“I volunteer myself for time tracking.”
An employee has rarely said these words.
There are very few things that are met with the same resistance as time tracking. It’s easy to understand where the pushback is coming from. Often, employees feel micromanaged and being spied on. When time tracking policies are not correctly implemented, it creates a cloud of mistrust and a feeling of resentment among employees.
Knowing the possibility of this backlash, many HR managers become hesitant to implement a time tracking system. However, the cost of not doing so is high.
In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, lost time is costing the US economy $7.4 billion per day.
This doesn’t include the opportunity cost of not being able to optimize workplace productivity and make smarter business decisions if time tracking were implemented.
It’s a lose-lose situation. The organization loses money and opportunities, while the employees lose the benefits if their time was properly monitored, recorded, and analyzed.
The reasons why modern workplaces need a time tracking system in place is overwhelming. Yet, resistance among employees is a real issue that HR managers need to solve.
With the right tactics and strategy, you can turn your employees from time tracking skeptics to time tracking believers.
Turn your employees to time tracking believers. Here’s how:
Alleviate the Fear of Spying
No employee is going to respond positively if they know that their managers and supervisors are breathing down their necks, watching their every move. It’s easy for a time tracking policy to create this vibe, and understandably so.
When introducing a time tracking system, clearly communicate that it’s more for tracking projects, rather than tracking individuals. Make sure that no one feels that you’re going on a witch hunt for underperforming employees, but rather, identifying areas for project management optimization. Make sure your team understands that time tracking is a tool that can contribute to the overall success of the entire organization through proper project costing and resource allocation.
Emphasize the Benefits to the Payroll System
If there’s one thing employees dislike more than being spied on, it’s receiving inaccurate wages. After putting in hours of hard work, no one likes their salaries shortchanged.
Using manual timesheets is prone to error. According to the American Payroll Association, erroneous work hours calculations based on manually adding employee entries on their timesheets is between 1% to 8%. Additionally, the IRS estimates that 33% of employers make payroll errors that cost them billions of dollars in penalties annually.
With an automated time tracking system in place, these errors can be avoided resulting in more accurate payroll, including payments for overtime. A time tracking software that integrates with your payroll system can also capture needed reimbursements such as out of pocket expenses for employees who frequently travel. It also allows those who work remotely to accurately log their hours for every minute they work.
The benefit of accurately getting paid is a compelling reason for employees to respond positively to time tracking.
Highlight the Role Time Tracking Plays in Employee Wellness
Employee burnout is a big concern among organizations across different industries and sizes. The Harvard Business Review reports that 1 in 5 highly engaged employees are in danger of burnout. Many experts call employee burnout an “epidemic.”
How can you use this to get the buy-in from your employees for the implementation of automated time tracking?
While it is true that there are times when work tends to pile up, a huge factor contributing to employee burnout is the lack of thorough project planning. A number of managers underestimate the needed resources and manpower needed to accomplish a project. As a result, employees are forced to work an unhealthy number of extra hours to meet deadlines.
With the use of a time tracking software, it is easy for managers to get access to historical data for past projects and get realistic insight as to how many man-hours are needed to accomplish a project. This allows managers to perform accurate forecasting and prepare contingencies if needed. For example, they could plan and budget in advance for the hiring of freelancers or contingent workers during peak seasons, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for regular employees to put in extra work.
Without time tracking, it is almost impossible to get this data. By positioning time tracking as a tool to prevent employee burnout, your employees will feel that you are looking after their well-being instead of spying on them.
Create Clear Guidelines and Feedback Mechanism
When introducing time tracking to your workplace, you cannot just say “Starting today, we’re using time tracking” and leave it at that. For employees to feel protected, you need to establish clear guidelines on how exactly time tracking is going to be used in the workplace.
In your guidelines, enumerate in black and white what activities are going to be tracked. Leave no grey areas for speculation and confusion that could cause conflict later on. Make sure these guidelines are fair. Before you roll out time tracking, it is best to gather some of your key employees to get their feedback and suggestions.
Additionally, make sure that you encourage open dialogue and welcome all employee feedback and possible grievances.
Track Your Own Time
There’s a famous line from the hit movie Titanic between the main characters Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
“You jump, I jump.”
If your employees are tracking their time, you should also track your time. In fact, all managers in your organization should track their time.
From a business strategy perspective, it will show you how managers are spending their time, which could also offer insights for better resource allocation. For example, if managers are spending too much time on tactical tasks, new systems can be implemented.
Likewise, tracking your own time will assure your employees that they have nothing to be afraid of and that time tracking is a policy that is being adopted across all ranks. At the very least, it gives you plus points for leading by example.
From Time Tracking Haters to Time Tracking Believers
There will always be a knee-jerk reaction of skepticism from employees when time tracking or an activity monitoring system is introduced into the workplace. It’s human nature to resist anything that poses a potential threat to privacy, whether at home or in the workplace.
However, having an automated time tracking system is a must for any modern business. The negative perceptions toward time tracking are primarily due to initial misconceptions among employees and the failure of employers to communicate its benefits.
By addressing both, it is 100% possible to convert employees from time tracking skeptics to time tracking advocates.
You may also like to read: 5 Ways to Cut Down Employee Attrition