There are all kinds of ways the average business keeps employees in check. For starters, you probably have set work hours and you use a biometric time and attendance system to ensure that employees are showing up, taking breaks, and leaving on time. Whether you’re adhering to FLSA guidelines for employers, you want to reduce overtime, or you need employees present during work hours (or all of the above), time management is an important aspect of running a successful business operation.
It’s not enough to simply have butts in seats, though. You also need to make sure your employees are properly managing their time on the clock and delivering projects by their deadlines. Ideally, you’ll hire a staff that is capable of self-management in this area so you can focus on bigger picture tasks like project development, workforce forecasting, and brand building, but it’s much more likely you’ll require some form of labor management services to keep employees on track.
You can, however, do a lot to improve workforce management on your end. If you want to ensure that employees make the most of their time on the clock, here are a few techniques that should help to improve staff performance.
1. Recognize Problems
Solving a problem first requires that you recognize roadblocks. When employees are delivering their work late even though they’ve had plenty of time to complete it, you need to start looking into why they’re not managing their time appropriately.
One common issue is procrastination. This is especially prevalent now that mobile devices allow for endless access to personal entertainment. Whether employees are checking their social media accounts, shopping online, or streaming videos throughout the day, they’re not doing what they’re supposed to.
This problem could require some creative policies on your part. While you can’t exactly confiscate mobile devices at the door, you can let employees know that using their personal mobile devices while on the clock is a punishable offense that will result in warnings and eventually firing.
You can also limit employee access to the internet through your network, blocking certain types of websites to limit the amount of time employees can spend goofing on the computer. Of course, procrastination isn’t the only problem.
Improper workforce management could be to blame. Perhaps employees are so inundated with meetings, reporting, and other tasks that they have little time to complete their actual work. Or maybe they’re suffering from a lack of guidance. When looking at time management problems, don’t forget to look at both employees and managers.
2. Use Tools
These days, time management is made much easier through the use of technology. You can start with a biometric time and attendance system that tracks employee work time and even install tracking software that watches how employees use their computers throughout the day.
You can also find project management software that allows you to plan work flow, including plotting tasks and timelines for every team member, instituting reporting and deliveries, and making adjustments as needed. These software solutions provide structure and visibility and make it easier for both managers and employees improve performance.
To an extent, setting priorities falls under the purview of management. However, this includes broad strokes like choosing projects, setting deadlines, resource allocation, and workforce forecasting, just for example.
Employees must also be able to prioritize within their own sphere of influence. You don’t necessarily want to engage in hand-holding or micromanaging, which is not only a waste of your time, but can also prove demoralizing to employees.
On the other hand, work has to get done and you need employees to understand which tasks take priority. Experience helps here, but in lieu of that, managers need to set the urgency level for tasks so employees can learn which ones are most important.
There are certain things you shouldn’t be flexible about. Since you’re responsible for following FLSA guidelines for employers, it’s important to monitor work hours with a biometric time attendance system to ensure employees are taking breaks when they’re supposed to and generally sticking to scheduled work hours.
That said, you hardly need a team of supervisors hovering and micromanaging employees that are perfectly capable of getting their work done. When employees prove competent, you need to step back and empower them to manage their own time. This can dramatically increase productivity.
5. Appropriate Supervision
Using a biometric time attendance system to track workers coming and going is a necessary part of any labor management services. You also need to consider how much latitude to give employees during their time in the office.
Allowing them a measure of freedom to manage their own time is wise, but you also need to institute at least a modicum of supervision to keep employees accountable and ensure that their work is completed and delivered on time.