It’s better to identify and resolve issues with employee work habits as they happen. It saves time, money and improves productivity. The alternatives include:
- Potentially ugly sit-downs with underperforming employees. These meetings take up time and sap morale for everyone involved.
- Establishing a semi-Orwellian work environment that requires the investment of IT, such as deploying and managing applications to track employee activity, or restricting employee Internet access from non-work related URLs.
Proactive interactions with employees about their work keeps them focused, nips unproductive efforts in the bud, consumes less time than meetings and doesn’t require a nickel of capital. Here are 4 steps in establishing an environment that encourages good work habits.
- Require employees to report their work on a daily basis. This is the hardest habit to foster, many employees tend to wait until the end of the week to fill out their timesheet, but it yields the greatest benefits. Ongoing reporting not only encourages employees to stay focused on their work, but also results in much greater accuracy and detail in their timesheets. Tracker solutions make it easy for users to account for their efforts without leaving their email client, they can report time in Outlook, Lotus Notes or Gmail. Tracker also generates “Auto Nag” reminders for timesheets, ensuring users submit their timesheets on time by sending them emails with links that put them one click away from their responsibility.
- Start every week with a short meeting to discuss the efforts your team will be making during the period, which clarifies expectations for everyone.
- Review employee timesheets through the week for hours spent and work descriptions (Tracker offers a color-coded Timesheet Compliance view that makes this easy). Even if there doesn’t appear to be an issue, a quick check-in helps ensure that work will meet expectations, allows management to support employees who may be reluctant to ask for help, and most importantly demonstrates the active attention of management, encouraging all employees to stay on task.
- Finally, one of the best ways to foster good employee work habits is also the easiest, and apparently the least practiced. Recognize efforts. When employees are engaged, aware that their efforts are known and appreciated, work volume and quality increase. This translates directly to the bottom line of your organization, a Gallup study that engaged organizations have 3.9 times the earnings per share (EPS) growth rate compared to organizations with lower engagement in their same industry.