Posts Tagged ‘time management’

Here’s How to Master Doing Less Better…

Thursday, January 21st, 2016
Tom Sheehan, HR Business Partner

Tom Sheehan, HR Business Partner

In today’s post, CAI’s HR Business Partner Tom Sheehan shares the importance of HR professionals staying focused on one or two projects at a time rather than spreading themselves too thin.

Because of its inherent support role, the HR function and its leaders typically have a strong service orientation. That means that as ‘opportunities’ to support and serve the business are brought forward, there is a certain eagerness to please the customer. HR professionals frequently struggle to identify and prioritize which HR projects to push forward to the organization.

Because of the desire to please, HR teams typically conduct too many initiatives, often with mediocre results. Conducting too many projects dilutes the effectiveness of each initiative, and wastes valuable resources.

When deciding which HR initiatives are top priorities, answer these three questions:

  1. To what extent does this HR initiative further the key business objectives that have been laid out for the organization?
  2. If we decide to move forward with this project, what project or initiative must be bumped or moved down the priorities list?
  3. Can we articulate a true return on investment on this project?

Here are the most typical projects that the HR team may undertake:

  1. Improving leadership development
  2. Implementing new technology
  3. Restructuring the organization
  4. Delivering on recruiting initiatives
  5. Measuring and improving workforce performance
  6. Enhancing employee engagement

At the end of the day, HR professionals and their teams would benefit greatly by ‘doing less better.’  That may mean selecting one or two projects to focus on and delivering outstanding results on each of them. Do not move on to the next project until the current project is fully executed and has had a chance to take hold. Being able to stand your ground and appropriately push back when being pressured to take on a new initiative is often a key success factor.

Nothing will ‘short-circuit’ your credibility more quickly than a series of half-delivered projects with mediocre results. The ‘customer-requested’ projects should of course be added to the master list of projects and prioritized appropriately. The master list should include dates and timelines as well, and undergo periodic review with the leadership team.

Frequently, HR leaders are challenged by the business with a ‘critical’ training opportunity for the problem du jour. The expectation by the customer is that HR drop everything and hastily complete the training project. This ‘drop everything’ approach to training is frequently misguided and should also be weighed against existing priorities and projects. It is critical to remember that there is an opportunity cost associated with every project. Never allow a new ‘discretionary’ project to come at the expense of delivering on the strategic promise.

If you think you may need help rethinking your department’s priorities, please give our Advice & Resolution team a ring at at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Daily Challenges In HR And How You Can Overcome Them

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

In today’s post Molly Hegeman, CAI’s Vice President of  HR Services, shares helpful information about focusing on your important projects and job duties.

Molly Hegeman, VP of HR Services

Molly Hegeman, VP of HR Services

One of the biggest challenges we face as HR professionals is prioritizing our time. We must balance our day-to-day responsibilities with the organization’s strategic initiatives as well as manage sudden and urgent employee relations issues. With all the responsibility on our plates it can be easy to lose sight of our priorities and remain focused on what’s really important. So how can we stay on track?

Keeping a constant reminder of the importance of employee engagement and satisfaction is paramount.  Engagement is the emotional commitment employees have to the organization and its goals, and their willingness to put forth effort toward its success. Satisfaction, on the other hand, represents an employee’s attitude and expectations about their job and employer. It’s more about how an employee approaches his/her job than the actual duties performed.

Over the past several years, CAI has seen an increase in the overall satisfaction of employees surveyed through its employee opinion surveys.  In fact, the greatest satisfaction level, at 88%, is in identification with the company.  Benefits and working conditions follow close behind at 86% and 84% respectively.

In HR, it is important for us to put time and energy into nurturing our culture and holding managers accountable for helping our employees remain engaged and satisfied.  In all our projects and ongoing HR initiatives we should:

  • help employees remain challenged in their jobs
  • help employees foster a sense of purpose in their roles
  • keep a positive and supportive attitude
  • encourage a balanced lifestyle
  • build strong and trustworthy relationships with co-workers and manager

So the question now is how to do all of these things?

The Rule of Three

In almost all areas of life, the “rule of 3” applies, and productivity is no exception. Ask yourself at the beginning of the day, “what three things do I want to accomplish today?” Then work toward those goals. When making your list, try not to focus necessarily on tasks so much as outcomes or results.

