The C-Suite Needs to Get Smarter About Time

Executives must adapt to modern workplace realities and find the most efficient way to manage their diverse workforce.
time management executives

With today’s pressures to maximize productivity and growth, executives must proactively adapt to modern workplace realities and find the most efficient way to manage their diverse workforce. To do so, today’s executives already meticulously track and manage their company’s finances, resources and materials — but they aren’t dedicating the same amount of attention to arguably their most valuable asset: their employees’ time.

On average, employee time contributes directly and indirectly to 60 percent of a company’s operational expenditures, and the ability to properly optimize this time has the potential to make or break a company’s bottom line. Here’s why the C-suite needs to get smarter about enterprise time in 2018:

The contingent, mobile and deskless workforces are here to stay.

Today’s workforce is more dispersed and diverse than ever; accurately and efficiently tracking it is imperative. Because globalization, technology and shifting demographics are driving the change in how and where we work, executives must make it a priority for their organizations to effectively manage their dispersed workforce in its entirety — from part-time employees and seasonal workers, to full-time employees and remote employees.

Disparate and manual systems create organizational vulnerabilities.

Too many companies still rely on manual, paper-based systems or Excel spreadsheets to try to track such things as time, attendance, vacations, sick leave, project status or billing. The reality is that these systems are hopelessly outdated — they simply cannot track employee time by different billing rates or hourly rates, provide an audit trail or scale with a business as it grows.

RELATED: Is Time Still the Best Measure of Work in the Knowledge Economy? 

Multiple systems track time today — CRM, ERP, HR, PSA, project management — but they all do it in different, unconnected, unshareable ways. Time goes missing because it’s too hard for employees to track it accurately and in real time. Without seeing time across their enterprise in one unified system, executives will lack an easily accessible centralized view of how time is spent on a macro and micro scale in their companies. And, ultimately, if the C-suite isn’t providing a modern, frictionless, time tracking system for employees, they are robbing them of a deeper understanding of how they are spending their time and the opportunity to improve and be more productive (for their own benefit and for that of the company).

Noncompliance is more perilous than ever.

Global labor compliance issues are on the rise. Wage and hour litigation has skyrocketed by 358 percent since the year 2000 in the U.S., and overtime pay salary threshold classifications in the U.S. are in flux. Litigation for unpaid wages has cost Australian businesses more than $250 million in the past decade. Japan is attempting to remedy its rampant overtime problem, and labor disputes are on the rise in the Philippines, South Africa, the UAE and China. Thus, it’s more important than ever for executives to ensure that employee time is tracked and managed in a detailed and accurate fashion.

Executives should be wary of employing simple time-tracking tools because their lack of sophistication can put the organization at risk of noncompliance with specific employment laws (for example, manual time tracking tools cannot flexibly adjust as your company expands geographically).

Time is not treated as an asset

The bottom line? Time is universal in any business. Yet without the right systems, there’s no easy way to understand time spent and connect it to a company’s work, accomplishments, events and results. The disconnected silos of time information (resulting from manual and disparate systems) do not allow the company to treat time as a valuable asset — but that’s exactly what it is.

A thousand-person company has around two million hours at its disposal in any year, and how the C-suite plans and utilizes them is what ultimately drives their company’s success.

Raj Narayanaswamy is co-founder and co-CEO of Replicon. To comment, email editor@talenteconomy.io.