Accurate work tracking is crucial for understanding business processes and managing work efficiently. Here’s how you can motivate your team to track their time.
Chasing employees via email and messengers, introducing rewards for timely submitted time track, gamifying timekeeping, or even not unlocking the beer fridge until all timesheets are done: managers in many fields invent their own ways of various levels of ingenuity to get people to fill in timesheets. But people still seem to keep forgetting about tracking their work hours until the deadline. Why?
No, they are not lazy or disorganized. There are totally valid reasons to be subconsciously reluctant to log work time, and understanding them helps take the pain out of timekeeping. Here are the main ones:
- Remembering how much time employees spend on each task is demanding, especially when they have to switch between different work assignments throughout the day.
- Time-tracking is often considered a low-value work that doesn’t bring direct benefits or satisfaction and only prevents them from focusing on “real work”.
- Having to track each minute creates additional pressure and emotional draining.
- They have to adopt and use one more tool on top of their regular work instruments – a time tracker.
Sounds like a bunch of good reasons for not implementing timekeeping at all, right? But often this is not an option: time logs help be more transparent with customers, show workflow optimization opportunities, and allow to improve estimation, forecasting and planning. Good news is there are efficient ways to eliminate frustrating experience from keeping track of work time – and here’s how.
1. Explain why it is important
Lack of clarity is one of the main reasons why people resist to new processes. That’s why it’s crucial to explain the purpose of implementing timekeeping in the company.
Emphasize different benefits for different employees. For example, accurate billing and payroll calculation would be the key benefit for accountants, while project managers would appreciate the ability to improve planning and make estimates more accurate.
Speaking of estimation, make sure that your employees understand that inaccurate estimates are not a disaster: they can – and need – be improved in the future. Tell them that there are no penalties if some tasks take longer than expected – otherwise people will add more time to their estimates, which will impair accuracy.
2. Keep the process easy
When people are already reluctant to adopt a new tool, a complex onboarding process only adds to their resistance. If a tool has a complicated interface and excessive functionality, it will make employees even less enthusiastic about tracking time. So choose an easy and intuitive time tracker with a simple onboarding process.
The work hours tracker shouldn’t have unnecessary features that only clutter the view. For instance, actiTIME has ability to switch off and hide all unused features which creates a positive timekeeping experience.
Your time-tracking solution must also have a lightweight and easy mobile version. Even if you don’t have field staff or employees who work from clients’ locations, mobile is still used by the majority of workers for checking work updates. A mobile time tracking app will create an integral time tracking experience and make adding time logs handier.
3. Lead by example
You can send reminders or think out incentives for filling out timesheets, but this can hardly be more efficient than leading by example. Following the new procedure is the best way to help others incorporate it into their workflow. So always track your own time, analyze your results, and share your experience with the team.
What’s important here is getting feedback from your team members and taking action: other people can have different experience and can suggest improvements that are not obvious for you. So make sure you’re hearing your employees’ experience-based opinions on how to improve the time-tracking procedure and adapt it to your team’s needs and expectations.
4. Appoint responsible managers
The first rule of efficient management is delegating. So don’t oversee the entire process of time-tracking implementation on your own. Instead, set responsible managers in each team who will control the implementation process and use time-track data in their management work. They should also be responsible for onboarding new hires and explaining them the basics of the timekeeping process.
After setting responsible persons, let them know what is their role in the company’s timekeeping process, clarify their responsibilities in the timekeeping implementation, and suggest how they can use time-track data for optimizing work in their teams. This will speed up the initial phase and help teams start enjoying the benefits of time-tracking sooner.
5. Use time tracking reports
Time logs are a source of vital data for business. They help improve team and project management and optimize workflows – but first they need to be collected, organized, and analyzed. Use time reports to figure out productive and unproductive parts of work, overloaded teams and employees, and profitable and unprofitable activities.
Reports are helpful for improving the work process in your organization. On the basis of their data, you can make decisions on rearranging people on projects, prevent double work, and eliminate bottlenecks. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure that the employees are aware of how their time tracking data influences work efficiency in their teams and in the entire company.
There are no magical ways to motivate people to use a work hours tracker. Explaining your team the importance of timekeeping, setting up a clear procedure, appointing responsible managers, and making sure your example shows the benefits of timekeeping is what works best. Keep in mind that people are naturally reluctant to adopt new procedures and opt for an intuitive time tracker. This will help implement time-tracking process sooner and achieve better personal and team results.