 

Keep a list of everything you’re waiting on and everything you need to do

Keeping a list is the best way to keep up with everything you have to do/everything you’re waiting on other people to do.This may seem a bit obvious, but trying to keep up with everything you’re responsible for can be taxing to say the least and in a world filled with technology, it’s unnecessary to try. Sticking with old school methods, I suggest writing everything on a Post-It or creating a To Do List format that works for you. Embracing technology, you could consider putting it in an app on your phone/tablet or both. Remember, there’s always an app for that!

 

Be clear on the intent and purpose of your activities rather than being distracted by less significant items

Leverage internal resources with the help of your strongest managers and employees, or seek outside support to bring in the resources needed to elevate your effectiveness and contributions to the organization. And most importantly, learn the power of delegation!

 

Looking to get a few things off your list? CAI’s HR On Demand team is designed to do just that! Is there something we can help you with? Please Contact us today at (919) 713-5263 or molly.hegeman@capital.org.

Don’t Lose Productivity When You Lose an Hour

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

effective time managementDaylight Saving Time is quickly approaching and will officially arrive at 2 a.m. this Sunday. To add daylight to our evenings and afternoons, we must lose an hour. For most of us who think there are already too few hours in the day, one less hour of sunlight could have a negative effect on productivity.

Don’t let the loss of time weaken your performance or increase your stress.  Try incorporating some time management strategies into your daily routine to stay productive. Effective time management isn’t an easy skill to maintain, but once you do, a number of benefits will emerge. Meeting deadlines will be easy. You’ll eliminate mistakes caused by rushing. Free time outside of work will increase because you were efficient with your time in the workplace.

Use the time management tips below, and the added daylight will only be a reminder that spring is near:

Treat yourself well

A good start to effective time management is practicing a healthy lifestyle. Poor concentration skills are often a result of not treating your body well. Help yourself focus by eating nutritious meals, exercising several times per week and getting plenty of sleep each night.

Plan your attack

Start each work day with a specific mission. Whether that mission is in the form of a to-do list or several reminders on your outlook calendar know what you want to accomplish. Being specific about what you want to get done will help you stay on track and avoid getting distracted.

Divide and conquer

 Not all of your projects have the same weight, so don’t treat them like they do. Small tasks are easy to accomplish, but ignoring big projects can cause stress when you’re racing to meet a deadline. Break up your massive project into smaller pieces to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed. Work on a part of it each day of the week, and voilá, you’ll finish before expected!

Don’t do everything

You don’t have to do everything, and you shouldn’t. Utilize help from your coworkers if you have items that can be completed quicker with teamwork, and reciprocate the favor when they come looking for extra hands. Additionally, if you don’t have time to do something, say no. Piling assignments onto your plate may get you that raise or promotion, but if you’re not able to handle the large workload, you’ll crash and burn from stress.

For additional tips to effectively manage time and increase your productivity, consider participating in CAI’s Time Mastery: Taking Control of Your Time course.

Photo Source: JogiBaer2

Keep Workforce Productivity High with 5 Simple Practices

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

People complain that there are not enough hours in their day to complete a laundry list of tasks. Instead of complaining, however, people can make small changes in their workday to have a more productive day, month, year, etc.  Try the five tips below to improve on the job performance:

Don’t Focus on Emails

Answering emails can be a big productivity drainer. Not all of your emails need to be answered immediately. Rather than replying to emails throughout the day, set a specific time during your work hours to answer your mail. Of course you can take time throughout the day to answer emails on time-sensitive matters or from important people, such as your CEO or best client.

The Most Important Is First

If you slept well and had something to eat for breakfast, your productivity level at the beginning of your day should be high. Take on your most time-consuming or labor-intensive project while your energy and concentration are through the roof. Save small tasks for the end of the day when your performance starts to wane.

Use Breaks Effectively

All employees should utilize breaks throughout the day to avoid burn out. Because peak work performance generally takes place at the start of the day, try to save chats with coworkers or updates on your social media sites for late afternoon. Go on a short walk or read a news article mid-morning for a less distracting break near the beginning of your day.

Prioritize the List

To-do lists are great tools to help keep your day organized. But piling too many tasks on your list can affect your productivity negatively. Prevent daunting to-do lists by only selecting items you plan to get done that day. Number each item on the list to prioritize items you’ll do first. Go a step further by allotting a specific amount of time for each task. Complete this process for each day of your week.

