Tips to speed up slower workers

stopwatch and to-do listThere is sometimes only a thin line between diligence and delay—but you can always tell when employees have crossed it. Slow workers habitually fall behind schedule, miss deadlines and ­hinder productivity.

Here are tips to help slow workers speed up:

• Establish priorities. Make sure slower workers know what their most important job responsibilities are, and help them maintain their focus on those tasks.

• Clarify projects from the start. Review steps in advance. Ask workers, “How do you plan to go about it?” to make sure they’re on the right track before they start.

• Set deadlines—and checkpoints. Establish a time frame for starting and finishing each step of the project. This further organizes procedures and provides signposts to measure progress.

• Know when enough’s enough. Curb perfectionism by giving slower workers clear guidelines for what constitutes finished work. Don’t let unnecessarily high standards slow down progress.

• Monitor closely. Make a regular habit of asking for specific information about what slower workers (and all others) are achieving. Oral or written progress reports can also reinforce workers’ awareness of time limits. Suggest shortcuts when appropriate, but don’t accept substandard work in the process.