Creative Ways for Getting Employees to Complete Timesheets

getting employees to complete timesheets

One of the biggest challenges an organization can face is getting employees to complete timesheets and track their time.

In an age of “Big Brother” wariness and an increased focus on privacy, some employees may balk and fuss at the idea of accounting for their time, while others may struggle with submitting their timesheets entirely.

Whatever the reason to implement this process, whether it’s to be government compliant or to better understand your costs, the end result is the same: Your employees should get on board and track their time.

Let’s look at steps that can go a long way toward getting employees to complete timesheets.

Explain How It Comes with Rewards

One of the main steps toward motivating your employees is explaining to them why it’s important. This can be done either via a rewards system or a positive/negative affirmation system.

One Brazillian-based company went so far as to install a beer machine that only opened once everyone had submitted their timesheets correctly and on time.

But if you’re not going the alcohol-infused route, a simple but effective reason for your employees to complete their timesheets is the massive benefit it brings to them personally. It’s estimated that every single day, the U.S. economy loses 50 million billable hours, or $7.4 billion.

What accounts for the loss? According to AffinityLive, a professional services automation company, the loss is the result of poor time tracking methods. The company says:

“Due to lack of technological advancement and poor habits in time tracking, AffinityLive found that 51 percent of respondents rarely or never track time spent reading and answering emails, and 28 percent said the same for meetings.”

The solution? Affinity Live adds:

“Moving from weekly… timesheet updates to daily… would recover $52,000 per-professional, per-year in billable time.”

As a result, the most important step in helping your employees complete their timesheets is helping them realize that the better they track their time, the more billable hours your company will have.

In turn, those extra billable hours equal more incoming revenue and better employee compensation overall. Whatever the case, your employees directly benefit.

Make It Easy

This one may be as simple as keeping your employees focused and on task. You could follow in the footsteps of Iris, a company that implemented a program where sites like Facebook and Google were fully blocked until their employees had submitted completed timesheets.

While these methods might seem harsh, they’re absolutely effective in setting a golden standard for simple and easy time tracking allocation from your employees.

Another important step is to make it easy for your employees to complete their timesheets with up-to-date automated software including clean and simple user interfaces. Too many companies rely on antiquated software or worse yet, non-computerized methods of tracking them. Still, other companies use systems that are so specific and granular that an employee needs a legend to understand how to categorize their time.

To avoid these issues, try to automate the process as much as possible. Modern time tracking software can be an invaluable asset to helping employees and managers alike streamline and automate the process.

Ideally, completing timesheets should take no more than a few minutes a day.

Link Timesheets to Payment

It may seem like a simple solution, but sometimes the simple solutions work best. When all else fails, make it clear that payment depends on completed timesheets.

As HR professional Suzanne Lucas highlights, there is a need for caution when using this method:

“It is illegal not to pay someone for time worked, and in some states you can get in big trouble for delaying a paycheck, but (check with an attorney in your state) why not just set a deadline and if they miss it, they don’t get paid for that week until the next round of paychecks? Think about what you are trying to motivate them to do: fill out time cards so they can be paid.”

If employees continue to struggle with completing their timesheets, however, Lucas makes the point that the behavior “might suggest that the problem lies not with unmotivated employees, but with a time sheet process that disheartens.”

By explaining why, setting the example, making it easy and linking timesheets to payments, organizations can go a long way toward getting employees to complete timesheets and, hopefully, help them to appreciate the benefits of doing so.

Time Clock Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Creative Ways for Getting Employees to Complete Timesheets” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Google’s Own Wireless Service is Officially Launching with Project Fi

google wireless service project fi

The rumors are true. Google is launching its own wireless service called Project Fi. The new service was announced recently, and the company says its goal is to create a fast and easy wireless experience.

Not everyone will be able to jump onto the new service right away, however.

Currently, Project Fi is invite-only and can only be accessed by those owning a Nexus 6 smartphone. Google claims this is because the Nexus 6 is the first smartphone that supports the hardware and software required for Project Fi.

In a clever move, Google has found a way around building their own network of cell towers. Instead the company is partnering with Sprint and T-Mobile as well as utilizing millions of WiFi hotspots.

In an announcement on the official Google Blog, Nick Fox, Vice President of Communications Products explains:

In today’s mobile world, fast and reliable connectivity is almost second nature. But even in places like the U.S., where mobile connections are nearly ubiquitous, there are still times when you turn to your phone for that split-second answer and don’t have fast enough speed. Or you can’t get calls and texts because you left your phone in a taxi (or it got lost in a couch cushion for the day). As mobile devices continually improve how you connect to people and information, it’s important that wireless connectivity and communication keep pace and be fast everywhere, easy to use, and accessible to everyone.”

