The 3 Reasons Your Employees Don’t Do What You Ask (and what to do about it)

  • by ad_admin
  • Sep 13, 2021
  • Blog

Does it seem like no matter how many times you’ve asked, things still aren’t being done?

In this blog, we’ll walk you through a real-world example and suggest solutions so you can take the necessary steps to create a business which works for you, rather than the other way around!


Business owner is frustrated that their new employee is not filling out their timesheets. 

The employee has been shown twice how to complete their timesheet online and asked to submit it for processing by 5pm each Wednesday. But after two weeks it’s still not getting done correctly or on time. The bookkeeper has had to call the employee each week to request it. At this point you might question if your new employee is right for the job.

Here are five possibilities for to consider before taking further action:

Possibility 1: The employee doesn’t truly understand why filling in timesheets every week is important

Firstly, consider whether your employee understands why filling in the timesheet every week is important. 

They may feel they are a productive worker and get work done on time.

They may question the need to take extra time to go online and record how long each job took, rather than getting on with the next job.

In this situation it is important you explain why you expect timesheet to be done. It is beneficial to explain that as a business owner you need to track employee’s billable hours to ensure invoices to clients are done correctly and manage workloads.

Solution 1: Address why the task is important to the business

Communicating your perspective as a small business owner is important in allowing employees to understand why certain procedures are in place.

Often the challenge is that their perspective may not be the same as yours. Alternatively, employees may not want to look silly by admitting they don’t understand.

In my experience as a business coach, often businesses have position descriptions that set out the tasks that each employee needs to do in their role. Very few though set out the outcomes that they need to see achieved from doing those tasks. In this scenario, the TASK is – complete timesheet weekly and the OUTCOME is billable hours are accurately invoiced for each week.

Possibility 2: Employee doesn’t know how to fill in timesheet

In this scenario one possibility to keep in mind is that an employee has forgotten or misunderstood when they are due.

Even if you have shown the employee how to do it again, sometimes the communication style doesn’t match up and the misunderstanding continues.

Here at Kaibizzen, our experience delivering effective one on one business coaching has shown it is important to understand how your employees process information and communicate with them in a way that aligns with their needs. 

(Read this blog for more on communication styles.

Our top tip is to seek feedback from employees on how you can improve your communication.

Solution 2:  Check your employees understanding of the task

Here is an example of a great way you can approach this.

“I hear from the bookkeeper that your time sheets haven’t been completed correctly the last two weeks and haven’t been submitted on time. How are you finding the time-sheeting process? Is there anything that you’d like me to go over with you? I’m happy to give you as much training as required to help you feel confident with the system.”

Possibility 3: Your employee just doesn’t want to fill in his timesheet.

Solution 3: Approach employee with curiosity, not judgement before explaining consequences of inaction.

First step is to set up a meeting with your employee.

Here is an example of how to approach this conversation.

“You’ve been working here 3 weeks now. Three times we have sat down and done training on how to submit time sheets accurately. We also discussed the importance of submitting them by the company deadline, and you know how not submitting them correctly and on time affects the workflow of others. Despite this, for the third week in a row you have not done what you’ve been asked. Can you please tell me about that?”

This open-ended question allows your employee to explain anything that might be going on. They may make excuses or apologise. Whatever the response, it’s an opportunity to ask what they’ll do to rectify the situation and explain the consequences if the behaviour doesn’t change.

You could say: “you’ve told me you understand how to do this task, and that you understand how important it is. If it’s not done correctly next week, I will have no option but to give you a written warning.”

And of course, it’s essential to follow through and issue a written warning if the behaviour doesn’t change.

If there’s something your employees are not doing despite your repeated requests, we suggest you follow the processes above (solutions 1 to 3). Depending on the seriousness of the behaviour, you may enforce consequences sooner.

If you found these business tips helpful, contact our life and business coach team at Kaibizzen for your personalised success plan

The result of this one on one business coaching is your business improves as you improve, and all our clients tell us they saw improvements almost immediately.

At Kaibizzen, our business coaching process uses the PPP Method. This means we don’t just give you the theory, we coach you on it. The benefit for you is that you learn by applying these skills in real-time, in your specific contexts.

02 Oct

Panel Discussion

Tuesday, 6:30pm Quest Cannon Hill

What does it take to actually remove yourself from the day-to-day grind of business? Learn from our panel of Business Owners who've Been There, Done That.