4 Time Saving Ideas in Managing Employees
Managers are always seeking different ways to interact with their employees, help them perform at higher levels and still have enough time to meet the business requirements of their department. Managing employees can take a lot of time, yet if you think in terms of the basics, you may be pleasantly surprised to find yourself with more time to meet your business objectives.
Keep it Simple
If you focus on 4 areas, you will find that your employees will perform better and be happier with their contributions in the company:
1. Clear Around Expectations
As a Human Resources Manager, I’ve listened to many employees state that their manager wasn’t clear about what they wanted. Their manager will tell them to do something and when they did their best and returned with a completed project, there was always something wrong and the manager was not happy.
Managers expect employees to be mind readers and to know what they want. In some cases, the manager is not clear about what they expect the outcome to look like. If you are one of those managers, you will lose a lot of your time following up, being disappointed and not getting the results you want and need from your employees.
Instead, take the time upfront to formulate and write down:
- what you expect the outcome to look like,
- what behaviors or performance levels are necessary for the employee, and
- what the timeline is to meet the business deliverables.
You may not necessarily get this perfect right away, though the more you keep addressing expectations and clarifying these to your employees, you will see a decrease in errors and employee confusion that will ultimately add more time your schedule.
2. Prioritizing Projects
There is usually more to do than can be done in a given time period, so it’s important as a manager that you know what’s important and communicate priorities to you employees. Business needs do change, but if priorities constantly change, employees will lose motivation to perform at high levels. They will think that it doesn’t matter if they work hard because their priorities will only change in midstream.
In many subtle ways, we lose employee’s focus as well as their commitment to the company and to their performance. Don’t just feed projects to do, also include the priority level for each project. If you forget, allow your team members to clarify priorities.
3. Plan regular meetings with employees
The paradox of time is that you need to spend time in order to gain time. However, every minute you spend with employees planning you will get back in performance levels. What does a regular meeting look like with employees? Most managers don’t have regular 1:1 meetings with their employees nor do they have department meeting on a regular basis.
Schedule time and create an agenda for 1:1 meetings as well as group meetings. Be clear around how much time you can offer them – ½ hour for 1:1 meetings and maybe 1 hour for group meetings. Maybe you only have 15 minutes to offer at this time. It all depends on what you want to accomplish.
Whatever the time table, make sure you are there focusing on the agenda and eliminating distractions. If you are in a 1:1 and your phone keeps ringing, schedule a small conference room or go to the local coffee shop to focus on the person.
Employees yearned for more feedback and clarity from their managers…the right kind, focused on their performance and concerns, as well as helping them create solutions for their well-being and increasing productivity.
Important – always keep your scheduled appointments unless there is a true emergency. An emergency is not because you got behind…there is always opportunity to get behind at work, so it’s not a good excuse. If you remember this, you will also be emulating accountability for our employees.
Listening skills are not strong points for many managers. Managers are juggling so much these days; we scantly listen and only look for the basics of information and then move on to other subjects.
I’ve received feedback even as a Human Resource Manager that I failed to listen to an employee. We are all human. Employees are all right with our humanness if we learn from it and make a conscious effort to rectify the issue. I’ve learned to listen.
In addition to listening to your employees, you need to listen to yourself when interacting with employees. Your time is important along with the needs of an employee. So be clear around how much time you have and communicate this to the employee. If you only have 10 minutes, do laser listening and be available for the person at that time. If you need additional time, reschedule a follow up meeting. There are times when emergencies occur and we need to step out of our structured timeframe and everyone recognizes a true emergency.
Keep focused on these 4 basic steps: Be clear around your expectations, prioritize workloads for employees, plan regular 1:1 meetings and/or department meetings and be present when listening to your team members. If you follow these basic steps, you will find that managing employees is less stressful and can be enjoyable and in addition, you will gain more time for yourself to meet your deliverables.
Where do you find the struggle as a manager? Is it clarity, time for meetings, prioritizing or listening? Do you feel a manager needs more than the 4 basics in their management toolbox? I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on saving time as a manager.
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