Getting Your Employees to Meet Deadlines

Wed, Jun 6, 2012


When it comes to the workplace atmosphere, and more specifically the employer/employee dynamic, there a lot of people who want to be the boss without really realizing all of the responsibilities that come with it. For instance, business owners and supervisors oftentimes work later hours than everyone else and they tend to have many more things to multi-task. Plus, they have to come up with creative ways to keep staff members enthusiastic and focused as it relates to their own jobs. This includes meeting deadlines.

If you’re an employer that is looking for some effective ways to get your employees to meet their work deadlines, here are three that can keep everything at work flowing smoothly.

Set clear deadlines with fair expectations. If you ask a lot of disgruntled employees what their top complaint is with their job, many of them will say it’s that their employers are poor communicators. Either they don’t clearly state what they expect or they want their staff to do multiple things in a very small window of time. The truth is that sometimes employers forget to put themselves in their employees’ shoes by thinking about how they would want to be approached as it relates to certain job responsibilities and expectations. Therefore, when it comes to a task that has a deadline, make sure to give a good amount of time for the job to be done and to be both specific and fair about what you’re expecting as it relates to the particular assignment.

Have consequences for missed deadlines. Some people learn by instruction, while others learn by consequence. When it comes to getting an employee to keep a deadline, it would be nice if supervisors could simply refer them to an internet timer site, say “On your mark. Get set. Go!” and know that the work will be completed. But that’s a pretty idealistic (and not the most realistic) approach to things. When a deadline has been set and not kept, the first thing to do is inquire why. Sometimes, in the midst of all of the hustle and bustle that goes on within an office, they may have been bombarded. Or there could have been a personal emergency that caused them to lose some time at the office. If their reasons are legitimate, give them an extra day or two. If it’s not, discuss with them a consequence that is both firm and fair. For instance, if it was simply because they didn’t finish on time, perhaps give them the option of staying later at work or doing the assignment from home over the weekend. Once your deadline starts to interfere with their off time, there’s a greater chance that they will be more aware of the importance that comes with keeping them in the future.

Reward good/timely behavior. Some people may think that employers shouldn’t be rewarded for actually doing their job since that is what they were hired to do in the first place. However, the greater point here is to do all that you can to boost their confidence in their abilities while motivating them to stay excited about their work. One of the best ways to do this is to provide incentives for when they honor a deadline. It doesn’t have to be anything huge (or even all of the time). Maybe offer $5 gift cards to Starbucks or an extra 10 minutes on their lunch break. It’s simply about doing things that will show them that you not only care that the job is done, but that you appreciate them for wanting to do it too.

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