Important Notice:
This site has moved to, please update your bookmarks. If you were looking for a specific post, you can use the site search option, archives, or categories at the new domain to find it. Thank you!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

how to manage an employee without enough work to do

A reader writes:

I have an employee who for the past few months has said that she doesn’t have enough to do. I am not the type to give out busy work. It is perhaps that she has mastered her job and should move on to something else with another company? We are a small company -- 6 people. I am not sure what to do.

So you have an employee who has mastered her job and has time for additional work, and you want her to move on?

Is there nothing else that your company could benefit from having done since she has free time?

Of course you don't want to give her busy work, but surely it would benefit your company to have the chance to get to do things that people normally don't have time for.

I don't know where her talents or interests lie or what your company needs, but why not ask her to figure out what projects or responsibilities would be useful for her to take on? It's a small company, so she's probably intimately familiar with its inner workings and should be able to come up with ideas about where there are needs.

Maybe the company could use better documentation of its various procedures, or better training materials, or, hell, a Twitter account to communicate with customers. I don't know since I don't work there, but she has the time to figure it out -- let that be the first project she takes on.

(I should also note: I'm assuming that you're convinced that her job would be a full-time job for most people, and that she's unusual in being so fast. If that's not the case, then you need to take a hard look at how you have your staffing structured.)


Anonymous said...

May I have that job, please? ; )

Or I can mail some of my work to that employee...yeah, that'd work.

Rob Gilmark said...

Why punish her for being efficient? If she can get her job done well and quickly, why not let her go home/take a few days off or design her own project? If the other employees see that efficiency pays off, maybe they'll speed things up as well.