We often hear the comment:”where has all the time gone? I’ve got nothing done today!”
This appears to be a very real and common problem in the workplace. Some of the observations that have been made are:
• Employees struggle to prioritise the important tasks and then just tackle anything and everything that lands on their desks
• Employees may not have a clear idea of what their Key Performance Areas (KPA’s) are so they assume these, possibly resulting in the wrong focus areas
• Employees are just genuinely overworked and just do not get to everything
• Employees are bored in their role and get distracted by the wrong things for example, Facebook, telephone calls, perpetually reading e-mails, having extended breaks and general unnecessary chit chat
• Some employees are absolute perfectionists and over analyse and scrutinise their work. This may take up unnecessary time and focus. They struggle to look at the big picture
• Employees avoid certain tasks because they are too difficult and appear unachievable. This could be because they do not have the right skill set or they fear failure
• The employee’s work ethic does not match the needs of the organisation. This is often an attitudinal problem where employees may not have respect for the manager’s or company’s deadlines and levels of expectations on deadlines
What can be done to avoid these problems?
• Ensure a strong job skill fit. The employee needs to have the skills for the job they have been employed to carry out. Be thorough in your recruitment process
• From the outset an employee needs clearly defined KPA’s. They have to be in agreement with these KPA’s. Review the KPA’s regularly. This process should identify why the employee is not getting to everything and prompt solutions
• Have regular feedback sessions with your employees and tackle concerns and problems immediately. A healthy forum leads to constructive guidance and employees begin to feel they can also ask for assistance where necessary
• Hold employees accountable for boundaries that have been set by the company. For example: if there is a limit on internet and telephone access and the employee exceeds it, then have a conversation with the employee, explain your dissatisfaction, get their response and if necessary, deduct the excess cost. Many employers leave these issues until they are so frustrated they want to fire the employee
• As Managers build confidence and develop a skill set to deal with conflict. Letting problems blow over normally results in dirt in someone’s eye!!
The old saying, “start how you want to finish” is so relevant to this topic. Ensure that boundaries are set up-front and are tackled timeously if they are over stepped!