It gives you visibility into the profitability of individual customers and projects; it’s essential in helping you determine which projects to move forward on in the future. But the biggest impediment to successful time tracking is employee resistance. Why do people hate tracking their time so much?
Reason #1 Reporting time can threaten status.
For salaried people, especially if they have been employed earlier in their life in an hourly “time clock” environment, reporting time can make them feel demoted. Conventional wisdom (that this author disagrees with) is that salaried workers are more trustworthy and less in need of supervision than hourly workers.
Reason #2 “What if I find out that I don’t work as much as I like to think?”
Some people — often the most productive people — garner self-esteem from the large number of hours they work. But sometimes they’re not sure if they believe their own braggadocio and the thought of finding out the truth is scary.
Reason #3 Time is a bad metric for effort or productivity.
Knowledge workers know that managers often forget the aggregated metrics of real productivity in favor of some simple numbers that are tangible, like time records. Managers may take the easy path of rewarding based on time spent rather than develop more subtle and appropriate metrics of real productivity (hint: don’t do this).
Reason #4 “I’m too busy”
The most responsible, busy employees – the productive ones whose time is in highest demand – will have have to stop doing the primary mission of the company to fill out a timesheet. The star employees tend to procrastinate this task, subordinate it or even refuse to do it. Or worse, they’ll create flawed records. On the other hand, the less productive workers will often create perfect time records and never submit them late. This fact of life creates an impression in the minds of both that the whole exercise is worthless.
So what can you do to combat employee resistance? Here at Journyx, we have several tested solutions:
1. Education and Buy-In
The most effective way to get people to do anything is to make sure they understand what’s in it for them. It’s easy for payroll workers because timesheets are what ensure they get paid. Time tracking for project accounting has less tangible benefits for employees. However, bad project accounting leads to unnecessary overtime, stressful blown schedules, bad estimates and canceled projects. Citing specific examples from your company’s history where accurate time collection could have made things easier for your employees will help to get them on board.
2. Adoption Dashboard
Journyx Timesheet software includes graphs that make it clear to managers which departments and people are entering their time consistently and completely and which are not. This helps managers understand early who they need to push on (to the degree a top-down approach works in the company’s culture).
Tying bonuses or other benefits to complete data collection is often used in customer relationship management (CRM) tools to adjust sales commissions. The same can be done for other forms of data collection. Journyx has a patent – we call it the ‘frequent flyer patent’ – for rewarding employees (on your behalf) for reporting time in a timely manner.
4. Phased rollout
Adopting a multiphase rollout approach that leads to per-person per-project profitability allows you to affect the culture in more manageable steps.
5. Email Reminders
Getting an automated reminder when your time has not yet been recorded produces results — usually.
Are you going to Microsoft Convergence? For more tips like these, make sure you stop by our booth 2812 at this years Convergence in Atlanta. We’ll meet you there!