Time Theft: Top 3 ways employees steal time and how to stop it
The loss of productivity and profits due to time theft has been an enduring problem for many employers across industries. It can come in many forms, from clocking out too early to slacking off at work. While it can be hard to determine exactly how much it costs, a 2017 PollFish survey revealed that the U.S. economy loses approximately $373 million to time theft every year. This is true everywhere else, not just in the US. Paying unproductive employees for their time can make companies lose millions. Below are the top 3 ways employees steal time, and what you can do about it.
1. Buddy Punching
The Problem: Buddy punching occurs when one employee clocks in or out for another as a favour. Employees do this to avoid being reprimanded. They often believe that this act is not inappropriate, as it only affects a few minutes of the total hours. But some employees use buddy punching to get paid for hours or even days they didn’t work. This is more prevalent in off-site locations where monitoring systems are lax. A 2008 Nucleus Research report showed that 19% of employees admit to buddy punching.
The Solution: Confirming the identity of the person clocking in or out is the easiest way to solve buddy punching. Previously, employers opted for fingerprint clock in technology but this has become less popular with increasingly strict biometric privacy laws. In fact, a data privacy complaint was filed in Illinois against a biometric equipment provider. Because of this, photo-verified clock ins are the safest way to confirm an employee’s identity. A manager can monitor if a clock in matches the employee via cloud data, regardless of where they are working.
2. Time Clock Deception
The Problem: Time clock deception, or timesheet falsification, happens when an employee inflates the hours they worked. A 2015 American Payroll Association (APA) study found that 43% of hourly employees surveyed admit to exaggerating the amount of time they work during their shifts. Further, a shocking 25% of employees surveyed report more hours than they actually worked more than 75% of the time. APA estimates that a business that pays out $1 million in annual payroll could be losing up to $70,000 each year due to timesheet falsification.
The Solution: Manual forms of timesheet monitoring is the most susceptible to deception. Companies who allow employees to write down their own clock ins and outs will often have no way of knowing whether the information is accurate or not. Even 30 minutes of falsified timesheets can already cost money for businesses. The only solution is to invest in a program that accurately records clock ins and outs, and generates timesheets at the same time. Tanda’s workforce compliant timesheets even calculates precise shift costs using either a managed award or EBA.
3. Extended Breaks
The Problem: Employees can sometimes take breaks longer and more frequently than they’re supposed to. For many companies, a 30-minute break extension, or five 10-minute smoke breaks, may not seem much. When done large-scale however, it can have a real impact on productivity. Smoke breaks in particular accounted for the highest cost in lost productivity, according to a 2013 Ohio State University study. The study further suggested that U.S. businesses pay almost $6,000 per year extra for each employee who smokes.
The Solution: Enabling employees to clock in or out for their breaks is one way to shift responsibility for their time to them. Because automated time clock solutions can be programmed to accommodate breaks, this will come at no extra cost, and will enable businesses to monitor employee breaks better. But because this affects compensation, employers should take care to abide by laws that apply to breaks. They should also ensure that they are not deducting pay illegally. Conveniently, Tanda’s system is able to flag anomalies in breaks, and makes sure the pay interpretation is always legally compliant, wherever you are in the world.
To eliminate time theft, it is essential to create a work environment with the resources to monitor and prevent it. Investing in the right software will take care of many of the administrative issues that contribute to letting time theft slide by. After these systems are in place, it is also important to increase employee engagement by making sure your onboarding process is effective, and rewarding attendance the right way. These strategies will enrich the work experience and drive productivity to benefit both the employees and the business as a whole.
