Top 5 Mistakes Companies Make When Introducing Time Tracking to Their Team

Publié le 24 February 2020 Par

It’s normal for companies to encounter some resistance among employees when implementing time tracking. We like to call this phenomenon “time tracking anxiety.”

If these objections are not properly addressed, this time tracking aversion can cause long-term morale and productivity problems.

The most common reasons behind time tracking anxiety include:

  • The fear of being spied on
  • The perception that it’s complicated and time-consuming
  • Fears of being micromanaged

These concerns, although they may not be true, may be exacerbated if managers, HR leaders, and business owners make the following mistakes when introducing time monitoring for the first time to their team:

1. Not Explaining the “Why” Behind Time Tracking

Project manager Michal Bielak explains it perfectly: “Don’t just gather your team members in a room one day and say, ‘From now on, we’ll be using this IT time tracking software to see how your work’s going. Click here, now click there, perfect, thanks, the meeting’s over’ — that is, unless you want to bump into a group of gossipers every time you go to the kitchen. People want to be treated fairly: if you introduce some changes, explain the rationale behind it.”

Introducing time tracking out of the blue can be a shock to your team and the knee jerk reaction is to push back. To prevent this from happening, one time tracking best practice is to get your employees’ buy-in beforehand. You can do this by highlighting the biggest time tracking benefits such as improved productivity, accurate estimates of resources needed for projects, and minimization of non-essential activities.

There are many ways time tracking increases productivity, ultimately leading to a more focused and accountable workplace (Image Source).

It also wouldn’t hurt to frontload employee-specific time tracking benefits such as timely and error-free payroll, accurate record-keeping for PTO accrual, better work-life balance by preventing work overload, and more flexible work arrangements.

2. Using the Wrong Time Tracking Method

The only thing worse than not tracking your employees’ time is doing it the wrong way. A 2017 survey revealed that approximately 38% of organizations still rely on manual methods of workplace time tracking such as spreadsheets, punch cards, and SMS/email.

Using outdated time tracking methods and tools can be worse than not tracking time at all (Image Source).

These manual and dated time tracking methods create two major issues:

  • Error-prone: The benefits of time tracking rely on accurate data collection. Manual time tracking creates a lot of room for human error. This not only defeats the purpose of time tracking, but it also creates additional work for HR when they need to fix the errors.

  • Time-consuming: Recording time spent on tasks in a spreadsheet can be cumbersome and takes time away from tasks that actually matter (i.e. activities that boost revenue and profit). 

This is where time tracking software comes in. Automated time tracking allows your employees to track and monitor their hours without tedious manual data entry. Automated time tracking is also faster and easier to implement as long as the software you choose is intuitive, user-friendly, and fits your business requirements.

3. Refusing to Track Your Own Time

Famed physician and philosopher Albert Schweitzer once said: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”

You cannot expect your employees to embrace productivity tracking if you don’t track your own time. It creates the impression that you’re using time monitoring as a tool to impose your authority over them.

For time tracking to be 100% effective, no one should be exempted, except perhaps your C-executives if you’re working in a big enterprise. However, for small businesses and startups, it’s a time tracking best practice for all members of the organization to follow the system.

When introducing time tracking to your team, make sure you walk the talk. Author and leadership communication expert Bruna Martinuzzi explains it well: “There’s the boss who tells everyone to stay late, and then leaves promptly at 5:00 pm to go golfing. There’s the supervisor who criticizes everyone for spending time on the internet but is discovered buying groceries online in the middle of the afternoon.” She adds: “As a leader, part of your job is to inspire the people around you to push themselves – and, in turn, the company – to greatness. To do this, you must show them the way by doing it yourself.”

Here’s one idea: A few days after launching your time tracking software to your team, send an email containing time tracking tips using examples of how you’re maximizing the platform’s benefits. This is a great way to motivate employees to get comfortable with the new system.

4. Failing to Provide Clear Guidelines and Structure

Even the most advanced time tracker will fail if you don’t have a clear time recording structure and guidelines. Questions that are often unanswered and create confusion among employees include:

  • What tasks should be tracked?
  • How should non-essential activities such as emails and administrative tasks be tracked?
  • How should time entries be categorized?

Failing to establish a transparent structure and clear guidelines makes time monitoring a frustrating experience. Even if you’re able to roll out your productivity tracker, you won’t be able to accurately see where time has been allocated, which tasks need more resources, and which activities drive the best business results.

This is a key time-tracking best practice you shouldn’t neglect. Before you introduce time recording to your team, make sure you have a blueprint in place to make the process as seamless as possible.

5. Taking a “Launch and Leave” Approach

As with any other business change, the first few days or weeks of implementing employee time tracking require close monitoring.

The “launch and leave” approach simply won’t work. Even businesses with an already established time tracking system in place should consistently track how their productivity tracker is performing to identify areas of improvement. This is extremely crucial during the rollout phase to identify red flags early on and provide immediate solutions.

This is also an ideal time to gather preliminary feedback from your team. What do they like and not like about your time tracker? What problems are they encountering? What adjustments can be made to ensure automated time tracking integrates into their workdays?

Starting on a Positive Note with Time Tracking

The need for time tracking in today’s modern workplaces is a foregone conclusion given the number of studies that have proven the array of benefits—from increased productivity and better employee morale to higher profitability. Likewise, the rise of automated time tracking solutions has made it easier for businesses to effectively and accurately monitor how their employees are allocating their work time.

That said, it’s extremely important to get time tracking right from the beginning. There’s no such thing as a perfect productivity tracking rollout. However, avoiding as many common mistakes as possible will create better results in the long run.