Make Good Health Choices

Your energy level each day contributes to how productive you are during your work week. Several factors affect your energy level and good health is the best way to positively shape it. Make sure to get an adequate amount of sleep each night to restore your body for its next day of work. Avoid constantly eating fast food or drinking sugary drinks that deprive you of the energy you need. Exercise multiple times per week to help keep your physical and mental health strong.

For more helpful tips on improving the productivity and overall work performance of your staff, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

4 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Management Staff

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Your managers are one of your company’s strongest assets. They help your company run efficiently by supervising others and delegating duties, relaying information from senior leadership and making sure projects get completed. Increasing the effectiveness of your management team will benefit your organization’s productivity, revenue and morale. Giving extra attention to the growth of your managers isn’t time consuming or expensive. Try using the methods below to maximize the potential of your team leaders:

 Sharpen Their Skills

Whether you let them expense industry related literature, such as magazines and journals, to the company, or pay their way to attend a conference related to their position, helping your leaders attain new skills and knowledge will improve their job satisfaction and productivity. You’ll also see an improvement in their team’s performance.

Increase Their EI

Recent research indicates that employees with strong Emotional Intelligence (a person’s capacity for controlling his or her own emotions and recognizing and reacting to the emotions of others) can carry on and be successful through hard economic times and tough business predicaments. Not every employee comes equipped with a high EI, but taking steps to improve their EI is something all employees can do.

Strengthen Their Time Management

Managers juggle several tasks at once. They assign projects to their direct reports, implement strategies from senior management and work to complete their own projects. Learning to effectively manage time is an essential skill that managers should try to achieve. When leaders practice good time management, fewer errors occur, deadlines and results are met and last minute panicking is avoided.

Provide Feedback and Rewards

Make sure you consistently provide your managers with positive and constructive feedback on their performance. Help them succeed by encouraging them to give their best and attain their goals. Personally and publically acknowledge their accomplishments, and show your appreciation for their contributions whenever you can.

For more strategies to maximize the performance of your managers, supervisors and other company leaders, join us at CAI’s Training Showcase on July 19 in Greensboro and July 20 in Raleigh. Both programs are free and will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. At each location you’ll experience abbreviated training sessions and participate in learning exercises to help you make the right development decisions for your staff. Come for a few hours or stay for the whole event to review CAI’s training options. Find more information and full agendas here: www.capital.org/showcase.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Use Effective Time Management to Keep Your Workforce Productive

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

At 2 a.m. this Sunday, we will set our clocks forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time. The practice first used in World War 1 adds daylight to our afternoons and evenings. Many activities benefit from the spring time change, but many people don’t forget the fact that we lose an hour to keep some sunlight. Depending on your organization and the work your employees complete, this loss of an hour could have a negative effect on your company’s productivity. Utilizing effective time management strategies will help you and your staff avoid unfavorable results from the lost hour.

Successful time management comes easy to some, but for most people, it is a skill that takes time to learn and perfect. Being more efficient with time has several workplace advantages. Here are a few: deadlines and expected results are met because they were realistic, fewer errors occur in projects because staff members allot appropriate time to complete them and last-minute panicking to address pertinent assignments decreases.

Some managers and members of senior leadership think the answer to solving time management issues is to eliminate all time wasters. Examples of time wasters include chatting with coworkers, surfing the internet, taking personal phones calls, checking personal emails and running errands. Yes, these activities take away time from completing projects, but they shouldn’t be eliminated all together. If employees work straight through their 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shifts, they will most likely burn out. Breaks, downtime and socializing should be practiced in the workplace because they help create a positive atmosphere for everyone. Instead of eliminating these activities, limiting the amount of time spent on them is encouraged.

Here are a few more time management strategies to share with your workforce:

  • Plan your day
    • Whether you make a to-do list or setup tasks in your Microsoft Outlook, specify the assignments you want to complete for the day. You can also go one step further and specify the amount of time you’d like to spend on each project. Make sure your list is manageable so this method is helpful not overwhelming.
  • Practice prioritizing projects
    • Finishing all of your easy assignments in a day does feel good, but dragging out the length of a high-priority assignment is never fun. Build time in your daily schedule to work on an important project. Break it down into smaller parts or take breaks to avoid a burn out. Getting these assignments finished before or by deadline will make more of an impact on your company than the easy projects.
  • Delegate when you can
    • If you have tasks that can be completed quicker with the help of additional team members, ask for their support. Delegation is a great business tool because it helps free up some of your time while also empowering the employees who receive the additional assignments.
  • Know when to say no
    •  Sometimes employees take on more work than they can handle for various reasons such as, wanting a raise or proving they can take on more responsibility. Overworking creates stress and lowers employee morale and job satisfaction. Instead of volunteering for projects that come your way, evaluate the core assignments that you have to finish. If a new project will cause a missed deadline for another project, politely decline and give the reason why you are declining.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
    • Loss of concentration can often be attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle. Eating nutritious food, exercising multiple times per week and adapting a routine sleep schedule will give you plenty of energy to stay focused throughout your work day. Your ability to stay focused will help you complete tasks more efficiently and with fewer errors.

