Time tracking gets a bad reputation with employees who feel it invades privacy and reduces people to sets of numbers. However, implemented effectively, it can actually be quite empowering and humanizing in the workplace. Here are five strategies for HR managers to help employees feel comfortable getting on board with time tracking.
Lead by example
A great starting place for getting employees to embrace time tracking is for management to embrace, support, and adhere to it as well. Little will kill employee buy-in more than the sense that time tracking is a burden for them alone to bear. Or that business leaders simply don’t trust them to manager their time well. When management faithfully tracks time, it helps all to feel part of the same team, and that everyone’s time is similarly valuable to the company.
Make time tracking about productivity, not surveillance
New technology gets a hostile reception when it is perceived as dehumanizing the workplace. And it’s not hard for time tracking to seem like a system that reduces employees to a set of timestamps. In order to get the most out of employee time via time tracking, it’s useful to approach it in a way that humanizes the work day and supports employees, rather than focusing on reversal of negative behaviors.
Time tracking is an effective tool for keeping projects from going over time and over budget, as well as driving more efficient resource allocation, project estimations, operational processes. With such improvements both to business efficiency and effectiveness, work succeeds more smoothly, profits rise, and everybody wins. Show your employees how their work effectiveness and compensation stand to increase with time tracking in place, and be sure to take the step of actually sharing those positive outcomes!
Link time tracking to personal and business goals
Linking time tracking to goals is another way to remove the stigma that the company is punishing or focusing on negative behavior. It’s motivating for employees to see how their work time investments directly contribute to larger business objectives. This places an emphasis on the positive value of time use, rather than the policing of time waste. Further, you can boost employee buy-in by encouraging them to think of time tracking as a system of feedback. Time tracking data can be quite useful for measuring growth and progress for professional development. Feedback for professional development has been found to be particularly empowering and motivating for millennials, who often place a greater value on personal growth than past generations typically have.
Provide greater work time flexibility
In addition to boosting workplace productivity and efficiency, online time tracking systems can also provide workers in certain industries the opportunity for more flexible work schedules. With mobile time tracking apps, remote workers or employees on business travel can log time from anywhere in the world, and this reduces the need for manager check-ins and oversight. Further, for work that doesn’t require employees to be on site or at the office to complete it, online time tracking software makes it possible for employees to work from home. Consider highlighting the benefits of such a system by allowing employees with exemplary timesheets to work a half day from home on Fridays, or on a day of their choosing once or twice a month. This furthers the humanizing effect of technology in the workplace, and helps employees feel that they’re being supported rather than penalized.
Finally, you can put a positive spin on employee time tracking by establishing a reward system for those with outstanding records, or who make especially productive use of their time. There is a strong connection between employee recognition and job satisfaction. Higher employee satisfaction means less turnover and greater productivity. Reward positive time-based contributions to show employees that time tracking is there for their benefit, and not as a tool for fault-finding. Like the previously mentioned strategies, this is a good way to flip the script: rather than dehumanizing the workplace, time tracking can actually increase productivity, professional growth, and overall employee satisfaction.