How to get your team and employees to track time accurately

Every manager encounters friction when introducing time tracking to its team or employees. “More admin work?”, “Are we being monitored now?”, “Do you want to know when I go to the bathroom?”, and many others are the complaints we’ve heard when helping teams implement time tracking.

The thing is, that we don’t see them as complaints. Those are all legit questions that should be answered and if the honest, undiplomatic answer to that is “Yes” then we believe you’re asking to be lied to. Your team will track what you want to see not what happens in reality because they don’t feel they can trust you. And without real data, it’s impossible to make a good decision.

Time tracking has got a bad notion just because of that, but if done well it can help your team increase stability, reduce meetings, and operate more profitably.

So the question is, what is the right or wrong way to get your team to track time accurately?

The wrong way: When and how to not do time tracking

We could write a whole essay about when and how not to do it. But as we want to focus on how to do it right, here is just a short bullet list.

Don’t do time tracking if:

  • You’re curious to find out what your employees are doing all the time
  • You believe some employees are not working as many hours as they should
  • You don’t have a clear idea of what you’re going to do with the data
  • You plan to just force everyone to do it without much explanation
  • You plan to use an automatic employee monitoring solution aka. an employee spyware

Most of these things are a clear signal of lack of trust and if you don’t show trust, you’ll get none back. Without trust productivity, loyalty, creativity, and collaboration will suffer. It’s clear that the whole company would suffer, but your employees the most.

Imagine for a second if you’d be getting monitored 100% of your time and would have to share that with your manager. Would you feel valued, trusted, and safe? Definitely not.

The right way: Approach it with a win-win perspective

As said initially, time tracking can help to make collaboration more simple, can reduce meetings, and can help the company to operate more profitably. All things that employees care about as well.

That’s how you should start the initiative – by making crystal clear for yourself and everybody else why you’re going to track time and what exactly. Sell the desired outcome, not the work.

For example, you could say: “Our profits are getting lower and lower, hence we’re at risk of going out of business. And to be honest, we don’t have a clear picture which of our services are profitable or not. Which makes it impossible to take any informed action. For the next couple of months, we ask you all to track your work hours so we can see which clients and projects we should stop doing, which ones to do more of, and which ones to optimize.”

Or another example could be: “We all feel we’re spending too much time in meetings. For the next couple of weeks let’s track every planned and unplanned meeting, their real length, and their usefulness. So we have the insights to take the right actions.”

Only by approaching it with a win-win mindset, you’ll have the buy-in necessary to get actual and honest data. Which is key to taking the right actions.

Additionally, it’s crucial to make clear that it’s not about monitoring them. Back that claim up with a solution like Timeular that doesn’t allow managers to see what everyone is working on in real time and lets the user decide what to track or not.

Make it as low effort as possible

After you’ve got everyone onboard make it as low effort as possible. Timeular is a great solution to do so, because it combines the most simple methods to track into one: You either just hit one shortcut on your computer, flip our 8-sided dice, or drag & drop time entries on a calendar interface. If you don’t believe it’s simple then look at our reviews.

Depending on the outcome you’re trying to achieve you can read more about how to approach things the right way in our other guides:

Good luck and if you need help or have suggestions, please get in touch at [email protected]!