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how to stop employee time theft
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How to Stop Employee Time Theft

When you run a business, you want all processes to be as cost-efficient as possible. Your employees are crucial to the success of your company, but only if they’re truly giving their best effort while at work. Employee time theft can be a major setback for your business. However, there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening.

What is employee time theft?

Employee time theft refers to situations where employees are paid for hours they either didn’t work at all, or didn’t give sufficient effort to their work. Employee time theft can be hard to detect and can come in many shapes and sizes. For example, when an employee comes to work on time yet spends half of their day searching the web – that’s employee time theft. Or, when an employee is running an hour late for work, but gets another employee to sign them in on time. When you’re busy managing a company, it can be difficult to keep track of these instances. So, how can you put an end to employee time theft in your company? We detail some simple steps below to stop employee time theft.

Onboard your employees with all the rules and expectations

Employee onboarding is a crucial stage of the employment lifecycle. It is at this point that you can clearly point out to employees exactly what you’re expecting of them. Let each employee know that it is not appropriate to clock in for another staff member, and that doing so can lead to consequences for both parties. Explain to them exactly why this isn’t allowed – explain that it negatively effects the integrity of staff members, and of the company itself, and that it throws out the balance of workplace efficiency.

Outlining what is appropriate, and what isn’t, while on shift is also important. For example, staff in retail may think it’s okay to use social media whilst the store is free of customers. Explaining that downtime is for cleaning and restocking ensures that staff are well-informed of their restrictions. Being specific with language is key. Instead of asking “Can you clean that shelf” when there are no customers, say, “When there are no customers, you must always restock the shelves and clean them”. This leaves no space for alternative interpretations of tasks. Employing an onboarding software is a great way to train your employees to not commit time theft. You can upload training manuals and documents prior to commencing work, so each employee knows what is expected from day one.

Provide sufficient breaks

No one wants to work 9 hours without some time to stretch their legs and have something to eat. Scheduling sufficient breaks for your staff throughout the working day is a smart way to ensure they give 100% when they’re working. For example, if a staff member is working a full day, allow them a paid 10-minute tea break in the morning and afternoon, and an unpaid hour lunch break during the middle of the day. When employees know they’ll definitely get a chance to go for a walk and get a coffee and a snack, they’re more likely to organise their day around this. As a result, productivity and efficiency should increase.

Schedule intelligently

If your staff have mammoth amounts of time to twiddle their thumbs (and commit time theft), it’s likely that you could be better optimising your roster to achieve its maximum potential. In retail for example, weekdays are quieter than weekends. In hospitality, lunch and dinner hours are busier than mid-morning and afternoon. Adapting a roster to reflect these variances ensures that the staff you have scheduled on will always have something to do.

Intelligent scheduling software can be a huge help for rostering success. The right software can examine your wage costings, the efficiency of your employees, your peak workflow times, who works well together and what contracts each staff member is on, and create an optimum roster. As a result, you’ll only ever roster the right amount of staff for what is needed. In doing so, intelligent scheduling software can help eliminate employee time theft.

Use a time and attendance system with an inbuilt time clock

As explained, a common source of employee time theft is employees asking others to clock them in when they’re running late. Further to this, some employees clock in as soon as they get to work, even if their rostered shift isn’t for 30 minutes. One of the simplest and most effective methods of stopping this kind of employee time theft is to install a reliable time and attendance system. Using a live system with an inbuilt time clock, employees can sign in and out only on the time of their scheduled shift. This way, employees can’t claim extra minutes that you never intended to have them working. Employees are given unique employee ID numbers for the time and attendance system, and will need to use those to sign in on each shift. Plus, the manager will have to approve each time sheet created. These systems have complete visibility, so employees know that each timesheet logged can be seen by the shift manager and the boss.

Track staff performance to keep employees accountable for their efficiency

Tracking staff performance not only keeps you in the loop regarding each staff member’s efficiencies, but it encourages staff to be on top of their workload. If an employee knows their performance is being tracked, they’re much less likely to waste time at work. Furthermore, by tracking staff performance, you can set personalised goals for each employee so that they’re always working towards something. A recent survey by Salary.com found that 35% of employees wasted time at work because they weren’t challenged enough, and 32% did so because there wasn’t any incentive to work harder. Both of these issues can be addressed by tracking performance and setting goals to challenge and engage employees, and providing praise when they accomplish them. Performance tracking is also a feature of new intelligent HR software, and can go a mile in helping to stop employee time theft.

All-in-one intelligent HR software to stop employee time theft

Each of the above steps is effective alone. However, they are most effective in cohesion. The most efficient manner of stopping employee time theft is to employ an end-to-end HR software that can automatically complete all the above tasks: onboard employees properly, create intelligent rosters, and track both time and attendance and employee performance. Implementing this kind of software will not only stop employee time theft, but it will increase the efficiency and profitability of your entire workplace. You’ll no longer have to waste time on any HR or administrative tasks again.


Employee time theft can be a large cost to your business, but you can put an end to it by implementing several checks. Practicing proper employee onboarding, rostering intelligently, tracking time and attendance, and following employee performance will all help banish employee time theft. Many of these steps can be addressed by intelligent end-to-end HR software, which will help address other administrative problems too! Banish employee time theft today.


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