The demand for “clock in” and “clock out” is a concept derived from the industrial revolution. Society transitioned from a rural life towards machine-driven labor in factories. The modern time clock was invented in 1888 by Willard Legrand Bundy, a jeweler in Auburn, New York. He used time to calculate employees’ pay. This flawed method reinforces the outdated employer’s idea that time is money.
Before people were punching clocks, results created economic value. The fruit of one’s labor (literally) created wealth, not the time spent on their field or in their field! Let’s go back to linking compensation to results.
The main reason why employers use time to measure compensation is that it is easier to calculate pay based on units of time. However, the real value is the result produced, not the time spent. To this day, our laws and traditions value a laborer’s time per hour.
That said, time does play an essential role in managing a business because it is a limited resource that can more easily be managed. Like any limited resource, a manager will want to yield the highest return on their employees’ time in order to attain their highest priority goals. The return measurement will be goals achieved per unit of time. Therefore, it is essential to connect time with results to optimize your company’s performance. One important key to doing this is to understand how long it will take to achieve any given outcome. For instance, if you ask an employee to write a blog, it would be essential to know how long this would take for productivity and compensation purposes.
It requires conscious effort to link an employee’s value to their results. However, if you put in the effort to connect time with results, both employers and employees will have much more confidence in each other. The employer will feel that they are getting their money’s worth (return on investment) and the employee will be assured that the manager knows how hard they had to work to achieve the desired goal. Today’s time measurement tools are much descriptive and user-friendly than punching a clock. Have your team describe their accomplishments and what they created in any given time block. Let them toot their own horn and contribute to their trust bucket.
The key to pulling this off successfully is to emphasize the purpose of these tools for your company culture. We measure time from the mindset of employee optimization of time, not surveillance. Evoke, for your employee, the feeling of autonomy in their work because they have the flexibility to improve their performance over time. In that case, providing them a tool to help them be conscious of their actions should be a welcome addition to their work technology stack.
Build trust by setting goals, prioritizing, and measuring results against time.
Marry business results with time spent on projects. Quantify results by setting clear, measurable goals that have a time of execution component. To have confidence that spending time on a particular plan will result in its completion, you must measure the time. Provide the opportunity to communicate execution throughout your team. Set crystal clear, measurable goals that align with your company’s mission.
- Identify the company’s highest priority goals that move it towards its mission.
- Create a written plan for each goal with specific actions for each team member.
- Prioritize the actions, so your employees know where to spend time.
- Schedule in the prioritized actions with a duration to complete each action.
- Execute the actions.
- Have an accountability strategy.
- Capture the time it takes to complete actions with a time tracking tool.
- Periodically review the return on time by employee and at the team level. Evaluate whether the amount of time spent (the resource) aligns with the highest priority goals.
- If you are not getting the results, take an in-depth look at the process to see if: (a) time is being spent on lower priority goals or (b) if the time is not being “spent” efficiently or effectively.
- Revise the process accordingly based on the results in step 9 and achieve your mission!
This process only works if you get the buy-in of your team. Make it clear that the measurement of their time is NOT a way to micromanage them because you do not trust them. Emphasize that you are focused on getting the highest return on their time because you value it and so that the company can achieve its mission in the most efficient and effective manner. Make it easy for employees to express the value they are creating. Treat your team with the respect, autonomy, and trust you also expect to receive. When you begin with trust, set clear expectations, and manage based on results, everyone wins.