5 Ways Agencies Motivate Creatives to Actually do Time Tracking!

5 Ways Agencies Motivate Creatives to Do Time Tracking

In my work with both new and current clients of Function Point, I am often asked how agency owners or managers can motivate their creative team members to track time. Although there hasn’t yet proved to be a definitive set of steps for success, I have observed several methods that have worked very well for our client companies.

1. Follow the Leader

Coming in at number one, and with good reason, is to lead by example. If the company managers, owners, and team leads are too cool to track time, then you shouldn’t expect the rest of the team to care either. Be vigilant about your own time-tracking, talk openly about it, talk positively about it, and everyone else will fall in.

2. Make it Worth Their While

Positive reinforcement is another great way to keep people keen on entering their timesheets. Have some $20 coffee cards for the first 5 staff members to have completed their timesheets for the week, or a catered lunch treat for those leading the charge with tracking time. Small incentives can have powerful results.

3. Lay Down the Law

At the other end of the spectrum, which can also be effective, is negative results for those not jumping on the timesheet train. A company I worked with recently, have a regular beer Friday, but limit who can attend to those who have their timesheets for the week in order. Another company that I only heard about, actually withheld bonuses for those staff who had failed to manage their timesheet inputs. If being nice isn’t getting you the results you need, being tough might be worth a try.

4. Paint the Big Picture

Make sure the team knows that time tracking is more than just time tracking. Yes you need and want to know how staff are spending their day, but that data might also feed into staff reviews, salary reviews, better job estimating practices, and proof to back up the need for more bodies. If the team understand the big picture above and beyond a timesheet, and that the “big” data might actually personally make their job better, easier or more well-paid (by giving leaders better insight into their activity) they may be more likely to complete them.

5. Make it a Team Effort

Prove to the team that the steps they’re taking to submit their time is helping you and the company. Proudly refer to the data gathered through timesheets in your staff meetings, or staff reviews. A system such as FP will let you pull this pertinent data and present it back to the staff as a pat on the back for all the hard work you can see they’ve been doing.

Time tracking can be perceived as a chore, so don’t just pump the group up once, and expect the momentum to be self-sustaining. Remind them regularly of all the fine purposes this information serves. Time tracking may be new to some staff, or filled with the dread of previously bad system experiences for others. Bottom line though, it needs to be done. With a few simple steps such as above, you too can have a well-oiled time tracking machine.

Did you find out a fun way to motivate your team to track their time? We’d love to hear about it!

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