Entering hours can be tedious and seem like a waste of time to employees. From my experience there are three types of employees when it comes to tracking time:
The Pro: The Pro almost always has her hours entered on time. She rarely forgets or makes an error. About 20% of employees are Pros.
The Dud: The Dud rarely has her hours entered on time. She often forgets to enter her hours and makes frequent errors. About 20% of employees are Duds.
The Bud: The Bud usually has her hours entered on time. She sometimes makes errors. Most employees, about 60%, are Buds.
Education is the most effective way to improve time tracking and motivate employees to enter their hours. It’s best to focus on the Buds, as they’re most likely to improve their performances; generally, Pros will be Pros and Duds will stay Duds.
First, employees need to understand how crucial it is that they enter their hours in on time, and accurately – and you’d be surprised how many don’t understand what happens with the hours they enter. Without their hours entered payroll cannot be processed and they can’t be paid. Clients cannot be invoiced if hours are not entered, meaning the company won’t be paid. And worse, if employees forget to enter their hours, or make errors, this can result in under-billing clients or clients noticing those errors, all of which affects the professional image of the company.
Some not-so-obvious problems that occur when hours aren’t entered include a loss of productivity and a negative impact on morale. When employees do not enter their hours supervisors have to remind them and then review their hours until they are entered. This wastes the supervisor’s time and can cause resentment towards the employee if it occurs on a regular basis. Those responsible for processing invoices and payroll may also have their time wasted, the end result being a loss of productivity and a potentially negative work environment.
Including information about the importance of time tracking in your Employee Manual and having employees sign off on it can result in modest improvements in performance, though there may always be employees who forget to enter their hours. The best way to improve performance is through daily reminders, and while this may seem like a tedious and frustrating experience we’ve found that sending an automated email near the end of each work day resulted in a significant increase in time tracking efficiency. This is a less intrusive and non-personal method of reminding employees they need to enter their hours, and results in a more efficient, productive and happier workplace all around.