The timekeeping system is a handy tool for controlling employee discipline and productivity. It is a salvation for the manager and a bad dream for the subordinates, who are used to start their day in the office sluggishly, with a cup of coffee in their hands and discussing the latest events in the country, the world and at home. This article explains how to reconcile the interests of both parties, introduce a time management system and at the same time not to lose employees.
Introduction of an Automatic Time Recording System
Staff tracking and analysis software is becoming more and more popular every year. According to Gartner, by 2020, 80% of companies in the US will have used time tracking tools in one way or another.
The main goal of such implementations is, of course, economic. The managers see increased efficiency as the salvation of the business: why hire 5 employees when 2 can cope with the tasks at hand.
Therefore, when it comes to the implementation of a time recording system, the large company is divided into two camps: supporters and opponents. The former include managers at all levels; the latter are joined by employees who see this action as a tightening of discipline and an invasion of personal space.
Mistakes That Can Lead to the Dismissal of Valuable Staff
It is a natural process for employees to be dissatisfied with the installation of monitoring software. Everything new and unknown looks a little scary. You can prevent a ‘mutiny on the ship’ if you know in advance what mistakes are most often made when introducing automatic timekeeping software:
- Stealth. Statistics say that up to 70% of managers believe it is the norm to spy on employees. Firstly, installing monitoring software in secrecy from subordinates. Secondly, to resort to reading emails, messenger messages, peeking through webcams. Both of these options are frankly bad because they violate the law. And this is fraught with litigation.
- Lack of dialogue. Even if staff have been informed about the implementation of the timekeeping system – notified as required in writing – this does not guarantee understanding on the part of subordinates. It is important not just to present the fact, but to explain why the company took such a step and what benefits will be received by all participants of the process, not only by the management. The focus here should be on the benefits for rank-and-file employees.
- Lack of technical support. Let’s assume that the implementation has been formalised correctly from a legislative point of view, and that everyone has been told about the “pluses”, but at first, after the installation of any software, there are purely technical questions: where to click, how to launch, what to do to make the software work as it should? In the case of timekeeping systems, these questions are fundamental: users fear that by doing something wrong or simply forgetting to press a button, they will lose out on statistics and appear lazy, which means that their wages may be affected.
- An information vacuum. This is already about results. Often top managers are in no hurry to share access to monitoring results. They watch for themselves, when the objects of control are at a loss to guess what the system has revealed. The lack of knowledge is a source of tension, and it wears out the staff morally.
- Ignoring objections. No matter how carefully a manager considers the implementation of a timekeeping system, no matter how loyal he or she is, practice shows that there will always be stubborn opponents of innovations who can instigate real sabotage. And if it is an employee who is valued by management, it is worth reflecting on why he or she is behaving this way, finding out the reasons and working through the objections.
Avoiding these pitfalls, which are unfortunately common in the introduction of automated employee monitoring software, is not just a matter of knowing exactly what employees in the field spend their working hours on, it can be a powerful tool for motivating employees.
Ways to Motivate Staff
Motivating staff is not the last thing on earth. This is a conclusion that was reached a long time ago by leading companies. The commitment of each individual employee has a direct impact on the overall result. If even one link in the work chain is ‘broken’, you should not expect a great
There are various ways of stimulating interest in work. They can be divided into tangible and intangible ones. The former include:
- financial incentives – this could be a bonus based on the results of a completed project, the 13th salary at the end of the year, a pay rise, etc;
- bonuses are nice “perks” in the form of corporate discounts, subscriptions, etc;
- Gifts – these can be company-paid holiday trips, gifts with corporate insignia, etc.
