Bandits don’t always wear ski masks and sunglasses. Some wear suits and ties while some wear uniforms and badges. Time thieves are bandits who show up to work like everyone else and flash a smile your way as they doctor their time cards and timesheets to boost their paycheck. When an employee commits time theft, they are taking money right out of your business. Time theft by false pretenses is a common problem, and the following are some ways you can turn back the clock on time thieves in your company.
Update Your Time and Attendance Software
Time and attendance software creates a reliable record of an employee’s attendance and absences. It is the bulwark that protects your business from time theft. You should regularly update your software to ensure that it is secure from employee tampering.
It is also advisable to automate your system as much as possible. Automation will help reduce the potential for human error and improve the accuracy of your time records. It will also free up considerable time for your managers and staff, which in turn will provide a boost to their productivity.
Establish Trends, Set Goals, and Hit Time Targets
Whether you have 5, 50, or 500 employees, everyone must work on the same clock. One employee who shows up late can become 10, and 10 employees who leave early can become 20. Monitor the trends in your workplace so that you can identify problem habits before they impact your bottom line.
Once you identify the trends, you can speak with each employee individually to determine the reasons they are arriving late, leaving early, or enjoying an extra-long lunch. Be compassionate regarding legitimate purposes such as family emergencies and health issues. However, reinforce company policy and impress upon the employee the importance of arriving on time, leaving on time, etc.
Set goals to help them improve and monitor their progress. You may also offer to adjust their work schedule if such a move is feasible and beneficial to both you and the employee. If the patterns don’t correct themselves, you may need to take sterner measures up to and including termination of employment.
Clearly Communicate Policies
Many times employees don’t realize they are time thieves. Often, time theft is the result of poorly communicated policies regarding late arrivals, early departures, sick days, and vacation time. Make sure that you disclose your attendance and leave policies within your employee manual. When potential problems emerge, promptly and privately address these with the specific employee.
Be Prepared to Pursue Legal Action
Employees who submit falsified time records commit the crime of time theft each time they do it. By obtaining compensation for work they have not performed, they are illegally compensating themselves at your expense; and at the cost of your other employees. Even a few dollars here and there can add up and sink a business if the behavior goes unchecked.
Time theft is a complicated crime to prove if you don’t have accurate, reliable records to back up the charges. Again, using modern time tracking software can help support your case. Depending on the laws of your state and the size of the theft, a District Attorney may opt to pursue criminal charges. Conversely, a private attorney may be able to pursue a civil claim to recover the misbegotten funds. It’s an unenviable course of action. However, if the theft is substantial, it may be necessary.
Contact Greenlink Payroll at (480) 385-2525 to discuss the payroll services we offer. We are masters at the art of helping clients stop the clock on time theft.