Small Business Management: Defining Employee Roles in a Growing Business
Business owners tend to wear many hats, from manager and salesperson to tech support and accountant. When their business only has a few members on staff, it’s often the case that their employees must also manage multiple areas of the business and be willing to be flexible in order to keep things moving in the right direction. That being said, at times it can get confusing for employees in a fast growing business environment to know what tasks they are expected to handle. In a worst case scenario, if no employee claims responsibility for a task that falls outside of each of their ranges of involvement then it can sit around unnoticed and not getting done up to the point that it becomes too late. In order to avoid the stagnation of workflow, business owners need to have some semblance of jurisdiction laid down so that their employees are effectively able to identify and respond to priorities that might not fall into a clearly defined department.
Make sure your managers are responsive. As a business owner, you should seek and groom leadership qualities in your management staff. Your managers are your first line of defense against tasks going unmanaged, and whether they take it upon themselves to personally finish a task outside the clear bounds of a department or delegate it to a team of employees, they should be empowered to make sure tasks get taken care of while communicating with you, the business owner. If you don’t feel comfortable allowing your managers to handle responsibilities and make decisions, then you should probably ask yourself why that is. If your staff is not able to make critical decisions and maintain accountability for their choices, that is an environment that will breed indifference.
Allow employee roles to grow within reason. In a smaller business a more fluid definition of responsibility is often adopted out of necessity. That being said, employees should be allowed to handle what they are able to handle and not more, lest the quality of their results begins to suffer. Using a CRM suite to keep track of employee activity, potentially in a thread based system can give you an idea of how much each employee is working on at any given time. If you see a single employee handling projects well, you can allow their role to grow, but be cautious about overloading them or else you will lose the true value of their productivity as an asset to your business.
Photo Credit to Alex on Flickr