Meeting deadlines is often easier said than done. With multiple projects, competing priorities, unexpected problems and just about a million things on top of it all, it can be challenging for HR professionals to keep to schedule and meet tight deadlines consistently. But there are clear strategies you can follow to ensure success, minimise missed deadlines and avoid distractions. Here is everything you need to know to stay ahead of the game and confidently stick to timelines.
Table of Contents
Importance of Meeting Deadlines in HR
One missed deadline likely won’t cause problems, but a few tight deadlines in a row can throw larger projects or an entire timeline off course. A workplace report by the Project Management Institute (PMI) revealed that as many as 48% of projects don’t finish on time. Missing a deadline in high proportions can cause noticeable disruption across your HR team. Over time, this disruption can damage your team’s KPIs, lowering engagement and productivity and ultimately increasing the operational costs of your organisation.
Strategies for Meeting a Deadline in HR
A strategic approach to managing project deadlines is crucial for your team’s success. Research by PMI shows that solid management practices make projects 2.5 times more likely to meet their original goals, with 33% fewer projects being deemed failures. You can accomplish this in your work environment by incorporating the right strategies, guaranteeing you will meet the deadline. Here are just a few:
Because HR teams and project managers are responsible for numerous tasks and larger projects, it can be easy to forget the hierarchy of prioritisation amidst the chaos! However, effective prioritisation strategies can help you determine how to assign a new task, which team member to delegate other tasks to, and how to categorise tasks based on their importance and urgency, such as:
- The Eisenhower Method: A matrix categorising tasks into four quadrants based on urgency and importance.
- The MosCow Method: A technique used to prioritise tasks by dividing them into four relevant categories, from critical “must-have” activities to “won’t have” assignments that you can eliminate from your to-do list.
- The Ivy Lee Method: A practical, daily priority list strategy that identifies the day’s six most important tasks.
- The ABCDE Method: A task management technique that puts tasks into five categories based on priority levels.
Long-term, these prioritisation strategies will ensure a clear deadline ethos and promote good communication across your team. Everyone will be on the same page; You’ll have set your own boundaries discuss progress and completion dates and delegated smaller tasks to the right team members, which will ultimately result in a productivity boost across your organisation.
Imagine being tasked with multiple projects and, for example, implementing a new diversity and inclusion programme but lacking the budget to hire a dedicated D&I specialist. Issues like these are common in HR and can increase pressure on project timelines. The following steps can help to minimise them!
- Before making any decisions or formulating a plan, understand the available resources, including the current staff, skill sets, and the tools and technology available to support the programme.
- There may be areas within the current HR budget that can be optimised or redirected to support a diversity and inclusion programme. For example, HR professionals can look for ways to reduce costs associated with recruitment or training.
- Identify people within the organisation who are passionate about diversity and inclusion and can serve as advocates for the programme, including team members at all levels, from entry-level staff to senior executives.
Avoiding Planning Fallacy
When planning a project, it’s common to be overly optimistic about how long it will take to complete. This is known as the ‘planning fallacy,’ the mother of missed deadlines. Overly optimistic time management stems from not accounting for previous project completion times and not considering resource limitations. Setting realistic time management based on data and past experiences is essential to avoid falling into this trap with your own deadlines.
How to Handle Missed Deadlines
It happened: the due date was missed. If you’re faced with this situation, don’t panic. The best thing you can do is take a step back and objectively assess the situation; this will help you respond appropriately and minimise the impact on your team and business. Try to:
1) Identify the cause
Uncover the reason for the missed deadline. This could involve speaking with the people responsible for a certain task and reviewing any relevant documentation or communication. It’s important to determine whether the missed deadline was due to a lack of resources, unforeseen circumstances or other factors.
2) Assess the impact
Once you’ve identified the cause of the tight deadline, the next step is to assess the impact of the missed deadline. Consider the impact of earlier deadline on the overall project timeline, the budget and any other stakeholders who may be affected.
3) Develop a plan to get back on track
This should include specific steps to address the cause of the missed deadline, as well as a revised, detailed schedule and budget. Depending on the situation, it may also be necessary to have regular meetings to keep your stakeholders informed or adjust other aspects of the project plan to ensure you meet your completion date.
4) Implement the plan
With a clear plan in place, it’s time to implement it. You might need to allocate additional resources, adjust work schedules or make other changes as necessary. Additionally, it’s worth monitoring progress closely and making necessary adjustments to the schedule to ensure the project stays on the right track.
5) Evaluate the results
Once the project is back on track and the revised due date has been met, take the time to evaluate the results. Analyse the impact on the budget, assess the quality of the work and identify any lessons learned. This feedback can be valuable in improving processes and preventing similar issues from arising.
Challenges when Trying to Meet a Deadline
Understanding the driving forces behind missed deadlines is vital in meeting them in the future. The Workfront’s State of Work Report highlighted the main obstacles companies face in sticking to timelines which HR teams can use as a starting point:
|Main Issues||Percentage of Respondents|
|Excessive email sending, responding, and sorting||53%|
|Unexpected phone calls||39%|
|Excessive oversight, such as too many approval or review stages||34%|
|Poor prioritisation methods on an organisational level||26%|
|Lack of collaboration within your team||23%|
|Excessive delegation from bosses or managers||19%|
|Poor alignment between team and organisational goals||17%|
By looking deeply into how an HR team is managed and using industry-leading HR tools like the ones available at Factorial, you can revolutionise your HR operations and empower your team to achieve newfound efficiency, productivity, and success levels.
Set Deadlines With Factorial
At Factorial, we understand how important it is to meet the deadline and offer a range of HR tools and resources to help you stay on track. Our all-in-one software includes a task management system optimised for setting deadlines, assigning tasks and tracking progress. The collaboration features allow you to work with your team in real-time to ensure tasks are completed by their due dates. Factorial can also help you automate and digitise tasks like performance reviews, setting team goals and employee feedback, and freeing time to focus on critical HR initiatives.
✅Try Factorial today for free with our 14-day trial and see how our tools can help keep your timelines on track.