Amid the pandemic, many employees are still working, at least in part – at home. Managing remote workers is a new challenge for supervisors who have not had to manage employees they could not see.
One of the new challenges is keeping track of employee deadlines.
Most supervisors would agree that managing employees who don’t meet deadlines is one of the least favorite parts of their job.
We’ve all had them, the employee who never seems to get things done within the time-frames that we give them.
Everyone is busy, and chasing down an under-performing employee is not a good use of anyone’s time.
Managing employees who don’t meet required deadlines can be frustrating, exhausting, and simply not fun!
So what are some things you can do?
5 Tips For Managing Employees Who Don’t Meet Deadlines
1. Set Expectations And Communicate Clearly
The first step is setting clear expectations that the employee not only understands but is involved in establishing the deadline.
When I give an employee a directive, I ask them, “when do you think you can reasonably accomplish this task… ” I allow them (within reason) to determine their deadlines, and I hold them to it.
This approach allows the employee the opportunity to think through what needs to be done and how long it would reasonably take them to complete the directive.
I’ve found that when employees are involved in deciding when the task can be completed, it puts the burden of completion on them and takes away the perception of unrealistic expectations from the manager.
Whether it’s writing annual employee goals or merely asking an employee to complete a particular project, it is always good to get them involved in the process of establishing deadlines.
2. Monitor Performance
One mistake a lot of managers make is not following up with employees about completing assigned tasks.
It is the manager’s responsibility to check on employees.
The goal is not to micromanage, but to ensure that the employee has the resources, they need to do their job and help identify any barriers to completing their job assignments.
Often, an employee’s ability to complete goals or job tasks are dependent on other people or departments.
A great manager is there to help the employee navigate through those sometimes political landmines.
For example, suppose an employee has a goal to do an audit and create a report on supply costs, and the accounting department is not providing them with the information they need to do the report. In that case, this could affect the employee’s ability to complete the audit by the required deadline.
Be an advocate for staff who have to deal with barriers that only a manager can navigate.
3. Note Conversations
It is easy to forget some of those day-to-day discussions that we have with employees.
Make a note of any conversation you have with an employee that provides instruction, clarification, or task reminders.
You don’t need to write a lot of detail, simply the date, time, and summary of the conversation.
For example, you could note something like this:
I met with Chris this morning and reminded him of the deadline for submitting his proposal for the annual church picnic. September 20, 20XX, 10:00 am
It is invaluable to have a file with those conversations as a reminder for those rare occasions when an employee “doesn’t remember” specific directives.
These notes are also helpful at performance appraisal time when assessing employee performance.
4. Create A Process To Manage Employees
Employees need to understand how what they do supports organizational strategy and should be rewarded for getting the job done.
Whether your organization employs three people or three hundred, it is essential to have a structured performance management process that incorporates annual organizational goals and raises – that are tied to performance.
5. Tie Pay To Performance
At the end of the day, people come to work to receive a paycheck.
And while church employees are called to a higher purpose – the paycheck still matters.
While research suggests that pay isn’t the biggest motivator for employees – it sure helps.
It is also a great incentive when better-performing employees understand that they received a bigger piece of the raise budget.
But more importantly, under-performing employees should also understand that they received less of a pay increase because they didn’t accomplish assigned tasks and meet deadlines.
Supervising employees is what managers are paid to do. And, when done in a systematic way, it can help to influence employee performance.
Hopefully, the pandemic will soon be in our rearview mirrors. But remotely managing work may not.
Create a structured process for setting expectations and monitoring employee work, so you can help staff get those things done that are critical to achieving your church mission!
Did you know we recently launched a new course?
Take a sneak peek at one of the lessons in our new Church Administration Training!
If you are a member, you can access an editable copy of a note-taking log and sample performance appraisal form here. If you are not a member, you can learn how to access all of our forms, documents, and job descriptions here.