What’s your Employee Doing with your Time: How to Prevent Time Theft
As an employer, you expect your paid employees to work for their money. However, some workers take long personal time, some just make a habit of coming late to work while others spend a considerable amount of time on the internet. These are all typical forms of time theft: when employees do other things apart from their assigned tasks within working hours. As simple as it sounds, it is difficult to know if employees are engaged in the theft of time and it can have an adverse effect on the productivity of a business.
- Set Rules
There are many ways to prevent time theft but the first step is to have some rules against it. One of the ways of involving in a time theft is by having someone else clock in or clock out on your behalf. This is known as buddy punching. It usually happens when a business is using a time sheet/card to clock in or out. To some employees, they are not committing any crime doing it and they consider it normal but it is time card fraud. If the company policy explicitly states the rules against time theft in their handbook with the punishment then the employees would do away with it.
- Regularly Train your Employees on Time Management
Training of employees on time management is essential. It is perfectly normal for employees to have a friend or two in a company who they can talk to. In fact, a positive professional relationship at work is healthy for any business to grow. Nevertheless, employees who take too much personal time having a chit-chat with a friend is stealing the company’s time. There should be a regular training of employees on effective time management.
- Automate Time and Attendance
It is easier to know when an employee is stealing a company’s time through time and attendance software. A small business with employees using biometric devices such as fingerprint and retinal scan to clock in is more likely to have accurate time record than the one using manual time sheet. This is because the biometric devices are automated which prevents time card fraud and makes it easy to import data directly into the payroll using online accounting software.
- Follow Through on your Punishment and Reward
The company must follow through on employee’s discipline when they disregard time theft policy. It is important to set the rules but it would amount to nothing if the rules are not enforced. The punishment must be a warning, suspension, and termination in that order for perpetual time thieves. Reward employees who finish their tasks promptly and abide by the rules. You must also set a good example as the boss. If your employees see you using the internet for personal purposes during work hours or regularly come late to work, they would be inclined to do the same.
- Give Breaks and Lead by Example.
Employees need a break occasionally to function effectively. Even machines need servicing and they are only humans. Allow your employees to have lunch breaks, pay for overtime works and make flexible work arrangement. Cut the amount of time spent in meetings, do not waste your employees’ time. More importantly, always ensure you keep your employees busy by assigning tasks to them and do not overburden them with tasks that are impossible to perform within given time.
Time theft is a serious crime, which says a lot about your management capacity and the general growth of your business. There are software to monitor what employees are doing like the web-based time sheet and internet security that prevent employees from slacking off and stealing your business’ time.