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Getting People to Track their Time

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5 posts
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Kelsey
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Hey Everyone -

Our agency launched Workamajig a little under a year ago. Time tracking was an issue almost immediately, which was understandable when learning a new system. However, the time tracking has not gotten much better since then and it is hurting our financial and resourcing reports. We have thought about implementing an incentive program to encourage people to put a larger percentage of their time in, but I would like to know what others have done to increase people's time tracking before moving forward with a potential solution. I am also aware that Workamajig may not be "set up for success" as well, so if anyone has suggestions on set ups that helped their team put in their time more efficiently that would be greatly appreciated as well. Thanks!

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Vince
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Hello Debbie. I have an answer on your time sheet question and also have some thoughts on your Jig issues. Hope to hear from you. Sincerely, Vince Dong. 416 362 3664 and vdong@vincentdong.com.

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Diane A
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Hi Kelsey,

I'm new to my agency (Director of Ops) and just learning WMJ.  I checked in with a couple of our super users after reading your post a couple weeks ago.  This is what they had to say....

We use Workamajig and recently went to a daily requirement of all employees to complete timecards. Previously, all timecards were submitted and approved on Mondays for all of the previous week's time. This included billable and non-billable time. We find it very useful in tracking our project's health. We have a mix of fixed fee projects and track & bill projects, and there is an importance for accurate and timely timesheets in both cases. If you are going from not tracking time to tracking time it can be a hard habit for people to get into. For us, we do not incentivize. We have been diligent in educating our team of the importance of them. We have buy in from our leadership team which is the first and most important step. For fixed fee projects we have real-time and accurate snapshots of being over/under on what we bill. Very valuable when quoting out future projects as well. For track & bill, missing time means we did not charge enough. In both fixed fee or track & bill scenarios, you are leaving money on the table for your company. Once employees realize that is why we are tracking time, and its not just a way to monitor them, the push back is not as strong. It also helps our company determine when we may need to add a position in an area that is becoming heavy with hours. We have in a few extreme cases held individuals accountable for not meeting our requirements.

The only addition I would have is if they are just having trouble using the system (I assume they are using the new one and not the old one). Maybe the staff just has trouble entering time because they are unfamiliar with WMJ and some extra help in how to properly use the timesheets could help? Not sure how they setup project/tasks to track time against, but if this HR person (who I assume posted this) has a preferred way time get entered to put together a powerpoint or have WMJ do a group training so its easy for them to learn.

I hope you find this info useful!

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Bill Sterzenbach
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I've struggled with this over the years and while I do not have a direct answer to your question I do have one observation. People who tend to enter their time will do it as required in any system you give them. They may take longer doing it, but they will use the system.

People who typically struggle to get their time entered will struggle no matter what system you provide.

It's never the system. The system can make it harder, easier, faster, slower - but look to the system last when it comes to compliance.

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Ashley Stryker
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Our agency uses an online timesheet of some sort, and we're required to fill out our time in 15 min increments dedicated to any task we do throughout the workweek. Everyone understands why this needs to happen, though most of us are salary and aren't hourly employees -- we have federal contracts that require exacting time records. We're left to determine for ourselves how best to do this, and so the feeling that we're being "supervised" or "watched" hasn't been a thing that's come up at all. (If that's a concern/possible roadblock for you culturally?)

Personally, I tried to use the timesheet's timer/stopwatch function to track, but it was cumbersome -- and hard to remember to turn on/off as I went from assignment to assignment. Now, I use a notebook to track how much of my time I spend on a given assignment as I go throughout the day, then plug it in at the end of the week when we type up our internal status reports. That works best for me, and I've not received any complaints on the thoroughness of my entries. It also provides a second record of what I did when, in case anyone wants some sort of verification (which they haven't yet). This is my first time needing to account for my time in such an exacting way, though, so maybe there's a better idea that I haven't figured out yet.

If I were you, I'd figure out the objection -- Do they not understand the importance of time tracking? Do they feel it's an actual waste of time or that they're constantly on it? Does WMJ not work the way they need it to? Do they feel like they're being treated like children to track like this? Can they only track project time and not admin/office work (which would include lunches/bathroom breaks/etc) -- and then pick a solution that works. Ultimately, it may become a review problem, if their inability to record their hours leads to difficulties for the business getting paid by clients. Or, you may want to ditch time tracking altogether in favor of a project-based contract model, re-educating your clients to think in terms of results achieved rather than hours sweated? (I've never run an agency, so I don't know if that would even be an option.)

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