I’ve previously talked about how to make it easy for your employees to fill out their timesheets. Here’s a quick recap of the steps you can take towards making this task easier:
- Talk with different departments to get a clearer idea of how and why they track time, and what will make it easier for them
- Consolidate time tracking into one system that groups all time reporting activities together and syncs the data into your other systems (payroll, projects, ERP, etc).
- Consider a system that automatically populates timesheets with information from other places, like calendars, task lists, and project management systems.
- Those who must administer the system and/or process the timesheets will need easy-to-use features that allow for quicker approvals, data validation, and accruals management.
- If you have field employees, make sure they have access to mobile time tracking that will allow them to enter their time from anywhere, on any device.
Now, none of these are quick and easy steps and will require a little legwork to accomplish, but you’ll be on the right path towards easier time and expense tracking for your employees.
We both know, however, that no matter how easy you make it for employees to fill out their timesheets, there will still be some resistance to doing it. The biggest reason for this is because they may feel like timesheets are being used against them in some way – to “spy” on their daily activities or to monitor performance.
Overcoming the discomfort and misconceptions surrounding time collection is necessary in order to gather good data from the people who do the work. So, in addition to making it easy to fill out timesheets, it’s important educate employees on the benefits of the results for everyone.
Transparency is Key
One of the major concerns about filling out timesheets is that they will be used in some way to rate performance (negatively) or micromanage the way people work. If this is the case in your organization, a little transparency will go a long way.
While some less-than-progressive management teams might try to use time data to do these things, timesheet data is not a good source for employee evaluation. It doesn’t measure the quality of work and deliverables. It also doesn’t capture qualitative data about the work being done (e.g., an employee with more years of experience may be assigned to more complicated tasks that take longer to complete than someone more junior).
It’s important to emphasize that your time collection process will not be used for performance evaluation. The data is simply not a good fit for this use. You can compare it to the process of analyzing meta data. It is not about the individual, but about patterns and general ways to improve how you work together as a group.
If your organization uses timesheets for payroll, it’s important to be up front about that. Obviously, employees want to get paid for their work – so it shouldn’t be too hard of a sell to let them know that their paychecks depend on their timesheets being accurate and submitted on time.
Many organizations bill out employees for client work, and this is where you would need to emphasize the direct results of filling out timesheets for billing purposes. Your company needs to bill clients accurately and quickly for the work performed, and this depends on timesheets containing accurate hours spent on different client projects – without the need for additional manual corrections. So, your employees need to understand that by spending time and effort to fill out their timesheets, they are helping to drive results and success within the organization.