Some best practices for incentivizing employees to fill out timesheets include providing employees with a luxurious treat or benefit; giving them opportunities to get gift cards, vouchers, and coupons; explaining why filling out timesheets is necessary by showing them what's in it for them; and limiting, delaying, or restricting access to certain perks. Below are the details of each of these practices.
1. LUXURIOUS WORK BENEFIT
- Provide the employees with a luxurious added work benefit, only after they have filled out their timesheet.
- The luxurious treatment could be anywhere from food to social media usage to a relaxation service like a spa visit.
- Cole + McVoy, an agency located in Minneapolis, has a system in place where an employee gets to have beer from a custom-built multi-keg only after an employee tap their employee card on the beer deployment machine, which contains an RFID chip and is connected to the company's timekeeping system. The sentiment about timesheets in the agency has improved 90% since the beer machine was deployed.
- The employees of The Martin Agency in Richmond, Virginia, are treated to catered breakfasts, afternoon barbecues, a hot chocolate bar, and candy bowls in the elevators once they've filled out their timesheets. The idea is simple: the name of an employee is added on a list once he/she has already filled out his/her timesheet.
2. GIFT CARDS/VOUCHERS/COUPONS
- Provide employees with opportunities to get gift cards/vouchers/coupons once they filled out their timesheet.
- UMarketing, a New York-based online agency, enters their most reliable timesheet users into a $25 Amazon voucher draw.
3. WHAT'S IN IT FOR THEM
- Make the timesheets relatable for the employees and connect their work directly to it.
- The more the employees understand why timesheets are necessary for them, the more likely they are to complete it.
- Privacy issues and the idea that timesheets are used as a tool to make them accountable for their working hours make some employees less interested in filling out timesheets.
- Make employees understand why filling out timesheets is necessary by showing what's in it for them. For example, a company could argue that completed timesheets will lead to larger profits; and consequently, a larger individual profit-related bonus because it can eliminate systemic under-billing problems.
- According to Affinity Live, a professional services automation company, due to poor time-tracking habits and lack of technological advancement, 51% of their respondents rarely or never track their time spent on answering emails and reading. The solution is moving weekly timesheet updates to daily. With the daily timesheet update, companies could recover $52,000 per professional annually in billable time.
- Rodger Dean Duncan, a strategic change management specialist, also advocates the "What's in it for Me?" approach in his Fast Company article.
4. CUTTING OFF BENEFITS/INDIRECT BRIBING
- Limiting, delaying, or restricting access to certain perks can also act as an incentive to complete timesheets.
- Iris Worldwide used a program that limits the employee from using social media (Facebook and Instagram) and Google at work unless they have their timesheets filled out timely.
- Advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy PDX used a similar strategy by restricting certain perks, like elevators, coffee machines, employee gym, and kegs, if 85% or more employees haven't completed their timesheets.
- As HR professional Suzanne Lucas suggests, linking timesheets to payments by delaying the pay if the timesheet is not completed on time can also work as a motivator for filling the timesheets in a timely manner.