Payroll management, in an ideal world, would be smooth, easy and accurate. Tracking systems would never glitch, no one would ever have an oops and forget to clock in or out, and employees would always be 100% honest about their timesheets.

Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but time tracking, like pretty much everything else about the realm of human resources management, is wrought with imperfections (that’s one of the reasons why Human Elements is at your service). Even if you and your company do everything in your power to avoid mistakes and misdeeds, they’re going to happen. You need to be prepared to react.

Let’s focus on the unfortunate tendency of humans to give into temptation and lie, specifically as it pertains to monkeying with their hours. It’s easy to see why a worker might be tempted to try and get a little more than they’re due from their employer with timesheet shenanigans—it doesn’t hurt anyone, right? Actually, wrong—falsifying timesheets is stealing, plain and simple, and it hurts a business and everyone working there. Responding to such shenanigating decisively, and fairly, is important to prevent such theft in the future. Here are some handy tips:

  • If you suspect a staffer has been falsifying their timecard, check with your employee handbook to see what policies touch upon this problem. If there’s nothing in your handbook covering timesheet falsification, rectify the situation.
  • Has your company encountered this specific problem in the past? If so, look back at how HR management responded to the problem then—make sure you’re not coming down hard on this employee when your HR team was relatively lenient on that
  • Hear their side of the story before passing judgment or disciplining the employee in question. There could be an innocent explanation for the oversight (like a slip of the keyboard when entering their time), an error in judgment (they worked on the weekend and instead added the time on a weekday for ease of recordkeeping), or other reason for the mistake.
  • Choose a corrective action that’s fair and fitting, and not excessive. If the timesheet error can be chalked up to a simple misunderstanding or other minor misstep, a verbal warning is a likely option. If it’s a first offense, you may choose to file a written warning, according to the principles of progressive discipline. Termination might be your choice for repeat or egregious offenses. Whatever your plan of action, make sure the employee and other staffers are clear that you expect timesheets to be accurate, and the employees to be honest.

Time tracking and payroll are a bear, but with smart planning and decisive correction when things go awry can help keep the process more smooth and streamlined. If you’d like some solid advice, contact Human Elements—we’re always here to help.