How employees skirt the system and leave you paying for it.

In very rare cases, an employer and employee relationship is perfect. In an ideal world, the employee is grateful to have a job. They show up to work and love what they do. They feel most satisfied when they are working hard, being productive, and “making a difference”. Likewise, the employer is honored to have such hard-working, loyal employees that will work for them until retirement. 

This employer/employee relationship ideal, though a good goal to strive for, doesn’t exist in reality. With increasingly challenging labor markets and an ever-eroding trust of institutions like religion, government, and businesses, the current environment for employer/employee relationships has never been more challenging. 

Employees are very aware of this dynamic; they know where they have power and what  perception their bosses have of them. Your employees are using this perception to their advantage and even though most are very willing to strive to be high performers in their core jobs, they will “play dumb” when it comes to implimenting technology that will tighten up processes, reduce fraud that benefits them, or causes them even 10 seconds of extra work each day. In a word, they are savvy and they understand the psychology behind resisting changes that they feel would not benefit them. 

Can you blame them? If a time system was implemented that removed your ability to round in your favor by 15 minutes each day, to show up late or leave early, or in extreme cases, not show up at all and still get paid, wouldn’t you resist it as well? It’s probably fair to say that everybody wants the employee and employer relationship to be a win-win for both parties. However, having bad time data creates bad business decisions. Not having accurate job costing labor allocation will mean business leaders can’t determine which jobs are winners and which are losers; potentially leading the business in the wrong direction. It’s hard enough to build a successful business but doing so when overpaying employees and struggling with inaccurate data is nearly impossible.

Compelling content to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Findd Newsletter, a monthly dose of all things labor management.
You may unsubscribe at any time using the unsubscribe link in the monthly email. See our privacy policy for more information.

Here are 3 ways your employees play dumb and steal time from you 

1. A new software system is too complex.

The number one tactic used by employees to resist the roll out of a more sophisticated time tracking system is to act like they can’t figure out how to use it. Employees who, for their day job, may run million-dollar heavy equipment, use sophisticated power tools, and do complex calculations on how much materials to use, suddenly act completely powerless to accomplish the simplest task of pressing the “Punch In” button on a timeclock when they show up for work. As a business leader, you can’t afford to fall for this manipulation. Your employees are more than capable of figuring out the details of using software that is critical to your business. You need to demand not only that they use it but that they take the few seconds each day to use it properly. Modern time tracking software is so sophisticated it’s simple.

2. Implementing a new software system takes too much time.

The second tactic that your employees will use is to complain about the time it takes to implement systems to create accurate time data. Of course, change is always uncomfortable and there is always a cost to change any process, especially processes like time tracking, which are used by employees every day. However, if done properly, training on this new system should be simple and fast and adding accurate time clock punching should not take longer than a few seconds every day. When you look at how much is at stake to ensure accurate time data, this is a no brainer.

3. What, you don’t trust us!?!?

This tactic is perhaps the most manipulative of all. Employees will claim that adding a software time system that can guarantee accurate data is a matter of trust. Trust is critical to having satisfied and productive employees. Satisfied employees are employees that also stay with your organization long-term. Being accused of “not trusting” an individual immediately puts you in a defensive position. However, this line of reasoning could not be further from the truth. Trust has nothing to do with using an accurate system. If the system is (a) easy to use and (b) takes virtually no extra time for them to properly use, then you are essentially removing the requirement for your trust to be part of the timekeeping process! If your employees purchase materials, do you require a copy of the receipt to be reimbursed? Of course you do! Do you not trust your employees? Yes, you do. But, having common-sense processes that remove any temptation for fraud is just smart business. Don’t be fooled by this one.

To summarize, your employees are smart, that’s why you hired them. But they know that playing dumb is sometimes the easiest way to get what they want, hold onto the status quo, and resists new systems that may expose their bad behavior. Doing the right thing for your business processes is ultimately doing the right thing for all of your employees too.