Re: How do you track employee work hours and how do you motivate them to work well?
First off Scheduling is one of the hardest parts of dealing with employees. Tom wants Thursdays off for poker night, Mary picks her kids up from the sitter at 4pm, Jenifer doesn't work on weekends. Ahhh! There are no really good answers. We plan on 1 hour before opening wait staff start time 2 hours for Cooks. We try to overlap busy time as much as possible to keep revolving customers through lunch an dinner rushes. But that gives us a lot of dead time between 2-5pm. So we overlap a bit on both sides.
Motivation is always a problem. Some people come to WORK. Others for a paycheck, and lastly because they are forced to. You don't need to motivate the ones that are there to WORK. But they do appreciate incentives and recognition.
I have found that anyone there for a paycheck cannot be incentivized enough to do more than what they feel like doing, doesn't mater how much they get paid. Go ask a union worker to do something that isn't in their job description. No joke.
The last group are those forced to work. They are a mixture of the both other groups. Either necessity means they need the extra cash, or these days more often the case, working is a condition for other life circumstances. These tend to be the most volatile, pervasive, and the group that has the most turnover. People in this spot like incentives, bonuses but they will only motivate them so far. They may start off strong but then quickly peter off.
Some of the incentives that we offer are year end bonuses for those willing to stick out a full year(8months for our year). And I as a working owner, I don't take home tips if anyone else is also working. I also occasionally offer Production Bonuses. Clear out(sell) all of a discontinued item and get $50. Also if we EVER beat our highest producing day by $1000 everyone gets $50 extra. I think you can see the ratcheting incentive there. Our Bookkeeper hates it but it works.