Role clarity, or more often the lack of role clarity, is an issue for a lot of small businesses. It’s something I consult with my clients about frequently, and it’s an issue I’ve seen in businesses of all sizes through the years.
When an organization goes through a restructuring or a specific employee gets a promotion, it’s sometimes (though not always) pretty clear that roles have changed. But lack of role clarity about job roles can also creep up on you over time. Job duties simply morph over time as an organization grows and changes and people take on extra little things.
If you’re not careful, a lack of role clarity can cause frustration for individual employees and create conflict among your team. Here’s how to prevent it before it happens.
Conduct an annual job analysis for all employees
The longer an employee works for your company, the more efficient they’re going to be at their job. And as they gain efficiencies in their core duties, they may be able to take on additional tasks. In some companies, an employee will come ask for more work, but in others they simply step in to fill gaps without their immediate supervisor even realizing it.
It’s the natural evolution of a workplace, and that’s why an annual job analysis is so important. At least once a year, ask your employees to list their job priorities, and then ask what areas they think they could do more in. You can also have them track their time for a few days or a week to get a full understanding of where their time goes and whether that aligns with the identified priorities.
If you don’t take this step, you may be setting employees up to fail. As they take on new duties, they take on the responsibility of prioritizing them. If their priorities don’t align with what you consider the priorities as the owner or manager, it leads to more conflict and frustration.
After the job analysis is complete, you can adjust employee job descriptions where needed. In some cases, an employee’s position may have grown enough over time to warrant a change in title or a change in pay as well.
Communicate role changes clearly
When roles change, either due to a planned promotion or in response to an annual job analysis, it’s important that those changes be clearly communicated to everyone in the company.
If it’s been a while since your organization last looked at everyone’s written job description in comparison to the work they’re actually doing, you may have some significant adjustments to make. That could include changing titles for certain employees, moving people between departments to better align with their current duties, or doing a complete restructure of your organizational chart.
Whatever the level of change involved, communication is critical. You need each employee to understand their new job description and duties, and you need them to understand what duties are assigned to other people as well. If you don’t clearly communicate who is responsible for what, you can end up with conflicts and confusion throughout the company.
By making time to have a meeting about job duties and priorities and communicating any changes to the entire organization, you’re helping set each employee up for success in their role. In turn, that sets your company up for success.
If you need help conducting a job analysis for employees, contact Why HR today to discuss our consulting services for small businesses.