One of the biggest challenges an organization can face is getting employees to complete timesheets and track their time.
In an age of “Big Brother” wariness and an increased focus on privacy, some employees may balk and fuss at the idea of accounting for their time, while others may struggle with submitting their timesheets entirely.
Whatever the reason to implement this process, whether it’s to be government compliant or to better understand your costs, the end result is the same: Your employees should get on board and track their time.
Let’s look at steps that can go a long way toward getting employees to complete timesheets.
Explain How It Comes with Rewards
One of the main steps toward motivating your employees is explaining to them why it’s important. This can be done either via a rewards system or a positive/negative affirmation system.
One Brazillian-based company went so far as to install a beer machine that only opened once everyone had submitted their timesheets correctly and on time.
But if you’re not going the alcohol-infused route, a simple but effective reason for your employees to complete their timesheets is the massive benefit it brings to them personally. It’s estimated that every single day, the U.S. economy loses 50 million billable hours, or $7.4 billion.
What accounts for the loss? According to AffinityLive, a professional services automation company, the loss is the result of poor time tracking methods. The company says:
“Due to lack of technological advancement and poor habits in time tracking, AffinityLive found that 51 percent of respondents rarely or never track time spent reading and answering emails, and 28 percent said the same for meetings.”
The solution? Affinity Live adds:
“Moving from weekly… timesheet updates to daily… would recover $52,000 per-professional, per-year in billable time.”
As a result, the most important step in helping your employees complete their timesheets is helping them realize that the better they track their time, the more billable hours your company will have.
In turn, those extra billable hours equal more incoming revenue and better employee compensation overall. Whatever the case, your employees directly benefit.
Make It Easy
This one may be as simple as keeping your employees focused and on task. You could follow in the footsteps of Iris, a company that implemented a program where sites like Facebook and Google were fully blocked until their employees had submitted completed timesheets.
While these methods might seem harsh, they’re absolutely effective in setting a golden standard for simple and easy time tracking allocation from your employees.
Another important step is to make it easy for your employees to complete their timesheets with up-to-date automated software including clean and simple user interfaces. Too many companies rely on antiquated software or worse yet, non-computerized methods of tracking them. Still, other companies use systems that are so specific and granular that an employee needs a legend to understand how to categorize their time.
To avoid these issues, try to automate the process as much as possible. Modern time tracking software can be an invaluable asset to helping employees and managers alike streamline and automate the process.
Ideally, completing timesheets should take no more than a few minutes a day.
Link Timesheets to Payment
It may seem like a simple solution, but sometimes the simple solutions work best. When all else fails, make it clear that payment depends on completed timesheets.
As HR professional Suzanne Lucas highlights, there is a need for caution when using this method:
“It is illegal not to pay someone for time worked, and in some states you can get in big trouble for delaying a paycheck, but (check with an attorney in your state) why not just set a deadline and if they miss it, they don’t get paid for that week until the next round of paychecks? Think about what you are trying to motivate them to do: fill out time cards so they can be paid.”
If employees continue to struggle with completing their timesheets, however, Lucas makes the point that the behavior “might suggest that the problem lies not with unmotivated employees, but with a time sheet process that disheartens.”
By explaining why, setting the example, making it easy and linking timesheets to payments, organizations can go a long way toward getting employees to complete timesheets and, hopefully, help them to appreciate the benefits of doing so.
Time Clock Photo via Shutterstock
I love the idea of reward. You get to get a reward for filling your timesheet when it is something that you must do anyway. Makes you feel more special than just feel like ‘Big Brother’ is watching you.