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How to Educate Your Agency Staff About Time Tracking

Having accurate time-tracking and project management systems are vital to the survival of any agency. Without the proper systems in place, it becomes difficult to under what stage each job is at, how long each stage takes to complete, and whether youare over- or under-charging.

If you haven't already implemented time-tracking software, you should definitely think about it. The problem is, your time-tracking system will be useless if you can't get staff to use it. And creatives such as designers and copywriters can be especially fickle when it comes to administration tasks like time tracking.

So how do you get staff to buy in to time tracking? Here are our simple tips:

1. Make it Easy for Them

frustrated businessman

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If a system is too difficult to learn, understand or use day-to-day, people will simply forget about using it. And you don't want this to happen to time-tracking.

Any system you implement has to be easy to use and carry a relatively low learning curve. Ideally, it should slot neatly into the everyday activities your staff already perform.

That’s why WorkflowMax's Adobe Extension Widget is so brilliant. It allows your team to track their time from directly inside the Adobe Creative Suite. No more flipping between programs and breaking the creative flow.

“To get my staff to be punctual about time tracking, we have a second screen for each staff where they keep the WorkflowMax timesheeting software open all the time. This reminds them about tracking time continuously and has yielded great results for us” says Peter Crook, Agency Director, 7group Advertising.

2. Figure Out What's In It For Them

benefits

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You know why you want to implement time tracking systems at your agency, but your staff don't see things the same way you do. They don't have as big an investment in the company as you do, so they are not as concerned with being able to track progress and productivity.

Many staff will see time-tracking as nothing more than oppressive micromanagement to keep tabs on them. They feel that the software is being implemented in order to penalize those who aren't working fast enough.

These are legitimate concerns, and it's important for you to address them. Stress that staff won't be micromanaged and they will still have plenty of time to be creative. You should present time tracking not as a challenge, but as an opportunity. Stress to staff that there are considerable benefits to time tracking, including:

  • Solid evidence of achievements: Time tracking can shine a light on productive employees who might otherwise fly under the radar of management. Time tracking provides valuable statistics for the employee when it comes to performance appraisal time. One of the agency managers that we met with recently said that employees really like the transparency time tracking brings to the pay negotiations at the end of the year.
  • Improved focus: Having to track time helps everyone to focus on the tasks at hand and not let the mind wander.
  • Identifying areas for improvement. Time tracking can reveal areas where an employee might need help or not have the skills necessary to work at a productive pace. This leads to opportunities for skill development.
  • Include time tracking as a KPI: Your time tracking software is as good as the people using it. Since tracking time is so critical to the success of your agency, it could be a great idea for you to include tracking time as one of the KPIs for all your staff.

3. Lead by Example

what's in it for me

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You can't expect employees to use time tracking and project management systems if you yourself don't employ them. You should be the first person through the training and be at the forefront of encouraging sharing of information about the new software.

4. Set Aside Time and Resources for Training

staff training

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Each staff member will require a different level and style of training, and you should ensure there is time in their schedule to allow for training. Offer a variety of training options such as:

  • Time in a computer lab with a teacher.

  • A buddy system where team members pair up and share skills.

  • Self-directed learning using manuals and online help.

  • Continued support through other avenues.

  • Include time tracking as a task each day and allocate 15-20 mins to it.

Getting staff at your agency to change their habits and adopt time tracking, even with a simple system like WorkflowMax, can seem like an impossible task. It can take a few months before everyone in your team is using the software as they should be. But after the initial teething period, as data starts coming in and staff can begin to see the benefits, you shouldn't have any trouble keeping your time tracking system robust.

What challenges did you face when implementing new time-tracking software? How did you overcome them? Share your thoughts in the comments below!