Software To Assign Tasks To Employees

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Don is an extremely busy general manager. He has several departmental managers that report to him directly and is not too involved with the smaller day-to-day operations of his business.Recently, he decided to take a closer look at how smoothly his business was operating. He sent out a company-wide survey and found his employees were unhappy with some aspects of their jobs. The main thing he noticed was most of his employees did not feel the company used their strengths effectively.

A 2015 survey from Michelle McQuaid and the Via Institute on Character found that employees perform better and are more engaged in their work when they and their managers focus on building their strengths, rather than improving their weaknesses. Employers can help identify the strengths of their employees and work on building them to improve their satisfaction and engagement in the workplace. Here are five ways to make that happen: 1.

Evaluate where everyone’s strengths lie within the company. When managers understand where the strengths of their employees lie, they can assign tasks based on those skill sets. In February 2014, Gallup created the Strengths Orientation Index to analyze how engaged employees were when they felt their employers focused on their strengths as opposed to their weaknesses. It was found that of the 1,003 U.

S. employees, 37 percent of employees felt their employer focused on their strengths. As a result, this led to 61 percent of employees feeling engaged in their work.  Playing to employees’ strengths makes it easier to successfully run a business. For instance, it does not make sense for Don to tell Joann, a sales person, to write the communication pieces when he knows Rylie in marketing is a strong writer.

Related: Today's Most Satisfied Employees Demand These 4 Things 2. Assign tasks related to individual strengths. In February 2014, the Journal of Positive Psychology found the use of strengths at work was connected with work performance, and this relationship is explained by vitality, concentration and harmonious passion. With Rylie being a strong writer, she can easily draft introduction letters for the company.

While Joann can write, it takes her longer and her writing is often strongly edited. By keeping Joann focused on selling and Rylie focused on writing, Don has two tasks being completed by the best people for the job. It may not be Don’s responsibility to make sure his employees never do a task they hate. However, giving employees jobs that play to their strengths is one way to make sure employees are engaged in their work.

The more they enjoy what they do, the better their work will be. Related: Culture That Counts -- 5 Ways to Dramatically Boost Employee Satisfaction 3. Provide necessary training.   A major frustration for new employees is not knowing how to do their job properly. This February, Deloitte University Press found 85 percent of respondents cited learning as “important” or “very important,” but more companies than ever report they are unprepared to meet this challenge.

By providing hands-on training, employees will be more likely to succeed right off the bat. With leaders interacting with new hires on a regular basis, employers will also get to know sooner what are a new employees’ strengths. Research released in Association of Talent Development’s State of the Industry in November 2014 shows employers spend on average $1,208 to train employees. While many managers may not feel they have enough time and money to effectively train their employees, proper training helps avoid costly mistakes down the line for new hires.

Related: 5 Ways You Might Be Failing Your Employees 4. Set up reverse mentorships.   Reverse mentorships are a great way for Don to enlist the help of experienced employees to bring out the strengths of his new employees. While traditional mentorships place the teaching responsibility on the mentor, reverse mentorships place equal responsibility on the mentee as well. As a person works for a company for a long period of time, they often rely on the skills they learned years ago.

Giving new employees the opportunity to show new ways to help a coworker is a great way to promote respect for each other’s strengths in the office. Technology comes easily for Millennials. In October 2014, Elance-oDesk found 82 percent of the hiring managers surveyed felt Millennials were technologically adept. Instead of watching their older coworkers struggle with programs they grew up with, they should offer to help teach their colleagues the basics.

In return, older coworkers can teach the ways of the office and proper business etiquette. Related: 4 Tips on How to Bring Out the Best in Your New Hires 5. Provide feedback frequently.   Don uses software like Feedback Socially to provide feedback to his employees frequently. Research from Feedback Socially shows employees are more engaged when they receive feedback once a week. Using this software is a quick way to provide the feedback employees need, keeping them engaged and more likely to stay at Don’s company.

When Don uses Feedback Socially, he is providing specific feedback on a weekly basis instead of waiting for annual or quarterly employee reviews. While he takes the time to address areas of concern, he focuses mainly on promoting the things his employees do well. Don doesn’t need an office full of jack-of-all-trades, he just wants employees that truly excel at their jobs. Feedback Socially offers a way for Don to acknowledge his employees’ strengths on a regular basis.

Related: Seven Steps to Coaching Your Employees to Success

See Also: Logitech Unifying Software Windows

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When you put people to work on your project, keep two things in mind: You need to add people to your project schedule before . . . You can assign them to work on tasks. This difference is a common source of confusion when working with any project management software. For more articles in this series of project management instructional guides, see The project management road map. Project management tips before you start .

. . If you’re new to project management If you’re new to project management, you might realize there’s more to worry about than just adding tasks, like how many people to put on them, how to account for people’s holidays and vacation time, and how and where to put in personal information like phone numbers, email addresses, and salary information. Here are tips to get you started. Learn what types of resources you can assign to tasks    After you gather the information you need about project tasks, identify the types of resources you’ll need.

