Remember punching a timecard when you got to work? If so, you probably also remember forgetting to do it or even the horror of losing that precious card altogether. Incredibly, some of us still have those antiquated systems in our workplace. Recent studies say that a whopping 38% of US employers still use them, but paper timesheets are outdated for a reason. They’re often submitted late. Time padding and buddy punching habits abound. Miscalculations at payroll time are common when relying on this practice. In fact, the IRS reports that U.S. companies pay billions in penalties each year due to payroll mistakes. Therefore, in order to save costs associated with payroll it’s time to enter the wonderful world of cloud-based/online time tracking software.
If you’re using paper timesheets or punch cards, it’s not difficult to make the switch to online time tracking. It’s also a lot less expensive than you might think. In fact, it could save you money by virtually eliminating the types of issues we mentioned above. We’ll show you how easy it is to find a solution for your needs and how to successfully introduce the changes to your team. Now come inside and take a seat in that comfy chair over there. We’ll walk you through it.
Why Switch to Online Time Tracking?
If you haven’t ushered your time tracking system into the 21st century, payroll and billing can be a time-consuming hassle. However, when you track time using a cloud-based/online system, employee data is available in real-time, which simplifies and expedites reporting. Online time tracking methods enable employers to easily view hours worked, time off requests and balances, observe employee progress, and more. Having this information readily available reduces errors by keeping you on top of things. You will be able to focus less on payroll and more of your energy on other aspects of your business.
Here are the 7 steps to implementing time tracking software at your organization:
Changing longstanding company processes can be daunting, so if you want to implement a new time tracking solution, these steps will help guide you towards success.
1. Inform the Boss
Sometimes managers and business owners aren’t aware that current time tracking methods aren’t working well. Many salaried employees don’t track their time on a daily basis, so they aren’t familiar with the time tracking process or its challenges. Also, unless the owner is tracking their time like all the other employees, it’s likely they’re unaware that the system is difficult to use, faulty, and unreliable.
In order to get the “go-ahead” to find another time tracking solution, you must bring these issues to their attention. You may also want to review finances (if you have permission to do so) so that they can see the true damage the current time tracking method is causing. This should incentivize them to find new solutions to save costs.
2. Create a List of Your Needs
Once you have approval, you can start thinking about the company’s time tracking requirements. Here are some things to consider:
- Do you need to track hours?
- Are employees going to track projects and tasks?
- Will employees need to track time off?
- Do you need accrual tracking?
- Will you need overtime tracking?
- How do you want to track employee location (GPS, IP address)?
- Do you need to track expenses?
Create a list of your requirements so you can search for a system designed for your needs instead of accidentally ending up with a time tracking system that is overly complex.
You also need to ensure that you understand your state’s employment laws. You will need to find a time tracking system that is compliant with your state’s overtime, privacy, and other payroll laws. Consult with a human resources expert or with your state’s local labor board.
3. Get a Demonstration (Or a Few)
There’s a plethora of time tracking software out there, and many of them provide free demonstrations. Before dedicating your company to an online solution, it’s wise to get a demonstration first. This way an expert can walk you through the software and you can figure out whether it will suit all of your time tracking needs.
Armed with the list you created in step #2, you will be able to identify the best solution for your specific company needs.
4. Take it for a Test Drive
Most solutions offer a free trial so you can practice using the software. Timesheets.com, for example, offers a 15-day free trial for prospective users that provides 100% full access to the account. When starting testing it out, it’s recommended that you find a few “star players” on your team to try the software as well. This will give some employees a chance to use the software on their own so they can also give valuable feedback about its ease of use.
When testing, you should use the software in a realistic fashion. Enter in paid time off accruals, clock in and out, and set up overtime. At the end of your trial (or pay period) create a report to see what the payroll or billing process is like. Comparing that to your current system will make you wonder why you haven’t made the switch sooner.
5. Sign Up!
Once you find a time tracking solution that works for your needs, sign up! Be aware that all payment systems work differently. Some time tracking software systems have base fees, while others do not. Some systems also have contracts, so please watch out for that if you’re not looking for a long-term commitment just yet.
*Before you sign up, it’s wise to double-check with your human resources expert or state labor board to ensure that your prospective new time tracking system is compliant.
6. Inform Your Staff
People aren’t always excited about change. On the other hand, if this time tracking system is an obvious improvement over the one you have, employees may be ecstatic to use this new software. Here are some tools to help you have this conversation with your team:
- Be frank about the issues the company has faced with time tracking in the past.
- Describe the benefits this will have on the company and employees.
- Tell the team why you’ve decided to use this particular system.
- Address any concerns they may have about breach of privacy.
7. Train Employees on the New System
If you didn’t already added all employees to your account during the trial period, you should add them immediately so everyone can familiarize themselves with the system. Once they are in the account, they should have access to track their time, expenses, PTO, etc. Hopefully, your time tracking solution offers training for employees so they can learn how the system works. Timesheets.com offers free employee training so that you never have to worry about becoming an expert. Once employees are trained, they can track their time with ease.
It usually takes a few days/weeks for employees to get used to a new time tracking system. Once they’re tracking confidently, reporting for payroll and billing will be a breeze.
Do you need to track time and expenses for payroll and billing? Try Timesheets.com for free today!