HR time management sets the standards for the rest of the company. If they can’t keep on top of their own schedules, it’s unfair to expect others to. However, while HR teams have a jam-packed schedule of daily tasks, they often find themselves dragged in different directions when they least expect it.
But there is hope! Here at Bitrix24, we’ve gathered a list of 10 HR time management tips that will help you streamline your daily routine and be prepared for when your plans get turned on their head.Starting with the basics and a time management definition, we’ll go on to delve deeper into key strategies and HR time management software. By the end, you’ll have a strong understanding of how to keep a cool head, rather than spend your days putting out fires.
The question of “what is time management?” usually conjures up images of a list of tasks, and for good reason. Start with a simple to-do list. It’s best to do this at the end of each day, when you’ve got everything fresh in your mind. That way, you can switch off and relax, ready to get at it again tomorrow.
Although you should always prioritize your tasks for the coming week and day, this is a never-ending process. By this, we don’t mean jumping from one task to another because it is urgent. Instead, you should take a moment to reassess your priorities, and communicate any changes to anybody concerned. It is frustrating for those who have a meeting canceled for later in the day, but it’s even worse to think the meeting is going ahead and find yourself in a room by yourself.
A simple prioritization technique is to sort all of your tasks into the following categories:
Urgent and important
Not urgent, but important
Urgent, but not important
Neither urgent nor important
With this framework, it’s far easier to structure your day so you get the essentials done ASAP before working on the important tasks.
Often known as the people department, HR workers are perhaps the most called-upon people in any company. It’s all-too easy to be a people pleaser and say yes to everybody, but part of HR time management is learning when to say no.
Multitasking sounds great in theory, but the reality is that you’ll usually end up doing two jobs badly. Instead, follow your plan for the day and give each task your full attention. That way, you’ll produce work with more consistency and more quality. Each time you are taken away from the job at hand, you have to readjust to get back into the swing of things. All this eats into your time — not to mention your stress levels.
Sticking to one task at a time, and saying no when you need to, is all part of your prioritization efforts. It is one of the simplest ways of improving your time management and doesn’t require any tools or technology to be effective.
As you gain experience in your role, you’ll soon become aware of how your work time is best spent. Many find they are more productive at deep work in the morning, with the interactivity of meetings more suited to an after-lunch time slot. If you find you do something best at a certain time, stick to it!
The most obvious candidate for blocking into certain times is meetings. Nobody wants to have their periods of deep work interrupted on a daily basis. Instead, you can schedule in blocks destined solely for meetings. Let’s say Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for example. You and your teams know they are your slots, so you can politely reject meetings on a Monday morning. Similarly, you don't need to worry about forgetting meetings that are dispersed over a week and you can always arrive prepared.
It is equally understandable if you need your own space to get on with the tasks that only require your input. Jobs like looking through CVs require full concentration and a level of comparison that means spreading them out over a week is counter productive. Block out time on your calendar so nobody can interrupt you and find a nice quiet corner to get to work. If anybody interrupts, you can calmly explain that you’ll be available later in the day.
With HR departments wearing so many hats, organizational tools are an obvious way of simplifying your day, reducing stress, and avoiding mistakes.
A calendar is simple, but essential HR and time management software. It is where all your daily tasks belong, keeping you on track throughout the day without having to occupy your brain space with appointments.
Use time trackers to get an average time that each task should take. Then, you can plan each week with a Gantt chart visualization, giving you a clear view of how your day is made up. But don’t overfill it! Remember to leave open slots to deal with ad-hoc requests.
Using a project management app is a silver bullet as part of your HR time management strategy. More advanced than a to-do list, you can Include instructions to yourself and your team as well as all the steps you need to take. This way, you won’t let anything fall by the wayside, even on those pressure-filled days.
More and more departments are using human resources information systems (HRIS) to digitize and simplify daily HR tasks. This technology has far-reaching capabilities, starting with storing all your resources and current and potential employee records on one cloud-based database. You and your team can save a huge chunk of time by organizing data in this way and always having the latest onboarding materials to hand in a shared folder.
You can also take the stress out of who is available at any one time — especially useful for remote teams. By leveraging powerful absence charts and work schedules, you can take care of sick leave, overtime, and PTO without endless email back-and-forths. It’s not just the HR department who are aware of this, either. All changes are immediately synced to a company-wide employee directory which shows who is in the office and who is away.
