Time is precious in businesses of all sizes. Failure to address wastage leads to companies folding every single day of the week. The addition of time recording software will plug a leak and play a major role in recovery, however management teams must not think that business tools alone can resolve operational inadequacies.
It’s true, the employment of sophisticated time recording software can be a remedy to all kinds of business problems; use it to find the shirkers, expose unfinished tasks and assess the amount of time that is actually being spent on tasks.
But the proverbial ‘can of worms’ applies here. Solve one issue by accurately recording time and you may just create a pallet-load of new problems within the business.
Think about it from an employee’s point of view. Clocking on and off is considered a thing of the past in most workplaces; a relic of a bygone age like a rotary dial phone or chain smoking at the desk. People no longer expect to have their working habits surveyed in such a clinical way, and are unlikely to simply accept the imposition of a system that will assess their week on a minute-by-minute basis.
Spend time explaining
While TallyPro’s market-leading time tracking software can be up and running in minutes, the companies that reap the greatest rewards are those that can bring in such a platform, but spend time and effort explaining to employees why it is being introduced. Good communication is absolutely essential. This is the time that managers earn their bucks.
Workers will undoubtedly have questions about why they are having to record time and will have concerns about what this step means for their job and the company. They may fear this is a sign that the business is failing and they may be at risk of redundancy. They might want assurances that binary information about their working week will not lead to immediate disciplinary action without any opportunity for explanation.
“The key consideration for companies when introducing tools such as these is consultation with the workforce and the recognised trade union,” said a spokesperson for Unite, the trade union that represents 1.4 million workers in the UK. “Simply imposing them without explanation only serves to breed suspicion about the motivation and worry among workers that it will be used to sack people.”
Discussions at the earliest opportunity can ease concerns and give bosses the chance to explain potential benefits. Perhaps deployment of the system could mean that work will ultimately be delegated more equally, or that it is hoped it will identify the most successful areas of the business.
While management may be most concerned about gathering facts, there must also be a process of deliberation. Can a worker’s lack of productivity when compared to a colleague be explained? Perhaps they are spending a greater portion of their time assisting less capable members of the team, and perhaps the introduction of time-tracking software could lead to this being highlighted and their being rewarded.
Be fair in your time recording
Such anomalies must be addressed from the start, according to expert Professor Angelo DeNisi, Professor of Management at Tulane University in New Orleans. He explained that while the tools themselves may be acclaimed for ‘accuracy’, business leaders must take a more holistic approach and put fairness first.
“Employees must feel that are being evaluated fairly,” he said. “That doesn’t always mean free from any error (which is what accuracy is focused on), and it doesn’t mean the ratings are objective, because no judgment is objective. It means that employees believe that there are standards and rules that guide ratings and that, even if they don’t agree with every rating they understand how every rating was determined.
“The ultimate goal of any appraisal system is to help employees improve their performance. They won’t accept feedback and work to improve unless they feel the ratings are fair. That doesn’t mean that accuracy is irrelevant – presumably accurate ratings would be seen as fairer than inaccurate ratings – but the emphasis should be on how employees view the ratings rather than on a strict emphasis on accuracy.”
Regardless of the time recording software used, Prof DeNisi is clear that a reward system should be operated in tandem with a framework of reward.
“Such systems require buy-in by all parties,” he explained. “Standards should be clear and explained to everyone. Employees must be trained to use the system and the standards and there must be incentives (or penalties) associated with them taking the job seriously.
“Also, the entire HR system must be in sync with the evaluation system. It is about the whole picture and not just the rating instrument itself.”
At TallyPro we understand the challenges businesses face in implementing time recording software. If you’d like to learn more about strategies and techniques to overcome these challenges, please get in touch.