Accurate time entry is a major obstacle at many MSPs. In past decades, industries have radically evolved — but the issue of time management has remained. Clearly, the solution for consistent employee-motivated time entry isn’t at large.
That’s why Sierra Pacific Group (SPG) hosted a webinar unpacking how MSPs can conquer time entry once and for all — for long-term results.
In Part 1 of this recap, we cover:
- The issue with hiring an admin to handle timesheets
- Why people don’t fill out their timesheets
- Hiring for company values
Let’s dive in.
The timesheet gap
Adam Bielanski, CEO and Founder of SPG, and Ashley Wiedman, ConnectWise expert, have both helped to craft the direction of ConnectWise over the past years.
That’s why they’re so well acquainted with the timesheet issue.
US employers say they’re forced to correct errors on 80% of the sheets their team members submit, and team members say they’re making mistakes because they can’t remember their hours when they clock in or out.
That’s relatable – when you’re doing work, you’re focusing on the work itself, not time entry.
However, accountants report that 92% of their clients struggle with “time theft,” which adds 5% to their average gross payroll costs.
While “time theft” is a strong term, there’s truth to it – you’re paying people for the time it takes them to produce a certain result, and if they’re charging you for extra time, that’s akin to stealing.
Why don’t people just fill out their timesheets?
As a ConnectWise consultant, Ashley heard about this issue all the time.
Clients would constantly ask her how they were supposed to get people to enter time, which made Ashley wonder what motivated people to cut that corner in the first place.
This is what she discovered:
- People are too busy
- People aren’t busy enough
- People just don’t care about it
The issue is, when someone doesn’t capture their time correctly, it impacts multiple levels of the company they’re working for – but they don’t necessarily know that.
Why timesheet completion reflects company value
Leadership at many companies has exhausted every strategy they can think of to make people complete timesheets, from mandating entries be done by EOD to standing over people’s shoulders, ensuring they do the task.
The issue is, these militant measures ultimately exhausted leadership to the point where they gave up. It’s frustrating to expend distinct effort on a task that should be simple.
Ultimately, leadership in this situation must face their failure.
All that’s left to do is ask themselves what’s missing – in this situation, the missing variable was the team understanding and caring about the timesheets affecting the big picture.
Hire employees who enhance company culture.
When Ashley investigated teams with this struggle, she found that as employees rotated in and out of the team, bad timesheet behavior would just carry through to new generations of employees until bad behavior was normalized.
Most companies can’t just let employees go for failing to complete timesheets, but allowing the behavior to continue brought down the internal culture of the company.
CEOs, founders, and leaders need to ask themselves – what are our core values?
Culture is the basis of everything you do. If a problem is pervasive, maybe you’re not hiring for your values. It is often more successful down the line to hire employees who mesh with your system, even if they’re not the most technically skilled person who applied.
It may also be prudent to let employees go who aren’t a culture fit.
That feeds into the cycle of holding entire teams accountable – without accountability, people will not understand why they have to do their jobs a certain way.
Individual accountability is key
Ashley recommends an old ConnectWise adage to her clients – “all time all the time on time.”
Some people don’t vibe with it because time entry itself does take time, but the truth is the best software in the world loses some of its impact if only 90% of employee time is accounted for.
Adam notes that at SPG, their requirement is that 100% of client and employee time is accounted for – some of it may be underutilized, but that’s not the issue.
Why time entry must be a team effort.
Some companies ask us why they can’t just hire an admin person to do time entry.
Here’s the thing: it’s going to take time to enter time no matter what software you get, and no matter which person is doing it.
If the task is assigned to an admin, how are they going to know what an engineer’s doing? The translation that becomes necessary takes time, and then the engineer needs to put in the time it takes to inform the admin. There’s also the concern of info being lost in translation.
So, we just don’t recommend it, especially because it once again enables bad behavior.
The ultimate goal here is to create an organizational culture that you can get behind.
Read on in Part 2.