1st May 2018

How to get employees to submit timesheets on time

If you’re in an environment where employees work different hours each pay period, perhaps at different rates, then timesheets will undoubtedly be a pain with which your payroll team is very familiar.

Getting employees and managers to submit approved information in a timely fashion is enough to make you want to tear your hair out and that’s before you’ve even started reconciling all that data and keying it into your payroll system! Civica HR & Payroll has four great tips to help you.

1) Make it easy for them

Can you get employees to submit timesheets on time? The trouble with timesheets, be they paper ones, e-timesheets or spreadsheets, is that they require a person to enter the data into them. And this takes time; time which that person would rather be spending doing something else. So they put it off. And if they put it off, not only will the timesheet be late but also inaccurate: it will be based on what they “remember” doing, not what they actually did.

Therefore, your first step in winning the battle is to use a format that is quick and easy for the employee so that they are not discouraged from doing it. What is even better is if you can capture the information without them having to do anything much extra at all.

2) Consider how and where they work

Does everyone in your business do the same job? Probably not. Therefore, a method of recording working times that would be quick and easy for one group of employees might not be so for another, so accept that a “one size fits all” solution is probably not going to cut it.

3) Invest in the right technology

So far we’ve identified that you need to look for a solution that allows you to capture data in different ways for different employees. By far the simplest way of doing this is to use a time and attendance system. This is a piece of software that is used in conjunction with hardware (such as specialist clocking terminals, smart phones and PCs) to plan, record and measure employee working times.

Some clocking devices simply record the data: an upload/download procedure is then required – onto a flash drive for example. These have the advantage of being relatively inexpensive but have quite limited functionality.

More advanced time and attendance management systems will allow you to view the information in “real-time” and include features for managing absence, lateness and overtime, so can provide additional benefits.

In either scenario the data is typically available in a format suitable for importing into your payroll software, so that people can be paid for the hours that they have worked.

4) And again...make it easy for them

For example:

For office workers and call centre operatives look for a solution that records the time they log onto (and off) their PC.

For people who work at a permanent or semi-permanent business location or locations, but are not desk-based, look for a solution that records the time they enter and leave the premises.

For mobile workers look for a solution that uses a mobile phone or smart phone app.

The good news is, that for many businesses, investment in this type of technology is really easy to justify.