Time tracking is a process that can be beneficial for both employees and employers. When done correctly, it allows employees to clearly understand how they spend their time, and employers can use this data to make informed decisions about their business.
However, there are some things that employers should avoid when implementing time-tracking policies. This blog post will discuss the best practices for time tracking and what employers should and should not do when implementing these policies.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when implementing time tracking is that employees should have a say in the process. One can see time tracking as a way for employers to micromanage their employees, leading to resentment and decreased productivity. Instead, employers should work with their employees to develop time-tracking policies that everyone is comfortable with.
Time tracking trouble?
Employers have long relied on manual time cards to track employee work hours. Employees either clock in and out or record and report how many hours they worked and when. The manual aspect makes the process vulnerable to errors, miscalculations, and estimates.
In one 2018 survey, 44% of business owners reported regularly struggling with timesheet errors. An astounding 92% reported that the user typically caused the errors. The biggest problem? Employees forget to record their time. That was followed by employees recording their time incorrectly or to the wrong job.
Fortunately, you can implement the following time tracking best practices to simplify your timekeeping and improve the accuracy of your labour costs.
1. Educate employees about time tracking
Ensure that your employees understand the importance of time tracking, how your time tracking systems work, and what you expect of them. Walk new employees through your time tracking tool and guidelines for tracking time. For instance, let employees know if they need to check in to a mobile app daily (versus entering data later).
Provide them with information about how long their breaks should be, what type of personal business they can do on the job, and how they can correct entries if they make an error. Educating your employees will not only reduce mistakes and misinformation but can also prevent employee time theft.
2. Automate your time tracking system
The next step to better employee time tracking is eliminating manual timesheets and clocking in with paper timesheets. Automating your record-keeping provides various benefits, from making it easier for employees to document their work time to streamlining the record-keeping for your HR or office administrators. It also provides 100% accurate timesheets, eliminating the need for timesheet rounding.
3. Make time tracking easy for your managers
Time tracking poses a problem for some employees but can also be the least favourite part of a manager or supervisor’s job. Managers must collect all employee timecards or reports, check them for accuracy regarding billable time worked and overtime, and correct any errors. What seems like a simple task can take up hours each month or week, especially if managers have to keep track of employee time because employees aren’t good about reporting their work hours.
4. Collect enough detail about employee work hours
There’s a fine line between keeping your time cards “simple” and detrimentally oversimplifying your data. For instance, employees should clock in at the beginning of each shift and out at the end. But that’s just the basics.
South African Labour law requires tracking breaks, lunches and regular work hours. Properly tracking overtime is also essential. That ensures that employees get overtime pay and allows your organisation to manage its resources better and reduce overtime spending. You can even track hours for specific projects, job sites, and more.
5. Combine payroll, workers’ comp and time tracking solutions
All of these things are deeply related. By incorporating them into one solution, you can consolidate your time and improve your compliance with labour laws and documentation in all three areas.
You can simplify your paydays, running payroll for employees, contractors and freelancers with the click of a button. Integrating workers’ comp ensures that you and your employees are covered in case of an accident and that your vital employee information is all in place. Add time tracking, and you’ve streamlined a significant component of your HR function.
Another thing to avoid is using time tracking to punish employees who are not meeting expectations. This will only lead to more resentment and will not motivate employees to improve their performance. If an employer does need to take disciplinary action against an employee, they should do so without involving time tracking.
Finally, employers should ensure that they correctly use data from time tracking. You should use time-tracking data to inform decisions, not to make them. Employers should use time-tracking data to identify trends and areas where employees may need more support.
Time to clock out?
By following these tips, employers can ensure that they are using time tracking to benefit both their business and their employees. Time tracking can be a valuable tool, but it is vital to avoid common mistakes employers make when implementing these policies.
If you want an all-in-one solution to managing your time-tracking headaches and payroll, reach out to us. MASA has over 40 years of experience helping businesses get rid of headaches and allowing them to focus on the things that help them grow.
Thank you for reading! We hope this guide has helped you understand the best practices for time tracking and what employers should avoid when implementing these policies.