Most timesheets can hardly be considered accurate: they only give a rough idea about employees’ activities. Our recent study shows the time that usually doesn't show up in a timesheet.
Time tracking is one of the most important aspects of managing a team. In fact, you and your business won’t survive without doing it accurately.
Turns out not looking at the big picture, not adjusting our tracking methods to our business goals and current situation, and not motivating employees to do it better, can cost the company a lot.
The best way to inspire change is to allow everyone on the team to understand how tracking their time can affect their performance positively and make them more productive.
1. Explain the cost of poor work tracking
According to our research, around 40% of working time is tracked incorrectly or isn’t tracked at all. There’s no way to see the big picture unless we track all time expenses in detail. Otherwise, it can cause unexpected costs for the business.
One more problem is time spent on distractions. People on your team might be shocked by the number of hours they spend browsing the Web during work hours. And while this isn’t a pleasant thing to share with you as a manager, it’s much better to talk about it openly and take action.
Tracking is the first step as it helps us become aware of how we’re really spending our time. Once we know that, we can make changes and take control of it.
2. Make work tracking simple
Often individuals aren’t motivated to follow new practices or procedures, as it takes them time to get used to that. Some might even consider time-tracking itself a time-wasting activity.
To overcome reluctance, find an easy work time tracking tool.
For an easier onboarding, set time-tracking goals in advance, create a short list of guidelines and provide your employees with instructions. After an introduction like that, the only thing they will need to do is start using the tool and enjoy its benefits.
3. Go through all the benefits
Make sure you stress the fact that the benefits are instant and there’s no need to wait weeks or months until the results are visible. From the first few days of tracking, the team will realize its time-saving effect and self-discipline improvement.
Also, consider connecting with your team on a personal level. Share some examples on how work tracking has helped you get focused and organized. Involve some of your employees into choosing the right tool for the team.
4. Give them your word
Another thing we found during our research was that 10% of managers never track time spent on communications. The results are not noticing the lack of communication, not understanding the structure of your activities, and not seeing where work time goes.
To make sure your employees develop better tracking habits, be the best role model you can be. Optimize your approach to time tracking, and share the results with your team.
Once they see that you are putting more efforts even though you’ve been doing this for a long time now, they will be inspired to follow your lead.
Also, admit that you yourself aren’t perfect and share what else you’re looking to track better about your work process. Invite workers to do the same and stay accountable to each other. That inspires teamwork more than anything else.
5. Make it fun
Last but not least, add some fun and make it competitive to encourage turning time-tracking into a daily habit. Building a new behavior is no easy thing and with everything else going on at work and in people’s lives, there’s a big chance they can stop doing it. Help them stay consistent and increase their motivation with some incentives.
That could be dedicating the first 15 minutes of every meeting to sharing results from their reports and taking decisions based on that. Then, you can have a special meeting once a month for identifying areas for improvement.
Give recognition or even a reward to the worker who’s more accurate, consistent or detailed with tracking their time.
As you can see, there are many ways to help your team develop better tracking habits and reach the company’s vision together. Where will you start?