At Table XI we pride ourselves on finding elegant solutions to our clients’ business and technology problems. But with so much attention paid to our clients, we sometimes forget about ourselves.

Submitting timely timesheets has plagued us since day one. Our staff members find entering hours tedious, particularly when hard at work. We tried policy after policy, issued edict after edict, but despite the repeated calls, few were diligent enough to maintain hourly logs.

Lag in hour-entry meant delayed invoicing, and days of lost productivity while people scoured emails and instant messenger logs trying to figure out where their time went.

Our friend at RHR International, Nancy Picard, had a simple solution: give employees $5 cash at the end of each day their hours are kept current. Like Pavlov and his dogs, tightening the positive feedback loop encouraged staff to do the right thing, solving the problem practically overnight.

With everyone entering their hours daily, our logs are more detailed, with time being reported in fifteen to ninety minute intervals instead of three or four hour blocks.

Real-time hour-entry means we can:

offer hourly reporting to our clients on a weekly basis so they know where their money is going
invoice clients on the first of the month, improving our cash flow
better analyze the accuracy of our estimates
avoid being blind-sided when projects take longer than planned
$25 per employee per week across a staff of eight may seem like a big investment, but it pays dividends in increased accuracy and reduced frustration. And while such incentives may seem canine, nobody feels like they’re being thrown in with the dogs.

To tackle diversity recruiting honestly, we had to rethink each step