Manage Your Team’s Workload

Assigning projects to your team may appear to be a straightforward task, but in fact, it’s a critical and complex process.

In many organizations, top performers are burdened with too great a workload, causing resentment. Meanwhile, struggling employees are avoided, eventually losing interest and motivation.

Compounding the problem is human nature: some employees have trouble saying “no,” while others can all too well.

The disparity between the overworked top performers and the under-utilized weak performers leads to low morale, disengagement, and ultimately, turnover.

It’s easy to understand how this happens. Faced with productivity goals, the manager is simply trying to get the job done with available resources.

Management experts offer several methods to balance workload effectively:

First, match skills to needs. Who does what well?  Assign tasks according to each person’s strengths.

Next, create workload metrics. While employees equate effort to hours worked, the true metric is quantity and quality of tasks completed. The project one employee completes in an hour may take another all day.

Finally, coach and develop weaker team members. Every team has a person or two who are slower, inexperienced, or less capable. You owe it your top performers to develop struggling employees. They will require additional supervision and special, developmental assignments. You may find that these team members don’t have the proper aptitude or the necessary interest in the job. If so, they should be re-assigned.

Workload management is a fluid, ever-changing challenge. Giving it proper attention is key to a productive team.