While the idea has plenty of potential on its own, its realization without thorough contemplation does not guarantee a positive change in workers’ productivity and company culture.
Even if you implemented it successfully, it may result in failure of the entire enterprise.
One of the reasons for that is gathering data inconsistently and without the appropriate structure in mind, as well as without any real intention of using it purposefully and systematically. In that sense, data collected via software for tracking employee attendance is difficult and time-consuming to analyze at best, and unusable and a complete waste of time at worst.
Always have in mind that time tracking tools are just that - tools. Their value lies in the way organizations and individual users handle them and their products (in this case, employee performance information).
Hence, don’t expect miracles just because your staff has installed an app for remote work tracking. Policing them won’t get their productivity levels up.
Instead, think about the best way to use this type of software in your organization and what you expect to be the results. Doing this even before you buy it should ensure optimal results and give you an idea of your return on investment.
Have a Clear Vision of Work Structure
Be careful not to confuse different types of tools and their purposes. Time tracking systems for employees aren’t the same as task management platforms, although they could have overlapping features.
If you want to help your employees organize their working time better, tools that encompass both types of features can be of great help. But if your goal is to spy on your employees and make sure they are really working while in the office and not browsing their social media, you probably won’t be satisfied with the results.
Especially if you trust the statistics that say that up to 80% of an average working day is spent on activities with little or no value.
In order to best utilize the data gathered this way - and to be able to tell whether your employees are spending their working hours productively - first, you need to specify what that means in your case.
- What does “productive time” mean in your organization?
- How is it measured?
- Does it differ from one department to the next?
- Which exceptions are acceptable?
These are all questions that need clear and precise answers, so you have to create a detailed strategy for introducing time management tracking tools in your workplace ecosystem.
Be Transparent With Intentions
If you believe that a deep structural change in your organizational culture is needed, you need to make employees understand that their behavior in the workplace needs to alter and why.
You must introduce big shifts to your operations carefully and with a precise plan in place. Otherwise, you are risking doing more damage than good by destroying employee loyalty and already built company culture.
Explain the Reasoning
Once you have a strategy for implementing activity tracking software in your company, disclose it to the employees.
As they will be most affected by this new operational change, present your case as to what your motives and expectations are, how that reflects on them, as well as on the company and its long-term plans.
Go out of your way to explain why you want to track employee activity.
If your reasoning is to understand their working habits, catch potential problems, present possible solutions, organize a better way of delegating workload, etc. then that’s exactly what you should say.
According to the American Payroll Association, the companies that use time tracking tools with payroll features are 44% less likely to commit errors than those that don’t. So, if that is the problem you’re trying to solve, share your concerns with the staff.
Honestly, anything is better than “it has to be done”.
Then, after getting the first results, present them to your employees together with your conclusions about how this change affected the company in a positive way.
If possible, perform a review of each employee’s or team’s daily performance to point out the areas for improvement as most of them probably aren’t aware of how much time they waste each day.
Make It Obligatory for All Employees
According to TechJury, only 17% of people track their time despite having access to relevant apps, hints, and tips.
However, a big change in MO means that the entire company staff must be included since you want to do more than remote employee time tracking, for example.
There shouldn’t be any exceptions to the rule if you want to achieve a maximum effect - all employees and managers must have their time tracked, even the CEO. That’s fair to your entire staff, it will give you all-encompassing data you can actually use, and ultimately, it’s good for morale.
Moreover, you will have a good starting point for actually increasing work productivity as they feel like part of the same team who are working towards the same goal.
Appoint a Single Responsible Person
As with any project, when everyone is responsible, nobody is responsible.
That’s why you should appoint one person who will be in charge of creating and implementing the time tracking strategy, defining clear goals, relaying expectations to the employees, as well as gathering and analyzing results for undertaking future actions.
That person can be an HR manager, the COO, the CEO, and so on, but it’s crucial that it’s someone who can contribute to the process and make sure it’s successful while also ensuring the privacy of all gathered information.
Analyze the Data in Due Course
The information you gather via the implemented employee tracker software is supposed to help your organization make better-informed decisions going forward.
It’s not there to catch people playing games or listening to music during office hours (even though that may actually help to boost productivity).
After you’ve deemed you may have enough information, analyze the data to gather insights into how things are currently being done as opposed to how they should be.
That will give you a starting point into which changes to make and how to go about it.
Show Appreciation for Better Motivation
There are all sorts of ways you can show your appreciation for the best performers among your employees. Whether it’s a day off at the end of the month or their favorite pastry on Monday morning, people like having their hard work recognized.
Not only that, but they can serve as an example and provide motivation to others in the company.
But how to be objective about it?
Among the many employee attendance tracking software on the market, there are those that have the option for managers to label certain the usage of websites and apps as “productive” or “unproductive”. As different teams in the same company develop different internet habits, this can come handy to give better insights into the staff’s behavior at work.
Receiving detailed reports for a particular time frame with this kind of information will be useful when the time for performance reviews comes.
So, make sure you know what you need from a time tracking software and how you expect it to better your company before buying one. It will determine the success of the entire project.
This article was originally written on May 22nd, 2016 by Gina Ora. It was updated on June 9th, 2020 by Aleksandra Djordjevic.