In most businesses, timesheet reminders are a necessary part of the payday process. They ensure that all employees turn in their timecard and that the data you need to pay them is as accurate and complete as possible.
But is there a better way to obtain the information necessary for error-free payroll every time?
In this article, we discuss how to manage your timesheet reminders and even introduce you to a solution that could help you eliminate them altogether.
Table Of Contents
What Are Timesheet Reminders?
In their simplest form, timesheet reminders are prompts to motivate your employees to fill out and submit a record of their work time for the last pay period.
Before digital communication revolutionized the way we work, HR would have to send out hardcopy memos or even talk to each employee one at a time to remind them to turn in their timecard.
Then, along came email and, suddenly, HR could send a single message to everyone in the business. Over time, those reminders evolved from a few bland sentences into more memorable cues to help team members remember their responsibility, such as:
Timesheet = Paycheck
No Timesheet = No Paycheck
Creative payroll managers even took it a step further and combined text and image to create a reminder that not only served as a “heads up” of an imminent deadline but made the recipient laugh as well.
With the advent of smartphones and the spread of texting, payroll managers could now reach team members directly without having to wonder whether or not the employee would check their email in the next few days.
More recently, push notifications — messages that pop up on the main screen of a user’s smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop device — are becoming more popular as a means of distributing timesheet reminders to teams of all sizes.
Regardless of how your business chooses to deliver said reminders, they’re an essential part of what makes your business run smoothly and efficiently.
Why Are Timesheet Reminders Important?
Timesheet reminders are important because, as their name suggests, they remind and motivate employees — sometimes gently, sometimes forcefully — to fill out and turn in the record of their time-on-task at work for a specific period of time.
Without those timesheets, your team and your business miss out on some critical benefits. Here are three of the benefits that timesheets (and timesheet reminders) make possible.
1) Calculate Profit On A Project
Timesheets answer key project and operations management questions, such as:
- How much has your business paid employees?
- How much time have employees spent on specific parts of a given project?
- Is the time spent on a project producing a profit or a loss?
- Did your team spend too much time on one activity and not enough time on another activity?
- Did too many employees spend time on overlapping tasks?
- Did hiring an outside contractor allow employees to focus on more important tasks?
The answers to these types of questions can help you more accurately calculate the profit on a project and create ways to streamline your team’s workflow so that you can increase said profits in the future.
2) Predict Future Capacity
Timesheet reminders bring in the records of work hours spent, which, in turn, allows you to predict the future capacity of various teams within your company and the future capacity of the business as a whole.
A thorough analysis of your employee timesheets allows you to answer such questions as:
- Are team members overbooked?
- What is your team’s total capacity?
- How much can you stretch that capacity without overloading them?
- Has your team’s capacity changed over the past few weeks, months, or years?
- Does data show that capacity will change in the future?
Armed with this information, you can take steps to improve the way your employees work on current and future projects.
3) Perform Accurate Payroll
Accurate payroll is essential for the smooth operation of your business. And payroll depends almost exclusively on the timesheets from which it is calculated.
If there are errors in your payroll, your team members will be unhappy, and your company could run into legal trouble with the government.
Reminders are a way to ensure that everyone has tabulated and turned in the information they need to get paid and the information you need to remain in compliance with local, state, and federal laws.
How To Implement Timesheet Reminders
1) Set Expectations
The first step in implementing reminders into your workflow is to set the expectations surrounding them.
These expectations (or rules) go hand in hand with the payroll process you’ve established in your employee handbook and should be recorded there for future reference.
Before going any further, answer such questions as:
- What is the deadline for submitting timesheets?
- How many timesheet reminders do employees get?
- What happens if they don’t turn in their timesheet?
Once you’ve created the expectations for your business, it’s time to present them to your team.
2) Meet With Existing Employees
Whether you’re implementing new reminders in your business or just want to underscore the importance of submitting timecards before the deadline, it’s always a good idea to meet face-to-face with your team.
Depending on how your business currently operates, “face-to-face” may mean gathering together physically in your conference room or gathering together on Zoom.
However you choose to meet, reiterate the importance of turning in time cards on time and the role the reminders play in this process.
