DATABASICS Time & Expense Blog

How To Respond To Employees In These 5 Tough Situations

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It can be (and often is) tough to be the boss. From afar, it can look like managers have it easy, but when problems arise, it’s the manager’s job to handle those problem in a way that’s fair, but effective. Of course, solving these problems is easier said than done. Here’s our advice for what to do in these tricky situations.

Employee problems and solutions

1) Four employees haven’t submitted their timesheets. Again. 

The problem:
It’s strange that timesheets come in late since those are an employee’s ticket to getting paid. However, timesheets still come in late because they were forgotten about or because the employer didn’t realize that the deadline had come and gone.

What to do about it:
Withholding pay not only isn’t legally allowed in several states, but it’s also morally the wrong thing to do. Instead, have a discussion about the problem, which shows that you’re paying attention and that it’s a disruption to your regular processes.

Another solution is to have automated emails from the CTO or CFO sent to employees who haven’t sent in their timesheets just before they’re due or the day before they’re due. Those can’t be ignored. Plus, automated software can send reminders at random times during the day so that it looks personalized (and it won’t be showing up at 2:01 p.m. every Friday) and is much harder to pass over.

2) The employee put on their timesheet that they worked 10 hours, but you know they only worked 7.

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The problem:
These differences in what was worked and what was reported can be a major problem. Employees might log more hours than they worked either because they aren’t properly keeping track or because they think the approver isn’t paying attention. It could also be a mistake in that they worked fewer hours one day and more hours another day to make up for it.

What to do about it:
Using automated timesheet software can automatically calculate hours worked and has easy Start/Stop buttons (with auto-stop at a certain time) that completes the timesheet for the employee. A timesheet that's automatically completed makes it less likely to accidentally submit incorrect information.

3) Your approval queue has had a few strange expense reports lately.


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The problem:
Expense reports can be a real challenge for both employees and approvers. First, employees need to provide proof and they need to file the correct information. Then, approvers need to take care to make sure the reports they’re reviewing are correct. Mistakes can happen, of course, but many employees have been caught filing fraudulent expenses in order to get more money back than they actually spent or to get the company to pay for non-company related expenses.

For example, we’ve heard of an employee submitting an expense report to pay for their iPhone because it had been lost at work. In another case, an employee tried to expense the cost of a tire replacement because the tire had blown out on the way to work. These aren’t even the strangest things found by employers, which stretches to include the cost of a match.com subscription and even the cost of a llama rental.

What to do about it:
At a macro level, training both employees and approvers on the consequences of wasting company funds can go a long way. Plus, keeping employees of all levels engaged and loyal to the company is good way to make sure that they don’t feel the need to work against the company.

On a micro level, automated expense report apps and software are an excellent way to help reduce the workload on the employee filing the expenses and the employee approving those expenses. The software can automatically reject expense reports that go against company policy or flag them as unusual for the approver to take a closer look. 


Related Article: How To Overcome The Biggest Leave Management Challenges

4) An employee is charging the wrong kind of time on their timesheet.

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The problem:
If an employee puts in the wrong time code, it could be on accident, but it could also be a way of avoiding using precious paid time off or personal days. For example, an employee might put in jury duty instead of vacation even when they haven’t been called to jury duty, especially if the company allows a few days of jury duty each year. The employee might see jury duty as time off that just hasn’t been taken, so they charge jury duty.

The problem is that paid time off isn’t being used appropriately. The company, which is expecting productivity in exchange for payment, isn’t get what it was promised and the employee is using unearned time in exchange for no work done.

What to do about it:
Again, maintaining a positive working environment in which the employee feels loyal to the company is a good way to stave off this problem. Automated leave management software can also assist with this problem since it can ensure that employees always know how much time off they have. The software can also alert approvers to any unusual time taken so that they look more carefully at it before approval. What also makes an approver’s life easier is that the software provides quick and easy access to all the information they need about how much PTO the employee has available to use and how many hours should be worked in a typical week.

5) You’re not sure if your remote employees are being productive.

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The problem:
When an employee works remotely, it can be difficult to know whether an employee is working all of their required hours. The result is that less work might be getting done. On the other hand, remote workers might feel that they get more work done in less time since they’re able to concentrate without distractions like co-workers stopping by for chats or unnecessary meetings. The discrepancy here is what the employee and the employee might feel is fair payment for work done. Employers want their full eight hours of work whereas employees want to get paid for getting the job done in less time.

What to do about it:
The major solution here is to communicate about it. Set expectations. Write up a contract that details what you expect when your employee works remotely. Within that contract, discuss scheduling, but also make it clear what will happen if expectations aren’t met. Essentially, if you create a process for getting work done, both sides can end up feeling good about the situation.

Once expectations are clear, using project tracking software is a good way to keep track of how much time is being spent on a particular task. This lets you stay in control of the budget and ensures that everyone is on the same page in terms of cost in hours and final output.

10 Best Practices for Mastering Leave Management

For more information on the DATABASICS Time & Expense solutions, contact us, or call (800) 599-0434.



DATABASICS provides cloud-based, next generation Expense Reporting,
P-Card Management, Timesheet Management, Leave Management, and Invoice Processing automation. Specializing in meeting the most rigorous requirements, DATABASICS offers the highest level of service to its customers around the world.

DATABASICS is relied upon by leading organizations representing all the major sectors of the global economy: financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, research, retail, engineering, nonprofits/NGOs, technology, federal contractors, and other sectors.

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