Better time management leads to better productivity of your employees and your organization.
Hiring employees with time management skills will foster your organization with better task management, discipline, and commitment.
In this article, you will learn the importance of time management skills for your employees and how to assess time management skills in your employees while hiring.
What are time management skills, and why are they important?
As the famous saying goes, “time is money” time management is amongst the most critical soft skills to assess while hiring an employee.
Time is a limited asset. Whether it is a company CEO or a junior-level employee, everyone has 24 hours in their day, and it is how they manage the hours in the day that makes the difference.
Time management skills are essential because they help people manage their tasks effectively. They’re always ahead of the deadlines, ensuring your clients and customers are always satisfied.
Having time management skills helps your employees stay focused and accomplish more in their careers and thus helps your organization grow.
Research also found that people with good time management skills have less stress and less anxiety.
What are time management skills?
There is a set of skills that add up to master time. As per an article by Harvard Business Review, managing time is unrealistic, and it is all about managing ourselves. In the case of the workplace, it is about how your employees manage themselves.
Here are some skills that make a complete set of time management skills.
1. Understanding important and urgent tasks
Understanding the difference between important, urgent, and highly valued tasks could solve most time management problems.
In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey shares a matrix to divide the tasks into four types:
- Urgent and important
- Not urgent but important
- Urgent but not important
- Not urgent and not important
For example, if your client needs urgent tech support, such a task would come under the urgent and important category, and it should be on high priority for your employee. Following important innovations in tech is an example of an important but not urgent task. Not urgent and not important tasks are everything that wastes time.
An ideal candidate for your organization would understand such strategies. And if they are precise with these practices, they would be smart with every aspect of time management. They will be good at planning, delegation, and automation.
2. Planning and goal setting
Half of the time management is about planning the activities and tasks. If your employees lack planning, most of the tasks will meet deadlines, and sometime they might even miss a deadline.
Planning saves your employees from wasting unnecessary time on less important things. They should be able to plan and block time for deep work tasks, tedious tasks, strategic breaks, and reporting. And in the long term, they should be able to break significant projects into bits and pieces and set soft deadlines for themselves.
3. Delegating tasks and assignments
Deligation skill in your employees helps them in completing work faster. And it helps your top talent focus on the most critical tasks. Especially when it comes to leadership roles work, delegation is an important skill. Delegation doesn’t just save time. It also trains the employees in a junior role.
To delegate properly, your employees should understand the difference between urgent and important tasks and urgent but not important tasks. This will help them make quick decisions in understanding which tasks are to be delegated and which are supposed to be done by them.
For example, you’ve asked the employee in a marketing leadership role to survey the demand for your product. These tasks require questionnaires, market analysis, competitor analysis, and more such assignments. If your employee in a leadership role is good at delegation, they will utilize the skill set of their team in conducting the project.
4. Understanding automation
If you go back ten years, automation wasn’t part of our life, and automation helps us save time and energy.
Automation is using software and tools to automate manual and tedious tasks that take time and energy. If your employees understand automation, they will be more efficient, and it will save their time and your organization’s money. And they will have more time to dedicate to essential tasks in their work schedule.
For example, there are two ways to post on social media. They could either publish posts manually or automate the process using software tools. Utilizing automation can save them hours of work.
To understand automation, your employees need to be tech-savvy and be willing to save time. They won’t waste time on tedious tasks, and all they have to do is set up automation.
5. Organized working skills
Organizing, discipline, and time management come together. If your employee takes an hour to search for an important document, they’ve wasted one hour of their precious time. Organizing skills include maintaining notes of meetings and managing emails and different files, both soft and hard.
Organized employees don’t hesitate to take on new tasks that need urgent attention, and they aren’t scared of taking on big projects.
6. Maintaining work-life balance
According to a survey by the American Institute of Stress, 88% of employees in the US feel stressed at work, and this compliments the fact that 77% of employees experience burnout and 66% of employees lack work-life balance.
If they struggle to manage time for their personal life, their issues might pile up, resulting in stress at the workplace. Having good time management skills will help your employees with work-life balance, and thus, your employees will be less stressed and more productive during work.
What is the cost of hiring employees with poor time management skills?
There is a cost of mis-hiring candidates. When your employee lacks time management skills, here are some of the problems that would arise in your organization.
Frequently Missing deadlines
If you hire employees who don’t understand planning and organizing their tasks, this will directly impact the deadlines for the jobs. They will be missing deadlines and struggling with completions.
Missing deadlines make your employees unreliable and irresponsible. It results in unsatisfied clients, poor customer experience, and creates a negative image of your brand in the long term.
Less focused on work
People who lack time management skills are easily distracted. They find excuses to avoid deep work, and you will see them scrolling through social media or getting lost in their world. And they are less focused, they can’t deliver with high focus and deep work.
Procrastination on assignments
When people talk about the opposite of being productive, they talk about procrastination. When your employees procrastinate, they’re either doing non-important tasks, not working, wasting time, etc. Sometimes you will notice them spending more time on easy tasks instead of focusing on complex tasks.
Procrastination at the workplace is a threat to your employees and your organization.
Poor quality of work
Poor time management has a direct impact on the different tasks and assignments. Your employee has to rush the work towards the deadline, which sometimes leads to poor quality of work.
High-value tasks require high focus and attention, sometimes deep work. These things are impractical for a person struggling to meet deadlines.
Stress and burnout
When your employees have a problem with managing time, their pending tasks pile up. As a result, they have to accomplish more than they’re capable of in a limited time. So this takes an alarming toll on their mental health.
They don’t have a proper work-life balance, and they are stressed about work all the time. And things get worst when they burn out.
How to assess time management skills while recruitment?
There are two ways to assess time management skills in your candidates while hiring:
1. Screening test with assessment tools
Assessment tools are a great way to test if your candidates have time management skills.
These tests are made by subject matter experts who understand human behavior and psychology. This set of questions helps you assess if your candidate has essential skills to master time. With this approach, you can identify candidates with good time management skills in the initial screening phase before the actual interview.
2. Assessment with interview questions
Once you have shortlisted the candidate, you can assess time management skills by asking good questions that reveal their time management philosophy.
Asking open-ended questions will get them to open up with you, and once they answer, you can assess them accordingly.
Some of the examples of these questions are:
- Do you believe in having a fixed routine or working as you go? Why?
- How do you deal with the feeling of overwhelm caused by pending tasks?
- How do you plan your day?
- Do you prefer completing the most challenging task first or the easiest task first? Why?
- What productivity tools do you use to manage your day?
Time management is a crucial skill for any individual, whether you are hiring for a technical role, a non-technical role, or a leadership position. Apart from assessing the technical talents and communication skills of your applicants, assessing time management skills is crucial too. This will help you add outstanding employees to your organization.
However, the way you assess applicants and candidates matters. You need tests that are accurate and help you make a solid decision while hiring. Assessment platforms like testify can help.