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Make Employees Design Administrative Tasks

All employees hate administrative tasks. These seem like things that get in the way of their work, not something that helps them succeed. Consider expense reports, time tracking, project updates, etc. I stress that the key to getting buy in for these tasks is to help the individual understand who uses this information and why, that sometimes isn't enough.

One issue is that sometimes the admin task is simply not designed efficiently. In essence, it is harder to complete than it should be. One answer to this is to ask the employees to help design the admin tasks. This way they can take their needs into consideration and design it in a way that is most effective for them.

For example, as a manager I ask all employees to send me a weekly status report - what I like to know is what they accomplished that week, what they are working on next week, and what challenges or questions they are facing. I explain that this helps me stay in touch with their work and help them, they still feel like it is a chore (which it is).

So I tell them what I need and let them design it. What day will they all send it, what format, should we share it with everyone or just me, etc. I clearly set out what I need, but let them come up with the product. It is rarely how I would ask them to do it, but it becomes something they had ownership in building, so they are more accepting of it.

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