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Encourage and Enforce Time Reporting System Use

The roots of time reporting lie in the timecard systems for manufacturing facilities. These systems tracked hours using a time card stamp. Employees checked in and out and were paid based on the hours worked. As business time tracking evolved, organizations were forced to create spreadsheets or manually enter time in a database using employee time cards as source data. Today there are many options for time accounting systems. But, after you find the perfect system for your business, you still have to implement the system. If you want to achieve the expected productivity and optimization, you must get your employees to use the system.

To anticipate and resolve usage issues, you must first consider the package you chose. Your software will probably be used by employees to enter time and by managers to approve time and HR to produce reports. Ease of access and ease-of-use are paramount considerations. If the system is not easy for your employees to get to and use, they will not use it. If human resource staff has to download results into a spreadsheet to make use of the information, you have just added several steps to their workflow. Look at reporting capabilities, self-paced training and network accessibility and choose your software wisely or your choice will haunt you for years.

If the system has rich features and you want to leverage these features, be sure you plan for appropriate training. Train your staff on the features they will use, but do not bother them with the features they do not need.

As your software implementation proceeds, your project team must consider interfaces to payroll and HR, and accounting systems as appropriate. Asking your staff to duplicate data entry will not make them happy! As the time and attendance implementation reaches fruition, announce and schedule the training sessions. Trainers should have a full command of the system and policies. Provide users with a simple, brief guide to use critical system features. Send email to the staff to announce the effective date and provide a customer service desk to help them when they get stuck or when the system is down.

After implementation, do not accept time reporting via old time reporting methods. The only way to get the staff to use the system is to enforce usage. Provide automated reminders for weekly submission or approval. If an employee does not enter time they will be reminded periodically until their time is submitted.

After ninety days of use, survey employees to find out about the system. Limit your survey to ten questions. Keep the ranking simple. Make the survey web based if you can. It makes it easier to compile results. Ask for suggestions and consider the most common recommendations. Send special surveys to those who use the system to produce reports, to manage employees or policies. Publish the survey results and your plans for future enhancements. The more involved employees feel the more cooperative they will be and they may just have some great ideas!

About the Author

Susan Obijiski is a technology professional, consultant, business coach and writer. Her experience includes management consulting, and she has published research for Gartner Group. Susan is a frequent speaker and presenter on a variety of topics including software and technology, business strategy, process improvement and organizational culture change.

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