Clocks & Accountability: Time Management Within Your HR Employee Management System
Whether you manage employees in government, construction, health care, retail, restaurants, manufacturing or utilities, every worker clashes with time management now and again and could benefit from better administration of their workday.
Researchers have discovered that exercising more discipline in how employees manage their time can free up 20 percent of their workweek. Considering that your average worker, manager, or senior executive has to respond to dozens or hundreds of emails per day and attend several meetings in between projects and tasks, that’s reassuring news.
Additionally, in a recent research post by jobs-listing tech firm Indeed, it states: “Time-management problems are the challenges people encounter when trying to maximize their effectiveness in their career and personal life. Many people commonly feel as if the time available for certain personal and professional tasks is somewhat limited, or that the demands on that time exceed what is available. They might also experience a wide array of perceived obstacles to the effective use of that limited time.”
If your employees are having trouble managing their time, here are some critical steps you can take to help them. However, you’ll also want to consider what type of HR employee management system you are using for time clocks, attendance, flexibility, payroll, accuracy, and accountability.
Be Clear on What Your Organization or Company Expects
Meeting deliverables and project deadlines on time can be achieved by making clear expectations in meetings and one-on-one discussions, and repeating them as needed. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, such as:
- Communicating goals, due dates, priorities, and accountability for assignments using direct language and project schedules.
- Whenever a new team member joins, discuss team culture. Onboarding should emphasize how employees are expected to attend meetings on time and that time management is important.
Introduce New Skills and Techniques
Educating employees on better time management at work is an excellent way to help them improve their time management skills — and the type of labor management tools you use at the human resources level is key. The best time management training includes techniques for staying organized and managing resources effectively. An effective time management program should focus on the following three areas:
- Organizing and prioritizing: It is important for employees to learn how to plan and estimate the timing of key tasks in their day so they can be prepared for each one. The ability to prioritize also allows employees to avoid having to catch up on deliverables they may have overlooked.
- Coordination skills: Time and space must be organized. An employee can miss deadlines or arrive late to meetings if their workspace is disorganized, resulting in wasted time looking for lost items.
- Conversational and communication abilities: Employees can be taught how and when to report their work progress during training that focuses on improving their communication skills.
Minimize the Problem by Identifying its Source
Discovering the source of time management issues can be the first step toward resolving them, whether one gets caught up in the details of lower-level priorities or overwhelmed by work volume. Here’s how it works:
- Discuss the exact issues at hand: Talk about time management issues openly with employees to find out what is causing them. Employees complaining about not having enough time to complete work and feeling burned out may be reassured and helped to understand which responsibilities are more important.
- Keep distractions to a minimum: Workspace configurations that are inefficient or have high levels of white noise are good examples of distractions. Providing flexible working arrangements could be a solution, allowing employees to work remotely on larger, more complex projects.
- Establish a time log: After employees have completed a time log for a week, examine their alignment with priorities, where they got off track, and strategies they can use to get back on track. Their personal reflection will be directed by this tool, which helps them improve in the future.
Become a Helper and Offer Assistance
It may be obvious to some employees they need help with time management but not so obvious to others. It doesn’t matter what the situation is; you can offer help and support to employees who are struggling to organize their time efficiently. This is where your workplace software system needs to be a compelling platform for all the above — employees, supervisors, and senior managers. There are usually quite a few effective techniques to choose from:
- Asking your employees what you can do to help them periodically.
- Dividing large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. Employees can work in small teams.
- Meeting individually with workers to brainstorm ideas and develop a time management plan that supports more effective productivity.
Provide Employees with Coaching and Role Models
It’s the team leader who gives employees advice on time management. They can see that you practice what you preach when you arrive on time and deliver on your commitments. MCR coaching (model / coach / require) can be used once you have identified that an employee has a time management challenge. MCR coaching involves the following steps:
- An example (or role model): Employees believe in change when their leaders model the behavior they want.
- Instruct and coach them: Employees are coached and provided with ideas for improving behavior by leaders.
- Make necessary requirements: Employees are held accountable for making necessary changes to their time management behaviors when expectations are set by leaders.
Take Note of Personal Development and Improvement
When employees manage their time effectively, positive reinforcement and recognition help them meet performance expectations. When employees meet deadlines, you can recognize them in one-on-one discussions or in team meetings. Reminding employees what they are doing right will encourage them to continue their efforts and strive for greater achievement.
Additionally, as a workforce manager or human resources executive, it’s also important to acknowledge your own emotions, assess your part, empathetically pinpoint stress areas, communicate openly, provide help at the very beginning, appreciate worker progress, and get outside support when needed, according to a recent article in Harvard Business Review.
“On the one hand, you need (employees) to get things done, and your natural tendency can be to respond in obvious annoyance at the lack of follow-through or even to consider writing them up,” it states. “On the other hand, you want to develop your team members. You may have truly brilliant individuals who you know have the potential to be exceptional contributors if they could only figure out how to use their time effectively.”
It is a challenge for everyone to manage their time, but it is a crucial skill for every job, department, and industry. Your choice of HR and employee management software is one of the most essential tools and important systems you can decide on. Providing employees with coaching and skills training — as well as reinforcing their behavior when they master new skills — are all important ways to help them with time management. Consequently, burnout is reduced, productivity is increased, and teams and individuals are more productive.