How long does it take to get an answer to that question? And perhaps more to the point, should the answer have…
Effective time management is critical to the success of any company, but employees aren’t always thrilled about having to track their time. Fortunately, advances in time tracking software make it easier, but there are other ways to get buy-in from your workforce and motivate them to get timesheets completed consistently and on time.
A key tool for eliminating much of the transactional, manual activities related to payroll is time tracking software. APA estimates that 7 minutes is spent entering each employee timesheet, and more time is wasted tracking down late submissions and fixing timesheet errors. But historically, people have been resistant to time tracking, for a number of reasons:
- They can’t remember to do it.
- They find it tedious watching the clock and reporting their hours.
- They feel it’s intrusive and takes too much time away from their real work.
- The time tracking software interface is not intuitive or easy to use.
- They can’t access their time tracking software on the road or in the field.
Fortunately, time tracking software is changing, and new cloud-based solutions make access and use easier than ever. Many time management offerings have mobile apps that can be used to log time over a smartphone or other mobile device, while on the road or in the field. And time tracking software interfaces are getting friendlier, too. Despite all this progress, overcoming resistance among employees may require additional tactics.
Educate employees on why they’re doing it
If you bill clients for your hours, this one’s easy. Without time tracking software, it’s harder to get paid for all the time you spend on a project. Many clients will want to see a list of time spent on various activities before they write a check. If you don’t get paid, employees won’t stay employed for long. Explain that the livelihood of the company and all of its employees depends on accurate time tracking and management.
If you’re using time tracking software for project costing, you’ll have to explain to your employees that it’s needed to account for time spent completing project activities. Inaccurate time tracking can lead to unnecessary overtime, bad planning, exceeding the budget, or cancelling the project.
Send Email Reminders
Many time management software solutions provide automated email reminders to users to fill out, submit or approve timesheets. This feature virtually eliminates the need to personally contact or “chase down” employees regarding late timesheet submissions or delayed approvals. And, it removes worry from the user’s mind, since they don’t have to remember to do it on their own.
Account for time spent on projects and tasks
Keeping track of how much time people spend on various tasks encourages productivity and is a great tool for employee reviews. If employees understand that you’ll be using time tracking software in their evaluations, they’ll be motivated to fill out timesheets with accuracy and consistency.
Using bonuses or other perks as incentives, or creating healthy competition among office teams, is a positive way to enforce consistent, complete data collection of any kind, and can be used for time tracking as well. Try offering a free lunch to the team that consistently turns in timesheets on time for a fiscal quarter, or hand out gift cards to employees that have no errors on their timesheets for a month. This method doesn’t just encourage camaraderie among co-workers, it rewards them for being conscientious, and it’s fun!