When your employees fail to manage their time properly, it can reflect poorly on you. You can be put in a bind if an employee is supposed to hand you an important report by a certain time and she fails to follow through. Poor time-management skills might stem from a lack of discipline, or because employees have too much work to do or don't know how to handle time. As a manager, you can develop objectives to help employees improve their time management skills.
Arranging a Meeting
Schedule a time for a meeting to discuss time-management issues. To demonstrate the point of the meeting, designate a time frame for each topic of discussion. Then at the start of the meeting, say how long the session will last and how much time you plan to spend on each topic. As the meeting progresses, show how you are sticking to your allotted time frames. Topics may pertain to related company policies such as the importance of employees arriving to work on time, time-management tools that you recommend, and obtaining employee feedback. You might also ask your employees to think of an area at work that they are wasting time on, such as visiting social media sites or taking too many breaks, and suggest that they eliminate the practice.
Tools and Employee Self-Test
Encourage your employees to use effective time-management solutions, such as creating a spreadsheet with their regular duties, special projects, due dates, interruptions and dates of completion. Give them calendars to record each day’s tasks and important reminders. Allow them 20 to 30 minutes each morning to organize their days. Give them a self-test, so they can measure their time-management skills. Test questions may include whether they are working on their tasks in order of priority and if they have to ask for more time to finish their work. Answer choices may include "Not at All," "Rarely," "Sometimes," "Often" and "Very Often.''
Your employees need to know what aspects of their work are most critical to fulfilling the company’s goals to prioritize effectively. Ask them if they understand the company’s objectives and your department’s goals and reiterate these objectives if necessary. Then explain the priority of their duties. For example, an employee’s job is to invoice customers, maintain billing records, perform accounts receivable and provide phone support. Let her know the order of priority for all four tasks and any additional duties that arise. Communicate job priorities in writing so employees can refer to it.
Flag your emails so your employees know which ones are most important to you, and hold physical meetings only when necessary. For example, do not call a meeting over an issue that can be effectively handled by email. Assign workloads based on what your employees can realistically manage. Ensure each person has enough time to do his assigned tasks and encourage employees to tell you if they are having issues. When possible, set a time limit for specific tasks so the employee does not spend too much or too little time on one assignment.
Your employees expect you to practice what you preach, so lead by example. For instance, perform their annual reviews on time and be punctual for staff meetings. Implement your time management goals consistently, and hold poor performers accountable if they fail to improve after you have given them the resources to do so.