Gamify the registration of working hours!

Since I made a career switch into a Gamifier and have my focus on Gamification, I see things differently. “How can I make something more fun?”, is a question that often pops into my mind. This is also the case with the time registration process for employees. A nightmare to most of us. Sometimes it puts pressure on people that really don’t need it and it just is a very boring task, that people hate. In bigger companies people are hired to chase the employees that don’t register their worksheets properly. Waste of time and money in my opinion. Not to mention the negative vibe that surrounds it.

Just recently I wondered why people hate this so much. The answer is clear, it’s lack of trust and a feeling of being watched constantly. Good employees don’t need this. So let’s change this boring activity for the good. I know, Managers will tell me that they need the registration of working hours to calculate the costs of a project. Who can argue with that? The thing is, it can be done in a much better way.

It all starts with having trust in your employees. I might add the underexposed subject, trust. The lack of trust makes us hold on to these old fashion mechanisms. The solution is actually very simple and without a doubt there will be people that have arguments against it. They probably find a disadvantage as well. However, I am convinced that they are no match for the benefits we can gain from this. Here it is:

  1. A thorough estimation of the hours is needed before the project starts.
  2. Check if the hours budget is profitable.
  3. Start the project without keeping track of the working hours. We already know the hours budget, which is sufficient.

At the end of a project we have 3 possible scenarios:

  1. The project is exactly on time. Meaning: hours budget equals real hours.
  2. The project isn’t finished yet. Meaning: now the extra hours have to be registered.
  3. The project is finished before the deadline.

The consequence at scenario 1 is simple, there isn’t one. Project is delivered exactly on time.

Scenario 2 should be avoided. Now the extra hours have to be registered. Feels like a penalty, one that makes perfect sense. The hours budget is exceeded and we need to know the amount of extra hours spend on the project. This also creates an advantage. Employees have to register their hours now and are confronted with the extra time this project costs. Employees might do some overtime to avoid this. A much better approach, now writing time makes perfect sense. It makes the whole process more transparant.

The consequence of scenario three is up to the organization. I would give the employees to do whatever they want with the hours “they” saved. That is a nice reward and a huge motivation towards the next project. Now don’t be afraid that all projects will be overestimated. If this would be the case it can be adjusted if it happens to often. However it isn’t a real problem since the budget was correct on forehand.

It’s obvious that this will work perfectly if Gamification is added to the process. Rewards, badges, points and feedback loops turns this boring activity into a process of joy. Something that will make every employee happy!