It’s important for managers to learn how to manage an employee’s work and not just their time. I know that this article may stir up a few emotions and raise some eyebrows. However, in the new Knowledge and Information Age, managers are doing a disservice by being so focused on employee’s time instead of what they’re actually doing during that time.
For salaried positions, being too focused on employee’s time worked can be demoralizing to employees and send the wrong message.
Quality of work doesn’t necessarily correlate with time on task
Sometimes, managers spend so much time on the employee’s punctuality that they overlook the quality of work. Some managers may be focusing on time because it’s measurable. When time is the only real black and white measurement to go by, it’s easy to use it as a crutch and make it seem much more important of a factor than it really is, especially for newer managers.
Life happens. If someone comes in a few minutes late, that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to be productive all day. Making a big deal about a few minutes lost here and there may actually decrease productivity by lowering employee morale or instilling fear in people.
Manage poor work performance
If an employee’s disregard for time becomes a problem that is getting in the way of their work performance, have a discussion with them and hold them accountable for fixing the behavior. Talk to them about the direct business impact and have them come up with a plan to change the behavior rather than just saying, “Stop being late.”
Also, make sure you’re paying attention to other aspects of the employee’s performance rather than just time. It used to be a significant accomplishment to never miss a day of work and always come in on time. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean that the employee is creating high quality work or coming up with innovative ideas or maximizing results. As a manager, make sure you’re focusing your feedback on all areas of the job role expectations, not just on time.
Keep in mind that the person who comes in the earliest and stays the latest isn’t necessarily the most productive….. and that a person interacting with friends on Facebook and Twitter is happier than a person forced to stay on-task all day.
What do you think? What are the qualities of a great manager? How do they bring out the best qualities of their employees without being overbearing?