Assigning Work

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The way you assign work to employees is important to the onboarding process. Sometimes it is possible to involve employees in the projects they are assigned. New employees, however, will have less experience and will need more guidance. Using the most effective method will make the task of assigning work easier for you and your new hires.

General Principles

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Generally, assigning work requires employers to communicate basic expectations of who, what, where, when, and why. These expectations must also include what the work is, the due date, and any steps and tools that are necessary to complete the work. 

Types of assignments:

  • Suggestions: These are low priority assignments and completely open to interpretation.
  • Requests: These are less official and are slightly open to interpretation.
  • Orders: These are direct and leave no room for interpretation.

The Dictatorial Approach

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The dictatorial approach is simply giving orders. It is the fastest way to assign work, but also the least effective. It should only be used in emergencies, and you need to explain the importance of the assignment. Employers who rely on the dictatorial approach have poor job satisfaction among their employees and usually high turnover. 

The Apple Picking Approach

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The apple picking approach allows people to choose their tasks from a list. These tasks are not typically high priority, and it is important that all tasks have the same value to the organization. This approach is helpful when there is little time to meet and discuss assignments. The drawback to the apple picking approach is that it does not teach collaboration and teamwork. It is also important to make sure that there are more tasks than employees, so that the last to sign up is not stuck with unwanted assignments.

The Collaborative Approach

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The collaborative approach involves team meetings. Employees collaborate on who should complete each task. The team has a say in the deadlines and objectives of each assignment. This is the most effective way to assign tasks because employees are involved in the process. It is, however, time consuming and should be reserved for important assignments. This approach also works better when a team is established. 

Case Study

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used the dictatorial approach to assign tasks to employees. She does not like being questioned and does not allow people to determine their own tasks. As a result, some employees feel that they are assigned tasks that they are not capable of performing. Over a six-month period, half of the employees give notice. The CEO hires a new HR representative to assign tasks. He implements the different approaches. Morale improves among employees who do not have to work with the CEO.