Role Definition

Why Defining Roles is Crucial to Your Company’s Success

Not having a clear consensus on role definition can make all the difference between a company that performs well and one that doesn’t. On top of this, it can lead to decreased candidate conversion and delays during the hiring process. Here’s why it’s crucial for recruiters, hiring and line managers, as well as company directors, to all agree on job specifications and boundaries.

The importance of role definition

Not setting specific job expectations is akin to sending a team of people into a football match when they don’t know which positions they are playing. What would ensue is chaos. You might get a situation, for instance, where too many players try to be strikers while no one is left on defence or to be the goalie. 

Going back to the real world, even if team members are confident on what’s required of their position, things may still unravel if different management levels have opposing ideas of what that means. For example, key directors may believe candidates need a particular profile, level of experience or seniority to complete the job. At the same time, mid-level management may not hold this view and decide to interview a much broader pool of talent. That’s where things can get tricky during the hiring process. 

Recruiters and Hiring Managers may end up wasting time on unsuitable candidates. Furthermore, candidates themselves may get turned off by the process. Imagine being led to believe you’re perfect for a position only to find out once you’ve sat down with a key director that you’re far from it? This lack of clarity can lead to many consequences, including:

Hiring Delays – due to additional back and forth between managers at different levels and interviewing too many unsuitable candidates. That can also lead to hiring delays.

Decreased hiring conversion rates – Candidates may grow dissatisfied with the hiring process when specifications and expectations are unclear. 

Loss of key new hires – A new hire finds the role they’ve been sold on doesn’t meet their expectations.  This can be particularly unpleasant for top talent who have gone through a long and gruelling hiring process.

Increased employee turnover – Employees could start the job only for it to become apparent they aren’t the right fit for its demands.

Damage to brand reputation – Word may spread, whether from candidates or employees, about the lack of clarity around role expectations and boundaries.

The benefits of defining roles clearly

In addition to reducing hiring time and turnover, setting clear role specifications can further improve company performance in the following ways:

Setting the right expectations

When tasks and responsibilities are clearly laid out, expectations are managed. Every single employee knows what they need to do and why they need to do it. That results in teams and divisions that work together more coherently and perform to a better standard.

Getting everything done

When every activity is assigned to someone, nothing cal fall through the cracks. That’s especially important for companies where the turnaround is quick and certain tasks (such as less desirable ones) are more likely to be forgotten. When every team member is clear on what they are responsible for, that leads to greater efficiency and productivity.

Managing conflict

Remember the football game analogy? If team members aren’t clear on what they’re doing, they could end up jockeying for the striking position. And that leaves no one to own more defensive functions that could be equally (if not more important) to the success and survival of the company. When each team member is clear on what the scope of their work is, and more crucially how important it is, there’s less disagreement and more enthusiasm and creativity. 

Eliminating waste and unnecessary cost

Last but not least, lack of clarity in defining a job position can result in team members to waste more time and energy on certain tasks. And that can create unnecessary costs for the company overall. Mistakes are more likely to be made, work may need to be repeated, and performance can suffer while competitors take the lead by finding more efficient and ways of working. 

How to display clear role definition and responsibilities

So, how can you do this better? Here are three aspects to keep in mind:

  • Role analysis – or the thorough analysis of tasks and responsibilities involved with a certain position. Defining the scope of a person’s job, in clear terms, can ensure against any important tasks being left out. It’s also important within this to agree on the main need or goal for that role. While this may be easy for some positions that are well established at larger companies, this can pose a challenge at SMEs. These last should start their role analysis by defining the main goal first and then move to the tasks and responsibilities which sit under this. 
  • Role assignment – In other words, understanding what skills each job demands and as well as the limits of authority and responsibility on each. That way, there’s less risk of staff being assigned to positions where they don’t have the right level of experience or skill
  • Role awareness – Everyone should understand the scope and expectations of their own position, as well as that of others on the team. When everyone has this awareness, there’s less confusion about ‘who’s supposed to do ‘what’.

How we can help

At Leonid we’ve developed deep and targeted expertise in recruitment to help companies in the R&D Tax and Innovation space get the best results from their recruitment projects. We can also source talent for Tech, Corporate Governance and Executive Search.

From helping you clarify your ideal candidate profile to sourcing and supplying the best talent, we’ll work with you during every stage of the hiring process to ensure you find the best talent for your company. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.

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