They say that your company is only as good as your best employees. Hence, these over-achieving individuals will naturally be the most overly utilized. The overutilization of exceptional individuals is predictable, yet only temporarily beneficial to the company.
We know that managers are always in a bind and work has to be done properly, which is only possible with the help of reliable and intelligent employees. That leaves other employees in a position of being able just to get by. A company’s star employees are worn out, and the mediocre employees are not being capitalized. So how do you create a shift in the workload and get everyone to pull his or her own weight to share the workload?
Managers have to read the writing on the wall and take some initiative to make sure every employee is getting the appropriate assignment. That requires an evaluation of each employee on your team, so a serious sit-down is in order to distribute workload.
A manager’s most important job is to discern the strengths and interests of each employee to utilize and develop their skills. Talking to employees about their goals, improving their weaknesses, building on their strengths and discussing anything that may be making it difficult to do their work is mutually beneficial. Only then will a manager have a much clearer picture of what they have to do, and an employee can feel like they can grow with the company.
Your star performer needs a break, but how do you do that? An article by Harvard business review that discusses fairly dividing work suggests “putting certain projects on the back burner.” You don’t want your star performer to become so overworked that he or she leaves due to unfair workloads.
And now the tough part, how to deal with the stragglers. These people might be the nicest individual with the best of intentions, but their performance is not on par with their peers.
Letting them know that their performance needs improvement is a must, but the blow needs to be softened by offering help or additional training to fix any deficiencies. Perhaps getting some much-needed training or pairing up with a better worker can help them improve their performance at work. As a manager, it’s up to you to look at total workload and tasks as well as employee performance to smooth out any unequal distribution of work among your team members.
Another point that the article made was recognizing different levels of productivity. Some individuals can complete their work in a more efficient manner than others. Hence, it is often not the amount of time an employee spends on their work that is important. The quality of work is what matters the most, and it is critical to explain this to your team to minimize any comparisons that people might make about their workload.
My father used to say that the better you are at your job, the more work you receive. The “workhorse” strategy has been around for a long time, but in this day and age of constant job hopping that strategy might just be on its last leg.
Now managers have to work a lot harder to keep their star performers, and that means making sure everyone is getting their fair share of the workload.
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