Labor Costs: Six ways employees are stealing time

If you are monitoring overall labor costs, you are starting in the right place. However, if your idea of monitoring the labor costs is reviewing the cost as a percent of sales each month, you are likely giving up profits to your employees for work not done!

Let’s start with some of the ways that employees can steal time from you.

  1. The Buddy System- Using a co-worker to start the meter on the POS before said employee arrives. Basically, one employee (or friend) punches in for another when they are not there, or will be late. The best part? It likely goes both ways- so TWO employees are stealing time.
  2. The Cell Phone – calling, surfing, texting, playing…I cannot count how many times I have been in a drive-through and waited on an employee to finish a text before taking my credit card or handing my food. In addition, as I sit there and wait, I see other employees standing behind the counter using their phones as well.
  3. Clocking out for a half hour meal break, and taking an hour.
  4. Socializing with other employees or with friends who stop in to say hi instead of taking orders or preparing food or whatever their job responsibility is.
  5. “Forgetting” to clock in or out at the beginning or end of a shift.
  6. Unlimited access to edit time in and out in the POS after the fact.

Studies have shown that this time can add up to nearly five hours per week per employee. Do we even need to do the math? Yes, let’s.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Make sure you add 15% for payroll taxes, worker’s comp insurance and other benefits that you are paying for, so your full cost per hour is $8.34. For one employee on a weekly payroll schedule, that’s $41.75, or monthly, roughly $170, annually, $2,171 per year.

How many employees do you have? Can you afford to pay $2,171 each year for each employee that is not really doing their job? Do you want to?

The next two questions you should be asking yourself are:

  1. How can I determine if employees are stealing time?
  2. How can I prevent it?