There isn’t a person in the world that doesn’t enjoy getting a paycheck. All those long hours finally become something tangible, something you can use for groceries or car payments. That paycheck supports entire families and college funds. Its importance is obvious and undeniable . . . to everyone.
So then why do so many businesses have such a hard time getting their employees to do the one thing that supersedes actually getting that paycheck?
Whether it’s forgetfulness, arrogance, laziness, bad communication or a lack of functional technology, managers continue to struggle to get employees to consistently fill out their timesheets.
Here are 7 ways to encourage your employees to become better and more reliable at keeping track of their time.
1) Implement automated reminders
This can be highly effective, especially if timesheets are available on the go via a mobile application. Setting up a system through email or text messaging probably won’t cost much, and after the initial set-up, there’s no more manpower necessary. Even if an employee is in his car ready to go, a reminder message might be enough to make him punch in his hours before punching the clutch.
2) Make it easy
If you have a complicated system that’s time consuming, work with IT to make it more functional. Besides saving everyone a few minutes, employees might also become more conscious of their timesheet simply by knowing that you went out of your way to make things easier on them.
3) Explain why it’s important
I know—this shouldn’t even be on here. The importance of a timesheet should be obvious, right? Even so, sometimes employees don’t fully understand the process behind how they get paid. They aren’t aware of all the intricacies and why their lack of responsibility actually makes another person’s job more difficult.
4) Give them incentives
Some companies offer their employees beer at the end of the workweek if everyone’s timesheets are in by that afternoon. Others stick with traditional ideas like giving away gift cards or donuts or having a raffle. Working toward a common goal brings employees together. With something on the line, they’ll start holding each other accountable.
5) Have an inside man
Sometimes there can be a disconnect between a manager and his employees. Recruiting the right employee, someone who’s respected, to remind his peers about their timesheets might help solve that problem. There are always going to be some employees that just don’t like taking orders from management. Having a friend, someone they work beside every day, to encourage them could help change their perspective.
6) Don’t be so picky
A minute here and a minute there isn’t going to matter in the long run. Asking an employee to keep track of his or her time in quarterly increments instead of by the minute can make all the difference. It’s much easier to estimate that you came in around 7:15 and left around 4:45 instead of trying to remember the exact times. It’s worth stating again—the easier it is, the more they’ll do it.
7) Avoid seriously penalizing repeat offenders
This is less of a do and more of a do not. Withholding paychecks can get sticky. It’s illegal not to pay people for their work, and although sometimes it’s the only way to get someone’s attention, it’s not a good long-term solution. A punishment like that is a good way to lose rapport among employees. If they’re annoyed, they’ll probably be less apt to go out of their way to make life easier on you.
These are only 7 ways to encourage your employees to more consistently fill out their timesheets, and the effectiveness of each will vary across companies. Don’t be afraid to ask your employees for suggestions. After all, this is about them isn’t it?