5 Tools My Clients Swear by to Manage Their Teams
Managing your team is one of those challenges in life that only other business owners can relate to. Kind of like meeting someone who grew up in the same town as you when you're on the other side of the country - you have an instant bond. Like, "We're right here, man. You get it...you KNOW."
So I thought it would be super helpful to see what tools other business owners use to manage their teams and ultimately save their sanity. :)
1. Google Apps
This is an awesome one because it’s free to use with your Google account, has tons of storage, and is so simple and easy to use. You can create documents, spreadsheets, slide presentations, forms, and more, and invite others to collaborate, and/or view them. It also has apps for iPhone and Android devices, which is helpful when you’re out of the office.
Another reason my clients absolutely love Google Apps is because you can see edits happening live, in real time, as they happen. One example is a client that has a running spreadsheet of projects for an employee. On the sheet they can design it to include things like project descriptions, due dates, and questions/comments that they can collaborate on. My client knows when their team member is viewing the document and when previous edits were made, too.
TSheets is a time tracking and scheduling software that works as an app from your employees’ mobile devices. It also has desktop computer functionality, but from what I’ve seen, it’s true brilliance comes from its mobile capabilities.
From a mobile device, employees can clock in and out, track their time, request paid time off (PTO), as well as view their schedules so they know when they work next.
And here’s the #1 reason my clients love this app: GPS tracking. Yup, you read that right.
Here’s an example from a client of mine, a contractor who owns a commercial & residential construction business. He was having some serious issues with his crew, until he found TSheets.
Problem #1: With multiple job sites, some of his team members weren’t showing up on the right days, or even on the right job sites. Schedules got lost between verbal communication, emails, texts, mobile calendars, and scribbles on the back of receipts. (Yikes.)
Solution: TSheets allows him to schedule his guys to specific jobs, with the address and times they’re expected to be there. Then, the app will notify his team members when there’s been a change or addition to the schedule. So cool.
Problem #2: My client was getting so frustrated when it came time for payroll (more on that to follow), because he would receive hours from some of his team members that he knew weren’t right. He knew that the amount of work that had been done on a project didn’t match the time his employee claimed he worked. The problem was my client couldn’t prove that his employee’s hours were inflated.
Solution: With TSheets, whenever the employee is clocked in, the app is using GPS to track their location. And if you’re thinking…what if my employee gives me the, “I forgot to clock in” excuse – well, TSheets has you covered on that as well. The app will send a friendly reminder for them to clock in for their shift. So long inflated time cards! …and so long honor system! ☺
Another cool bonus of using TSheets is that it is integrated with Quickbooks! So handy. In one click, you can sync time cards into Quickbooks. Ahhh technology. You’re so beautiful.
Here’s some information about pricing:
TSheets has a free 14-day trial with no credit card to start. Then once the trial period is finished, there are four payment options.
Here are the per month options, but if you pay annually you save 20%.
Free: 1 user, up to 5 projects.
1 User: Unlimited projects, and includes scheduling. $10/month.
2-99 Users (Most Popular): Unlimited projects. $5/month per user, + $20 base fee. $1.25 per user/month to add scheduling.
100+ Users: Unlimited projects. Unlimited projects. $5/month per user, + $100 base fee. $1.25 per user/month to add scheduling.
This is somewhat similar to TSheets, but it’s got a little different kick to it. HomeBase is geared more toward scheduling than time tracking.
Employees can view schedules, request time off, shift trades, covers, and more through the app. Instead of employees having to call or text each other, they can do it right through the app, which sends the request for supervisor approval. No more “He said he was going to cover my shift today” nonsense.
My clients love that they can create their own templates and save/copy them over for the future. Everyone’s schedules are neatly coded and organized to minimize confusion.
Another cool feature is that you can turn any browser or tablet into a time clock, no matter where you are. You can set up multiple time clocks in a location and sync them all in the cloud.
Oh, and yes, it does time sheets, too. Homebase even tracks and checks for errors for missed shifts, missed clock-outs, etc. It also tracks breaks, overtime and time off, and even cash tip declarations.
Want to know an even better part? Most of what HomeBase offers is free.
Check it out here.
4 & 5 Asana and Harvest
Used separately, Asana and Harvest are absolutely wonderful and raved-about programs, but used together they have awesome capabilities.
This is a project management tool for small-to-medium-sized businesses that uses due dates, tags, and tasks to keep teams up-to-date on what they’re working on. This helps team members to stay in the loop and ask questions or comment through the program to keep communication open and ongoing.
My clients love it because things just don’t slip through the cracks. Each team member knows exactly what he or she needs to be working on, and when. It can be so easy – and so infuriating – for team members to have some miscommunication about who is doing what on any given task or project, leaving a large piece of the puzzle to be filled last minute.
My clients have seen an increase in productivity amongst their team, and happier clients as well. They think it may have to do with the fact that their team is holding each other accountable through the program, and motivate and inspire each other as they collaborate along the way. Projects are almost always completed on time, give or take some that had special circumstances, and the team’s final product is high-quality work – making for very happy clients.
A couple quick disclaimers:
It does have a fairly steep learning curve, but I'm told once you get past that, you're on your way to business bliss.
Along with this it can be a bit pricey if you have a fair-sized team, and want a robust system. Their paid/premium version is $8.33/per user, per month, billed annually.
This is something very similar to TSheets, as it’s time tracking software that employees can use on their Apple or Android devices. It also offers expense tracking, invoicing, and time sheet approvals.
It also has tons of integrations (one of which I’m about to hop into), but in case you don’t have Asana, or don’t want it, but you do want to track time using Harvest, you can.
Here are just a few of Harvest’s integrations:
...and there's even more than this...holy guacamole. Click here to see all integrations.
Harvest + Asana
Time can be tracked using Harvest within tasks in Asana, allowing you to see how long your employees are spending on any given task or project. It makes it easy to see which team member(s) may need assistance or need to be more productive, on specific projects. Both of these tools allow the business owner to track productivity and project statuses from wherever they are.
Do you have any tools to manage your team that you swear by? ☺ Let me know in the comments below, or tell me what you’re going to go take action on!