Most supervisors would agree that managing employees who don’t meet deadlines is one of the least favorite part of their job.
We’ve all had them, the employee who just 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 setting 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 own 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 simply asking an employee to complete a special 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 a manager’s responsibility to be constantly checking on employees, not to micromanage, but to ensure that the employee has the resources they need to do their job and to help identify any barriers there might be to completing their goals.
Oftentimes, 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 sometime political landmines.
For example, if 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, this could affect the employee’s ability to complete the audit by the required deadline.
3. Note Conversations
It is important to make a note of any conversation you have with an employee that gives instruction, clarification or reminders.
It is easy to forget some of those day-to-day discussions that we have with employees but 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 Performance Management Process
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 important to have a structured performance management process that incorporates annual organizational goals and raises – that are tied to performance.
Taking the time once a year to write church goals, communicate expectations and hold employees accountable is how successful organizations achieve objectives.
5. Tie Pay to Performance
While research suggests that pay isn’t the biggest motivator for employees – it sure helps. When there is a structured process to tie performance appraisal scores to merit increases, employees are more motivated to meet deadlines and get things done.
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 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 can help to influence employee performance. Creating a structured process for setting expectations and monitoring employees can be a great way to help them get those things done that help move the organization forward.
How do you handle employees who don’t meet deadlines?