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Employee Role Clarity in Non Profit Settings

As we focus on identifying and streamlining gaps, misfits, and redundancies within agency Systems here at PMC, one situation that we invariably face is inconsistencies or overlaps in employee roles. This can certainly cause a fair amount of frustration for everyone involved. Luckily, this is pretty easy to identify and adjust! Here are the 4 most common Employee Role Clarity discrepancies within non profit organizations:


A) Role Confusion exists when an employee is unclear on what they are expected to do.

B) Role Contradiction manifests when completing one aspect of an employee’s job will actually prevent them from getting other important aspects completed as well. For example, the amount of hours required to directly support clients takes up 90% of their time, which doesn’t leave enough capacity to accurately complete program reports, manage their team, or innovate new ideas.

C) Role Overlap happens when an employee is expected to do all or part of a job that another employee is ALSO expected to do all or part of. It can become unclear who is supposed to do what, so either both people step on each other’s toes trying to complete tasks, or tasks go undone, because one employee assumed that the other employee would complete them.

D) Role Underlap occurs when parts of a specific job are assigned to two or more people, but other parts are not assigned to anyone. This can result in the same outcome as Role Overlap.

How can we prevent these employee role hazards?

1) Review employee job descriptions on a regular basis, to ensure that they actually match what the employee does day to day.


2) Conduct a time study, which is essentially when an employee records everything that they do for about 2-3 weeks, and the amount of time that it takes to complete each task. Take the data, and then look for themes and patterns, to get a feel for how the employee is actually spending their time, and whether this is helping or hurting their performance, OR if the role/ job description needs to be adjusted to reflect what is actually occurring in real time.


3) Have frequent team and staff check-ins to assess employee workloads and workflows. Make this a standing meeting agenda item.

As always, we are here to help you 😊

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