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How to Stop Worrying and Start Time Tracking

Why are so many managers skeptical about time tracking?
Let's face the truth: they have already tried to make employees track their time... and failed.

According to some recent surveys, up to 87% of companies experience problems with implementing a time-tracking software. However, tech is not the problem. Driving cultural change is the problem. And it will not be welcomed as soon as it creates stress for employees.

So the key to success lies in proper change management. Perhaps the best solution is to identify main stress drivers, then think how you will address them. This will form your step-by-step time tracker implementation plan.

Communicating Your Goals

Probably it is difficult for your team to see wood for the trees. So start with explaining your mission. It's important to realize that time tracking itself is not a goal. It is a tool to accomplish some business goals. Are you planning to improve productivity or simplify accounting? Do you need data for better cost estimation?

Think of your own reasons here.

Explaining the Benefits

Many employees believe that time-tracker is a step to total surveillance at work, which is a huge source of worry for them. Reassure your team and bring them to positive thinking.

As David Finkel put it, "good controls are like speedometers" . They improve your self-management and help you achieve the outcome you want.

For example, you may bring forward such arguments:

  • There will be more pay transparency, especially if you are paid on an hourly rate.
  • You can easily track your overtime and get paid accordingly.
  • You will gain insight into how much time is spent on different tasks or projects, so it will help you plan your work assignments.
  • You will better focus on single activities rather than switch back and forth between multiple tasks.
  • It will be easier to ask for assistance with time-consuming tasks. Your time-track will be a compelling reason why you need additional resources or help.

Choosing and Setting Up Your Time-Tracking Software

Many time tracking implementations went wrong because tracking was consuming too much effort... and, ironically, time. So make sure that time-tracking software you are going to use is not too tricky.

Ideally, a solution should allow you to configure interfaces depending on the user role. A regular employee, for instance, would not need all those bells and whistles. The workflow has to be simple. Think over several questions: how will you arrange your data? Will you need integration with existing tools or platforms? Who will be responsible for approving the time-track? And who of the colleagues will have the permission to peep into your own time-track? (The correct answer is "no one").

Getting Feedback from Your Employees

During the early implementation phase, you can expect to see mistakes and gaps in your workers' time-track. See that as an invitation to gather feedback. It is a very important step, because it helps you see potential flaws in your implementation. Knowing what the problem is, you can make necessary adjustments.

For example, if your colleagues forget to fill in their timesheets, you can set up an automatic reminder to be sent out to their email address. Or, if they struggle with interfaces, a good idea would be to have your vendor organize a user training.

If everything seems to be running just fine, do the same: collect feedback from your employees. That is to make sure there are no problems being overlooked.

Key to Smooth Implementation

The cool thing about time tracking software is that it can actually bring positive changes to your company. Sadly, this fact is not so obvious to most employees. That is why a manager should prepare them for this change. Support your team: share your goals, explain the benefits, simplify user experience and collect feedback. That will help to avoid much of the stress.

And since it's impossible to cover all the bases, do as the swimmers do: take a deep breath and dive under the wave.

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