How To Stop Employee Time Theft

How To Stop Employee Time Theft

Most employers would probably like to think that they can trust their employees and employees will be honest for the most part. However, we can never be entirely sure that the people working for us won’t take advantage if given the opportunity. Indeed, a study showed that 43% of employees who have filled in timesheets had exaggerated the length of time they worked. Studies have also shown that around $400 billion is lost every year in lost productivity in the United States, further highlighting the need to address the problem.

Employee time theft comes in several types, and not all of them are necessarily deliberate. Some of the most common include: 

  • Charging for time spent on personal tasks
  • Buddy punching is a practice that involves an employee’s co-worker punching in for them despite the employee not being at work. Buddy punching alone is thought to cost approximately $373 million alone every year
  • Employees deliberately adding extra time to their worksheets
  • Employees not clocking out for breaks
  • Field employees claiming to have been working but performing other tasks, or even staying at home instead
  • Accidentally overestimating time worked.

Time theft is a real problem for many companies, especially in times of uncertainty. However, one of the most significant difficulties companies face regarding employee theft is that it’s challenging to detect. Managers cannot monitor all employees at all times, especially where field workers are concerned, and honest errors can be particularly difficult to identify. However, you can take some steps to overcome the issue.

Establish Clear Policies

One way you can help overcome some of the issues is to put a deterrent in place. Your managers can let employees know that they’re aware of problems like buddy punching and that employees will be reprimanded if caught doing so. The act of bringing up the topic alone can avoid complacency among employees and deter them from punching in for friends. Make sure to be polite and respectful when reminding your employees about your policies, but also make sure that you’re firm. Acting on indiscretions will help to send the message that you will not tolerate time theft.  

Educate Management

Quite often, the signs of time theft are right in front of us, but we won’t spot them if we don’t know what we’re looking for. For example, what might appear to be a case of an employee working later than others could easily mean that they’re not being honest about their time sheet. After all, it’s a lot easier to be dishonest on your time sheets when there’s nobody around because they’ve already gone home for the day.

Educate Employees

In many cases, time theft might be down to misunderstandings that you can easily clear up with simple communication. You should also make it clear to employees when it’s reasonable for them to record to add time and when it isn’t. You can also educate your employees on the potential harm that time theft can cause businesses, potentially even placing their jobs and their colleagues’ jobs at risk.

Use Time Tracking Software

Software like the PK4 TimeTracker will help to ensure that time is tracked accurately and fairly. For example, the buddy punching system won’t work with time tracking software because employees have to be logged into their computers or on their own mobile devices to track time. The system also helps prevent forms from being filled in erroneously, while it also helps management see which tasks their employees have been working on.

Time tracking software will also help ensure time is recorded accurately for field workers. The time tracking app can record an employee’s location through GPS, so you know they were in the right place. The software is also easy for employees and managers to use, while reviewing and approving timesheets is also made simple, further helping to ensure accurately recorded time. 

Overall, time tracker software will help to empower teams to work better and be more productive. Time sheets will more accurately reflect work that has been done while also giving management access to helpful information such as how much time employees spent on particular tasks. Such information will help management see if time is being spent effectively, helping them make their teams more productive while also helping to reduce frustrations.



6 Tips For Maximizing Accountability And Trust In The Workplace

6 Tips For Maximizing Accountability And Trust In The Workplace

Are your employees committed, motivated and efficient? Or do you have to be that annoying boss constantly breathing down their neck?

Whether you like it or not, accountability is at the core of how things get done in the workplace. And if your team is lacking in accountability, you’ll have to fix it first thing. When people don’t care enough to take responsibility, this lousy attitude will spread to all aspects of your business.

But sometimes, a lack of accountability isn’t always the employee’s fault. It could be yours. Our 6 tips will help you identify where you can improve as a manager to have accountable, superstar employees.

1. Involve your employees in defining project goals

An intriguing study from Gallup states that more than half of employees don’t know what’s expected of them at work. Managers fail to clearly explain tasks and help employees set goals. And to make it worse, many employees don’t feel comfortable approaching their boss for help or assistance.

But if you create the kind of environment where you empower your team, the work atmosphere instantly changes. When setting goals for a project, ask your team if the goals are attainable and realistic and discuss a deadline that works for them and the company.

It’s easy for your team to stay accountable when they’ve been involved in the decision-making process.

2. Perfect your prioritization skills

Unclear priorities are just as bad as unclear tasks. When employees start pointing fingers, all accountability goes down the drain.

If you’re in a state of constantly putting out fires at work, you have to accept that you can’t do everything – and neither can your employees. So learn to focus on the most important things.

Work on your prioritization skills and allow more time than you normally would for important tasks because we often tend to grossly underestimate how long they take. Your team will stop feeling like they’re constantly behind, and this will boost their confidence and productivity levels.

3. Establish trust and empower your team

There’s nothing worse than a micromanaging boss. So don’t be that guy (or gal). Here’s how you can change your team management style for the better:

  • Balance your “constructive” criticism with praise
  • Acknowledge your own mistakes – hold yourself accountable
  • Lead by example

The best way to empower your team is to give them the freedom to solve problems in their own way. Allow for flexibility over their schedule, and you’ll have motivated employees that feel trusted and appreciated.

Especially during this time of widespread remote work, allowing your team to log work hours manually will encourage them to get things done on their own terms. You can do this, and much more, with our PK4 TimeTracker.

4. Leverage attendance and scheduling software

Another way to increase accountability in the workplace is through the use of attendance and scheduling software. Hold your employees accountable and make sure they arrive on time and work on what they’re supposed to be working.

