In small business, it’s not unusual for employees to take on several “roles” within the company. The reason is simple, a small business has all the same functions that large corporations must complete. However, the amount of time those functions require in a small business are often less and do not always require a full-time employee.
It makes sense that one employee might have to take on several roles. Yet this leads to confusion and even inefficiencies within the business, not because one person has multiple roles, but because there is not clarity.
Often in a small business, everyone does what is needed. Completing certain tasks becomes everyone’s responsibility. This can be true for simple tasks, such as who answers the phone, as well as for more complex tasks, such as who manages accounts receivables.
This lack of clarity often causes several issues. If everyone is responsible for completing the task, then everyone must be trained. Unless your business has solid systems and processes in place, chances are everyone is trained slightly differently. This creates a lack of standardization in how the work is done and leaves room for mistakes.
It also makes accountability difficult. If it is “everyone’s” responsibility, then who is accountable to ensure that it is done? These grey areas end up causing a lot of frustration in small business. It leaves the culture of a business wide open for blaming others. And it provides a convenient excuse for why work is not done.
The solution is in providing better clarity. Which is done through your business structures for each position:
- Position Zoom Chart/Position Description - A clear written description that describes the work that each employee is responsible for and the standards they will be expected to uphold.
- Business Activity Guide - A clear understanding of what work needs to be done on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis.
- Systems/Processes - When work is shared your systems or processes should indicate how work is assigned or even a lineup such as who is first in line to answer the phone etc. This helps regulate capacity and allows the business to create accountability.
As a small business, chances are at least some of your employees will have positions that blend responsibilities. However, it does not need to create confusion and inefficient behaviors. With a few strategic structures in place your business can reach optimal results.