For EHS managers, there’s never a shortage of tasks that need your attention. Just when you think you’re finally caught up, a stack of papers lands on your desk or a new message pops up in your inbox. Figuring out how to get it all done feels impossible even on the best days.
One solution may be to delegate some of these tasks to someone else. Handing off tasks to a staff member, intern, or consultant not only frees you up to focus on the most important tasks — it also gives the people around you an opportunity to showcase their best skills. Done right, delegation can help your entire team be more engaged, innovative, and efficient. Here are six tips to help you delegate EHS tasks effectively.
1. Decide what to delegate.
One of the hardest parts of delegation is simply figuring out what you should — and shouldn’t — hand off. Start by spending a week or two recording the tasks you perform on a regular basis. This might include performing inspections, keying in data, and creating reports and Powerpoints. Now look at your list. Which tasks need to be done by you and only you? Anything else is a candidate for delegation.
2. Choose the right person for the task.
You probably already have a good idea of what each person is good at, and what they’re interested in doing. If you know that Denise is a PowerPoint genius, why not ask her to help create the slide deck for your safety meeting? Or if Eric is a great writer, see if he will help you proofread your sustainability report. Not only will your team be able to work faster and produce higher quality work when they do what they’re good at, research suggests that they’ll also be happier. It’s a win-win situation.
It’s also important to make sure work is distributed fairly. Avoid offloading tasks to team members who are already overburdened. Too often, the same people end up picking up extra work simply because they’re reliable or don’t complain. This can lead to frustration, resentment, and burnout.
3. Start small.
One of the best ways to get comfortable with delegation is to start small. Just handing off a simple task — such as entering data — is a good place to start. It’s a low-risk way to test the waters and get to know other person. Plus, it gives you a chance to get used to letting go of control. As you get more comfortable, you can gradually work your way up to bigger tasks.
4. Provide clear instructions.
No brainer, right? When people know what is expected of them, they are more likely to be successful. While it might take more time up front to think through instructions, think about how much time it will save when people complete the task correctly the first time around. Is there a strict deadline, or specific milestones that need to be met? Are there certain criteria the other person needs to be aware of? Be sure to outline these clearly.
5. Follow up.
Effective delegation isn’t just about handing off tasks — it’s also about following up. It’s easy to forget about a task once you’ve assigned it to someone else, but this is a big mistake. You don’t want to hand over a task, only to find out weeks or months later that it never got done. Regular check-ins will ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
6. Give credit where credit is due.
Good managers know that there’s no better way to motivate employees than to recognize their hard work. After all, if someone puts in extra work and doesn’t get credit, why would they help you out next time? So next time Denise helps you put together a Powerpoint for a big presentation, be sure to thank her for her contribution.
How Perillon can help
Delegating can be scary, but following these tips will make it easier. Having the right tools can also help improve oversight, increase productivity, and ensure tasks are completed on time.
With Perillon, you can track all your EHS tasks in a centralized calendar. You can see what everyone’s working on to distribute workloads evenly. Assign tasks and attach supporting documentation, ensuring your team always knows what to do next. Keep track of to-do items within each task and get reminders for each step. Automatically send follow-up emails and get alerts if something needs your attention. You can even escalate missed deadlines based on rules you set. If you’re looking for a better way to collaborate and ensure important tasks are completed on time, request a Perillon demo.
Next, check out these 5 document management tips for EHS teams.