What is time theft? It is when an employee willfully wastes the time for which they are getting paid to work – in other words, accepting pay for work they are not actually doing. There are various forms and degrees of workplace time theft, and sometimes employees may not even be aware that they are committing such an act. Time theft in a workplace is also a clear sign that a business is lacking in employee productivity and accountability – but these issues can be fixed and prevented in the future. Keep reading to find out how you can avoid and prevent time theft within your business, boost employee accountability and morale.
Step #1: Adopt a Biometric Time and Attendance System
Biometric time and attendance systems use a combination of biometric clock-in devices (fingerprint scanners, etc) and time and attendance software. Adopting a system like this will help prevent issues of time theft in your business in more ways than one. Since these systems rely on biometric devices to clock your employees’ hours and track their attendance, there is no longer a need for time cards or punch clocks. This will eliminate forms of time theft such as “buddy punching”, when one employee clocks-in for another employee who is absent, as well as time card fraud – employees lying about the amount of time they worked by adjusting the hours on their time cards or punch clocks. Time and attendance systems also leave little to no room for error since all information is loaded, tracked, and updated automatically eliminating any need for manual hour logging.
Step #2: Keep Open Lines of Communication with Employees
A great way to prevent time theft and low productivity in the workplace is to keep open lines of communication between management and employees. Be clear and open about your expectations and company policies. Often, time theft occurs because employees are not aware of the rules concerning internet use, personal calls, etc. So they often overuse these things while at work.
Employees do not always have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and don’t always know how to prioritize their duties. By keeping these lines of communication you not only let your employees feel like a more integral part of the team, but you also let them know that they can always communicate any issues or troubles they are having rather than avoiding it and becoming unproductive.
Step #3: Start Using Internet Monitoring Software
If you have noticed that you are losing a profit at work due to time theft, or that your employees are becoming drastically unproductive due to things like excessive internet use for non-work related purposes, then it may be wise to start using an internet monitoring software. Various types of monitoring software allow you to track how much time your employees are spending online, as well as what kind of websites are being accessed. It also allows you to block certain types of sites – however doing this right away could give off the wrong message to your employees that there is a lack of trust, as well as create a cold, unhappy working climate. Use this software to monitor how often the Internet is being used and what for, and if you notice excessive non-work related browsing, simply call it at your next staff meeting and clearly state the policies and expectations about internet usage.
Step #4: Hold Staff Meetings Regularly
Holding staff meetings on a more consistent basis will help prevent time theft in the office because you will be keeping your employees up-to-date and on the same page about what is expected of them in the workplace. Your employees will always be aware of what the current goals and objectives of the company are, and will have a better understanding of any issues prominent at work. Staff meetings are also a great way to discuss the issue of time theft without pointing fingers or singling out anyone. Talking about the issue in general may help employees to understand their actions better and prevent them from committing acts of time theft in the future, as they will be more aware of their actions. If employees don’t know what time theft is or have no concept of it, they will be unaware of when they are committing it.
Step #5: Foster Accountability at Work
A big issue that ties into the cause of time theft in the workplace is a lack of employee accountability, meaning employees are not taking responsibility for their work, or lack there of. However, accountability is not something that you can just demand of your employees either. Accountability is something that the employee has to want to acquire on their own, and not just because they were told to. While you can’t just demand this from your employees, you can help to create a work environment that naturally fosters employee accountability. One way is, as mentioned earlier, to be openly communicating with your staff on a regular basis. Things like helping your employees set measurable goals for themselves, helping them prioritize their goals and work, instilling team incentive programs and actively monitoring employee progress are all ways that you can create an environment at work that fosters accountability. The biggest thing you can do as a manager to create this kind of environment, however, is to show your employees that you have a sense of accountability for yourself as well. Increased accountability in your employees is a guaranteed way to prevent time theft in your business.
About the Author
Adelaide Irene has turned to blogging to stay in the business game after leaving her HR career to become a stay at home mom. It is very important to do research and read many reviews before choosing the right time and attendance system for your business.