‘One more task left, I’ll work on it tomorrow.’
At a glance, this approach might seem harmless and honest remark from an employee. What’s wrong with taking a break and resuming work with better focus tomorrow? However, the truth is, behind this kind of plea or self-excuses to not perform on a given day, lies a larger problem: Procrastination.
Every employee possesses different working styles in carrying out their duties. Some of them are able to focus solely on the tasks at hand and resolve it as quickly and effectively as possible. While, some people want to avoid making decisions quickly, shirk responsibility and so they do not work on the project altogether.
On the other hand, some others enjoy the thrill of incoming deadlines. They have a tendency to wait until the last minute, before getting down on the tasks. Unfortunately, the latter type are usually unable to deliver their best performance, thus leading to inferior results.
No matter what the reason is, sometimes people tend to put off tasks to focus on other stuffs (which are actually not so important). Rather than getting it done now, they choose to adjourn it until tomorrow. Procrastination is one of the worst issues faced an organisation. If this employee behaviour is not addressed right away, it might result in serious consequences to impact company’s bottom line.
Procrastination leaves similar effects to that of presenteeism. Your employees might be physically on clock, but they are not getting the most of their time at work. What makes it worse is, you have no idea that the loss of productivity caused by delaying of tasks could cost the business, million dollars every year.
There are several tell-tale signs that your employees are procrastinating. One of them is, they tend to make excessive excuses, when you ask about reasons for delay on tasks submission. Typically, they will look for unsolid reasons to defend themselves.
In addition, procrastinating employees are usually slow in responding to phone calls, emails, or chat messages regarding the project at hand. So how can you guide employees to stay motivated during work day and emphasise on the power of getting it done now? Here are some helpful tips you can practice:
See: How Can Senior Management Deal with Employee Motivational Issues?
Sometimes, people procrastinate simply because they don’t fully understand what they have to do. However, rather than confirming or consulting the project with their supervisors, they prefer to put off the tasks at hand. This kind of behaviour is not going to bring positive impact for the company. Therefore, before delegating any task or project, you must provide a clear and thorough explanation about the employee’s roles within the department.
An employee might already have a clear picture of what they have to do. However, sometimes they are bewildered along the path to decide on the starting point. This is where, you must step in and lend a hand to help them create attainable and tangible goals. Rather than saddling them with complex and enormous tasks at once, it will be better to break these huge tasks into smaller chunk of workloads to be executed on a daily basis to achieve long-term business goals.
At some point, perfectionism might be good to prompt your employees to work their best. However, almost all the time, perfectionism will scare away your employees, even the top performers. Therefore, you should not always demand them to be perfect, as it will cause unnecessary delay on completion of the projects.
Employees are the most valuable asset for every organisation. The problem is, however, managing and motivating them remains a challenge for every HR leader. Employee motivation is not a once in a lifetime feat. Rather, it is a continuous effort to encourage, engage, and reward your workforce.
The most effective method to motivate your employees is by reaching out to them, and helping them move forward in their career. If you successfully communicate with your employees about their responsibilities, the company goals while respecting them with dignity, they will learn to focus on improving their performance.
Read also: Where Motivation Knows No Bounds and the Quest Continues: Revealing the ‘Takeda’ Ways