The missing timesheet nightmare: 5 strategies to fix the problem

When we meet prospective clients, we often hear about their difficulties in getting everyone to fill out their timesheets in time. Missing timesheets create problems for administration: information is missing at billing time, project performance reports are incomplete, and payroll requires assumptions to be made, which are difficult to correct later on.

The fact is, very few people enjoy logging their time. It’s often perceived as a clerical activity that is not productive to the employee, and provides a sense of “being controlled from above.” Not every part of one’s job can be fun, and we have to live with that.

However, as managers, we can use strategies to motivate our employees to hand in their timesheets. Here are five of them:

  1. The hard line: No timesheet, no pay.
    Pros: It’s highly effective. If someone misses a paycheck once because they forgot to submit their timesheet, it will certainly be their last.
    Cons: Repressive strategies tend to breed discontent in teams.
  2. The positive reinforcement: Get a perk every week the timesheet is filled on time.
    Pros: Getting the perk is a positive motivator and people will enjoy it.
    Cons: No perk comes for free: you have to allow the additional cost in your budget.
  3. The nagger: Automatically (or manually) tell your employees when they have not filled out their timesheet.
    Pros: This method works well with the forgetful employees.
    Cons: Most employees will become accustomed to the reminder over time, and the method may lose effectiveness in the long term.
  4. The gamification: The first employee submitting a timesheet gets a prize.
    Pros: Gamification of the workplace is all the rage these days. It’s especially effective with younger employees.
    Cons: As the article suggests, making a game out of timesheets does not make up for bad management. Plus, the game needs to be kept interesting, so it requires frequent updates and changes.
  5. The social reinforcement: Teams who submit timesheets on time get recognition, team who don’t lose a perk.
    Pros: This strategy promotes working as a team and may improve team cohesion.
    Cons: A non-compliant team member might be ostracized and experience adverse effects from his or her colleagues, creating more conflict in the workplace.

Whatever the strategy, you have to choose one that fits your team and the way they work.Good+boss

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