Not only is it difficult just to get employees to fill out their timesheets, getting them to track their time accurately is a whole other ball of wax. In this episode, Curt reveals some tactics you can use to get the most accurate time data as possible from your employees.
Topic of today is part two of getting your employees to actually track their time. So, the first part was how do I get them to track their time at all. The second part if how do I get it to be accurate.
The most important thing that you can do that most companies do a terrible job of is explain to your employees, why are we asking you to track time. Is it because we want to bill our customers more accurately, because we want to understand the cost of things, because you’re paid hourly (dummie, we have to have your time so we can pay you)? Or is it some other reason? But whatever the reason is, it’s probably a reason that’s helping your company be successful. People want to work for a successful company, they want your company to be successful, so tell them why you’re tracking time and they’ll be much more amenable to giving you the data. And then you have to reiterate this at least every quarter or so – “Hey, the reason we’re doing this is so we can understand where we’re profitable and where we’re not and we can run off our competitors and make them all die a horrible, painful death”…maybe something more positive.
The second thing that you need to do if you want to collect accurate time data from your employees is have some automated reminder system, so that they’re getting an email or a phone call or a big mean person sitting on their desk staring at them on a regular basis that says “Enter your timesheet now!” With a, sort of, Arnold Schwarzenegger voice.
The third thing that really helps with getting accurate time data collected from people is if they can lower the timesheet latency, the difference between when they entered the time and when the action occurred that they entered time for. So, it’s better if you’re recording time today for today’s stuff, then today for last week’s stuff. Mobile phone data entry is really helpful here. It’s important to have a mobile phone data entry capability. So, for example my company, Journyx, we have a web-based timesheet app, but we also have apps that run on the Android and the iPhone and, eventually, other phones. It’s important to have mobile phone time collection capability if you want to make it easy for people to enter time when they’re…not when they’re driving down the highway. No, no, no. When they’re in the library.
Oh, yeah! This is also important. This is kind of a stick thing. Have a written policy that is part of the employment handbook that your employees are signing every year that are saying “Yes, I agree that this is the employee policy and I’ll do it,” and in that employee policy you say “You have to track your time. And we really, really mean it.” That will also help people remember to do it because now you can go back to them and say, if you need to, “Well, it’s part of your agreement for working here that you signed, you said you’d do it, so why are you now saying you won’t do it?” Right? So those are some ideas for how you can get people to give you more accurate time data on a more regular basis. And, I hope that’s helpful. Have a great day!