Here’s a brief overview of the new service from Google:

Google claims it has developed new technology that intelligently connects you to the fastest available network at your location as you move. For example, at home the fastest connection may be your WiFi but on the road it may be a specific 4G LTE network. Google boasts this new technology can seamlessly transition from WiFi to cell networks without even disrupting your conversation.

You phone number on this new service will reside in the cloud. So you can make a call or text either on your phone, tablet, or laptop. Basically any device that can use Google Hangouts.

But perhaps the best part of Project Fi is the pricing. There are no annual contracts required. For $20 a month, users will receive unlimited talk, unlimited text, WiFi tethering, coverage in more than 120 countries, and international calling for 20 cents-per-minute.

Data is priced separately. It’s $10 a month per GB of data. For example, you can pay $10 for 1GB, $20 for 2GB, $30 for 3GB and so on. But you are only charged for the data you use. If you buy 2GB but only use 1.2GB, you will receive an $8 credit for the .8GB you didn’t use. Not a bad deal.

If you have the phone required and want to try out Google’s new wireless plan you can request an invite here.

Image: Google

This article, “Google’s Own Wireless Service is Officially Launching with Project Fi” was first published on Small Business Trends

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How to Keep Benefiting from Trade Shows After the Show Ends

benefiting from trade shows

Trade shows are an excellent opportunity to find new customers, to meet new business partners and build new relationships. So much work goes into planning and preparing for a trade show. You need to make sure your booth is interesting, informative, fun, and staffed with team members with the right skills and personality to represent your whole company.

Trade shows can cost a lot of money. In addition to the price you pay for your trade show booth space; there are often travel expenses involved, as well as the cost of designing and building the booth itself.

However, your investments of time and money will be worth it if you exhibit properly. You need to figure out how to keep benefiting from trade shows and how to keep your trade show booth “alive” even after the show is over. Below are some tips and guiding principles to make sure you are maximizing the effect of your trade show booth.

Have an Eye-Catching Display

This seems like it should go without saying, but if you want people to remember your booth after the conference has ended, you need to make sure your display is memorable on a number of levels. First, all the basics must be done right. Proper lighting, an open entry space and a visually attractive display are absolutely necessary. Next, you need to get creative to draw attendees into your booth space.

What about an interactive visual display? Or host a contest in your booth with prizes that get people wanting to participate? Make sure your freebies are creative and are convenient to carry. Instead of handing out pens like the majority of other booths are doing at the show, why not something a little more interesting?  A memorable booth is the first step to making sure the people you meet at the show will remember you.

Include Your Social Media Information in Your Materials

No matter what you are handing out at your trade show booth, make sure that whatever you are hoping your attendee is bringing back to the office has more than just your basic contact information. It is possible that your potential customer wants to get to know you better before committing to making a purchase or putting in an order. Give your social media information — your Facebook page, your Twitter handle, etc. — so that your customer can get to know you comfortably.

Make Your Social Media Interesting and Fun!

Now that you are bringing people to your social media pages, make sure they will stay there and hopefully visit again, or possibly even share the page with friends. To do this, consider posting photos from the trade show booth and ask thoughtful questions that will elicit more than one word answers. Here are five ways social media can make your trade show a success.

Link to Photos of Your Booth on Your Website

Make sure that you are actively photographing your booth and the activity happening inside of it.

Get pictures of people showing interest in your goods and/or services, asking questions, and of you listening to their responses. On your website, add a link from your homepage to a new page with these photos and other interesting information about the booth.

Consider a tagline including how many people stopped by, how many giveaways were taken, or how many new customers signed up.

Ask People If They’d Like to Receive Your Newsletter or Other Free Information

One of the best ways to keep your trade show booth alive is to stay in touch with the people who came by to check it out. Ask people to sign up for your newsletter or do a lottery drawing of business cards for a prize giveaway.

Make sure people know why you want their email address and then they will be more likely to share it. Your company has spent a lot of money on marketing at the trade show. Make the most of the opportunities to stay in the minds of the people who’ve visited your booth.

Trade Show Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Keep Benefiting from Trade Shows After the Show Ends” was first published on Small Business Trends

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How “The Audience Revolution” Can Help You Radically Increase Sales

The Audience RevolutionAre you satisfied with the rate at which your business is growing? If you’re a fledgling entrepreneur, the answer is probably no. It can be frustrating. You’re trying desperately to build your business and land more clients, but you’re having trouble driving sales. You may have spent months, even years, building a product or service that isn’t selling.

