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How to help your staff understand their role and responsibilities at work

It’s easy to assume that everyone on your team knows what they should be doing at all times. After all, they applied for the role, they have experience, they know what their KPIs are.

However, without the right information, staff may not know exactly how their role feeds into targets, how it helps the team, or even what work they should prioritise getting done first.

Confusion will likely only increase as people change roles, teams change leaders, and the needs of the business shift and grow. If nobody knows who should be doing what, team members may double up on work, or work to completely different ends.

Ambiguity when it comes to roles can negatively impact productivity across the entire team, leading to low motivation, and even increased turnover.

This can be avoided by helping your staff understand what their roles, what they should be doing, and how it makes a difference to the overall business.

When everyone on the team knows what they should be doing, they’re more efficient, engaged, and better equipped for success.

How to help your staff understand their role

Communicate tasks and expectations in clear terms.

Managers can spend up to 80% of their time communicating. But if you’re not communicating the right information to the right person at the right time, some of that information can get lost.

If your team doesn’t understand what they should be doing, how they should be doing it, or why, they won’t perform to the best of their ability.

Rather than assuming everyone knows exactly what they should be doing, ask your team members if there’s anything they aren’t sure about, and when assigning new tasks, explain them fully so there’s no ambiguity. Also be sure to clearly define what success looks like, and where you’re aiming for beyond the initial success of the current project. Hitting the target might be a great start, where should they go after that?

What does meeting expectations look like? What about exceeding them?

Create alignment within the team

Each member of the team should know what they’re there to do in broad terms. Do they need to solve problems? Achieve goals? Help others?

Once each role has been clearly defined, spend time explaining how each role can help the wider team, and how their work feeds into business objectives. An aligned understanding of what everyone is working towards will help keep the team engaged, instead of bogged down with confusion.

One way to help keep this alignment up is to implement an open communication policy. Creating a psychologically safe place for your team to communicate will make it easier for them to feel comfortable asking questions about their role, expectations of them, and to express doubts or concerns with work.

Promote transparency across the team

Ideally, your team members should not only know what they’re working on, but what everyone else is working on as well. This allows them to share ideas, collaborate, and offer support.

Tell them how their KPIs impact the company’s bottom line

If your employees don’t know how their daily work is helping the company, it can negatively impact their engagement, satisfaction, and productivity, and can contribute to turnover.

Help your team understand how their work contributes to the team’s performance, and the overall goals of the business.

As a manager, you know how every part of the business fits together. But more junior members of the team won’t, and if some of their KPIs or targets don’t make sense to them, they won’t work as hard towards achieving them.

Let your team members know at their monthly or quarterly reviews how their work is helping the company grow. Reinforce the fact that their work has impact, that it’s seen, and most importantly: that it’s valued.

When you provide your team with clarity, and enable them to be transparent about their work, your performance, and even your culture, should improve.

Read more about how to help your staff with the demands of work, or learn about our kind communication course, which can help teach you and your team how to communicate effectively at work.

Posted on: 12th January 2022