How to Assign Duties to Employees

Managing a group of people as they work together to complete a project can be a project in itself. Balancing the interests of the employees and those of the company can be difficult. Communication of your expectations is vital to ensuring the project is completed to the best of your and your employees’ abilities.

Tell employees what specific outcome and results you want from the task. If you want the bathroom clean, define “clean.” Tell the employees you want them to mop the floors, wipe the mirrors, clean the toilets, pick up trash, and whatever other tasks you think should come with cleaning the bathroom.

Communicate to the employees the specific strategies and procedures you expect them to use to accomplish a task. If you want to give them more independence to accomplish the duties, say so. However, establish specific limits to authority and budget as well as a deadline for completion. Ask the employees to repeat back to you their understanding of what limits and procedures you have prescribed. Go over them again if you differ on significant points.

Check in with the employees regularly to ensure the duties are being accomplished within company policy and up to company standards. Avoid micromanaging, however. Give the employees room to do their tasks their way, within reason, if you have given them this authority. Encourage the employees to ask questions during this time.

Assign tasks based on employees’ interests and capabilities. If you have enough team members to get a project done, let each person work on a piece to which he can contribute significantly. Assign tasks in which you are weak to those on your team who are stronger in those areas, and tasks in which you are strong to those who may be a bit weaker. This way, you help everyone on the team have ownership of the project and grow professionally.

Show appreciation when employees complete their assigned tasks. Send appreciative emails to them, and copy human resources and another manager. Praise them publicly, such as in a meeting. Also, show appreciation for effort even when an employee does not complete a task as you would have liked.

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About the Author

Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.