How to get staff to do mundane tasks: Taking the time to explain why will pay dividends

Passing Time
Tedious tasks still have to be done (Source: Getty)

In the digital age, with an always-on mentality, employees are more connected to their work than ever before. And with increasing workloads and mounting time pressures, employers can struggle to encourage their staff to actually get those jobs they deem to be less important done.

These jobs can be anything from completing holiday or sick forms, to filling out timesheets and inputting expenses. If timesheets are not done, employers cannot get full visibility over employee time or output, and if expenses are not accurately completed, workers can experience delays in being reimbursed. These are all aspects of business that need to be done alongside core projects and important client work.

As employees drag their heels on completing these “monotonous” tasks, in favour of assignments they see as more important, internal processes slow and problems mount up. So how can organisations make sure their staff complete these tasks on time, or at all?

Provide helpful and easy to follow training and instructions

Your employees are far more likely to put off doing tasks if they are unsure of how to complete them correctly and think of them as being difficult or an inconvenience. If employers offer effective and targeted training and support, employees can complete the tasks they least want to do without “wasting” too much of their time.

Make employees aware of policy and enforce it

Organisations need to make sure that workers know the rules and regulations around such tasks. With a clear and concise policy regarding jobs like inputting expenses, and making workers aware of the repercussions if they are not in line with policy, employees are much more likely to take more care of their actions, spend within permitted boundaries and complete them correctly and on time.

Encourage productivity tools

Productivity is a constant issue in the UK. We perform poorly compared to international rivals. To help staff work in the most efficient way, managers can encourage the use of productivity apps such as Trello or Evernote to help workers keep on top of their to-do lists. Businesses like PayPal, Google and Kickstarter all use Trello to help maintain productivity and ensure all tasks are completed no matter what size or level of importance. A step further would be to use a project management app like Basecamp, which enables members of a team to keep track of tasks of any size, and notify others when completed.

Provide the right technology

Of course, tiresome tasks can be made so much worse due to outdated or ineffective technology. If workers are expected to follow laborious manual processes, it can dramatically slow down important internal processes.

It is therefore crucial for businesses to innovate and keep up with technology to help drive productivity and make employees’ lives easier. Workers value convenience, and by providing options for remote working, such as mobile apps to input timesheets or expenses, this can be achieved easily.

Explain why

It is important for employees to understand why they are completing these potentially onerous tasks. If they cannot see the relevance or importance of these jobs, they are less likely to complete them on time and to a good standard. For example, if employers explain why timesheets are needed, or why expenses must be processed on time, they may be happier to get these done.

When staff are provided with the right tools and know-how, mundane and trying jobs won’t be as difficult and time-consuming to do. This then frees up time for them to work on the business critical tasks that drive growth for the company.

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