Time & Attendance
Kronos is one of the largest software companies in the world since its merger with Ultimate Software in 2020. Following a rebrand, the two software giants are now known together as the Ultimate Kronos Group, or UKG. UKG provides HCM, payroll, HR, and workforce management solutions for a host of different industries across the globe.
After the merger, all Kronos and Ultimate products were lumped together into the UKG product line. Now, UKG’s three primary solutions are:
Another product, UKG Workforce Central, also exists, but is being discontinued in favor of UKG Dimensions.
Kronos (UKG) is serviceable for two different types of businesses.
The first kind would be organizations with over 1,000 salaried and hourly employees looking for a traditional, all-encompassing, HCM system. For this, they should go with UKG Pro. It offers extensive payroll, HR, physical time clocks, talent management, benefits administration, and HRIS reporting.
The second kind would be mid-sized businesses in need of physical time clocks, payroll, and HRIS functionality. UKG Ready fulfills this need well, offering a wide range of features with less of the complexity that comes with UKG Pro.
However, Kronos (UKG) may not be the best fit for everyone, particularly if you manage a smaller, primarily shift-based business with fluctuating schedules and a tight labor budget.Here are a few more detailed reasons as to why you might want to look for an alternative:
Even after the rebrand, UKG still stands as a very dated company offering products that have gone through several generations of change. As such, it can take a long time to implement any of their platforms and the UI is oftentimes difficult to navigate. Moreover, many UKG products are not designed specifically with shift workers in mind – meaning you probably won’t get streamlined shift swapping, demand forecasting, and shift validation alerts with most of their products.
Reporting limitations: Dimensions limits users on how they can filter reports. Things like live attendance, absences, overtime, and availability cannot be broken down by team and location. It is also difficult for administrators to view bulk reports on staff personal details without having to open employee profiles up individually.
Timesheets don’t show variances: For some reason, timesheets on Dimensions don’t display the difference between actual time worked versus time scheduled to work. Similarly, they also don’t show the difference between the scheduled cost of a shift and the actual cost of the shift worked.
Can’t record & track qualifications: With Dimensions, you are unable to manage employee qualifications, certifications, and licenses. What this means is that you won’t be able to block unqualified staff from working shifts that require special certification.
Cumbersome team assignments: Instead of bulk assigning a certain number of employees to one team, Dimensions requires you to individually assign a team tag to each employee you want on a team. With a small business, this isn't an issue; but if you are managing 50+ people, this can get tedious.
Unable to see employee ratings: You can’t view employee ratings, seniority, or skill level on schedules. Without this kind of information, it is difficult to tell at a glance whether or not you have staff with appropriate experience working at important times.
Inconsistent UI: There tends to be a significant discrepancy between how their apps look versus how their desktop products look. Because of this, some users find it difficult to use UKG apps, preferring instead to check schedules only when in front of a computer – this causes you to miss notifications for last-minute schedule changes.
Data security issues: Has issues with data security and site reliability, recently suffering a ransomware data breach that resulted in a mass system outage for several weeks.
Increased IT labor hours: If you want to use UKG for time tracking, more than likely you’ll end up using their time clock hardware. But hardware, naturally, requires maintenance. Unfortunately, this means your own IT department will need to fix any issues that occur with your UKG time clocks - UKG does not offer support in this area.
No attendance point system: Point systems are becoming increasingly popular in today's workforce. Unfortunately, Kronos does not provide any option to automatically assign points to late or absent employees.
Time clocks cost you extra:In order to use UKG time clocks, you first need to either buy them or pay a monthly rental fee. This is an additional cost on top of what you are already paying to implement and use the software.
Lack of visibility between locations: Generally, it’s hard to get a quick look at attendance across multiple teams and locations in UKG platforms. This makes filling call-outs harder because administrators don’t immediately see gaps in schedules and who’s available to fill in at other locations. Users typically can’t view schedules at other locations as well, handicapping their ability to jump in to claim empty shifts.
Scheduling to demand is difficult: It isn’t always straightforward to predict demand levels in UKG platforms. You aren’t able to view the minimum labor hours you’ll need to meet demand per shift – and while Dimensions has ML forecasting, it’s a difficult system to get set up.
Understandably, some of UKG’s shortcomings in cross-location visibility, demand forecasting, and hardware costs may make the platform unattractive to certain businesses - and that's where the alternatives come in. Here are some of the best options out there if you want to avoid using Kronos or UKG:
Workforce.com is the best alternative to UKG if you are a mid-sized, primarily shift-based business looking for flexible scheduling, advanced labor forecasting, and mobile-first timeclocks.
As a cloud-based HCM system designed for shift workers, Workforce.com offers onboarding, scheduling, time tracking, HRIS, payroll, and much more. Its mobile-first features make it ideal for hourly employees on the frontline who don’t have time to mess with clunky desktop applications.
