Now that our participants have been asking for weekly reports for a few months, they’re starting to see the benefits of consistency. At first, reading all the reports (and dealing with employees who made a fuss about sending in the reports) took a lot of time and thought about what to do about each complaint and how to categorize each accomplishment. But after a few months of regular reporting, our managers were starting to anticipate what they were going to get. Here are the main benefits they’re seeing of this consistency:
1. Issues with different job roles and positions are exposed that they wouldn’t have been able to see before. And now that the managers know what’s blocking people, they can figure out how to deal with it. Some of it can’t be resolved, but now at least everyone knows about it and can acknowledge it.
2. Collective sigh of relief from the people who are working in good faith. The managers found that people who were facing challenges in doing their jobs as well as they wanted to were hungry for the chance to simply tell someone and have their issue reports noted officially. They knew that once it was in the “official record” that they’d reported problems with something, it would be as easy to be held accountable for later failures, since they’d reported what they knew. That allowed people to relax and focus on what they could do.
3. Better goal setting and assignments. Our managers are pleasantly surprised by things their employees are reporting as accomplishments, and are able to give employees more responsibilities and assignments in the areas they are excelling at.
4. Nowhere to hide. The employees who are sitting around resisting work are outing themselves, either by refusing to do the reports or by missing the mark completely on the reports. Our managers usually knew who wasn’t doing the job, but now they had confirmation of that.
5. Opportunity for a priorities review with each employee. One of our managers inherited a bunch of employees without completely understanding their area or job duties, and our other manager had a few positions cut and needed remaining employees to pick up some extra duties. In both cases, the reports told our managers what each employee assumed were the priorities of their role and the managers got to have alignment one-on-ones with each employee to make sure the manager and employee both had the same idea of the priorities for each role.
The first few weeks of reporting were slightly terrifying for the managers, but once the initial panic subsided, the managers started seeing how these quick check-ins could tell them more about how their department were running than they could see just by walking around or following project management report progress.