How to motivate employees to track their hours

As a general rule, people don’t enjoy filling in their timesheets. We have discovered through our surveys and customer meetings, that getting employees to track time and productivity is the biggest challenge managers face when adopting a time tracking system.

Why? Because lost time costs time – and money. Time is a business metric as important as every other, but getting your staff to see time monitoring as a productive activity as opposed to a chore can be hard.

To assist you tackle this common problem, we’ve put together this brief guide on how best to convince your employees to monitor their time properly. The tips we share here are based on the experiences of our customers, as well as those of our own team.

Communicate the benefit of time tracking

Time tracking isn’t just your business – it is also your employees’.Trust is crucial for successful cooperation. Forcing your employees to track their time with no explanation will breed a culture of suspicion, and may lead to people cheating with their time logs.

To prevent this, make sure everybody in your team understands what you need time monitoring data for and how it benefits your employees, your company or your clients. Honesty and clear communication goes a long way in establishing trust and if you do it right, you might not even need the following hints.

Bear in mind that employee productivity frequently boils down to good management practices, so keep communication open and free.

Ensure you have clear guidelines

If you want time tracking to work in a meaningful way, you’ll need a system. Your reports will be rendered useless if people do not monitor their time under the right projects, or if they use the wrong tasks or labels. Before your team starts tracking, explain to all involved what’s the appropriate way to track their time.

Just like the first stage, explaining why something has to be done in a specific way will make embracing the system simpler.

Help every employee with basic set-up

With Hawk-I, basic setup is extremely simple. But keep in mind that if you want your employees to use time tracking, it is important that they feel you are meeting them half way. Also, keep in mind that the fewer obsticles you have between the user and the system, the more likely they are to embrace it successfully. If people do not understand something, they aren’t going to use it.

Share the reports on the office TV

Unless the time logs need to be kept private, sharing the reports with your team is a excellent way to build trust.

If you have a TV screen on the office wall, then use it to display the team’s tracking data. This way people can see the impact of their work in real time – they may even consider new, more efficient ways of doing things.

The only thing to bear in mind here, is to not use the data for public shaming if you are unhappy with an employee’s work habits. Do not forget that trust isn’t easy to build, and easy to break.

Follow-up and request feedback

Your employees are the biggest experts on your business. Since they operate with the finer points of your business day after day, their feedback is valuable to making great decisions and alterations.

Keep checking in with them to see how your team is adapting to time monitoring. If they have any problems, concerns or suggestions, use that feedback to improve your system. The easier it is for them, the more likely it is they’ll stick with the habit!

This is also a great chance to show your team that their opinions and input is appreciated by the management. Additionally, when you start analysing the time monitoring information, include your employees in the procedure. Together you will have a better chance of discovering things that could be done differently.

Offer rewards for accurate tracking

Using rewards is a highly effective way to modify people’s behaviour. The crucial concept here is what psychologists call “positive reinforcement” – rewarding someone for showing desired behaviour, which makes them more likely to repeat that behaviour in the future.

Individuals are more inclined to embrace a new habit when they feel their advancement is tied to certain rewards. If you don’t have the resources to cover people bonuses based on their time logs, then you can use other sorts of advantages – like days off or tiny gifts.

Another potentially effective tactic is to turn time tracking into a competition. For example by posting people’s timesheets on the office wall for all to see can lead to more disciplined monitoring as the employees seek to out-perform their colleagues and friends.

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