May 20th, 2016
Managed 2 groups, one was a team that performed data entry and the other was a team of data technicians who prepared the data for entry. Both of these teams are comprised of people with high school level education and most were long term employees (as opposed to people viewing the job as a foot in the door to pursue other jobs). Most of the day was concerned with tracking workload, work distribution, amount of work completed, priority settings between competing projects, and forecasting work for the coming week, month, 6 months, and beyond. Another aspect was answering questions for the data technicians, such as when they encountered a data issue that they were not sure how to handle. This could be determining if a comment written on the side of a form should be considered part of one of the data fields to be entered, if it could be ignored, or if a question had to be sent to get clarification. Sometimes these questions were simply using greater knowledge of the topic (medical related data) to be able to decipher poor handwriting based on context. As with many supervisory roles, there were often personnel issues to deal with. These could range from petty grievances, to serious concerns. Frankly, you sometimes just wished people would behave as adults and avoid these interpersonal issues - but the reality is that even though we all get older, the way in which people interact with one another often stays the same. Then there were always topics about compliance with company policies, explaining new or changed policies, and answering questions for the staff. Associated with the company policies, there would inevitably be times when issues such as: arriving at work on time, taking extended breaks, taking unplanned breaks, taking too long for lunch, leaving early, doing non-work related tasks while on the clock, etc.
The challenge of supervising a low skill set work force is often related to motivation. Consider putting yourself in their shoes. How would you feel doing the same repetitive task day in and day out, for years at a time, with little to no opportunity for stimulating change, no creative outlet, and very little control over what you have to do. After awhile you can appreciate why people strive to bend the rules as much as they can, frankly because breaks are more stimulating than the work. Yet your responsibility is to sustain and improve productivity and assure the the data is prepared and entered in a timely manner.
Provides supervisory experience with a team that requires greater levels of supervision than more skill set teams. This provides a great training ground to learn what your own weak areas are that require improving, and an opportunity to try out approaches for motivating a team.
Having to let people go, even contractors, when work load dips. Having to deal with rather petty issues that you wish people would be grown up enough to avoid or resolve on their own.