Timesheet Fraud Can Drain Resources. And Morale.
One of the key topics that we discuss with business customers early on is how GPS tracking can improve timesheet verification of their employees out in the field. For some organizations, this topic can be very uncomfortable. Not only are you bringing into question the trustworthiness of your employees, but perhaps even the integrity and loyalty of supervisors and payroll staff.
If human emotion was not a consideration, the cold, hard numbers would make any effort to improve timesheet verification a favorite topic for business owners. Saving just a couple hours a month per employee can have a significant impact on the bottom line, representing an opportunity to delay the hiring of additional staff, improve profit margins, and market competitiveness.
But rarely is the question of timesheet validity a simple clerical issue. Aside from the potential criminal implications (many states consider timesheet fraud a form of larceny) and civil repercussions (ie. having an employee sue in civil court), any attempt to implement an improved verification system runs the risk of disrupting the status quo in the organization. If employees are accustomed to padding their timesheets with a few extra hours of overtime every paycheck, or taking time off during the day to run personal errands, it may be that they consider the extra pay an entitlement that they deserve. After all, they may have been doing this for years with no consequence whatsoever. And supervisors may have grown accustomed to looking the other way as well, seeing it as an opportunity to reward their staff and keep them happy.
It is important to remember though that the morale issue cuts both ways. For those employees that do not pad their timesheet, this behavior among their coworkers can be perceived as an unfair, even immoral activity leading to resentment towards both the coworkers who are taking advantage of the situation as well as of the employer who allows the behavior to continue. Left unchecked, even the most honest and loyal employee will eventually begin to question why they should not take advantage of the “fringe benefit” of padding their timesheet, or perhaps even leave the company in an effort to find a work environment that meets their higher sense of work ethic.
As tough as this problem can be to tackle, it is imperative for any organization with employees in the field to insure that the hours being paid to each individual accurately represents their contribution. While the traditional “honor system” or “supervisor verified system” can insure that the majority of the timesheets submitted are accurate, the addition of a tool like GPS fleet monitoring can significantly reduce the potential abuses in both systems. Fleet monitoring provides an exact record of where each vehicle was in over the course of the week, making it very risky for an employee to claim they were working when there is a record showing the vehicle was at home or at the mall, and supervisors will no longer have to choose between ignoring an extra hour or two on a timesheet vs. a confrontation with a coworker/friend.
If you have been considering the implementation of a fleet monitoring solution, be sure and ask us how GPS tracking can be used to improve the productivity of your field staff and level the playing field for your honest employees.