Primarily used by small to mid-sized hospitality, retail, and healthcare businesses, Workforce.com’s scheduling is really where it shines. Advanced AI forecasting helps you schedule the right number of staff to meet demand on any given day. Combined with a geo-located time clock app, robust HRIS, and full-service payroll, Workforce.com has everything you need to schedule, manage, and pay hourly staff.
Workforce.com features a desktop version as well as an employee app for both IOS and Android. It’s an ideal solution for those looking for the same level of configuration UKG offers without the complicated implementation, high cost, and steep learning curve that comes with it. It also offers much more visibility into attendance, shifts, and labor costs across multiple locations than many of UKG’s products.
Businesses often choose Workforce.com over Kronos (UKG) for these key reasons:
Scheduling driven by customer demand: Sales, foot traffic, and event data are used to forecast demand, helping managers create schedules that accurately match labor to demand on any given day.
Auto-scheduling: Industry-leading machine learning uses historical sales, wage cost, weather, and attendance data to automatically build schedules and populate shifts in a single click. As it continually schedules and collects data, it becomes smarter and more accurate.
Attendance point system: through Workforce.com’s time clock, you can auto-assign points to employees whenever they are late or absent for a shift. Track the accumulation of these points and take disciplinary action whenever necessary according to company policy.
Extensive shift validations: You can completely customize what shifts can and cannot be scheduled according to qualifications, maximum hour laws, Fair Workweek standards, and overtime policies. Real-time alerts help you see any error in the schedule you are building, helping you stay compliant with any and all labor laws.
Employee engagement: real-time shift feedback helps managers identify and resolve employee issues before they get out of hand, reducing turnover and increasing employee satisfaction. HR specialists can also send out satisfaction surveys, schedule performance reviews, and create development plans.
Task checklists: managers can create task checklists and assign them to specific shifts and teams to make sure important work gets done. Things like cleaning duties, temperature recordings, and more can be assigned, and managers can monitor completion rates in real-time.
Live insights: Leading Indicators™ map labor costs to sales in real-time, alerting frontline managers to potential overtime and providing them with actionable metrics to control SPLH.
Agile shift bidding & swapping: staff may swap shifts with managerial approval and managers can offer up open shifts for best-fit employees to claim through a streamlined bidding process.
Workforce.com offers three different options depending on what you need. With Operations, you get a full suite of scheduling and forecasting tools to better manage your staff throughout the day.
Human Resources comes with extensive time and attendance features, including mobile time clocks and a point system. It also gives you access to performance management, HRIS, and employee engagement tools.
Finally, with the Payroll package, you get full-service payroll, electronic timesheets, and extensive wage and hour automation.
To really explore the platform and decide for yourself, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial with unlimited access and no obligations.
Book a call today if you want to find out more about Workforce.com and its features.
Very similar to Kronos (UKG), ADP is a large, cloud-based HR and payroll provider. They offer a number of different platforms, each geared towards a specific business size and each featuring multiple pricing levels. Most prominent among ADP’s offerings are ADP Run (small businesses), ADP Workforce Now (Midsize businesses), and ADP Vantage (Enterprise).
Payroll systems designed to accommodate different company sizes
Time tracking and scheduling for small businesses
Insurance and benefits administration
Healthcare, non-profit, and IT
Handling large quantities of payroll and HR metrics
Gaining detailed insight into HRIS analytics
Basic workforce management for small businesses
With ADP you get the ease of payroll and HR in one place but lack detailed workforce management tools and analytics. While they do have basic scheduling and attendance, it’s really only designed for small businesses.
ADP products are good for prioritizing payroll, but depending on your business size, you might want to look elsewhere if your employee scheduling, attendance, and HRIS needs are too complicated.
Dayforce is a cloud-based enterprise HCM software provided by Ceridian. Similar to Kronos (UKG), Dayforce specializes in payroll, human resources, and HRIS, with workforce management being an additional resource offered.
Secure document management system
Advanced HR analytics
Dayforce Wallet for on-demand pay
Employee flight risk analysis
Basic time tracking and scheduling
Extensive talent management and acquisition
Retail, healthcare, and financial services
Payroll, HR, and workforce management in a single HCM system
Desire for extremely detailed HR analytics capabilities
Focusing on employee engagement and retention
As an alternative to Kronos (UKG), Ceridian Dayforce fulfills some needs better than others. The platform provides detailed HRIS capabilities, with its specialties being talent acquisition and benefits management. Outside of HRIS, Dayforce may not be the right option for those looking for granular workforce management or comprehensive payroll.
While Paychex offers integrated HCM solutions for time tracking, human resources, and workforce management, it mostly specializes in payroll processing and business insurance management.
