manage employees

How employee time tracking helps your business grow

As a small business owner, you know exactly how much money your business made (or didn’t make) each day because you track your finances closely. Some might say obsessively. We get it! Small businesses operate on tight margins, and every penny counts. But if you’re not tracking time with that same intensity, you’re not getting the full financial picture. After all, time is money—are you making every second count? 

Time tracking has come a long way from paper punch cards and messy spreadsheets. Modern time tracking solutions make it effortless for you and your employees to keep track of where time is spent. That time tracking data helps you make smarter decisions for your team and your business—increasing productivity, balancing work with life, and boosting profitability. That’s right, time tracking can actually help your business grow.

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How time tracking benefits business owners

Tracking employee time is beneficial for your business for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it ensures you’re not overpaying or underpaying your team based on loose estimations. Employees get paid for every second worked, keeping your payroll on point. 

Accurate payroll doesn’t just save you money, it could save you from a FLSA lawsuit. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulates everything from employee pay to hours worked to payroll recordkeeping. Accurate employee time tracking keeps your business compliant and helps you avoid wage and hour missteps. The FLSA requires employers to track time for all nonexempt (or non-salaried) workers, and they expect you to keep those time tracking records on hand for at least two years. 

Beyond that, tracking employee time helps you better assess your team needs. Are certain teams working longer than others? Are employees consistently hitting overtime by the end of the week? Is the workload spread evenly across employees? Time tracking data holds the answers. 

Finally, modern time tracking apps help you keep your employees safe and accounted for no matter where they work. Business owners with workers across multiple locations or managers of remote teams can benefit from employee time tracking that allows them to easily see who’s on the clock and what they’re working on. 

How time tracking benefits employees

Business owners aren’t the only ones to benefit from time tracking. For employees, time tracking ensures they’re paid for every second worked, earning overtime when applicable, and accruing the correct amount of paid time off or sick leave. 

Time tracking gives employees more control over their work and their schedule. It allows them to hold their employers or managers accountable for unrealistic work expectations, including unreasonable schedules and workloads. Plus, they’re less likely to underestimate the amount of time spent on a job or project when the proof is in the pudding, helping them balance work with life and avoid burnout. 

Finally, employees who track time are better able to manage how they spend it. When they can see exactly where their time is going, they can be more intentional about the work they do. But there’s one more slightly unexpected benefit of tracking time, both for employers and employees: It can help your business grow. 

4 ways time tracking grows your business

Remember, time is money. Tracking employee time has a positive impact on more than just your payroll reports. Time tracking data can help you make smarter business decisions like staffing, prioritization, and pricing. Here’s how:

1. Improve productivity

Accurate time data gives you valuable insights into employee performance, workloads, processes, and project prioritization. Over time, you can use your time tracking data to identify and prioritize high ROI projects, optimize employee work schedules, and pinpoint inefficiencies in your processes or productivity gaps—helping your business run more smoothly and increasing employee productivity across the board. Plus, employee time data can help you determine where employees might benefit from additional training, so you can better allocate your employee development time and resources. 

2. Increase employee retention 

That improved productivity benefits your business in more ways than one. Productive employees are engaged employees, and engaged employees are more likely to work for your business longer. Improved employee retention can save your business the time and money required to scout, hire, and train new employees. You’ll retain all the enterprise knowledge your current employees already have, resulting in better customer experiences and a well-oiled business. 

3. Make data-backed decisions

Is it time to hire a new employee? Should you raise your rates or prices? Without time tracking data, these questions might be difficult to answer objectively. But with time data at your fingertips, you can easily see if workloads have increased (time to hire a new team member!) or if certain projects are taking too long to complete (time to look for inefficiencies or raise project rates to accommodate for the added time). 

4. Get paid more

People are more likely to underestimate the amount of time spent on a project than overestimate—this is called the planning fallacy. And if you run a small business, the planning fallacy could be costing you money. Accurate time tracking helps your business get paid exactly what it’s owed by taking the planning fallacy out of the equation. Improve your quotes and estimates and get paid more through more accurate billing and invoicing. 

3 ways to get employees excited about time tracking

By now you’re obviously excited about improving productivity, increasing profits, and growing your business with employee time tracking. Your employees will be excited, too, once they realize tracking time is as simple as pressing a button, can help them get paid more, and gives them more control over their workload and professional development. You can get them there in three simple steps:

1. Make tracking time easy

No one wants to carry around a punch card or deal with a spreadsheet to track their time—these systems aren’t very accurate, anyway. Minimize friction by using a modern time tracking solution like QuickBooks Time, allowing employees to quickly and easily clock in and out from a phone or desktop app. 

2. Train employees to track time

Set your employees up for success by training them how to track time from the get-go. Training employees to track time not only helps avoid timesheet errors and incorrect tracking, but gives employees the confidence to take time tracking into their own hands. The more they understand the process, the more likely they are to buy-in. 

3. Emphasize the benefits

Micromanagers of yore may have tainted the idea of time tracking for your team. When broaching the idea of time tracking, start with the benefits. Time tracking will help you evenly distribute the workload, identify when it’s time to hire additional help, and build accurate invoices. On employees’ end, tracking time ensures they get paid correctly, including overtime and paid time off. Show them that it’s less about monitoring their time and more about improving processes, getting accurate data, and better serving your customers. 

Time data fuels business growth

Pricing strategies, customer acquisition, financial forecasting, and more all contribute to business growth, but don’t forget to include employee time tracking that equation. Time data is just one of the many resources you can include in your arsenal of tools to help your business grow. 

Through improved productivity, prioritization, and billing and invoicing, employee time tracking might be just the thing you need to make informed decisions for your team and your growing business—decisions that could catapult you to the next level. 

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