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 2 of this recap, we cover:
- How to survey employees about time entry
- Why a timesheet exercise can transform company psyche
- How enforcing time entry for all teams cements positive culture
Let’s dive in.
How to approach the time entry issue for success
Leadership may be tempted to ask employees in person why they’re not filling out timesheets promptly – but they shouldn’t do that.
Instead, allow employees to anonymously submit answers.
A survey can be a safe space for them (try SurveyMoney, for example). Ask questions like:
- How do you like to be incentivized? You don’t actually know the answer to this because each person values unique opportunities.
- Why is time entry even necessary? Providing an open forum allows you to see each thought process and understand your employees better.
- Where can you enter time? Seeing if employees actually have the knowledge they need for success is valuable.
- What would you like to see improved? Again, opening the floor for people to say their part connects them to the time and gives you unexpected knowledge.
The timesheet exercise
Now that you know where employees stand, you can run a pretty fun and effective exercise.
- Break employees into groups – this will only take about 10 minutes.
- We’ll provide you with a timesheet ticket template.
- Have your people fill it out together.
Forcing people to see what the process looks like makes a massive impact on getting people into the habit of doing it themselves. That’s because as the ticket progresses down the line, they’ll see where snags occur.
A ticket may get sent back to the beginning because of a simple mistake, or even just a coffee stain rendering it illegible.
Knowing that the process is genuinely complicated for everyone involved helps people realize the impact of a badly-completed timesheet.
What to do if people say they’re too busy for timesheets
Leadership understands that their employees are busy. It would be ideal if there was a magic wand to eliminate time entry problems, but that will never be the case.
That’s why we’ve recommended surveys – you find out if employees are truly overloaded with work, but you also find out that most people consider themselves too busy for timesheets.
So, the point of this exercise is to manage that reality. To do so, you need to set expectations about workplace realities.
The truth is, you literally cannot move on to your next job without first documenting what you did for your existing client.
Without documentation efforts, you’ll lose important client info. Then, clients become frustrated, and eventually someone will pay for that failure.
Running timesheets for field engineers
Ashley recommends having field engineers try the ConnectWise mobile app.
There are new versions out now, and it’s compatible with laptops and tablets.
Make filling it out by EOD a requirement – especially in the field, it’s hard to remember the intricacies of what you’ve done days prior. There’s even integration between ConnectWise PSA, Teams, Slack, and Thread to make the job easier.
Truly, it’s back to the values issue – every single person has to do their part in supporting processes and systems.
You’re not a great field tech until you start entering time properly.
Hold a company meeting to set best practices in stone
Once you’ve done the survey and the exercise, it’s time to talk it out.
Cluing everyone at the company into the conversation, even if it’s not simultaneous, is imperative. This is the part where you get to include everyone in the brand vision, roll out new metrics and KPIs, and talk about what you’re trying to achieve.
At SPG, Adam has always appreciated the transparency of all-teams like that.
If you are a billable employee at a company that does not educate its people on the larger trajectory, culture stagnates.
Read on in Part 3.