Did you know that employee monitoring has legal implications and may cost you a fortune? That’s if you don’t do it right.
One of the core aspects of monitoring your staff’s work is time tracking. It helps you track billable hours, measure productivity, and implement efficient workload management.
On the other hand, businesses that lack a time tracking system lose out on many fronts. According to data from Marketing Research Future, not recording unproductive hours cost the US economy 50 million work hours per day. This problem can be resolved with a time tracking solution in place.
That said, you won’t enjoy all the benefits of time tracking if you don’t execute it correctly. From losing employee confidence to building a toxic workplace, using the wrong approach to deploy your time tracking solution can cause loads of issues.
In this article, we’ll be covering practical steps on implementing time tracking the right way.
1. Tell Your Workers About Your Decision to Implement Time Tracking
Your first step is carrying your entire staff along. You can’t just spring the time tracking decision on them as a surprise.
You should notify them about your move to introduce the system when you’re at the earliest stages of consideration. Even if you have decided to introduce time tracking at the board level, ensure your staff knows well ahead of time. That way, they’ll feel like part of the process and not mere tools.
You should also ensure you’re not deploying the solution days after you notify your workers. Asking them to install the time tracking solution two to five days after making the announcement would seem like you’re merely checking off bureaucratic boxes by telling them.
So, what’s the introduction process like?
Make Sure they Understand Time Tracking
Not many employees understand the workings of time tracking. When they hear time tracking, all they think is privacy invasion and monitoring malpractice. So, ensure you tell them what time tracking is all about and how it works.
Explain the Benefits of Time Tracking and How it Impacts their Work and the Company
Explaining the benefits of using time trackers will make your workers more receptive and open to the idea. Don’t just tell them what it does for the company. Elaborate its effect on their work conditions and how they’ll benefit from it.
For starters, tell them how time tracking will ensure there won’t be payroll inconsistencies and mistakes. Using a time tracker means they won’t have to generate timesheets and invoices manually, which will save them a lot of stress.
You should also explain how using time tracking solutions would mean preventing burnout and overwork. That’s because managers will easily discover workers who have logged enough hours to deserve rest.
Time trackers also help executives determine the right time for things like paid leave and vacations. What’s more, they help calculate overtime so workers are accurately paid.
Other benefits include:
- Identifying and removing time-wasters
- Time trackers help in reducing micromanagement
- Managers can use time tracking data to streamline workflow and hasten project execution
- Time trackers keep workers alert and let them know when to get off work
Now, these benefits work in favor of the employees and should be emphasized to get them on board.
That said, you should also be forthcoming about how time tracking helps the company at large. After all, workers also enjoy dividends when their organizations do well.
Tell Them Why You Decided to Use Time Tracking
You can use practical numbers to show your workers why you’re opting for a time tracking solution.
For example, a Kronos study reported that 49% of employees will leave a company after experiencing two payroll problems. And as you know, employee turnover can cost companies a lot of money.
So, if you’ve been having payroll problems, tell your workers that the time tracking solution can solve them.
If you’ve identified other issues that time tracking could solve, articulate them in a document and back them up with numbers. Then show the report to your staff.
You should explain how these setbacks affect them and how time tracking can resolve each issue.
Show Them the Kind of Data You’ll Be Collecting
Even after explaining the need for time tracking and its benefits, workers may still have lingering concerns about the kind of data you’ll collect.
You can ease these concerns by telling them exactly the kind of data you’ll be gathering, how you’ll collect them, and how you’ll use them.
It will also be a good idea to assure them of these practices by putting them in writing. You must be honest and tell them exactly what you intend to do.
This move will make them more comfortable with time tracking since they know they can hold you to your commitments.
2. Design a Time Tracking Policy and Involve Your Workers
You can’t successfully implement time tracking without creating an overarching policy. The policy helps you to communicate your time tracking rules, expectations and objectives to employees. The document should cover things such as:
- How and when workers should track their time: When should workers start tracking their time? Which tasks will time tracking cover?
- How they’ll submit time tracking reports: Where will workers input details of the work submitted during a work period logged by the time tracker? What kind of reports should be submitted?
- How to request for time tracking adjustments: What happens when workers forget to start or stop their time trackers? How do they go about making the right adjustments to avoid a payroll crisis?
- Penalties: How will you deal with issues like time theft or repeated failure to track time? What counts as a forgivable mistake or punishable oversight?
- Timesheets and time tracking reports submission deadlines: Should workers submit work reports daily? What are the acceptable submission periods for reports and timesheets?
- Who’s in charge of time tracking administration?: Who’s in charge of policy compliance and oversight? Who should workers report to when trying to resolve issues?
3. Use the Right Time Tracking Tool
Another piece of the puzzle is using the right time tracking solution. Choosing an application or platform involves going through a process where you’ll make different considerations.
Firstly, you have to think about your work setup and the devices you and your employees use. That’s because some trackers are designed for specific operating systems and platforms.
So, for example, if your work requires employees to leave the office often, you may need to go for a solution that supports mobile devices. You may also need a solution that covers different work situations like hybrid or remote and able to consolidate different time zones.
Secondly, consider your primary time tracking objectives. At this point, you’re looking at features and offerings. You may be looking for a tool that logs billable hours and keeps detailed information about app usage. You may also want a tool that can calculate and keep track of paid time off and unpaid time off. Perhaps something that can keep you DCAA and FLSA compliant.
Do you run a development business and work with tools like GitHub and Jira? Do you use simple project management tools like Asana or Trello? Do you streamline your business processes with productivity apps?
In any of these cases, it would be wise to go for a program that integrates with any of these platforms.
Next is privacy. It’s important to use a solution that makes your employees comfortable. As it turns out, some time trackers are more invasive than others. For example, you can go for a tool that blurs out the contents of screenshots and screen recordings.
Your budget and number of team members is another important consideration. All time trackers don’t cost the same.
But you should know that the pricey ones tend to come with more features.
So, you have to streamline your other factors with your budget and go for a solution you can afford that meets your critical needs.
4. Provide Adequate Training
Before you consider your time tracking deployment a success, you must provide adequate training.
Teach workers how to navigate the time tracker’s interface and how to do things like:
- Starting and stopping the time tracker
- Entering reports
- Collecting and analyzing data
- Checking time tracked
- Creating timesheets and invoices
Providing training ensures you don’t have to deal with mistakes that will lead to payroll issues, workload management, and other administrative problems.
5. Follow Ethical Time Tracking Practices
The most effective way to boost your employees’ confidence in your time tracking system is to stick to ethical time tracking practices. For starters, ensure your actions are consistent with what you’ve communicated with your workers.
Let them see your expectations and promises come to life.
Here are practices you should follow:
- Don’t collect sensitive data
- Make sure employees’ privacy is protected
- Don’t use collected data beyond business purposes
- Collected data should remain private
- Consider making time tracking data transparent and accessible
- Collect feedback from employees about your time tracking implementation and make adjustments where necessary
- Continue to communicate the reasons for new changes to the time tracking policies
Keep Improving the System
You should continue to follow up with workers to deploy continual improvement. Make sure you keep up with feedback about the time tracking solution so you know when the vendor is slacking.
You should also think about creating a transition process in case you want to migrate to a different time tracking solution.