Streetwise: Defining Roles

May 15, 2020

From our friends at Eure Consulting:

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended a lot of businesses. Very few companies are still operating as they were on January 1st. That drastic of a shift naturally created a lot of challenges, but it has also created some amazing opportunities. Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing with you what we see as the opportunities that organizations can take advantage of now in order to be prepared to take off when we eventually come out of all of this.

This week we’re taking a look at role definitions.

Now is a great time to revisit the role definitions that you are providing to your employees. From conversations with our clients, everyone’s roles and duties have changed. And many are changing weekly. You must, more than ever, take a Commanding style and clearly communicate what you want to be done during this crisis. Are they still accurate? Or have they just been sitting in a drawer since this individual joined your company?

Everyone should know what you expect of them all the time, but it is even more essential now. If you don’t have well defined roles, the switch to working remotely will certainly have pointed out some of those gaps in communication. Employees that didn’t have a clear understanding of what was expected of them found “creative” ways to fill their time. I’m not saying they were slacking off, I’m saying you might not have been on the same page about what they should have been working on.

Clear role definitions not only help employees know exactly what’s expected of them, they also give you, the leader, the ability to hold them accountable to those expectations. Accountability becomes really evasive when you haven’t clearly laid out what outcomes the role has to produce.

Take the time now to lay out in great detail what is expected from each and every role at your company. Make sure to focus only on the role itself and what the company needs that role to accomplish. It can be easy to slip into thinking about who is in the role now and what they do well, or poorly, but you have to stay objective and think only of what the company needs from the role. Regardless of who is in the role currently.

These new more explicitly defined roles will not only help your current staff be more effective, but it will also help you if you find yourself needing to hire, or re-hire, in preparation for a ramp up in business coming out of this. You can actually use the role definitions before the hire to make sure you’re matching the right people to the right roles. Now is not the time to be making a hiring mistake.

Defining roles is really just another form of communication. One that most businesses don’t put enough emphasis on. Restart your business more effectively by letting every employee know exactly what they are responsible for.

Stay safe and stay healthy.