3 ways time tracking improves your employee performance reviews
One of the many benefits of time tracking – an often overlooked one – is that it helps companies conduct better employee performance reviews.
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The annual event that is typically considered a burden by everyone involved. New technology re-shaped the modern workplace, and the way performance reviews were traditionally done is becoming outdated.
Time tracking, even by using a simple Excel time tracking sheet, can bring employee performance reviews to be the constructive and mutually beneficial practices they were intended to be.
First of all, time and attendance are important performance metrics that tell a lot about a person’s efficiency. Just as your clients need to know exactly how many hours you spent on their projects, you as the manager must know what your employees bring to the table.
But tracking time does not only help managers measure and evaluate their employees; it helps with improving the entire performance review process.
Let us look at 3 major benefits.
1) Time tracking helps you be better prepared for the performance review meeting
Perhaps the most important condition for an effective performance review is that you are well prepared for the meeting. Otherwise you risk missing the opportunity to give your employees valuable feedback and encourage their future development. Performance reviews should not mean an employee hearing all about his or her past slip-ups, but rather a chance for him or her to learn and grow.
To come to a performance review well prepared, you need to have answers to questions like:
- How many hours did the person bill and how does that compare to the rest of the team?
- Which projects were the most profitable and what was the person’s contribution (both in quality and quantity)?
- How much did they cost you versus how much revenue they generated?
- How was their overall efficiency?
- How much they were absent?
- How many deadlines were missed, etc.?
With a time tracking system in place, you will always have the data!
2) Data from time tracking helps you guarantee objectivity
There are many factors that can hinder your objectivity. Two different managers can see the same employee in an entirely different light. That happens because as human beings, we find it difficult to be impartial; we subconsciously let irrational things affect our judgment.
Perhaps you find an employee fun to be with and charismatic. Or you are influenced by events that happened recently and focus on how an employee behaved in the past few weeks, instead of considering his overall performance.
The best way to keep employee performance reviews as fair and objective as possible is to base employee evaluations on concrete data. Time tracking helps you objectively compare team members with each other and reward the most valuable ones.
Consulting your timesheets will also come in handy if it comes to a clash between yours and your employee’s perception of his/her performance. Best way to avoid a potential conflict is to argue your opinion with indisputable facts.
3) Time tracking helps you provide valuable feedback and set clear goals – in real time!
An employee performance review is a chance to share the insights you acquired with your employees and focus on improving their performance. Time tracking tools can help you recognise strong and weak productivity points of your employees, and delegate tasks in tune with their strongest skills and advantages.
Giving feedback just once per year is not enough. Infrequent feedback can lead to employees feeling “in the dark” about how others see their performance, and the eventual performance review might differ completely from what they expected.
Tracking time will make sure your employees will have a much better understanding of what is expected of them, and in what specific timeframe. They will be able to prioritise tasks to achieve maximum efficiency. They will be able to identify patterns in their work process, be aware of how the goals are set, see how much time really is spent, and make adjustments as they go.
That way, they will always know where they stand, and will not feel blindsided or resentful when they hear their review.
Pro tip: Make a switch to more frequent discussions
With a time tracking system, you get an overview of what is happening in your company in real time. If there are any time management or other problems, you can react right away.
For example, if someone is consistently late or absent, it can be a sign of bigger issues that need to be resolved urgently, as absenteeism of one person can bring down the whole team.
Likewise, employees doing a lot of overtime may stem from poor time management or other problems that you should address as soon as possible to avoid burnouts.
Many top tier companies have already found that the time spent on traditional (annual) performance reviews is just not worth it, they do not bring the desired outcomes. Instead, they are opting for more frequent reviews, such as weekly or quarterly reviews, or evaluations right after finishing a major project.
Having a time tracking tool allows you to make that switch. With it, you regularly monitor the outcomes, track high and low points of set timeframes, and keep your employees focused on the short-term goals.
After all, a modern, competitive company should not put the focus on employee evaluation, but on employee development!