Using a product like the PK4 TimeTracker can help you achieve this in a number of ways:

  • The Clock In (Kiosk mode) serves as a virtual time punching tool;
  • Workers with flexible schedules can log their hours within the time tracker app using the Check-In / Check-Out to mark the beginning and end of a work session;
  • As a team leader, you can easily manage your team’s project inside Time Tracker’s project management tool and approve or reject timesheets.

5. Keep an eye on your team and follow up frequently

Setting goals is exciting, but that’s just the beginning. Your role as a team leader will include checking with your team frequently.

Maybe you have a bad apple in your team – a toxic employee that’s bringing everybody down and hurting the team’s accountability. Or perhaps one of your employees is falling behind because of personal issues at home. It’s your duty to be aware of all these things.

Follow-up is essential to a project’s success, and many employees are happy to have their manager follow up on their tasks. It gives them a chance to ask questions or show off their progress.

6. Give honest feedback

If you’re the kind of manager who hates confrontation, you won’t like giving honest feedback to your employees. Because, inevitably, some of your employees will need some tough love.

But if you get over your nerves, you’ll soon learn that providing frequent and candid feedback will make you a better manager. Show your employees where they can improve, but try to focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses.

Your team members will act more accountable if they feel like their boss genuinely cares about their success.

Accountability isn’t just about owning your mistakes. It’s about taking responsibility for your work, knowing your role in the company, and proactively striving to get better. The best way to inspire accountability within your team is to practice it yourself.

Is Your Team Slacking? Fix These 7 Time Wasters

Is Your Team Slacking? Fix These 7 Time Wasters

We all know that staying 100% focused at work is virtually impossible. You might have the most motivated employees, and they’ll still need to disconnect from time to time. 

But what happens if disconnection becomes the norm in your company? If your productivity levels are plunging, you might want to check what your employees are doing with their time.

Your team may be slacking for various reasons. You may be a tolerant boss or manager, and you’ve let their relaxed behavior get…well, too relaxed. Or maybe your workers are stressed out and constantly working – just working on the wrong things. 

Address these 7 most common time wasters in the workplace and see your team’s productivity improve dramatically:

Excessive Time Off

Breaks are a human need, but when they don’t get monitored in the workplace, some employees can easily take advantage of the company’s lack of break policies. 

While bathroom breaks are okay, watercooler breaks that spark group gossip are not. Neither are lunch breaks that extend way over the allotted time. But, you know, what doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get managed.

While hanging a “No congregating at the water cooler” sign may sound like a good idea, you could choose an easier route and simply start tracking breaks.

A tool like our Time Tracker is great for monitoring breaks and also has an option for automatic breaks for those companies that enforce 15-minute coffee/tea breaks every few hours.

Workplace Interruptions

Interruptions come in many shapes and sizes. Phone or computer notifications, chatty coworkers, eventful open space offices, impromptu meetings – all these are the enemy of continuous focus in the workplace. 

Losing your train of thought is annoying enough – imagine experiencing this in a professional setting, over and over again.

To fix this, you could offer your employees access to a quiet conference room or office for bursts of productivity. Much like the library, this will become the perfect place for employees who are easily overwhelmed by noise and office commotion.

Endless Email Clutter

Email is one of those things that we check the first thing we wake up. We’re expected to reply within a few hours, and, if our jobs depend on it, even faster. But email is a huge time-waster in the workplace and isn’t always the best means for communication.

Improve your email communication by setting clear rules and processes in place. Also, when possible, allow your employees to stay “unreachable” when they’re working on important tasks.

Annoying Meetings

A whopping 15% of a company’s time is spent on meetings. Frequent meetings are not only a waste of a company’s time and resources – they’re also annoying. Why? Because they conjure up the entire team instead of sticking to the essential people. 

Meetings take too long and are often late to start. Participants can be unprepared, unfocused, and even daydreamers (you know who you are). Don’t even get me started on back-to-back meetings – avoid them at all costs if you don’t want to permanently fry your brain.

Unclear Responsibilities

Another important time sucker in the workplace is confusion. Your employees might be well-intentioned and willing to work, but their enthusiasm will instantly fade if they don’t have a competent manager or leader.

Easy fix – learn to prioritize. Define the most important tasks at the beginning of each workday, and delegate like a pro. Each worker should be assigned a project and task to work on and a timeframe to do it.

You can easily do this in the Time Tracker for Salesforce app and manage your team seamlessly.

Online Distractions

Whether it’s cat videos, Insta stories, full-blown hobbies like video games, or using company time to book your vacation, the internet offers an endless world of online distractions.

These distractions, along with excessive phone use, are perhaps the most universal time wasters, both at home and in the office.

While you can’t really police your team into being productive, you can recognize these distractions for what they are – a form of procrastination. You can fix this by engaging your employees and leveraging their interests and skills, so that they feel useful instead of demotivated. 

Too Many Tools

Technology is supposed to make us more productive, but with all the apps we have to choose from, the opposite is actually true.

Should you hop on Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp, or Google meets for a conference call? What about checking your multiple inboxes, Trello boards, Slack messages, and Google Docs? I can already sense your levels of overwhelming rising. 

SaaS services may be evolving, but many departments have different tools for managing their projects, which makes inter-department communication confusing and difficult. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of having centralized tools for your business.

Productivity may sometimes seem elusive in the workplace, but that’s because you can’t be productive in a perpetually distracting environment. Embrace time tracking, delegate clear tasks, create focus “bubbles,” reduce meetings, and you’ll see more efficient, happier employees.