For additional tips to effectively manage time and increase productivity for your company, consider participating in CAI’s Time Mastery: Taking Control of Your Time course.

Photo Source: Victor1558

America is Stressed: Five Tips to Help Your Employees Prevent the Effects of Workplace Stress

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

The American Psychological Association (APA) released the results of its annual Stress in America survey on January 11, 2012.  More than 1,200 adults, aged 18 and older, participated in the survey that was conducted between August 11 and September 6 of last year.

In describing its findings from the survey, APA suggests that America is on the verge of a public health crisis due to stress:

“Participants’ responses have revealed high stress levels, reliance on unhealthy behaviors to manage stress and alarming physical health consequences of stress — a combination that suggests the nation is on the verge of a stress-induced public health crisis.”

As an employer, it is important to know that 70 percent of survey respondents cited work as one of their top stressors. The survey reveals that people understand the effects that stress can have on their health, but they are not taking adequate steps to prevent stress or manage it well, which causes them to experience symptoms, such as irritability, anger, fatigue, and lack of interest or motivation.

Employees who have high levels of stress struggle to perform at their best. For your company, this means less quality work, more errors, decreased morale, poor customer service and increased absenteeism if you decide to ignore the presence of stress in your workplace.

Our December post on stress offered tips on how you can help your employees maintain their stress levels. The tips below offer your employees tactics that they can utilize on their own to manage stress. Share and review the following with your workforce:

Press Pause

Many people experience stress because they regularly work up to their breaking points. Approaching work in that manner causes high anxiety and frequent fatigue, and completed products from this method are generally less than stellar. Avoid this behavior by taking breaks when necessary. Walking away from an overwhelming project for 15 minutes can help you calm down and return to work with a clear mind that is ready to focus.   

Lean on Colleagues

Do not be afraid to speak up when your workload is greater than you can handle. Companies who value teamwork are successful, so reach out to you coworker to see if he can spare ten minutes to help you review a document or complete a task. If help from your coworkers does not lighten your load, talk to your manager to see if she can help you create a system or action plan to complete your tasks.

Utilize Flexibility

More employers are offering their workforces flexibility around their schedules. With family duties and responsibilities not related to work, life can get stressful trying to balance it all. If you cannot afford a babysitter but need someone to watch your children after school, ask your manager if you can work at home for part of the day. If rush hour traffic lengthens your commute time or guzzles up your gas, ask if you can adjust your start time and end time. Show your appreciation for workplace flexibility by not taking advantage of the system and completing work during your redesigned schedule.    

Manage Time Effectively

Fifty-six percent of the survey participants believe that managing their time better will help them manage their stress. Time management is critical when working to complete several projects, but people who are stressed often spend time worrying about how they will finish their work, which leaves them with more frustration and less time to complete their projects. Stop this cycle by creating a list of the tasks that you need to get done. Prioritize the list by importance and deadline, and work hard to cross each item off. You can also break your long list into daily lists and indicate the tasks you wish to complete for each day of the week.

Be Healthy

APA’s survey revealed that participants ranked eating well and exercising at the bottom of the list when comparing factors that create a healthy lifestyle. Practicing good nutrition and fitness will immediately cause stress levels to go down. Healthy food provides your body with energy so you can stay alert for eight hours at work. Exercising multiple times per week gives you energy to focus and releases endorphins to help you stay positive. Sleep is also essential for battling stress. Getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep will help you recharge and feel refreshed for your next day of work.

According to the Stress in America survey, respondents have consistently listed work as one of their top stressors for the past five years. Be aware that this trend will likely continue for the next five years, so help your employees handle their stress to avoid burn out and achieve success for themselves and the organization. For more strategies on combating employee stress, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: bengerman