Time theft comes in a variety of different forms, whether it’s a disgruntled employee intentionally miscalculating their time, or someone simply exaggerating their hours worked. Some employers might consider a lack of production while an employee’s on the clock a form of time theft as well.
Regardless of what form it takes though, time theft can impact your company’s bottom line, and naturally, you’ll want to take steps to implement a system that will help to prevent it from happening.
If you’re looking to tackle the issue of time theft and wasted time in your company, here’s a look at a few things that you’ll want to do.
What Is Time Theft?
Time theft is when your employees are paid for more hours than they worked. Even a few minutes a day can add up over the course of a year. Consider an employee who leaves work 10 minutes early every day, for a year. Assuming that the employee works Monday-Friday, and discounting a two-week vacation, that’s 41.6 hours per year that an employee is getting paid for! For an employee that’s on minimum wage, or an extra $301 per year; per employee. To put it another way, an employee who steals or wastes 15 minutes each day can easily cost you a week’s pay every year.
So how do you prevent this from becoming an issue? Here’s a look at some steps that you can take to help reduce the chances of it happening in your company.
- Establish Clear Expectations
Begin by establishing clear expectations from the start. Make sure your employees understand your company’s stance on time theft, and ensure that they are clear on the consequences of stealing time. One idea is to implement a four-step process for dealing with time theft; a verbal warning, a written warning, a disciplinary meeting, and finally termination. You should also ensure that you give your employees a little bit of leeway when it comes to working and taking breaks. Some personal time for phone calls or texting is important. In fact, 90 percent of bosses encourage regular breaks and 86 percent of workers agree that they make them more productive.
- Have Management Set an Example
If you tell your team not to take personal phone calls while they’re on the clock, then you should make sure management leads by example. If your team sees their team leader or manger taking extra-long breaks or rounding their time up, they’ll feel that it’s ok for them to do so as well. Make sure your managers are leading by example; it will help to keep your entire team on board.
- Update Your GPS time clock software
If you haven’t done so already, updating your time clock software is a good way to help prevent time theft. A robust time tracking system is one that will require verification either by webcam, fingerprint, or a smartphone, helping to eliminate some of the most common forms of time theft, such as logging in for a coworker. Some software can even help to prevent employees from forgetting to clock in or out, since it will send text reminders prompting them to sign in or reminding them to clock out.
- Provide Clear Objectives
Setting clear objectives for your team is one of the best ways to help prevent wasted time. When an employee is clear on what’s required of them for the day, they’ll be less likely to waste time, and more likely to stay focused and on-task. Consider having management establish clear objectives every morning or at the start of the week, for the team.
- Consider Offering Flexible Hours
Another way to help prevent time theft is by giving your team more control over their hours. For example, if it’s not shift work, you may want to consider implementing flexible work hours, allowing your team to choose when they work. You could also consider allowing your team to work from home one or two days a week. If on-time attendance is required, having a time tracking system that allows them to view upcoming shifts and the ability to easily swap with coworkers is another way to help improve your scheduling. Making life a bit easier for your team will encourage them to stick with the program! With good time tracking software, these new systems won’t be difficult to implement.
If your company is struggling with the issue of time theft, consider implementing a new time tracking system; then, work from there establishing clear expectations and outlining clear objectives for your team every day, or each week. Finally, consider offering flexibility, and ensuring that management sets a good example. This will help to reduce; and in some cases, even prevent time theft from happening altogether; improving your team’s productivity and your company’s bottom line.