Employers, Department Managers, HR, and Payroll Department Managers all struggle with the age-old challenge of getting employees to turn in their time sheets by established deadlines. It’s a pervasive issue across business and industry, and there’s no apparent reason to assume the situation will ever improve. Why? That’s an easy one. It’s because employees HATE keeping track of their time.
So, everyone involved is routinely experiencing a degree of misery around the matter of filling out or collecting time sheets. Let’s first take a look at reasons why employees hate to fill out time sheets:
- Filling out time sheets is viewed as too time-consuming.
- Some employees find filling out time sheets hard to do.
- Collecting timesheet information is not really useful.
- Timesheet data is used by management to support claims of poor performance.
- Employees perceive their work as art that cannot be appropriately measured.
Solutions to the Time Sheet Problem
Some companies have found creative ways to motivate employees to turn in their time sheets by deadlines—from threats to gift certificate drawings. But the problem remains that employees do not understand why they are forced to do this exasperating task week after week. And, because they continue not understanding it, they continue hating it.
Helping Employees Understand Why Time Sheets are Important
You know that you need to collect timesheet data from staff to process payroll, provide an accounting for projects, generate billing, or validate compliance. But, of course, you can’t expect to obtain optimally accurate information if employees can’t bear the irrelevance they perceive in an act of providing it.
To alleviate their pain in filling out the sheets, it is necessary to resolve the misunderstandings about the purpose of the timesheets as a data tracking tool. Educate your employees on the important benefits to themselves and the company and its customers from having accurate timesheet data. And, further, explain that these benefits are made possible only by their willingness to contribute the most accurate possible information to the tracking system.
Providing a Smooth System for Time Sheet Collection
Ensure that you have the smoothest possible process for the collection of time sheets, to make it as convenient as possible for employees to cooperate. An efficient, convenient timesheet collection process should include:
- No repetitive entries of hours – Time should be entered only once. There are numerous uses for employees’ work time data. However, a sure way to reduce cooperation is to require people to enter hours into multiple systems by varying processes. Provide your employees with one timesheet on which they can enter all worked time easily and quickly.
- Consolidate all time reporting and associated entries. — Place all activities associated with time recording together on one sheet or file. In other words, provide a central location for updates to project assignments, overtime, time logs for administrative tasks, available leave time, and so on. If it is reasonable to do so, group any other task or project participation tracking forms in this location as well.
- Make it simple and convenient to bring time tracking information up to date in cases of delinquency. — Require daily routines of filling in worked time information, to improve accuracy rates in entries of worked time data. Filling out time worked information daily instead of weekly is obviously much more likely to result in more accurate information. On the other hand, filling out time information too frequently, such as after each task, makes it harder for employees to work freely and can negatively impact efficiency.
Stopping the Hate
Just make it as easy as possible for employees to track their work time for you. First, help them to understand why tracking their time is a process that is important for them and the company. Be transparent about purposes for which the company uses the information the employees provide on time sheets. Don’t leave them to believe that they’re being forced to waste their time. And, make it convenient for employees to cooperate with the time sheet completion and collection process.