A very large global company who currently has over 200 staff in his Brisbane office. We have A LOT of upcoming projects and need to have more resources at our disposal and wants to implement “Cross charging across GLOBAL departments within a single organisation”. This will allow us to scale up very quickly.

This means there needs to be a structure change. We will need to implement time sheeting to keep track of work of individual employees as they get “secondment” to work on another project. We are VERY worried about staff motivation and morale with implementing time sheets due to the staff feeling they are getting watched like a hawk and billed correctly and thus affecting the overall culture.

E.g. Security team in Brisbane asked to do some penetration work for another office in another country, how to monitor the staff that have been moved onto this project are doing the hours they are asked to because the hours will be billed to the other office. He said that the only edge they have is it’s culture and cannot risk to lose this.

Other problem. Currently only have about 9 Managers for 200 staff. IF we implement this strategy how will they be able to keep people motivated and accountable? He feels he will need more managers/staff to keep this inline.

We already have the software to manage this, it is all about how to keep the current culture. Does anyone have any knowledge/experience on methodologies that could be used to manage the push back and keep the current culture during this implementation? It is important to make these changes as it will increase the ability to scale up in an instant for projects.

Thank you

From Australia, Brisbane
Dear Elroy,

First and foremost, thank you so much for bringing forth you actual workplace problem for the discussion and inviting the suggestion. To handle problem of your kind one will require to apply real knowledge of management. Skimming on the surface will not suffice.

To sum up, your challenge is (a) employees should across the sections and should not work only in their departments and (b) to do this you do not want them to maintain time log or time sheets lest they may get demotivated, this is what your fear is.

One of the solutions could be to encourage the employees to spare themselves from their routine and volunteer to work in other departments. At least 10% of their time they should spend for other departments. You can circulate office circular of this scheme and whoever takes initiative, publicise their names. Tell the managers to encourage their staffs for volunteering to work.

Now as the staffs come forward on their own, nobody will complain. You are not shoving it down in their throat. Give them suitable non-monetary rewards. Give them some extra points in Performance Appraisal (PA) also. Withdraw this scheme of extra points in PA after 1-2 years.

Famous company, Google, I am told, works on this concept of volunteering.

When one works in other departments, there are benefits too. Superiority complex towards one's department dilutes. Silo mentality also reduces.

Other seniors may give their comments.


Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Thank you for your reply.
Some very good points Dinesh, I feel some of these will work very well.
I have one slight problem with a model like that. As the reason we are implementing a cross charging across all of our global offices & departments is due to budget constraints. No department head wants their staff to go offline and work on another project that is not related to their own. Each department/branch around the world has their own budget and head count and hours worked comes out of this budget. As you can see we need to have a time sheet of some sort to keep an accurate track of what is owed to each department.
How would this work (or anyone else with a different idea?) if you HAD to use time sheets and not all work could be voluntary?
Thank you

From Australia, Brisbane
Dear Elroy,

Time logs or Activity Logs work best to track the personal productivity. However, if you tell the employees to fill the logs and forcibly start extracting the work from them then it may boom rang on you.

If your managers are not supportive of idea of cross-section working then the scheme is bound to fail. First you should have buy-in from managers.

If your Head Office is imposing it on you then they are treating their employees as per "Theory X" of Douglas McGregor.

If they start imposing it on you then employee may work in order to protect their employment. Nevertheless, it may get them demotivated and good ideas will never emerge from demotivated employees. Therefore, has your management taken note of cost of loss of opportunities?

By the way, why your management is interested in tracking the employees' time but not the targets? If they are tracking the targets and yet want to track the time also then it is too bad as they could be treating "employees" as "workers" and not as "employees" forget about treating them as "business partners".

Anyway, implement the scheme of Time Logs and confirm the outcome to us after 3-4 months.


Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore
These are very valid concerns when you implement any change and it is good to think of the potential repercussions even before these measures are implemented.
While there is no single solution solution to every situation (It depends a lot on Org culture, historical context, employee engagement and how employees perceive their leadership), what is obvious is that there is definitely an opportunity to implement this using a change management and communication plan.
There are a number of change management methods you could use based on your realities. Do let us know if you intend to seek professional help and we will be happy to talk. My email id is in my signature below.

From India, Mumbai
Could you advise on what some of these change management and communication methods are that I could look into?
From Australia, Brisbane
Change Management always has the following steps:
1. Planning the change
2. Communicating the change
3. Training
4. Implementing the change
5. Evaluating response/ acceptance and taking necessary actions
Every change intervention needs the sponsors to be very clear about the need and purpose of the change and communicate it to the employees in a way that states the purpose very clearly yet non threatening in manner. It is also crucial to identify change agents and drivers who believe in the mission and can be great bridges in deploying the change efforts.
In the entire process, COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT is a key factor that keeps your efforts together.
We at DimenZion3 can hep you plan and implement your initiatives through our consulting support. Thanks!

From India, Mumbai
Dear Elroy,

This is in addition to what I have written earlier. In fact I should have asked these question in my earlier posts. What is your finished product or service? What type of industry you belong to? These 200 employees are spread across how many departments? What is their education level?

Have you done the process mapping for each department? If yes then have you measured the cycle time for each process?

Have you done the "Time and Motion Studies" for each department? When you do the time and motion studies, you will come to know what amount of time is surplus at each department. Maintaining time log will be part of this activity.

Time and motion studies will help you in your recruitment, in finding out skill gaps, training, performance planning and so on. This is one of the most scientific way of working. Employees will not get demotivated because because of time and motion studies.

Nevertheless, this would be massive exercise and much easier said than done. It will take lot of investment of time and effort. Therefore, check whether your management has patience of doing this activity. However, once the time is invested, it will continue to give benefits for a long time.

To reduce the cost of operations, you may outsource certain process or automate certain processes. However, to arrive at these decision, basic exercise of time and motion studies is important. You may be able to club processes or eliminate certain processes altogether to save the time.

Hope this will satisfy your requirement now. Please come back after couple of months and confirm how did you handle this challenge.

All the best!

Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore
ElroyM, 'EmpXtrack Time management' module provides an exact solution to the type of problems highlighted by you. You may visit their website & try to interact with them to know further details.
When projects & time tracking in a multi-geography environment is effectively deployed, cultural integration gets facilitated. I am not sure if your present software enables that type of tracking.
Similar problems faced by some IT companies have been adequately addressed by EmpXtrack.

From India, Delhi
How the organisation has different depts/sections the employees also have different skills and liking to work in different sections.
Firstly it may not be accepted by all where they may feel why i have to leave my domain and spend in some other place. This may be due to work load/not interested to work than their area of skill.
secondly they may work but if some thing goes wrong who will share the blame/who will be responsible. This is an important demotivating factor.
Third some one worked for a duration and dont come after a period. This vacuum may create problem along the vertical line some vital information may not be available for decision making.
Lastly there should be compensation by some way or other which may be immediate (cash, momento, gift) or long term like promotion, increment, posting abroad.
You have to keep inventory of skills possessed by each of your employee so that you can take a call before assigning the duty.

From India, Chennai

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