Define The Positions Within Your Business
There’s a simplicity, but also a strength in having the positions within your business well defined. For many businesses, this simple, but effective practice is often overlooked. We hear excuses such as we don't need to document it, we know what that position does; or, we can't take the time to document it right now.
And on the surface, it’s understandable. Working on business development is difficult for many businesses. The tactical work takes up the time, but we know that taking the time to define each position can help with:
- Creating a training path both for new hires and long-term employees
- Knowing what work needs to be covered if an employee is out unexpectedly
- Understanding what tools an employee needs access to
- Being able to objectively evaluate the performance of an employee
- Estimating the capacity of a position to take on more work
- Developing systems, tools and processes
- Knowing who to hire based on skills needed for a position
- Developing a bonus structure based on performance
- Employees being clear about their accountabilities
This list isn’t exhaustive, but if you don’t have clarity around any of these areas, it’s good to start creating a position description for each of your positions. This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out process. If you’re one of our clients, ask your coach for a template to get started. If not, you can still use the following points to get started:
- Have each employee take ten minutes to jot down what they see as their duties. This is a top-of-mind exercise. It shouldn’t take more than ten minutes and can even be done at a company meeting. It’s a good idea to get a copy of these. It helps you understand your team’s mindset and what they added or didn’t add to their list.
- For the next two weeks ask your team to track what they do and add any task that they left off their list. This helps get a bigger picture, without making the task too overwhelming.
- If your business has a manager, ask them to add to this list. If not, then you as the owner will need to see what’s missing. This is a great exercise to understand your team’s mindset. What did they leave off? What did they add that surprised you? What did they add, but you feel doesn’t get done or doesn’t get done well?
- Compile these into one list for each position. Be sure to compare each person’s answers to any others holding that same position. This will ensure that your positions are well defined and not tailored to different personalities. If you find that there are big differences, you might need to question if they really hold the same position.
Over time it’s not uncommon for positions to be changed because someone doesn’t like to do certain roles or because they know their coworker will pick up the slack. They can even change because one person is better at something and starts to take that task over. In a small business, your team will likely take on many roles and wear different hats, but it’s important to ensure that it’s done by design and not just because no one was paying attention.