Intangible rewards include:
- evaluation of achievements. Feedback is important for every employee. Firstly, it is a way of making sure that you are going in the right direction in carrying out your tasks. Second, even verbal praise can inspire a subordinate. You can recognise the best by using an honour board or, for example, by publishing the achievements in the internal or external media;
- a comfortable working environment. Tea, coffee, biscuits, a comfortable chair and an uncluttered computer. If you can reduce domestic discomfort to a minimum, you are less distracted and more focused on the work itself;
- corporate events. If you work well, you have a good time. Joint activities without reference to work allow for team building, a sense of belonging to the company, a sense of belonging to the workplace, and therefore a greater commitment to the company;
- an opportunity for career advancement. Nothing depresses a person more than unrealized ambition. To come into the office as an ordinary manager and know that you won’t get any further up the career ladder – what kind of motivation is there? Why do you want to do more and better, when you are on the safe side? This is why one of the decisive factors in choosing a job now is the possibility of developing in the future;
- flexible hours. Knowing that your superiors understand that you are a human being, not a machine, is important to many. Allowing employees to work during their peak hours of activity, certainly without breaching their work obligations, is perceived by employees as caring, and therefore willing to carry out their duties with the same care.
From these points, companies form an internal loyalty programm for their employees, which always plays to the plus side.
It looks simple enough, but the main question for subordinates is whether the rewards are objective. An independent ‘expert’ – an automatic timekeeping software – can help to clear this up:
- what each employee spends his or her working time on;
- how the workload is distributed amongst colleagues;
- how quickly employees in identical jobs are able to cope with identical tasks.
All data is collected in easy-to-understand charts, which make it easy to explain the reason and fairness of incentives.
How Do You Achieve Employee Loyalty for the Installation?
No one can take control for granted. Even if one is confident in one’s abilities and performance, the news that one is going to be monitored is greeted with hostility.
In addition to eliminating the typical mistakes in implementing a timekeeping system that we discussed above, it is important to make the presence of the software as convenient and comfortable as possible. Employees are more loyal to such software if they know that
- no one will fudge the data or make them look lazy. Only the truth and nothing but the truth is what distinguishes automatically organised control from other types and methods;
- They are not monitored incessantly. No human being is capable of being at the peak of efficiency all the time. Knowing that you are being watched with the diligence of a detective is mentally exhausting. Fearing that your personal data will be seen by your manager is close to paranoia;
- the software will not affect the operation of your personal computer or laptop. If extra software, which is designed to show how fast and thoroughly you perform your duties, interferes with the work process itself, it is perceived as mean-spirited.
Users recognize Monitask as an impartial, flexible and easy-to-use time management tool, which runs quietly and unobtrusively on a PC, does not distract employees with constant alerts and pop-ups, collects statistics automatically and analyses without regard to human error.
“Soft” Control of the Staff Working Day
In the case of soft control of staff working hours, it allows you to target each company and its requirements personally, largely due to the flexible customization options available:
- the start and end times of the working day can be set for each employee or department. For example, for an account manager, it is mandatory to be at work at 8:00 – people may already be waiting for him there. For a software developer, it’s all about results and 8 hours, and whether it’s from 8 to 17, 9 to 18 or 11 to 20 is irrelevant.
- distractions and social media. Here too, it is possible to customize things for each individual professional: for example, for an SMM manager, Facebook and Instagram would be sites that are only needed for work, while for an engineer, they would clearly be resources that waste time;
- openness of data. The software should allow you to set up access so that the staff member himself or herself can see where he or she is coping brilliantly and where he or she is stalling.
Time Recording for Telecommuters
Remote collaboration has been firmly in business since the pandemic began. There were no other options and many companies had to move to remote working.
Employee monitoring software removes major concerns of managers and becomes a tool for monitoring, motivating and communicating within the team:
- Disciplined, as it is able to record the start and end of a remote worker’s working day;
- shows performance regardless of the location of the staff – it records the duration of phone calls, video calls, online attendance at appointments in shared calendars, etc. This motivates you to be more responsible;
- notes distractions and the use of non-core internet resources, which ultimately shows how to structure the work schedule and which bottlenecks in working with remote workers the manager should pay attention to.
However, there is a manual, conscious shutdown option in soft capabilities, which comes in handy when remote workers choose to work on their own computer or laptop.
The main feature in the introduction of remote controllers is that the functionality is not limited by this; the system will also be useful to the remote worker himself for self-monitoring and fair remuneration. After all, when the manager has the data on efficient work in his hands, there is no way to shortchange him with incentives.