3) Explain The Process
After you emphasize the importance of abiding by timesheet reminders, review and explain the entire payroll process.
Doing so ensures that all employees understand how to use the timesheet, how to submit their work hours, and how their actions affect their teammates and the business as a whole.
The point is to reinforce that each and every employee has a critical responsibility to track their time correctly, submit that record in a timely manner, and abide by any reminders they receive.
Placing the onus on them — and explaining just how important this obligation is — goes a long way toward getting everyone to turn in their hours worked well before the deadline.
4) Automate Your Reminders
Sending out reminders (of any kind) can be a time-consuming task. You have to figure out who has turned in their timecard, who hasn’t, and then send a message to those in the latter category.
The best way to streamline this process is to automate everything so that your computer does it for you.
With apps such as Inch, you can send reminders to delinquent employees with a single click or tap. You can even set a schedule so that the software sends reminders at a specific time on a specific day.
5) Create A Template
Creating a timesheet reminder template can make your job easier by cutting down the time it takes to format the document you send out to your employees.
It doesn’t matter if that document is hard copy or digital, having a template on hand means you have to perform one less step before you can get the reminders to those who need them.
For example, if you deliver a hard copy memo to every employee, you would make 10 copies of the template and then place them on their desks — you wouldn’t have to type and print the reminder first.
Or, if you use email to distribute your reminders, you may have the text (or video or image) saved on your computer so that all you have to do is drop it into the message and hit send.
As with the hard copy version, you don’t have to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. You’ve already put in the time to get it exactly how you want it. All you have to do is deliver it.
6) Choose Your Delivery Method
How you deliver your timesheet reminders is equally as important as what you say and how you say it.
If your business is more formal, your team may react better to a simple yet official prompt, such as an email or a push notification.
If your business is more informal, your team may react better to a lighthearted prompt, such as a meme or a funny voicemail.
How can you choose? Try any of the different options on this list and see which method — or combination of methods — works best for your employees.
1) Face-To-Face Reminder
Face-to-face reminders are certainly the most personal of all the delivery methods.
Depending on the size of your business and the number of team members employed, reaching everyone in person can be a formidable and time-consuming task. It’s also one of the most transitory of all the delivery methods.
Yes, you may talk directly to your employees, but because of their workload or the nature of your business, they may forget all about the reminder the moment you walk away.
Face-to-face reminders are usually most effective when paired with one of the other delivery methods in this list.
Consider the effectiveness of visiting each employee personally, reminding them to turn in their timesheet, and handing them a Post-it Note that says the same.
They can then stick the note in a prominent place to help them remember what they need to do when they’re a bit less busy.
Email was one of the first modern digital methods for distributing timesheet reminders quickly to a large number of employees.
It’s still very much a viable way to stay in touch with your team — and to urge them to complete their timesheets — but some employees don’t check their messages regularly and might miss the reminder you sent.
Email also holds the potential to cause “feedback” in the form of endless replies (and the dreaded Reply-All Storm).
If you don’t use the right tools within the email client itself (i.e., BCC), an employee who isn’t paying attention can kick off an email nightmare that may require that you bring in an IT tech to put a stop to all the messages clogging up your inbox.
3) Text Message
Text messages are one of the most effective ways to send out timesheet reminders because everyone checks their phone, tablet, or mobile device at least once a day.
The one issue with sending reminders this way is that your business doesn’t always have access to mass-messaging tools.
Because of that, sending a text to a large group of employees may take more time and effort than most of the other methods on this list.
Plus, text messages hold the same potential as email for the Reply-All Storm. Few things distract your team from their work — and waste their time — like an endless series of texts with responses like, “Ok,” “Got it,” and, “Thanks.”
To prevent this from happening, create workplace communication etiquette and make sure that everyone understands how and when to reply.
4) Direct Message
If your business uses a team communication app, like Sling, Inch, or Slack, a great way to distribute timesheet reminders is via direct message (DM).
In some cases, you can even set the software to send out reminders automatically on specific dates and at specific times so that everyone is sure to see the information.
5) Push Notification
Push notifications (or just notifications for short) are another way to distribute timesheet reminders digitally without a lot of extra effort.