Events & Media | read
Mossman State High School graduates Tasmin Trezise and Jake Phillpot are hoping to set up a head office in Far North Queensland for their rapidly growing tech business, Tanda (Previously PayAus). The software and payroll processing company is currently based in Brisbane and is helping organisation of five and upward staff significantly reduce their labour costs. “Tanda deliver a digital answer to traditional time sheets,” founder Tasmin Trezise said. “Our system eliminates time theft and produces unbelievably easy reporting and businesses save money from day one as there is no upfront cost.” The system involves installing a managed hardware device into your business and employees record their start and finish times by entering a unique four digit. The system will send the data back to the central server where organisational rules are applied and time sheets are calculated effectively reducing labour costs. “It’s not a choice anymore, small to medium businesses need to be thinking about their staff costs all the time and we are able to help them do it.” Mr. Trezise said. Tanda founder Jake Phillpot said growing up in local small business families meant the pair were passionate about bringing technical innovations back to far North Queensland. “We made Tanda to be the most powerful and economic payroll and cloud timesheeting solution on the market for small to medium size organisations,” he said. “It’s about keeping family business strong, simple and together.” Visit www.tanda.co for more information.
Awards & Rostering Industry Insights | read
The Print Bar uses MYOB & Tanda to control costs
The Print Bar’s warehouse in the inner-suburbs of Brisbane is a symphony of people and machinery, churning out some of the highest quality custom t-shirt printing available in Australia. In just 5 years, Managing Director Jared Fulinfaw has grown from 2 employees in his parents’ garage to become one of largest suppliers of custom t-shirt printing in Australia, with 28 employees working around the clock, 7 days a week. It’s a resounding success story, but it’s clearly been no accident. Jared is keenly focused on running a lean business and striding ahead of the competition. Tools for rapid growth To run his business, Jared is hands on with everything and believes that up-to-date and forward looking financial data is essential. He uses MYOB to manage his finances, and Tanda to manage his people. “MYOB lets me keep track of my inventory and expenses, I even have my accounts reconciled fortnightly so I know exactly where I am. Tanda is for managing my biggest asset and my biggest expense – my team. To sell my product at competitive prices and maintain my margins, I need to be great at managing, rostering, and keep a very close eye on the costs of my staff.” “My team is everything” says Jared. And the team agree — they say he’s the best boss ever. Rostering Every week, Jared uses Tanda to put together his roster. He starts by copying the last week’s so he has a template to work with, then makes any changes necessary based on availability or feedback from his team during the week. Next, he checks the roster’s cost – based on the award rules he’s configured – to ensure that he’s within budget. When it’s all looking good, he sends the roster out to staff by email. He generally does this well before the working week; if he needs to make any urgent changes afterwards, an updated roster by SMS alerts the relevant people. Attendance The Print Bar staff clock in and out of work using a Tanda time clock. It’s positioned on the wall near the entrance to the staff room, so it’s easy to spot and hard to forget! For Jared, The time clock acts as a virtual assistant – every day he gets a roll call of who clocked in, and who didn’t (based on their roster). And if someone’s not at work on time on a weekend, he also gets an SMS alert so he can quickly run in if need be. Timesheets and Payroll Every few days, Jared checks over staff timesheets, makes any necessary changes, and approves shifts when he’s happy with them. At the end of the fortnightly pay cycle, he clicks a button to export the timesheets directly to MYOB. Because Jared’s configured Tanda to work with his EBA, all of the data he downloads is mapped to the correct MYOB wage category – saving him hours he’d have spent doing it by hand.
Events & Media | read
‘Tanda rewarded for making timesheets sexy’ says Digital Brisbane
Brisbane-based start-up Tanda may be young in business terms, just two years old and with an average employee age of 23, but its meteoric growth has been achieved in a number of ways. Initially it was the no-guts, no-glory approach by its four youthful directors, followed by the whole team’s obsessive client focus. And then came the award that put the crown on top – the ANZ Made In Brisbane Award for High-Growth Business Start-Up – a major category in the 2014 Lord Mayor’s Business Awards. With the prestigious awards celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, past winners and nominees like Tanda are now looking back on what the awards have meant to their businesses and overall approach to business. For the full story follow the link…