, the full-time threshold, and determine whether the company needs to offer the employee health and other full-time benefits.
“I’m glad to say it’s so automated that I forget about it,” said Colvin about the solution’s ability to track employee time and help managers and HR staff identify issues that may need addressing. “Since I set it up, it has had a monumental impact.”
Reporting capabilities also are playing a role in the company’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) efforts, which Colvin says is “really part of who we are.” Creating communities and a sense of community is important to WC Smith, which believes in adding value, such as bringing the first grocery store or sit-down restaurant to a neighborhood. For ribbon cuttings and other neighborhood events, the company’s owner likes having a variety of data points, such as how many employees live in the neighborhood so the company can better understand its impact on employees and the community.
“I can run a report like that so fast in UKG Ready,” said Colvin. “I run everything I possibly can out of UKG.”
Two reports that are used across the organization are monthly birthday and work anniversary reports. This information is included in the company newsletter, and HR sends these reports to managers, enabling them to extend good wishes to their employees about these occasions and create a supportive, caring culture.
Employee engagement also is being enhanced with employees having easy access to their time, accruals, and other information using the mobile app, a timeclock, or a PC ― where they can review and approve their time. With biometrics at the timeclock, employees gain access with their fingerprint, review their timesheets, and submit them to their managers. “It’s all so easy and they love this,” said Colvin. “It also leaves the accountability with the employee, literally at the tip of their fingers.”
When employee data was maintained and managed with paper, employees were unsure of their accrual balances, their accrued time used, and how much remaining time they had left. Now, they have access to real-time information at their fingertips, creating transparency that wasn’t possible with paper-based processes.
WC Smith employees have more confidence in the entire process now because of this easy access and transparency, and managers can more effectively manage their people with access to timely workforce information. These advancements are improving workforce management across the company as well as the employee and manager experience ― improvements that WC Smith values as the company understands that enhancing the employee experience and increasing employee engagement result in having longer-tenured employees.