Guide To Employee Productivity Tracking Software

You’ve always tracked employee time, using the raw number to calculate payroll and trying to pull every piece of that basic data so you can plan ahead.

But workforce optimization, that magical mix of the right people in the right jobs meeting organizational goals, requires something more.

Employee productivity tracking, or labor tracking, is more than just mere clock-in and clock-out data. It’s about work output, employee location, employee preferences, in-flux shift changes—everything that’s happening in and around those clocked hours.

And with the changing workspace and a tight labor market, productivity tracking is more important than ever.

Advantages of employee productivity tracking

The advantages of tracking employee productivity are significant, ranging from productivity increases to better labor forecasting.

Improve productivity and engagement

Improving employee productivity is always at the top of the to-do list.

Disengaged employees are expensive, and can cost you about 34% of their salary. That doesn’t include the cost in their effect on other employees due to attitude or extra workload caused by underperformance.

An employee productivity tracker will bring engagement issues to the surface, helping you verify the completion of important shift task lists. Knowing that they’re accountable can help employees engage and focus on their work.

Track labor off-site 

When you let employees work from home or the road, you’ll benefit from some impressive statistics: 13% increase in productivity, 77% of employees becoming more productive than in the past, with 30% doing more work in less time. 

Labor tracking software makes it possible to keep tabs on your employees so that whether they’re in the office, on the road, or at their dining room table, they’re clocked in and doing the work you’re paying them to do.

Manage projects, estimates, and bids better

Project management relies on estimating how much time tasks will take. By using software to track employee productivity, you build data over time and know exactly how much time to allocate to projects. 

Without that data, you can’t make accurate bids and estimates.

If you’re not tracking productivity and know how long projects take, you are stuck with estimates based on guesses, not data.

Spot problems faster

Productivity tracking happens alongside the work, in real time. When problems arise, such as getting behind a project schedule or failing to do a key task, you find out right away.

Without productivity tracking, you might not know what the real problem was and instead focus on managing the crisis instead of making sure it doesn’t happen again.

Awareness of a problem as it happens provides an opportunity to make changes, confront an issue, or get others to help. Real-time labor tracking makes that possible.

Improve attendance and time fraud

It’s no secret that time clock fraud is a problem. 

Employees punch in for friends or for themselves when they aren’t actually working. This is especially challenging for managers with remote employees, or those who are on the road.

Labor tracking software lets you know when and what kind of work an employee is doing. It even lets you know where an employee clocked in.

Match time tracking data to effort

Tracking the hours an employee worked provides a general sense of what employees do, but that’s it.

With an employee productivity tracker, you can match up actual tasks or project work with employee timesheets to see what’s being done and when, spotting discrepancies with work done vs. time on the clock.

Labor tracking also makes it easy to see who is at work right now, which is useful if you need to ask a manager a question or connect a customer to a specific employee.

Give better employee performance reviews

Performance reviews can get a little vague without productivity data. And, if pay increases are based on performance, it’s difficult to use little more than observational guessing as the driving force. Making guesses can open you up to claims of favoritism or worse. 

Having tangible productivity data as the basis for performance puts you on solid footing when it’s time for reviews.

Increase trust and reduce stress

It might sound strange that productivity tracking can improve trust, but consider this: knowing how you’re performing frees you from worry.

If you have performance goals you expect from your team, having no way for them (or you) to measure it accurately leaves people unsettled. Did they hit the mark? Do they need to improve? There’s no real way to know unless they fail and find out during performance reviews.

Prevent billing errors

Some businesses bill clients per hour, and that means they need accurate tracking of just how much time an employee spends working on their project. 

In that scenario, an employee productivity tracker is a must.

It’s very easy to work on a project without realizing the time should be tracked. Think of the meetings, brainstorming, or emails that ought to be tracked but slip through. That’s lost revenue.

Improve labor budgeting

Labor budgeting, particularly during a time when labor shortages make hiring difficult, is one of the most powerful results of labor tracking. Few industries are exempt from the tight labor market, especially higher education and healthcare.

Being able to calculate direct labor costs is data that labor tracking software provides answers for. You can see historic and real-time data, making accurate calculations and plans for adjusting your workforce.


What does employee productivity tracking software do?

Employee productivity tracking software measures how employees are using their time. 

This includes time tracking as well as output or task completion. Ideally, it integrates with your time clock, scheduling, and payroll, and provides you with data that’s both real-time as well as useful for labor forecasting.

An employee productivity tracker should allow you to view labor forecasting data while scheduling so that you create more effective shifts.

How much does employee productivity software cost?

The cost of labor tracking software varies based on features. Some are based on number of users, number of admins, number of employees, or on a subscription.

Ideally, the software should allow you to try it out for free so that you can get a look around and see if its features and usability are a fit for your needs.

How difficult is it to onboard staff on employee productivity tracking software?

Good employee productivity tracking software should have a user interface that’s intuitive with a low barrier to entry. It will make onboarding staff easy because of inclusive features like:

  • Employee profiles where notes, contact information, and other documents are stored.
  • In-app communication to answer questions and get direct access to managers.
  • One-stop for everything work-related, such as schedule, communication, tasks, employee handbooks, team chat and feed, and shift swapping.

Instead of onboarding employees with many platforms or manual tools, the software encompasses all of it. 

Is employee productivity tracking software compliant with privacy laws?

Being in compliance with federal, state, and local labor laws is always a top priority. Even beyond that, not all employees are comfortable with what they might see as extensive or intrusive tracking.

For starters, be sure the software you choose to use is data secure and offers privacy protections to all users, from admins to employees. Their personal contact and location data is strictly need-to-know only. This is especially so with biometric data. Employee profiles, with important personal work information, should not be easily seen by anyone but administrators or applicable managers.

Generally speaking, most employees don’t have the assumption of privacy while on the clock and using company equipment. There are federal laws regarding electronic communications (e.g. Electronic Communications Privacy Act) that allow employers to track communication as long as they can show their reasons for doing so are legitimate business needs. 

Next steps for tracking your employee productivity and improving performance

Labor tracking to the extent we’ve listed in this blog post will never happen unless you use software. There is no viable manual method that encompasses what’s necessary today.

To start tracking employee productivity, you need to find software with these qualities:

  1. Cloud-based access. Between administrators, managers, and employees, the ability to clock in, see who’s clocked in, and see where they clocked in must be readily available anywhere. Plus, with the use of mobile devices, tablet time clocks, and employees working on the road or at home, cloud access (via both web and mobile app) is non-negotiable.
  2. GPS capability. To avoid time clock fraud, GPS capability that limits where a person can clock in has to be part of the package. For employees working from the road, you need to be able to see where they are. Clock ins on mobile devices mean nothing if you don’t know where they happened.
  3. Team communication. In-app chat and employee messaging is communication about work in the place dedicated to work. Avoid using multiple channels of communication to preserve clarity.
  4. Time clock. Having a built-in employee time clock in the software seems like an obvious requirement, but you can’t manage productivity without it.
  5. Overtime management. Part of tracking productivity is for peak performance without going past both financial and time budgets. Your employee scheduling software should make it easy to see overtime issues for specific employees or shifts so you can deal with it before it gets away from you.
  6. Priced right. Some employee productivity tracking software has more features than others, and the price point reflects it. What you need is software that’s priced right based on what you actually need it to do. 
  7. Integrations. Labor tracking is part of your bigger scheduling and payroll picture, and it should integrate with the other tools you’re using (or come with them built in). Lack of integration means you’ll be changing lots of software or procedures.

Get started with an employee productivity tracker today—sign up for a 14-day free trial with When I Work now.

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