Notifications pop up on the main screen of a user’s phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer — often accompanied by sound to get their attention — even if the device is locked.
What’s more, those notifications stay there until the user acknowledges that they’ve read them.
6) Time-Tracking Software
Distributing timesheet reminders through your business’s time-tracking software can be one of the most efficient ways to reach everyone on your team.
This can be very effective because they have to look at the message before they can use the tools they need to get their job done.
You can also set the system so that once they turn in their timesheet, the message will no longer appear.
This acts as an incentive for team members to complete the process as soon as possible so they don’t have to click through the reminder before they can continue their work.
Voicemail is one of the more old-school delivery methods on this list, but it can still be very effective.
Whether you leave a voicemail in their company mailbox or on their personal mobile phone is up to you and the communication policies your business holds as standard operating procedure.
Keep in mind that voicemail is very much like some of the other methods on this list — once your employees hear the reminder, they may forget about it completely a few moments later.
Pairing this delivery method with something a bit more “front-and-center” — like a pop-up in your time-tracking software — may be just the way to get everyone to turn in their timecards before the due date.
The first timesheet reminders were probably little more than a few words or lines of text — something like, “Please turn in your timesheet by noon on Friday.” — typed on a sheet of paper.
Eventually, human resource managers got creative and decided to include images with those words. This kicked off the meme trend that seems to be everywhere these days.
That’s not to say that memes are a bad thing. Far from it. They can be a very effective way to appeal to different personalities and motivate them to action.
If your business has a public address system, you might find it useful to make an announcement for everyone to hear.
You may have to make multiple announcements throughout the day and over the course of a week, because, like the face-to-face announcement, employees may get distracted by their job and forget what they just heard.
7) Show Your Appreciation
In a perfect world, you and your team wouldn’t have to wrestle with timesheet reminders. Every employee would remember to turn in their timesheet on time — and it would be filled out correctly every time.
But we don’t live in that perfect world. Turning in timesheets is still a speed bump in your team’s workflow.
You can, however, make the speed bump less jarring by showing your appreciation for the effort and time it took them to complete the process.
Doing so makes the weeks and days leading up to payday feel less like a police state where “Big Brother” is constantly looking over your employees’ shoulders.
Showing your appreciation also “greases the wheels” and motivates your team to turn things in on time (and complete) the next time around.
Keep in mind that saying thanks doesn’t have to be an elaborate affair. Sure, you may want to bring in doughnuts to show your gratitude, but you don’t have to do that every time.
Instead, a simple text or email will usually go a long way toward making the process better for everyone involved.
Eliminate Timesheet Reminders With Inch
If you want to eliminate timesheet reminders altogether and streamline the payroll process, look no further than the Inch app and suite of tools.
As a time clock tool with built-in reminders and exportable payroll reports, Inch is the best. But that’s not the only thing our app does. Inch actually takes time tracking and employee management to the next level.
We designed Inch to make it easier for managers and team members — be they remote or on-site — to get aligned on their to-dos, communicate with one another, and ensure that all tasks get completed on time.
Regardless of where they’re working, those with the Inch app can perform a wide variety of tasks right from their phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, including:
- Clocking in and out of tasks at different locations
- Communicating with managers and each other
- Working from a shared task list
- Completing work assigned to them
- Receiving voice-assisted reminder notifications
- Getting clarity on work that needs to get done
All of that and more without having to touch a screen or report back to the office.
For managers, Inch makes it easy to distribute tasks manually across their teams or populate tasks automatically based on preset conditions.
This unique feature ensures that all work is covered and keeps employees accountable and clear on their specific responsibilities, expected outcomes, and deadlines.
Managers can assign work to the employees that are closest to the jobsite or generate tasks automatically as the need arises and follow work progress and task completion in real time. All of that for easier and more efficient payroll.
When it comes right down to it, Inch helps eliminate frustration for employees, headaches for managers, and inefficiencies for the business.
Whether you need time tracking solutions for your team or help keeping your employees on task and focused, our app gives you unprecedented control over your payroll process and all but does away with the need for timesheet reminders.
Inch makes it easier than ever to create the best workflow for yourself, your team, and your business.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit TryInch.com today.