Perhaps you’re an author with a book to sell. Or a speaker with a compelling message that people should hear. You might offer services that bring tangible benefits to your prospects. Maybe you have an awesome product that people need to buy now.

Fortunately, there is an approach that can help you drive the sales you desire by focusing on your audience.

Danny Iny, the founder of Firepole Marketing, has written a book that will make it easier for you to understand how to grow your business by serving your audience. It’s called The Audience Revolution: The Smarter Way to Build a Business, Make a Difference and Change the World.

As an aspiring entrepreneur myself, I have dealt with the frustration of trying to figure out ways to get people to my website that actually want to buy my services. It can be pretty frustrating. This book will give you some actionable steps that can help you build an audience that tells you what type of product or service they are looking for.

Here’s how:

The “Product First” Philosophy

One of the main things Danny Iny does in The Audience Revolution is debunking the all-too-common “product first” mentality that many entrepreneurs adopt.

When entrepreneurs have the “product first” mentality, they create their product or service, then assume that their audience will want it. They build their product thinking that they already know what their audience needs and wants.

This may have worked in the past, but Iny puts forth the idea that this approach is no longer effective. The Audience Revolution suggests that entrepreneurs begin consulting with their audience before launching their next offering. If you’re an entrepreneur who is serious about building a successful enterprise, you need to figure out what your audience wants before creating the product or service you intend to sell.

It makes sense. After all, who knows what your audience wants better than the people that make up your audience?

Is it possible to design a product or service that your audience doesn’t know it wants? Sure it is. Steve Jobs did it with the iPod and other products. But this isn’t common, and as entrepreneurs, we shouldn’t assume that we always know best.

This is why it’s better to ask your audience what they want, then build a product or service that addresses their need.

Find Your Niche

If you were given one full year to study one subject, and one subject only, without having to worry about finances, what would this subject be? The answer to this question can help you discover the niche you should be marketing to.

One of the major themes in The Audience Revolution is the idea that entrepreneurs should find their niche. As a matter of fact, Iny offers some actionable advice to those who have not yet discovered who their ideal audience is. Here’s a hint: it involves discovering ways your passion and expertise can work together to help others.

If you’re building a business, this is essential. If you haven’t yet figured out who your ideal customers are, you’re shooting in the dark. Without a clear picture of the audience you want to reach, you will not be able to market your business effectively.

Find Out What They Want

After figuring out who your audience is, you need to find out what they want. What is it that keeps them up at night? What are their pain points?

When you can answer these questions, it will enable you to create products and services that address their most pressing needs. If you do this, your audience will be more willing to spend their money with your company.

There are several ways to find out what your audience wants and needs. You could simply ask them in a blog post or email newsletter. If you don’t have much of an audience yet, but you know who you want to market to, there are other ways to ask them. One of the tools I use is Quora.

Serve Your Audience

In The Audience Revolution, Iny points out the fact that attracting customers means finding a way to serve them. This is one of the points Iny makes that resonates most with me. One of my core beliefs is that, as an entrepreneur, one of the best ways to gain more influence is to provide more value.

It’s one of the main reasons I chose content marketing as my profession.

If you provide offerings that actually give a tangible benefit to your audience, you will increase the chances that they will like and trust you. Anyone who is in the business of moving others knows that people are willing to be influenced by those they like and trust.

The more value you provide, the more influence you will build over time. To do this well, you need to genuinely care about the people who are reading your content. You should have a real desire to see them succeed.

The great thing about this is that the benefit that you offer don’t have to be life changing. It can be blog postings that help answer burning questions that your prospects have. It could be a short eBook that shows them how to solve a problem. It could be an article on your website that gives them information they didn’t have previously.

Providing value is the best way to increase your influence. Finding ways to benefit your audience will only make it easier to get them to buy from you.


Danny Iny’s The Audience Revolution is a great book for any entrepreneur who wishes to see his or her business grow. The approach Iny outlines in his book is the same process that took him from $250,000 in debt to building a profitable business that is poised to bring in $3 million a year.

It can be done. If you’re willing to put the work into building your audience and truly serving their needs, they will tell you what they want, and what products they are willing to pay for.

How will you use your audience to revolutionize your business?

This article, “How “The Audience Revolution” Can Help You Radically Increase Sales” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Google, Yahoo Follow IAB’s Advice to Improve HTTPS Encryption

Following a recent call-to-action from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the search giants have made changes like HTTPS-encrypted display ads and email encryption extensions.

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