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Attendance Tracking (ATT)

ATT stands for “Attendance Tracking” in the world of HR acronyms. It refers to the systems, tools and processes used for tracking employee attendance, time off, leaves of absence, overtime, schedules, and related workforce data.

Definition of Attendance Tracking (ATT)

If you work in human resources, you’ve probably encountered the abbreviation “ATT” before. But what exactly does it stand for and why is it important? This post will break down the meaning and usage of ATT in HR.

First things first – ATT simply stands for “Attendance Tracking”. It refers to any systems, tools or processes focused on tracking employee work hours, schedules, time off and leaves of absence.

Before ATT software became commonplace, HR teams had to manually track all of this attendance data using paper forms, spreadsheets and files. As you can imagine, those legacy methods were extremely time-consuming, prone to errors, and resulted in scattered data.

The Origins and Evolution of ATT

In the 1980s, the very first ATT solutions emerged in the form of basic punch-card time clocks. Employees literally punched in and out on a physical time clock device installed in the office.

Over the next few decades, attendance tracking technology rapidly advanced in tandem with HRIS software adoption. Powerful, automated ATT modules could now track attendance data digitally across an entire workforce.

Common Use Cases and Examples

Here are some examples of how ATT is used:

  • “The ATT system sends an automated alert to employees clocking in late.”
  • “We can run detailed reports on employee absenteeism trends using the ATT module.”
  • “Make sure to sync the ATT platform with our updated leave policies.”
  • “Great ATT integration between HRMS and payroll saves us 25 hours per pay period!”

Key Processes Supported in Attendance Tracking

Today, mature ATT platforms contain functionality like:

1. Scheduling

  • ATT tools allow HR to build schedules and shifts for employees based on demand forecasting.
  • Managers can enter schedules which propagate to employees.
  • Employees can request schedule changes which route for manager approval.
  • ATT syncs the schedule to payroll so the pay is aligned with hours worked.

2. Time Tracking

  • The core of ATT is automating time tracking as employees clock in and out.
  • This is done through various methods like geo-fencing, mobile check-in, biometric readers, and web portals.
  • Managers can see real-time attendance status and receive alerts for unplanned absences.
  • ATT auto-generates timesheets pre-populated with hours worked.

3. Absence Management

  • ATT tracks unplanned absences like sick days and generates required compliance reports.
  • It enforces absence policies, notifying employees nearing allotment limits.
  • Leave liabilities are calculated based on accrued sick/vacation time.
  • Data insights identify absence patterns warranting further attention.

4. Leave Administration

  • Employees can request vacations, PTOs, and leaves which route for approval in ATT.
  • Based on entitlement policies, ATT can auto-approve certain leave types.
  • Managers have visibility into team availability while approving leaves.
  • ATT ensures a streamlined, automated leave experience.

5. Overtime Tracking

  • ATT monitors hours worked and flags overtime based on policies.
  • It can require manager override before allowing overtime.
  • Overtime hours are passed to payroll for accurate compensation.
  • Analytics identify overtime trends to be addressed.

This level of automation provides massive time savings and transforms attendance data for insightful workforce analytics.

The Strategic Benefits of Attendance Tracking

While ATT provides immense operational efficiencies, it goes beyond just tactical task automation. Implementing robust attendance tracking capability brings several strategic advantages:

1. Reduced Administration

  • ATT automates manual tasks like managing timesheets, schedules, leave requests and approvals.
  • Everything related to attendance is streamlined in one centralized system.
  • HR spends less time on tedious attendance tracking administration.
  • Self-service frees up HR while empowering employees and managers.

2. Real-Time Visibility

  • With ATT, attendance data is available in real time instead of delayed batches.
  • Managers can view up-to-date team availability, absences, and schedules at any point.
  • HR has an accurate pulse on organization-wide attendance instead of guesswork.
  • Critical for making informed workforce decisions.

3. Actionable Analytics

  • Advanced reporting provides insights into absenteeism trends, overtime spending, adherence to schedules, and peak attendance periods.
  • Data can be cut by regions, departments, and specific employees.
  • Enables drilling down to address problem areas through targeted strategies.
  • Strategic labour cost optimization is possible.

4. Strengthened Compliance

  • Automated leave management and overtime rules engine improve compliance.
  • ATT creates auditable records of attendance that can withstand regulatory scrutiny.
  • Reduces compliance risk and potential fines or litigation over attendance disputes.

In summary, ATT transforms attendance data from hindsight reactions to real-time proactive insights. It’s a strategic asset for driving productivity, lowering costs, reducing risk, and supporting business objectives.

Compare/Contrast to HRMS

Here is a comparison of Attendance Tracking (ATT) systems vs HRMS platforms:


  • ATT – Focused specifically on attendance, time tracking, and scheduling.
  • HRMS – Broader system handling many HR functions like benefits, payroll, etc.


  • ATT – Very deep functionality for managing attendance processes.
  • HRMS – ATT module typically has basic features compared to standalone ATT.

Data Focus

  • ATT – Centers on time, attendance, leave and scheduling data.
  • HRMS – Captures wide employee profile and HR data.

Key Processes

  • ATT – Scheduling, time tracking, leave management, absences.
  • HRMS – Recruiting, onboarding, compensation, performance, etc.


  • ATT – Employees, managers, and some HR admins.
  • HRMS – All employees use it for various needs.


