We know. When designing and building a Kronos system, naming conventions can be the last thing on your mind. You’re so focused on gathering the detailed requirements that little thought is given on how to name the building blocks. However, proper naming of these building blocks can make support and management of the system much easier down the road.
Naming conventions have a direct, underestimated impact on system usability, especially when it comes to pay codes. Pay codes impact every timecard user, and help them understand how their time is being classified for payment and/ or tracking purposes. In Kronos, pay codes sort alphabetically by default, and it is considered a best practice to maintain this organization. By introducing Pay Code Display Orders, it just adds one more configuration building block that must be maintained as pay codes are added. The best pay code naming conventions simplify the task of finding the correct pay code (in a list that undoubtedly requires scrolling), and gives the user confidence that the correct pay code is being selected.
Some thoughtful planning when naming pay codes will make the system easier to use, increase accuracy of employee pay, and simplify support and maintenance.
Here are 15 things to know when naming Kronos pay codes
1. Will you be deploying Kronos Globally?
If so, consider using the country code from ISO-3166 as the prefix (i.e. US = United States, MX = Mexico, FR = France, DE = Germany, CN = China, etc.). This will make building the pay code data access profiles, generic data access profiles, and pay code distributions easier as your system grows.
2. Will pay codes have different properties within a country?
For example, perhaps vacation will count toward weekly overtime for some unions, business units, divisions, etc. Consider identifying pay codes with an identifier for a specific use. For example, perhaps vacation in the state of California has different properties, so you name it US-VACATION-CA.
3. Capitalization can help with the naming convention.
For example, one client named their vacation pay codes “VACATION wOT” and “VACATION nOT” to represent whether the pay code counted toward overtime (wOT = with Overtime) or not (nOT = no Overtime). You can see how capitalization assisted with the interpretation of these codes.
4. Will use you spaces, dashes, or another character to separate elements of the pay code?
(i.e. US-VACATION-wOT or US VACATION wOT)
5. Remember not to include any Kronos reserved characters when planning your design:
/ | * ( ) : ; # % ^ ? [ ] =
6. Will abbreviations be used? Will any abbreviations be inappropriate?
Abbreviations can be helpful as pay code names are limited to thirty-two (32) characters. Consider a pay code for Funeral Leave – putting it into an abbreviated naming convention might end up looking something like US-FUN, whereas US-BRV for bereavement might be a more appropriate choice.
7. Are there paid and unpaid pay codes for the same type of time? How should those be sorted?
For example, you might have paid and unpaid sick time. If they are named US-SICK PAID and US-SICK UNPAID, they will appear together alphabetically. Additionally, the designation of PAID and UNPAID leaves little room for error when choosing the correct pay code. Alternately, perhaps unpaid sick and other unpaid pay codes are rarely used, so you would prefer them to be at the bottom of the list, if so US-UNPAID SICK might be a better choice.
8. Will similar pay code names be used for hours and days pay code types?
This commonly occurs with vacation, where some locations may take vacation balances in hours, while others may take vacation balances in days. In this case it would be better to clearly identify in a pay code name which is for what type, such as US-VAC HRS and US-VAC DAY.
9. Will your design include any Duration or Cascading pay codes?
Keep in mind that these can’t share names with existing pay codes, so consider including “DPC” or “CPC” in your naming convention to make identification of these pay code types easier.
10. Will your design include pay codes for leave or attendance?
Considering including LV or ATT to identify these pay codes. For example, US-MATERNITY-LV or US-LV-MATERNITY.
11. Which pay codes will be mapped to your payroll system?
For these pay codes, consider names that are closely related to the pay element names that will appear on an employee’s statement of earnings. Doing so will minimize the number of questions employees have when they receive their pay.
12. Consider including factors for overtime or other pay codes that pay a premium rate.
This will enhance understanding of how hours will be paid. For example, there may be different rates of pay on a public holiday. Naming the pay codes “US-PUB HOL-1.0”, “US-PUB-HOL-1.5”, and “US-PUB-HOL-2.0” will clarify how the hours will be paid.
13. What will be your order for your pay code naming convention?
Once you have identified all the variations of pay codes that you will have, you will need to determine an order for your naming convention, so that it is consistently followed. We suggest country and pay code name as the beginning of each pay code at a minimum. To help with this process, it is also recommended that you build the list of pay code names in a spreadsheet, and sort the list alphabetically so you can see how it will appear in Kronos. Designing the list of names in a spreadsheet allows you to use a separate column for each attribute of your naming convention and you can then link them together to form the final pay code name. (You can also use a function to confirm that your pay code name is thirty-two (32) characters or less as required by Kronos.) This will allow for quick flexibility in changing and adding attributes to the pay code name while they are being designed and reviewed with your implementation team.
14. Decide how to educate your user population on your naming convention.
Perhaps an online job aid or printable reference guide could be used to outline the naming convention, as well as define when each pay code should be used.
15. Finally, names for combined pay codes should not be forgotten.
Combined pay codes often summarize groups of similarly named pay codes. For example, many clients setup a combined pay code for regular hours that may include REG, REG 2, REG 3, etc. to represent different shift differentials. You may decide to include a specific word in all combined pay codes to identify them such as “TOTAL”, resulting in a combined pay codes name such as “TOTAL REG” and “TOTAL OT” that will sort nicely. You may decide to use a symbol at the beginning of the combined pay code name such as an underscore to make combined pay code names easy to identify and sort, such as “_REG”.