Tailored payroll solutions depending on business size
Mobile payroll processing
Time and attendance via a Paychex kiosk device or mobile app
Payroll integrated insurance policies
Construction, healthcare, and real estate
Small to medium-size businesses
Requiring detailed payroll and insurance data all in one place
Flexibility in how and where payroll is processed
Paychex is a great alternative to Kronos (UKG) if you are looking for top-of-the-line payroll and insurance services. However, where Paychex falls short is in frontline operations and workforce management. You won’t get real-time labor cost metrics, shift differentials, or overtime alerts. Moreover, Paychex’s scheduling tool is not very intuitive.
Infor is an all-in-one modular ERP system that offers a range of enterprise-level tools for human capital management and product lifecycle management.
All-in-one enterprise resource planning
Supply chain and warehouse management
Advanced configure price quote capabilities
Detailed HCM analytics
Manufacturing, oil and gas, distribution
Large, multinational organizations
Looking for rigid, traditional ERP for long term stability and results
Infor is a great alternative to Kronos (UKG) if you are in the manufacturing or distribution industry. It comes with extremely detailed supply chain management tools that easily integrate directly with additional Infor modules. However, Infor’s cost and implementation are very daunting, and when paired with an out-of-date interface, it makes for an unwieldy Kronos alternative for small to mid-sized companies outside of the manufacturing industry.
Time Doctor is a specialized time tracking software solution based in the cloud.
Detailed attendance and timesheet reports
Time tracking via an app
Employee screenshot monitoring
Education, marketing and advertising, IT services
Needing more in-depth and specialized visibility into time and attendance
Small to mid-size remote workforces
If every part of Kronos (UKG) works for you save for the time tracking, then consider Time Doctor. It exclusively offers a time and attendance solution, nothing more. As such, you’ll need to integrate it with HR and payroll. The biggest shortcoming of Time Doctor is that it does not offer hourly employee scheduling with its time tracking. Because of this, you cannot map wage cost data to forecasted demand in real-time, see variances between actual and scheduled wage costs on timesheets, or react to attendance and overtime issues throughout the day.
Paycor is an HCM system specializing in solutions for payroll and human resources. Like Kronos (UKG), Paycor offers a wide array of packages and products to meet all your basic business needs.
Tax calculation and processing
IT, healthcare, non-profits
Mid-market payroll and HR simplicity
Building employee experience
Tax filing and payroll processing through Paycor are excellent; But unfortunately, when it comes to everything else, Paycor does not measure up well against Kronos (UKG) and other competitors. Time and attendance and scheduling are little more than afterthoughts to otherwise extensive payroll and HR packages, offering little in the way of BI reporting or automation. As such, it does not serve as an effective all-in-one solution and is best used only as a replacement for Kronos’ payroll and HR software.
When I Work is a simple, cloud-based workforce management platform for time tracking and scheduling. As a system with limited scope, it must be integrated with your payroll and HCM platforms via open API.
Mobile time clock app
Timesheets & payroll integration
Employee shift scheduling
Hospitality, food & beverage, retail industries
SMB employee self-service
When I Work is a user-friendly scheduling and time tracking solution for small businesses. However, as an all-in-one solution, When I Work may not be the best alternative as it doesn’t have payroll and HR features. If you are simply looking for a scheduling system to integrate with Kronos, consider When I Work. But if you are looking for a true HCM, look elsewhere.
A simple and intuitive HRIS, BambooHR assists small businesses with their HR management without getting bogged down in the complexities that usually come with highly tailored HCM or ERP systems.
Applicant tracking system (ATS)
Employee experience tools
Absence and leave management
Marketing & advertising, computer software, non-profit industries
SMB human resources and payroll
User-friendly employee self-service
While BambooHR offers organized and user-friendly human resource management, it is small in scale and limited in scope. You cannot schedule, track time and attendance, or manage labor compliance with BambooHR like you can with other, more all-encompassing solutions. BambooHR is a decent alternative to Kronos for small businesses in need of an HR solution, but it needs to be paired with other systems for scheduling and time tracking.
Shiftboard is a specialized scheduling platform tailored to suit specific industry needs. The SaaS offers two products: SchedulePro, designed for the production and manufacturing industries, and ScheduleFlex, designed for the service industry.
Auto-fill open shifts
OT detection and equalization
Plant and unit-specific staffing requirements
Oil & gas, manufacturing, corrections, and energy
Supporting industry-specific scenarios like production line changes and emergency response team assignment
Managing union agreements and fatigue standards compliance
While great for scheduling in niche industries, Shiftboard does not fulfill anywhere near the same number of business needs as other Kronos (UKG) competitors - meaning it must be integrated with many additional platforms. Its time and attendance, leave management, and demand planning is rudimentary at best, and it lacks payroll and HRIS capabilities. For businesses outside of manufacturing looking for a more comprehensive solution, Shiftboard may not be the best alternative to Kronos (UKG).