Clearly defined Staff Role Descriptions are the foundation to good staff management. How can you expect people to do what you want them to if you haven’t clearly defined what you want?
However, in my experience, many business owners and managers are afraid that if they define employee roles too well their staff won’t do anything outside of what’s defined in their roles.
But, this concern about people only doing their job and nothing else also comes from a lack of understanding about how Staff Role Descriptions should be structured. You see, if you define every positions Role properly, and everyone is fulfilling the obligations of their role correctly, you shouldn’t have to ask anyone to do anything outside of their Role anyway.
In addition to this, there’s no reason why ‘providing general assistance to team members as required’ can’t be added as part of someones’ Role.
In my experience (17 years of Small Business Consulting with a lot of that time focused on how to Manage Staff) the benefits of having the roles properly defined hugely outweigh the risks that people may become inflexible.
Putting it simply, you can’t get the best results without defining your expectations, because you can’t manage what you haven’t defined.
The great thing about defining roles and expectations is that you very quickly and easily find out who on your team is playing with good intentions and who isn’t giving their best. That’s under the provision that you’ve structured the roles properly, which leads to the key point of this article.
Correct allocation of tasks amongst your business structure is very important. Role tasks should be structured with 3 key points in mind:
- Am I allocating tasks in a logical way in relation to, workflow, department section, product and/or service delivery processes
- Am I allocating tasks in a way that suits the character type and typical aptitudes of the typical person who would apply for this position
- Am I creating a Role with a set of combined tasks and equivalent skills that I can easily find in the workforce. In simple terms, have I created a role that I can easily find people to do?
Start by listing every individual task that is to be performed in the role. Usually there are at least 30 tasks but, more often somewhere between 50 to 70 tasks will be a comprehensive list for a full-time position.
Once you’ve listed the tasks you’re ready to move onto the next step.
In the next part of this how to Manage Staff series I’ll be talking about defining outcomes from each role.
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