Time Tracking and Team Management
October 31, 2023
Welcome back to Business Unfiltered with Mercer and Jeff Sauer today's topic is Time Tracking and Team Management
0:00: Time tracking for teams, pros and cons. Mercer thinks time tracking for a team involves using tools like Time Doctor or Harvest to measure time spent on tasks. Jeff does not use time tracking for his team, preferring to trust his team members instead. Jeff prioritizes trust and productivity in his management style, but acknowledges the limitations of not tracking time. Mercer shared their experience with time tracking in the past, but found it challenging to maintain and eventually stopped using it. He emphasized the importance of balancing trust and oversight in managing a team.
4:57: Time tracking for employees and contractors. Mercer: Time tracking is important, but it's not always necessary for every team member, especially contractors. Jeff: Contractors should be given more autonomy and respect, and their work should be evaluated based on performance rather than time tracking. Jeff emphasizes the importance of tracking time for contractors to avoid tax issues and ensure they are doing contract work, not employee work. Sauer asks full-time employees to conduct a time audit to understand how they spend their time, bucketing it into strategic, tactical, and management areas, to optimize their work processes.
10:03: Time management and productivity for businesses. Mercer: Time audits help identify if roles are performing tasks correctly, and if clients are using time effectively. Team members should spend time on activities that energize them, not just tasks they enjoy occasionally. Regular time audits can help identify issues with client setup and team management, leading to better profitability and productivity. Team members can take on too much work without realizing it, leading to burnout or inefficiency. Jeff : Time tracking is essential for service-based businesses to determine profitability and identify unprofitable clients.
15:22: Time tracking, meeting productivity, and investing in employees. Jeff struggles with balancing investing time and resources in people with the potential return on investment for his business. He has fallen into the trap of over-training and under-charging clients, leading him to question whether he is costing himself money by investing in people. Mercer believes that managing meetings is a curse, as they always see team members as their potential future selves, which can lead to pushing them harder than necessary. He calculates the cost of meetings by dividing team members' salaries by their hourly rates and adding that total, including their own, to determine if the result justifies the time spent in meetings.
19:37: Using time tracking to improve business efficiency. Mercer uses time tracking to identify inefficiencies in meetings and make them more efficient. The team uses time tracking to avoid overloading their schedules and ensure they have wiggle room for unexpected tasks. Mercer uses time tracking to help employees self-manage, inputting estimated time spent on tasks and adjusting based on accuracy. Jeff says time tracking provides common sense guard, allowing for visibility into employee time classification and spending, without micromanaging.
23:07: Time tracking for profitability in a marketing agency. Jeff explains how his agency used a billable hour system to track client work and employee productivity. The agency faced challenges when implementing a fixed project price model, as employees were not meeting their hourly targets. Time tracking is necessary for businesses to allocate time spent on tasks and ensure profitability.
26:55: Time tracking for business operations. Mercer suggests tracking time to understand where team members are spending their time and identify areas for improvement. Jeff agrees, emphasizing the importance of tracking time even if it's not initially desired, and choosing the appropriate level of granularity. Jeff discusses time tracking options for businesses, from lightweight to more complex systems.
Topics Covered In This Episode
- Differing Perspectives on Time Tracking: Mercer advocates for using tools like Time Doctor, while Jeff Sauer emphasizes trust over tracking. Both discuss the importance of balancing trust and oversight for optimal team management.
- Contractor Autonomy and Time Audits: Sauer stresses respecting contractors’ autonomy and conducting time audits for employees, categorizing tasks into strategic, tactical, and management areas, aiming for a well-optimized work process.
- Identifying Efficiency and Role Alignment: Regular time audits are highlighted as a tool to uncover potential inefficiencies, ensuring team members focus on energizing activities, and identifying whether A-players may be risking burnout.
- Balancing Investment in People and ROI: Jeff Sauer delves into the challenges of investing time in people while maintaining profitability, the cost of meetings, and the potential pitfalls of pushing team members too hard.
- Enhancing Business Efficiency with Time Tracking: The podcast reveals how time tracking can pinpoint inefficiencies, help in managing schedules, and aid employees in self-management, thus improving overall business operations.
- Tailoring Time Tracking to Business Needs: The episode concludes with a discussion on the necessity of time tracking for profitability and different time tracking options, emphasizing choosing a system with the appropriate level of granularity for the business.