One of the biggest challenges many companies face when trying to stay compliant with certain government regulations is properly implementing time-tracking software. With a plethora of options, including both low-tech and high-tech, it can be a challenge to determine the right software, the right methods and the best practices to implement company-wide.
Here’s a look at some timesheet best practices that include some of the most basic and important practices for finding the right time tracking software for your organization.
Implement Time Tracking From the Top, Down
Nothing can demoralize employees more than feeling that there’s a double standard, especially when it comes to tracking their time. When the boss not only promotes time tracking, but uses it, this helps emphasize to employees the importance of time tracking for everyone involved.
There are many creative ways to hold the entire organization accountable. Ad agency Colle+McVoy implemented not only a timesheet system, but a software solution that allows a company-wide beer fridge to open every Friday, provided that all employee timesheets are submitted on time.
“Colle+McVoy has built a wondrous machine called the TapServer — a “multi-keg beer deployment system” that uses RFID and custom-written software to verify whether you’ve stopped being a lazy git, finished your timesheets and earned your free pint.”
Especially with something as potentially unpopular as time tracking, knowing the boss values it enough to do it themselves and apply the same rules company-wide can be a powerful motivation for everyone else to do their part.
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Offer the Necessary Training
Communication is everything. Making sure everyone understands what’s involved in accurate time tracking can change the way your employees respond to your new timesheet policies by leaps and bounds. Despite an employee’s good intentions, if they don’t understand what is involved, it can lead to errors and missing information on timesheets.
This is especially important for companies that work with government agencies, have either hourly or salary employee types, or any other organizations who have stringent time tracking requirements. Proper training can often mean the difference between remaining compliant and losing a valuable contract altogether.
Automate the Entire Process
DCAA News is an organization that provides information for contractors looking to become DCAA-compliant and secure government contracts. Since maintaining DCAA compliance requires accurate time tracking, it’s worth noting one of the recommendations DCAA News makes:
“… Skip any form of manual bookkeeping; make your life easy with an automated software system that is DCAA compliant. These software packages can inform what data needs to be tracked, can automate approvals, can allow for employees to clock in or out from anywhere, creates invoices, enables downloads into QuickBooks, tracks leave time, can create extremely detailed ad hoc reports, provides password protection and so on. These software packages can allow managers to managers on more tangible tasks while at the same time being able to view accurate timesheet data.”
Not only will automating your business processes keep you government compliant, but it will also massively help in keeping your company data secure. According to a study from IBM, “95 percent of all security incidents involve human error.” Yeah, that’s insanely high.
Automating your processes will not only mitigate that data risk, but will also help keep you compliant, and as long as you’re properly training your staff to follow these new systems, your organization will be able to make the most out of your timesheet system.
Move to Hourly Employees
While salaried employees may sound good in theory, in practice, the arrangement rarely works out for employer or employee. It’s far too easy for an employee to take advantage of the non-results oriented paycheck, while many employers try to get more than their money’s worth from the employee. The result is often a tug-of-war struggle where productivity is the ultimate casualty.
April Dykman, writing for Get Rich Slowly describes some of these challenges:
“At another job, I was told that being on salary meant that ‘if we close the office early, you’ll still get paid.’ But we closed the office maybe two or three afternoons out of the year, and there were many, many events that required 8+ hour days. Once I put in a 22-hour day for a particularly big event.”
A far better solution is to move all employees to hourly pay, where each party clearly understands what’s expected and there’s far less room for one to take advantage of the other.
Record Your Time Daily
One of the biggest mistakes many make is recording time sheets at the end of the week. Many of us can hardly remember what we had for breakfast yesterday, let alone remember and recreate entire work days after the fact. To maintain good records and best practices, make sure everyone in the company is recording their timesheet at least once daily.
Conversely, to help facilitate that, make sure the process of recording a timesheet is not so convoluted that it’s a major chore to do so. Recording a timesheet should take no more than a few minutes each day.
While certainly not exhaustive, these timesheet best practices are some of the most important, and sadly, overlooked.
If your organization can implement these while the timesheet system is being implemented, and can continue to communicate clearly and effectively with your employees – your company will function all the better for it.
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