On its face, employee time tracking may seem all about getting employees to work on time. However, it can also offer a host of other benefits to improve overall business operations and sales. From more accurate budgets to boosting employee morale, time tracking provides a toolkit for making work time more effective. Here are four innovative ways that time tracking can help improve your business.
The goal of a budget is to control spending in order to save money. For businesses that manage projects and work from one or more employees, planning a budget is tricky when you don’t know how long a particular task will take. Time estimates are a good starting point, but can create logistical and reputational problems when work runs over time. With time tracking, project managers can measure exactly how long certain projects and tasks require, and this has a dual benefit: it’s motivating for employees who know that their time is being measured, plus it generates data on which to base future budgets. Just as with tracking spending, however, it’s important not just to measure the time used, but then to use that data to make smarter decisions in the future. With more data, budgets can become more accurate, and savings will increase.
Certainty inspires confidence. When pitching a project to a client, estimates and hypotheses about time and budget metrics create a drag on the overall momentum of the pitch. Providing facts and evidence of a proven track record will stop clients thinking about risks and focus them on the real benefits your business can offer. Time tracking provides the tools to create just such accurate projections, making it easier to develop data-driven timelines and budgets (as mentioned previously) that can be presented with confidence.
Professional development sharpens the employees you already have and is highly motivating when it comes to retaining talent. But it doesn’t always have to be about seminars, workshops, and night classes. A great way to encourage employees to hone their skills at work is by encouraging them to set professional growth goals. Have employees reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, and how they can become more effective at their work. Follow this with employee-set growth goals for a given period (a quarter, a year, etc). Two of the essential components of an effective growth goal (as with any SMART goal), is for it to be measurable and time bound. Time tracking is an excellent way for employees to measure progress toward a goal, as it creates incentives to find ways to be faster and more efficient. That way employees compete against themselves to become better at their job responsibilities, and with no addition to company overhead costs. To be effective, though, be sure that employees have pre- and post-goal conferences with company leadership to report progress.
Recognize and reward employees
Recognition of employee achievement creates a positive, productive work culture. Little is as demoralizing as the belief that nobody values your contribution, and so showing that company leadership does in fact notice and care can make a huge impact on employee morale. Time tracking is commonly viewed as a policing measure, but a more effective strategy is to use time tracking to reward punctual, productive employees. Boost morale and productivity by recognizing and rewarding employees who complete projects early or on time, consistently adhere to scheduled hours, or create innovative ways to get work done more efficiently. All this can be accomplished easily and simply with an online employee time tracking system. But remember: general employee of the month systems are not often effective. Instead, an effective employee recognition system involves identifying business goals and specific behaviors that contribute to them. Once this is established, consistently reward employee contributions in line with those goals and behaviors.