Episode 06: Tracking Time

In this episode, Host Kevin Clune discusses how to get Help Desk employees to better track their time and how your business will benefit when they do.

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Kevin:Today I want to talk about tracking time. There are always occasions when your team is completely in the weeds with tickets and the work seems to just pile up to the ceiling. Many of you experienced this recently with the remote work transition and will probably experience it again now that your clients are transitioning back.

In a normal scenario (unlike the past few months) this pressure often prompts Decision Makers to go out and hire help. They want to show action and leadership in what appears to be a time of need. Unfortunately, if this was more of a “surge” and not intentional growth, the volume is likely to level out again, leaving your company overstaffed.

A comparison to this would be if Walmart hired thousands of workers for Black Friday (which they do) and then kept them on the payroll for months afterward, even after sales dropped and foot traffic slowed. The best way to prevent and manage this is through tracking and analyzing the time your Help Desk spends working tickets and determining how much of their time is actually being utilized.

Contract Level Insights

Kevin:When you do this correctly, this can lead to really valuable insights into your business.The challenge with this type of system is getting your people to “buy in” and understand that the intent is less about micro-management and more about deep insights into the company as a whole.

When your employees are accustomed to working freely without clock management, the shift toward documenting time is going to be met with a lot of pushback. We found the room to be somewhat divided on this. Some understood that several customers were over-utilizing their time and the only way we could prove this and stop it was through thorough documentation.

Others didn’t see the benefit of time tracking on All-you-can eat contracts. Their opinion was that it ultimately wouldn’t matter how much time they spent from a billing perspective and that this was just a way for us to over-manage them.

Employee Incentives

Kevin:The best way to get your team to buy into time-tracking is through an incentive plan. Hardworking employees should be rewarded and this type of company-wide program is the perfect way to give them the recognition they deserve. The amount in which you reward your employees is based entirely around what you can afford, since all MSPs charge different rates and have varying profit margins.

Structuring the bonus should be as simple as possible. The more complex it is, the less likely you are to get your team excited about it. I would recommend starting out with just a basic small incentive to get started and then begin building onto the program as you have success.

For example, maybe you want to offer a small bonus to every employee that logs over 50% of their 40 hour work week. While this isn’t a grand achievement, it is a step in the right direction. Then once everyone is getting this small bonus, start to institute larger bonuses for higher utilization rates. Eventually you should be able to get your employees logging over 70% of their time which will have a major impact on your business and your ability to maneuver.”

Overall Benefits

Kevin:The more they embrace it, the more data you can gather which you can use to shuffle resources and responsibility around to create a more efficient and happy team. You will also know exactly when to hire and when to fire based on actual data, not when your team is pressuring you to make a move. 

This is also really beneficial for those of you that still have Time and Material billing contracts. You will be surprised at how much more revenue you can generate when your employees are equally invested as you. 

Most importantly, you will also have a better idea of how profitable your Managed Services contracts actually are by tracking time worked on the account.  This now allows you to better renegotiate contracts as they come up for renewal as you can prove exactly how much service is being provided.