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by Jen Leigh on July 12, 2017

6 Tips To Eliminate Late Timecard Submissions


Dealing with employees and managers who are chronically late submitting their time sheets is a problem that has plagued payroll and human resource folks since the beginning of time. You've heard how time and attendance systems drive the bottom line but struggle to meet timecard submission deadlines.

So, how do you fix a process and win a battle that's older then time itself?  

We have a few tips that will give you the winning edge and ensure you time and attendance processes are efficient and streamlined for all users. 

Eliminate Late Timecards: Keep Time Entry, Submission, and Approval Simple

Your employees and managers will be destined for success if you make time tracking processes for day to day entry, submission, and approval steps simple and easy for them to follow.

Make every effort possible to streamline and create efficiencies for your end users. Evaluate what can be done better with your time and labor management practices and policies. Are you setting up your users for success?  Can you automate rules, rely on reporting, or simplify processes using security overrides to reduce the buckets your users interact with?  Can you consolidate data, cleanup old and unused pay rules, or segmented complex time tracking requirements by to specific departments or job classifications?  Make every effort possible to streamline and create efficiencies for your end users through cloud-based time and attendance software

Clearly Define Submission and Approval Deadlines

Set time card submission deadlines for your employees and approval deadlines for your managers. Make sure your written policies are clear, and enforce the rules in your time and labor management system.  Uniformity in your policy and consistency in your practice opens the doors for coaching and progressive discipline policies to correct errant behavior as it occurs. 

Send Email Reminders to Employees & Managers to Stop Late Timecard Submissions

Send email reminders to employees and managers each pay period to remind them and guide them through the process for submitting or approving time. 

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Employee messages should convey what they are required to do, when they are required to do it by, and explain why it is important.  In a similar fashion, emails to managers who approve time should be crafted to remind them that they are responsible for approving time sheets by the approval deadline. Be sure to explain why timely approval is important ,and discuss the impact missing time sheets have on other departments and the company as a whole.

In every case, you should remind your users how easy it is to submit or approve time sheets

Engagement Tip:  Make sure you take full advantage of technology to automate emails, but be cautious and don't overdo it.  Emailing too often can cause users to snooze or ignore the message. Instead, make sure your emails are well crafted, personalized , helpful, and respectful of your users intelligence.

Make Timecard Submissions and Approvals Easy and Accessible

Take all excuses away from your users by ensuring your workforce has access to submit and approve time sheets from their computers and mobile devices. Be sure to message how easy it is to access, submit, and approve time sheets in your email communications to all users so everyone is aware of the flexible options.

Use mobile technology, and cautiously use restrictions that prevent access. If you feel the urge to restrict access, make sure your bad example employees aren't ruining it for everyone else.

Get Managers and Higher-Ups Involved

Make sure you've clearly communicated to managers that they are required to approve time sheets.  Send email notifications up the chain of command when users neglect their approval duties. Persistent offenders will be used to hearing their managers, complain each pay period- but they're likely to take note if they hear from a Director or VP., more often then not they will correct their behavior immediately.

Resist the Urge to Dock Pay or Penalize Offenders for Late Timecard Submissions

Anyone whose struggled to fix late submissions can relate to the desire to dock pay or charge a penalty to repeat offenders. Avoid the urge and the  risk associated with penalty pay strategies. Instead work with employees and managers to follow your processes and making every effort to determine correct hours. 

These simple but effective steps are a sure fire way to quell your late submissions problems. If you're manually tracking time, or using a legacy system that isn't capable of automation OR makes you're life difficult then it may be time to evaluate your options.   

Timekeeping Solutions Feature List

Inflection HR's modern cloud based time and labor solutions  empower and engage your workforce and can dramatically improve your payroll processes by reducing activities that cause payroll inflation.

Jen Leigh

Jen Leigh is a Senior Product Specialist with Inflection HR's Cloud Based HR and Workforce Management Solutions. Connect with Jenni and the rest of the Inflection HR Team on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.