How to Assign Work to Employees

Effective communication methods ensure work assignment success.

Effective communication methods ensure work assignment success.

A good manager knows the strengths and the weaknesses of the employees she oversees. She can communicate objectives and goals and provide performance measurements for successful project completion. She has developed a rapport with those she manages and knows how to motivate her employees to success. At the heart of all successful projects and work assignments are clear and concise communications and the ability to get employees to buy-in and welcome the work.

Learn about your employees' talents, skills and abilities. When you are new to a manager's job, it's important to gain an understanding of the staff so you know the kind of work each person can do. Meet with your staff members individually and ask them about previous work experience, special projects they've been involved with and their future career goals. Ask employees to share their personal successes, strengths and weaknesses. When you get the chance, review their personnel files for more information. When assigning work to employees, ensuring the project's success starts with assigning work to the employees most capable of completing it.

Prioritize and classify the work that needs to be done. Before you can communicate work needs to employees, you must understand the work's importance to the company. Secondly, understanding a project's needs and where it fits within the company and department's structure can help to determine the right employee for the work.

Create a work assignment list. Develop a timeline that details the steps of the project and the date each step must be completed. Provide an estimate of how long the work should take. Match employees with experience to assignments best suited to their abilities. Use your knowledge of the employee's talents, skills and abilities to choose the right person. Sometimes, you might have two or more people capable of completing the assignment. Review the work they are already doing and choose the person with enough available time to handle the project. To ensure successful project completion, don't overload a person who already has a full plate of work.

Outline the specifics of the project, including work assignments, expectations, deadlines and deliverables. Define work goals and objectives and include any special strategy or tactics for successful completion. A good manager avoids micromanagement and concerns herself with project results. If some steps have legal requirements that must be adhered to, include these details, but otherwise, allow each employee to complete the project in the manner that works best for him.

Develop performance measurements after determining the work specifics. Along with the work assigned, decide on benchmarks or a quantifiable means with which you will measure the employee's work performance. The success of a project becomes part of the evaluation process used to measure the employee for future job assignments and raises. Verify that performance measurements are within reason and that they are obtainable and quantifiable.

Set up a meeting to go over work assignments with employees. This can be done in a group if the work involves a multi-employee project, or on an individual basis if there are only a few employees receiving assignments. During this meeting, provide employees with project objectives and goals. Delineate the expectations, project deadlines and the special skills or experience required for the work assignment. Let employees know the measurements you will use for performance. Be prepared to answer questions that might arise. Communicate individual responsibility, group leadership roles, if any, and let the employees know where they can obtain help or answers to questions during the project.

Schedule regular and ongoing meetings for large work projects. Regular meetings help you to keep a finger on the project's pulse and to deal with any problems that might arise. Be willing to accept employee input that could help improve the project's success.

Tip

  • Develop an attitude and approach that welcomes employee input. Allowing employee input and modification to work assignments often results in more successful projects. It also helps to motivate employees to success if they develop project or work ownership.

Warning

  • Never use condescending tones with employees when you want them to succeed.
 

About the Author

As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.

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