  • ATT – Metrics around absenteeism, T&A compliance, and overtime.
  • HRMS – Reports across all HR modules like retention, training, etc.

In summary, while ATT and HRMS both aim to organize HR data, ATT goes very deep in specifically attendance while HRMS System covers a wider breadth of HR functionality for the broader employee lifecycle. Their depth vs breadth approaches complements each other.

Here are some related terms and abbreviations commonly used along with ATT (Attendance Tracking):

  • Time Clocks – The devices or systems used to clock in and out of shifts that feed ATT.
  • Schedules – The employee schedules and shift calendars are managed in ATT.
  • Absence Management – Using ATT data to reduce unplanned absences.
  • Leave Management – Administration of allowed time off using ATT.
  • Overtime Management – Monitoring overtime through ATT to control labour costs.
  • Payroll – ATT integrates with payroll to transfer hours worked.
  • ESS – Employee Self Service – Portals where employees manage attendance tasks via ATT.
  • Exception Tracking – Where ATT flags attendance exceptions for review.

The terms above either provide key data inputs to ATT or benefit directly from ATT outputs. They work hand in hand with robust attendance tracking.

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While ATT delivers immense value, realizing its full potential requires avoiding some common mistakes. It takes more than just installing software. Companies undermine ATT’s success through issues like poor integration, lack of adoption, incorrect configurations and lack of action on data. Preventing the following common mistakes helps maximize return on investment in attendance tracking:

  • Not integrating ATT with payroll – Without integration, hours worked can’t flow to payroll accurately. This causes payment errors.
  • Letting managers manually approve attendance – Managers overriding ATT, causes compliance issues and undermines its purpose.
  • Poorly configuring absence and leave policies – Incorrect policies mean ATT applies rules inconsistently, requiring corrections.
  • Failing to adopt organization-wide – Spotty adoption limits visibility. ATT should be mandated for all employees.
  • Insufficient training and change management – Employees won’t use ATT properly without training on new processes.
  • Not acting on ATT analytics insights – Just collecting data without analyzing trends and optimizing is a wasted opportunity.
  • Isolating ATT from other HR systems – Integration with HRMS, payroll etc. provides richer unified insights.
  • Tolerating broken attendance processes outside ATT – Duplicate manual systems or spreadsheets duplicate work and cause confusion.

By being aware of these pitfalls and proactively addressing them, organizations can achieve the full transformative potential of ATT across both HR operations and strategic business objectives.

Commonly Used Software

When it comes to software options for implementing attendance tracking, organizations have quite a few established players to choose from. Leading HRMS vendors like Nitso offer ATT modules within their broader platforms. However, specialized ATT solutions also abound for those seeking deep capabilities purpose-built for complex time and attendance processes. Here are some of the top dedicated attendance tracking tools:

  • TimeClock Plus – Packed with ATT modules and hardware integrations like time clock devices.
  • Nitso HRMS ATT modules built into Nitso’s HR offering. Native payroll integration.
  • Replicon – Features advanced absence management and leave tracking capabilities.
  • Reflexis – Real-time ATT tailored to retailers and large hourly workforces.
  • Jibble – Simple SaaS ATT solution for small/medium businesses. Lower cost of entry.
  • TSheets – Mobile-first ATT for clocking in/out via GPS tracking. Acquired by Intuit.
  • Lavante ATT – Specifically targets manufacturing industry needs and complex union rules.
  • Attendance on Demand Cloud-based ATT suitable for SMBs.

The solutions above are established ATT specialists, though there are also dozens of emerging tools aimed at disrupting this space. When evaluating options, focus on robust scheduling, absence management and analytics.

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Key Takeaways

In today’s demanding HR environment, robust attendance tracking is a must. ATT software provides the automation needed to simplify this complex chore while unlocking workforce insights. When evaluating HR systems, be sure to assess the ATT capabilities and integration options.

What is the best way to track employee attendance?

The best way is to use an automated attendance tracking (ATT) system. ATT software provides an efficient, accurate method for tracking time worked, schedules, time off and leaves. It eliminates tedious manual processes.

What is attendance tracking?

Attendance tracking refers to monitoring employee work hours, scheduled shifts, overtime, leaves, PTOs and related data. This provides insights into absenteeism, scheduling effectiveness, compliance and more.

How do you track event attendance?

Common methods to track event attendance include using guest lists, sign-in sheets, coded badges/tickets, and mobile apps where attendees check-in. This provides headcounts and participant data.

How can I track my attendance for free?

Free options to track personal attendance include using Excel, Google Sheets, Toggl Track, Everhour, Toggle, Hours Tracker apps. These can log hours worked without a paid attendance tracking (ATT) system.

Is there an easy way to track employee attendance?

Yes, implementing an attendance tracking system provides automated attendance tracking workflows that are much easier than manual methods. Mobile check-in, geo-fencing, calendars and reminders simplify it.

Does Excel have an attendance tracker?

Yes, basic attendance tracking is possible in Excel using a worksheet to log clock-in/out times. But this manual process is limited compared to automated attendance tracking software.

How do you monitor daily attendance?

Managers can monitor daily team attendance in real-time using an attendance tracking dashboard showing clock-in status, arrivals, departures, breaks and absences as they occur each day.

Is there an app for taking attendance?

Some attendance tracker apps include Attendance Tracker, Attendance Register, Attendance Keeper, which allow quickly tracking attendance via mobile.

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