People resources    These are resources we normally think of as working on tasks. Project managers sometimes call these work resources, as opposed to materials and equipment. Enterprise resources    These resources are work resources managed and shared across an organization. Enterprise resources are used with Project Professional. Material resources    These resources include computers or machinery used to complete work on tasks.

Generic resources    These resources specify staffing requirements for tasks and not specific individuals, such as carpenters, or developers. Consider how the number of resource s changes durations When you put multiple resources on a task, you’d expect the duration of a task to shorten. In many cases, however, adding people to a task can have the opposite effect. It can add extra costs, extra communication, and other inefficiencies.

For example, the design for a new toll bridge probably isn’t going to go faster if you double the number of architects on the project. Project allows you to control what happens to task durations after you add to tasks. Consider how a person’s capabilities affect task durations A person’s experience can directly affect the duration of the task. You might expect a person with five years’ experience to complete a task in less time than someone with two.

If you’re a seasoned project manager As projects get bigger, there are more things to think about. You now worry about using resources in other departments, hiring vendors, tracking a hundred peoples’ work, generating reports for executives, and numerous other complexities you haven’t even thought about yet. Fortunately, Microsoft Project has the expert tools you’ll need. Here are a tips to grow your expertise.

Review and refine the duration estimates    Use the information that you collect about your current project and similar projects to refine your duration estimates. The accuracy of your estimates for resource requirements (and ultimately project costs) depends largely on the accuracy of your task duration estimates. Track resource progress    Make sure the people on your project send in regular task status updates.

The views and reports in Microsoft Project help you not lose track of what everyone is doing. Identify resource overallocation problems    Project can help you identify when people are working on too many tasks at the same time. Keep an eye on your baselines    Baselines give you a snapshot of your project so that you compare current progress with what you planned at the beginning. Distribute work by leveling    When people are working on too many tasks at the same time, Project can adjust assignments to a more realistic workload.

Leveling resource assignments is one way to even out the load. Export project data to Excel for further analysis Excel can help you when you need further analysis of Project information. For example, you can export task and resource information to Excel for advanced earned value reports, and then display the information using sparklines to see how costs are being spent relative to the amount of work completed.

Train employees with new skills    Large organizations invest time and money to train their employees for new skills and for work across diverse environments. Training current employees can be a cost effective way to improve performance than bringing in new people. Step 1: Add people to your project Add people to your project You need to add people as well as other resources before you can assign them to work on tasks.

The other resources could include material resources like cement or paint, or cost resources like airfare and dining. Change working days for the project calendar After you’ve added people to a project, modify their work calendars to take into account their working time. Project assumes that most people work a standard week, Monday through Friday, 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. But you don’t have to stick with that work schedule.

Add holidays and vacation days We all need vacations. We all get sick. And we all like our holidays. Learn how to account for this unscheduled time by adding it to the schedule. Share people using a resource pool You can add people to your project from a pool of resources. A resource pool allows you to keep all information about people in one Project file that be used as part of master projects.

Hide a column of sensitive information You can add sensitive information like salaries and phone numbers to a project but hide this information from views—without losing information. Top of Page Step 2: Assign people and other resources to tasks Assign people to work on tasks After you’ve added tasks to your schedule, you can start assigning people to work on them. Show task names next to Gantt chart bars You can understand Gantt bars more easily if task names appear next to them.

This is helpful in reports and meetings. Enter costs for people and materials When you add people to a project, you add costs for them. Then, after you assign people to work on tasks, Microsoft Project automatically calculates the cost of the project. Check status updates After people have entered their work status, you can see changes to the schedule in Project. Remove a person from the project People leave projects, leave the company or, maybe because you misspelled a name, never really existed in the first place.

For all these reasons, you might need to remove people from a project. Top of Page Step 3: Manage people and other resources Choose the right view for viewing resources After you’ve assigned people to tasks and work has begun, use the many views in Project to monitor their progress and make changes to the schedule. Change a task duration One method for handling workload problems is to reduce task durations.

Distribute work to ease people’s workload When people in your project are working on too many assignments at the same time, you can let Project distribute work more evenly. Change the effort driven setting for task types When you add or remove people from a task, Project lengthens or shortens the duration of the task. This is effort-driven scheduling. If you don’t want the duration to change, you can change the effort-driven setting of the task.

Track the progress of your schedule Tracking the work on a project is not only critical to ensuring your project ends on time. It also allows you to learn from mistakes and successes in a project. Save a baseline When your boss asks how your project is doing compared to your original plan, the last thing you want to say is “I don’t know.” Avoid that by setting a baseline as a snapshot of your original schedule before your project starts.

Communicate with your team After you’ve made changes to a person’s schedule, communicate those changes so information doesn’t get lost. View a project report of people's progress Create and customize graphical reports of project progress. You can view these reports in Project or export them to other applications like PowerPoint, Word, or Excel. IM chat with a project team member using Lync When questions come up about a task, Project now gives you several ways to get instant answers.

Hover over a name and click Send an IM to start an instant message session in Lync. Return to The project management road map

Felicia Watson

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