Every other week, On Small Business reaches out to a panel of young entrepreneurs for answers to some of the most pressing questions facing small business owners. The following responses are provided by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).
Q: How strictly should business owners enforce employee hours? Does your company subscribe to a performance-based philosophy or do you still maintain a close eye on timesheets and time off?
Marcos Cordero, CEO/co-founder of GradSave in Miami, Florida:
“I believe that a combination of clocking in/out and being task-oriented is important when considering employee hours. But it goes without saying that achieving daily, weekly, monthly, and, ultimately, annual goals is the primary responsibility of each position, regardless of the amount of time to takes to get done. It’s a known fact that a startup can sometimes demand long hours, so an employee has to be willing to stay late, if need be.
GradSave desires a company environment that is enjoyable to be in as well, so we do not have strict regulations about clocking in or out. We don’t want employees to feel “chained” to the desk, as this does not spur creativity and motivation, which I believe are directly correlated to an employee’s performance (and, consequently, the company’s success).
As far as time off, we keep it to a minimum, but do offer flexibility in working from home.”
Liam Martin, co-founder of Staff.com in Ottawa, Canada:
“At TimeDoctor.com, we track all of our employees’ key productivity metrics because that’s what we sell — productivity software for employees. Ironically, the least important metric we track is how long employees work. If you tell an employee that they have to work 30, 40, or 50 hours a week they will work those hours; they’ll sit there and do busy work until their time is up and then go home.
We instead track key responsibility areas (KRAs). So instead of saying “You have to work 40 hours a week as the server admin,” we tell an employee, “Your job is to keep the server running, and every second that it’s down is bad news for you and us.”
Or instead of saying you have to work 30 hours a week on answering customer service tickets, we instead say, “Any ticket that isn’t answered within 24 hours is bad news for you and us.”
We use Time Doctor in conjunction with employees’ KRAs so they have data on how efficiently they accomplish their tasks and how well their co-workers accomplish tasks so they can improve their completion of their KRAs and in turn, work smarter -- not longer.”
Jonathon Sawyer, Owner/chef at SeeSaw Restaurant Group in Cleveland, Ohio:
“We only care about employees being on time and/or early. Our salaried managers definitely abide by a “get the job” done policy, but as it is in the restaurant world, they work long hours and their passion keeps them in the office/kitchen until the job is done.
We do monitor servers and hourly employees in order to keep labor costs in line, but if you’re a motivated employee and ready to work, we have no problem with overtime or extra hours. Our time off policy is pretty basic: you have set number of “days off” (sick, vacation, personal, etc). You take the time you need -- and if you go over, you no longer get paid for your time off. Other than that, we respect your privacy.
I do try to maintain that all employees work only five days per week. It’s important to have two days to regroup and relax so you can be focused on your work when you’re there.”
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of promising young entrepreneurs.
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