However, HRIS really comes into its own when monitoring efficiency and performance assessment. Work reports are often one of the trickiest areas to measure without spending hours digging deep into all kinds of different metrics. This manual technique is also open to human biases that you can’t simply switch off. But with HRIS, you can add a layer of transparency by letting the algorithms look solely at data. Effectiveness is based on the number of completed and overdue tasks of employees, combined with a manager’s evaluation of task quality.
The best time management and performance software is perfectly synchronized across mobile and desktop devices, meaning you can access information at the drop of a hat.
Track employee attendance and team performance, automate workflows and increase engagement with all-in-one HRMS from Bitrix24.
Over time, you can identify tasks that are less of a priority or that are easier than the ones that really earn you your salary. Before delegating, look back to your urgency-importance framework. You can seriously improve your HR time management by assigning the less important tasks to a colleague who is capable of handling them.
Equally, you can delegate a specific type of work, for example health and safety sessions. And it doesn’t just stop at tasks. Why attend endless meetings when you can send someone in your place and get a structured report later?
While delegation is an ideal HR time management technique, it does take a bit of extra time to get going. You can’t just set a bunch of tasks and expect them to go smoothly. Make sure to organize training sessions for your chosen employee so they’re ready to face the job. This will save a lot of time in the long run!
As technology advances, more and more repetitive, time-consuming tasks are becoming eligible for automation. A perfect HR time management strategy, automation cuts out a huge amount of admin tasks and frees up more time for the work that needs a human touch.
We’ve covered specific areas such as hiring workflows and performance assessment in other sections of this article. But in HR departments, there is an endless list of areas for automation, and these are just a few:
Scheduling repeated meetings
Automated email responses for applicants
Fair assignment of candidates to your team
Rapid time off requests and approvals
Automated invoice acceptance and payments
Training session reminders
By using automations to your advantage, you cover a vast range of daily tasks in a consistent, uniform way.
It takes a unique kind of profile to love data entry work. That’s maybe one of the biggest drivers behind the rise of daily report software — tools that allow you to automatically monitor how well your employees are progressing. Now an essential HR time management tool, it assesses a range of metrics of your choosing, including time taken and missed deadlines.
Rather than you chasing up each employee to get work reports, you can integrate everything so all it takes is a few clicks of a button from your employees. They can set time trackers running and your project management software can take care of monitoring deadlines.
All of this data arrives in a neat, consistent style in your analytics software, where you can pull out reports and get a clear performance assessment. In terms of time management tips, automated analytics and reporting are a triple threat, with time saved in gathering data, writing reports, and analyzing the results.
For repetitive projects, such as hiring, it’s highly advisable to create workflow templates based on the best practices you’ve learned through experience. Track the time you spend on each step to better plan the process and adapt it as you learn and innovate. This way, you can set a significant project in motion with a single click of a button.
Using workflow templates allows you to clear your mind of admin and focus on your primary objectives — you can tighten up your approach without having to remember each step of the way. And it’s not just all about you. Using HR and time management software in this way means you can take time off without worrying about what will happen when you’re out of office.
Nobody is built like a machine, despite what social media bodybuilders might say. We all need time away from the desk where we can fully relax.
Part of HR time management is setting fixed break and lunch times. If you don’t set your own boundaries, nobody else will. As well as allowing you to breathe, it also pinpoints a cut-off time which can be a real motivator for getting things done.
Like so many of these tips, setting boundaries has a positive impact on those around you too. If your workers see you setting boundaries, it gives them tacit permission to do the same. The result will be a much calmer, happier, and more focused team with lower turnover and a better team spirit.
You can also codify your boundary-setting objectives. Implementing rules such as no emails outside of work and providing options for workers to raise concerns about overwork are a great start.
Fully equipped with our 10 HR time management basics, you might have already breathed a sigh of relief. But there’s even more good news. You can find all that tech we spoke about — Gantt charts, project management tools, HRIS, performance reporting, and workflow templates on one interconnected platform.
Bitrix24 has everything your HR department needs to manage its time and stay on top of things. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for free today and start organizing your time like a pro.