19 January 2024

How the WFO Efficiently Tracks Time Spent on Projects

Time Tracking

Recruiting

Onboarding

Absence Management

At the Heart of Osnabrück’s Economy

Situated in the German state of Lower Saxony, Osnabrück is city steeped in over 1,000 years of history. Today, it is a thriving location for business, with around 4,600 companies registered there. At the heart of this local economy, the WFO (Osnabrück Economic Development Agency) ensures that business runs smoothly.

The WFO acts as a consultant, mediator, and networker for the city’s businesses. Britta Harder, Authorized Signatory at the WFO, explains, “We’re a kind of general problem solver for businesses in Osnabrück. We advise throughout their entire lifecycle, from founding a company and finding a location to subsidies, funding, and business succession.”

The WFO is a public sector organization that is 50% owned by the City of Osnabrück and 50% owned by the VWO (Association for Economic Development in Osnabrück). This brings with it some specific requirements. One of these relates to the documentation of working hours, which must also fulfil criteria under state aid law.

For this reason, the WFO not only needs to track employee working hours, but also categorize that time by the nature of the work involved. Britta, who is responsible for the WFO’s HR and recruitment among other duties, clarifies, “Every working hour is categorized as either a market-related activity, a non-economic activity, or a service in the general economic interest.”

Finding a Solution for Complex Time-Tracking Demands

Previously, the WFO tracked working hours in Excel, using different spreadsheets for each category of work. This was not only inefficient for the employees, but it also proved to be very time-consuming for Britta: “At the end of the year, I had to manually tally up the timesheets, which wasn’t ideal.” For this reason, Britta was determined to find a more efficient solution for time tracking.

In 2023, the WFO decided to implement Salesforce as its CRM platform. It was at this point that the organization first became aware of flair. With flair being a Salesforce-native HR solution, the seamless integration between the two platforms was a major factor for the WFO. An additional benefit is that flair not only covers time tracking, but also other HR and recruiting functions, such as applicant management, onboarding, absence management, and employee surveys.

I was very happy that we wouldn’t have to implement another separate software. As flair is fully integrated with Salesforce, it offered us an all-in-one solution.

Britta Harder

Authorized Signatory

The WFO now uses flair’s project-based time tracking feature to maintain accurate, catefgorized timesheets. This has increased efficiency among the workforce. “Each employee saves five to ten minutes per day on time tracking alone,” says Britta. “This quickly adds up. I’d estimate that I save around 10 to 15 hours every month, all things considered.”

Up to 15 hours

per month saved on time and attendance processes by using flair.

A Smooth Introduction to HR on Salesforce

Despite being new to Salesforce, training provided by flair has helped the WFO to hit the ground running. Taking a modular approach to the implementation and onboarding with regular Q&A meetings, flair provided the WFO with all the support they needed to get started.

“I thought it was great that we would focus on one part of the solution each week, and then get the opportunity to try out what we had learned,” says Britta. “If we had any issues, I knew that we could discuss it with flair in the next video call.”

flair’s approach to implementation is very flexible and worked extremely well. Having the possibility to try everything out, knowing that if I had any questions, flair would be there to answer them – that really simplified the implementation.

Britta Harder

Authorized Signatory

Modernized Absence Management

Time tracking is not the only area that the WFO has modernized with flair. The solution has also refreshed the absence management process. In the past, absence requests were printed, signed, and filed, which led to some inefficiencies. “It was hard to keep track, prone to mistakes and time-consuming,” says Britta. “We have a hybrid working model, so if you were working from home, you wouldn’t be able to request time off and you would always have to ask how much vacation you had left.”

Now, the WFO has digitized its time-off processes, giving employees and managers more transparency over all kinds of absence. Using the Employee Hub, everyone can see when colleagues are in the office, working from home, on vacation, out sick, or attending an external meeting or event.

As a public sector organization, the WFO offers employees compensatory time off when they have worked overtime. By creating an absence category in flair, this overtime can be easily tracked and converted to time off in lieu, saving time and ensuring that all employees receive the right amount of leave.

flair’s absence calendar gives us much more transparency. Instead of looking at 12 different calendars, I can see at a glance who is in the office, on vacation, or at an event. This makes it easier to coordinate time off and organize our hybrid workforce.

Britta Harder

Authorized Signatory

Taking the Next Steps to More Efficient HR

Besides time and attendance, the WFO is also using flair to recruit and onboard new employees. “We had a new employee start in January 2024, and he was the first to go through our new onboarding workflow in flair,” explains Britta. “It worked really well: He was able to get started on day one and check off his first tasks because it’s so intuitive.”

The new processes that the WFO has set up using flair have been welcomed by the workforce. “You quickly familiarize yourself with it,” says Britta. “We rarely receive any queries from employees – on the whole, they have all quickly become very well accustomed to it. The flair app and the Employee Hub are intuitive and easy to use.”

Moving forward, the WFO has set its sights on using more of flair’s features, including employee surveys, career portals, and inventory management. We’re pleased to have contributed to the WFO’s HR modernization and look forward to continuing to support them.

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