Changing an Employee’s Role

Have you ever held a job that turned out differently than you expected? Sometimes, people are hired for a particular position and are told they’ll be performing certain tasks. Then, at some point, they find they’re taking on other responsibilities. This can be a positive development if they are in line for promotions or raises. However, if people isn’t recognized or compensated appropriately, they’ll get frustrated. If they see their jobs moving away from their career goals, they’ll lose motivation.

16559184_sIt’s common for an employee’s role to develop over time. You may have initially hired a customer service representative, but find that the person is a strong leader. It’s natural to assign that person some leadership tasks. If you hire a marketing associate and find that the person is a good writer, you might assign them more writing projects. These are good developments when:

  • the employee isn’t overwhelmed.
  • the person enjoys the assigned tasks.
  • the individual receives recognition for new tasks.
  • the person is compensated appropriately.
  • new tasks are in line with the individual’s career development goals.

If the conditions aren’t positive and rewarding, the employee will be resentful. It’s easy to lose motivation when you’re doing tasks you don’t like and aren’t recognized for. As a manager, this is the last thing you want is frustrated and unmotivated employees. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent these situations.

The first thing you should do is clearly define the job tasks in a job description. These descriptions are an important part of human resources management. Job descriptions help you outline the parameters of the job and assign appropriate compensation. They also assist you in identifying whether the employee is doing work that falls outside of the job description.

Common components of job descriptions include:

  • tasks
  • responsibilities
  • skills
  • work conditions
  • experience
  • compensation

The tasks are the element on which you should focus when it comes to managing the employee’s day-to-day activities. When assigning tasks and projects to workers, you should them outline the step they need to take to complete each tasks. It’s also important to help employees prioritize their work. When you do this, it helps you and your team member reach a mutual understanding about his or her responsibilities.  

You can use the job description as a tool when an employee isn’t performing or seems overwhelmed. It will help you determine where the employee is falling short of expectations. It may be that your employee is having trouble organizing his or her work. In other situations, the person needs additional training. He or she may be distracted by other issues in the office. The worst case scenario is that the person is demotivated or is no longer interested in the job.

41808473 - conceptual image of a man changing his mood from bad to goodIn some cases, you run into a problem that is becoming increasingly common. As organizations become more fluid, management structures becomes less rigid. That means other managers could assign work to your employees.  Your employees will quickly get overwhelmed if other people in the company can assign work to them. They can end up doing work that isn’t related to their position which leads to serious problems.

Workers may feel that their jobs are suddenly moving in the wrong direction. For example, a copywriter could unwillingly become a project manager. An attorney could be pushed into a specialty he or she doesn’t care for. Employees won’t perform as well when they’re doing work that doesn’t fit into their career goals. They’ll be resentful if their workloads increase without appropriate compensation.

What can you do when this happens? It’s challenging, especially if the work is being assigned by someone that outranks you. Speak with the people who are assigning your workers tasks. This is when a job description is helpful. You can show it to other managers so that they’ll better understand the structure of the person’s job. If the tasks they’re assigning are appropriate, you may need to discuss how to manage the employee’s workload.

If the person is doing work that is not in line with his or her job description, you’ll need to take a different approach. Try identifying a more appropriate person for the tasks. If the workload increases, seek additional compensation for the employee. Remind other managers that you care about your employees’ career goals and you want to retain the best talent on your team. Assigning inappropriate work to an employee is a good way to drive the person out of the company.