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Time tracking software is ideal to keep tabs on how your employees are working throughout the day, including how you’re progressing on your company’s most important goals and whether there are any halt points for your team’s productivity. For example, you may be able to determine an employee’s key strengths and weaknesses based on the time it takes them to complete a task and redistribute your resources accordingly.

However, there are some hard limitations on what time tracking can do for your business.

Limitations of Time Tracking

These are some of the main limitations you’ll need to consider when implementing time tracking software in your company:

  • Diagnosing productivity issues. First, time tracking software is good at recognizing when a productivity issue is in play, but it’s not very good at diagnosing “why” a productivity issue exists. One of your employees is taking longer than the others to complete a similar task. Is it because they haven’t been properly trained? Or is it because they aren’t getting a good night’s sleep? The app alone won’t be enough to tell you. For that, you’ll need to dive deeper into the root causes of your employees’ performances.
  • Adopting time tracking. The majority of new time tracking implementations end up failing after the first year. Why is this the case? It’s partially due to the fact that time tracking systems are only effective if the entire team uses the system consistently, and understands how to use it effectively. If only half of your workers are using time tracking to measure their tasks, and most of them are manually entering time long after they actually did their tasks, you’re going to be left with highly unreliable data—which defeats the purpose of having a time tracking system in the first place. If your workers struggle to use the time tracking system, you could end up spending as much time learning and using the time tracking system as you initially saved with using it.
  • Disability discrimination. There’s a chance that employee tracking could also infringe upon employee rights in some cases. If you’re just using basic time tracking software, this likely won’t affect you, but if you start firing or penalizing employees based on their performance, you could run into issues with disability-based discrimination. For example, if you fire a worker for taking more time on a task than others, but they suffer from dyslexia, you could be accused of discriminatory practices.
  • Improving employee output. Finally, time tracking software won’t directly be able to increase your employee’s productive output. You’ll be able to learn certain strengths and weaknesses of your employees, and potentially deduce the root causes of low productivity, but it’s still on you and your managers to institute changes capable of driving better performance within the group. Time tracking is just a tool—not a be-all, end-all solution.

Is It Worth It?

These limitations aren’t indications that time tracking software is ineffective; instead, they serve as boundaries that define how time tracking is best used. As a reliable measure of employee performance, organizational efficiency, and even project value, time tracking can’t be beat; you’ll only run into issues if you try to use it for more than it’s truly worth.

If you haven’t yet adopted a time tracking platform, or if yours is failing to meet expectations, consider trying SAP’s time tracker, which boasts all the features you need to monitor your team and get the data you need to make better decisions.

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