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How to handle employees who don’t meet deadlines

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Anand Inamdar

on 29 August 2017

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Transcript of How to handle employees who don’t meet deadlines

Understand what causes the delays
There could be 'n' number of reasons that causes a particular employee to miss deadlines. It is not necessary that the reasons for this delay are his or her lack of skill, talent or motivation.

There could be certain obstacles that may prohibit them from completing their tasks on time. It is up to the manager to address these concerns to make sure that the employees are brought back on track.
Do they have sufficient skills?
Are your employees really equipped with the right skills to perform the tasks that they have been assigned? 

More often that not, mismatch of job roles to designations are the culprits behind employees not being able to perform particular tasks.

They are simply not trained to handle such tasks so it is not right to expect that they will still fulfill their responsibilities within time. This does question the efficiency of the hiring manager as well. 

Such employees can be trained to make sure that their skills are upgraded/updated so that they can achieve their deadlines effortlessly. 

Another option is to move them to other roles that demand their skills and expertise
What is the cause of delay?
Work dependent on others?
Does not have sufficient skills?
What can you expect afterwards
Every organization has a mix of employees. There are a few stellar performers who raise the bar every time they take up a task. Deadlines are never an issue with them as most of the time they strive to get get their work done before it is due. Such employees are highly coveted by the organization and all efforts are taken to retain them. It could be through rewards, some perks, promotions, etc.

And on the other end of the spectrum are those employees who consistently fail to deliver as per expectations. We are talking about those who never seem to meet the deadlines set for them. These delays can be the difference between success and failure in some cases and need to be addressed as early as possible.

It is never wise to fire employees without giving them a chance to get better. Apart from the cost of recruitment, it would take additional time to train new employees before they can actually start giving any value. Instead, here is what you can do to handle employees who don't meed deadlines.
Consistently missing deadlines?
Understand what motivates them
Employees bereft of motivation will never find the will to perform half as well as their true potential.

After a certain point of time, money stops being an important factor of motivation. It is then that their performance starts dipping.

What's more, there are no universal factors that can motivate everyone. The company needs to take efforts and understand what motivates each of their employees. This could be through surveys or a one-on-one feedback with their managers.

The sooner they are able to identify these factors, the quicker they will see a rise in productivity in the organization.
Regular check-ins to discuss if they are on track
And lastly, despite taking all measures to bring about a change in employees, it is necessary to regularly check-in with them to identify their progress.

It is difficult to address such problems in the very first or second attempt. So these check-ins prove as a way of determining whether there is any effect on the individual's performance.

Besides, it does not have to be long and elaborate meetings. It could be a quick catch up of 5 mins every Friday or Monday.
Is their work dependent on others maybe?
In some cases, tasks need to performed in a sequential manner.
 
For example, for a software product, the developers need to handover the product to their team's testers for quality check and identifications of bugs after they are done working on it. However if they are consistently delivering it to them at the last minute i.e. just before the deadline of completion, the testers may not have sufficient time to check whether the product is fully functional. 

Here, project managers need to make sure that everyone sticks to a schedule so that those who are dependent get sufficient time as well.
6 steps to handle employees who don't meet deadlines
Are there problems in setting realistic
deadlines?
Employees should be able to set the realistic expectations about how much time will it take for them to complete the task. 

At times, in their enthusiasm to please their managers/customers, employees may tend to over promise and yet under-deliver. This could also happen if they are not good at managing their time and cannot prioritize which tasks should take precedence.

The company's process of setting goals can play an important role here. It should help employees set goals that are flexible and according to their capabilities. Popular methodologies such as OKR are one of the few examples that companies can adopt and make sure they get better at setting goals.
How to handle employees who don’t meet deadlines
Effects of employees not meeting deadlines
Teams are not able to finish the project on time due to one or more team members inability to meet their assigned deadlines
Customers become dissatisfied with delay in services

The company may lose goodwill in the market if they are consistently failing at fulfilling their promises
Rest of the team members may lose morale and motivation as their efforts are being wasted due to few poor performers
When employees start meeting their deadlines, companies can maintain momentum and remain productive at a constant rate. After all, Consistency is the key to achieving success in the long run.
What motivates them
Need to check-in regularly
Setting unrealistic deadlines
UpRaise is an Agile Performance Management add-on for JIRA
UpRaise extends JIRA to help teams take collaboration to the next level with Agile performance management, offering powerful goal-setting framework - objectives and key results, continuous feedback and periodic performance appraisals.

It is designed to help managers and employees track their progress and stick to deadlines as closely as possible. In case they lag behind, they can immediately be given feedback to get back on track.
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