HR Team at International Nonprofit Boosts Efficiency with GQueues and Google Apps
Food for the Hungry (FH) is an international Christian relief and development organization delivering emergency food supplies, sanitation solutions, educational development and leadership training to impoverished communities. FH has approximately 2,000 staff serving 18 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia as well as three U.S. global service centers in Phoenix, Washington, D.C. and Nashville. Two of the organization's major accomplishments in 2014 were establishing sanitation programs in over 600 African villages and raising money to help nearly 5,500 children stay in school. In 2015, FH is committed to helping 39 communities transition out of poverty to self-sustaining ways of life.
Finding a Flexible Tool for Teamwork
In 2009, Sarah Dalrymple, Global Human Resources Manager at FH, recognized that her team's individualized task management systems were inefficient. It was also a challenge for her to manage employees working on flexible schedules and in different time zones. She wanted a better way to coordinate work and communicate with her team in Phoenix, AZ and staff members abroad.
Dalrymple began searching for task managers and tried Google Tasks first, but found it lacking. "It was too basic - I wanted something with greater functionality that would still integrate with Google Apps," she remarked. When Dalrymple found GQueues, she really liked its collaborative features and Google Apps integration, especially since FH employees used Gmail and Calendar on a daily basis.
After testing GQueues on her own, Dalrymple found it improved her productivity and wanted to onboard her entire team to the tool. She approached IT in 2010 and they purchased a GQueues business subscription for her team and other departments to use.
Organizing and Completing Tasks with GQueues
From the outset, Dalrymple noticed how well GQueues facilitates the GTD methodology: organizing work as it comes in and creating a plan to complete it. Using Smart Queues, Dalrymple is able to categorize tasks and complete them only when she is ready. She also uses GQueues to customize her workflow by grouping similar tasks with tags and color-coded queues. For example, she makes green tasks for finance related duties, red tasks for employees exiting the organization and blue tasks for new hires. "I'm very process-oriented and keen on efficiency, and I've found that GQueues is the tool that works for me," she said.
Dalrymple uses GQueues' Calendar integration to adjust her workload as necessary by dragging tasks to different due dates. She also uses Calendar to gain visibility into her team's schedule and modify their workload when needed so no one gets overwhelmed.
With GQueues for Gmail, Dalrymple creates tasks out of important emails and archives the rest. "I love trying to minimize how big my inbox is, so I rely on GQueues to keep track of my tasks rather than my email," she said.
Global HR Manager
Dalrymple also uses GQueues to more easily coordinate work with her team. She assigns tasks when they come up and then employees complete them on their own schedule. In particular, this has helped Dalrymple effectively coordinate work with an employee who is only on her team 25% of the time. She explained, "I don't have to bother her when she's working for someone else and she doesn't have to come to me when I'm in the middle of another project. We both get our tasks done and respect each other's time."
Shared queues help Dalrymple prevent work from falling through the cracks. On days when there is too much on her plate, she can easily transfer tasks to another team member with details necessary to complete them. In the same way, Dalrymple attaches files from Drive, keeping all relevant information in one place. For example, she attaches a spreadsheet she must update into a monthly recurring task, which reminds her when she needs to take action and makes it easy for her to complete.
Getting Things Done More Efficiently
GQueues benefits Food for the Hungry's HR team in a number of ways. Most significantly, it enables them to use their time more effectively. Since GQueues has a small learning curve, the team could get organized right away. "You can pick it up quite quickly and learn it as you go," Dalrymple commented.
GQueues' intuitive interface and Google Apps integration also helps the team save time. "One of the main reasons GQueues has stuck around is it integrates so well with the Google applications we use company-wide, like Gmail and Calendar," Dalrymple said.
Further, GQueues' assignments feature helps the team work asynchronously, which improves their productivity and ability to easily collaborate. Since employees are able to assign and complete tasks on their own schedule, they're able to meet deadlines while respecting each others' time. The flexible filtering in GQueues also helps team members prioritize work. Dalrymple notes, "With Smart Queues I don't have to see tasks until it's time to focus on them. That's the number one thing I like about GQueues."
Finally, GQueues' tagging and organizational features reduce stress for Dalrymple and her team. "I can look at my agenda any time in the day and see the types and quantities of tasks I have," she notes. Shared queues enable Dalrymple to adjust her team members' schedules if there is too much work on a given day and reassign tasks with all the details already included. This minimizes the feeling of being overwhelmed and helps the team support each other. Dalrymple concludes, "GQueues allows our team to accomplish a large volume of work efficiently. I look at it and I think, 'I am a fan.'"