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Classifying Your Employee Roles to Set Expectations

You need to provide employees with a detailed outline of what they’re expected to do, how they’ll do it, and when it needs to be completed.

Every leader wants to see their employees succeed, yet too often, they don’t create an environment for them to excel. A solid team is built upon a solid foundation with clear expectations and defined roles, providing each individual with purpose and direction. Without established benchmarks for their role, there is no way for them to succeed or fail—instead, they’ll just wander aimlessly in your business. 

Of course, you choose to hire employees so they’ll make a difference in your company. To support them, you need to provide them with a detailed outline of what they’re expected to do, how they’ll do it, and when it needs to be completed. Employees don’t want to fill in the blanks—they need their leader to lead them.  

So how can entrepreneurs build a cohesive team that runs like a well-oiled machine?  

Follow these strategies for hiring, onboarding, and managing employees that know exactly how to support your business goals. 

Know the “why” behind hiring. 

If you aren’t clear on the reasoning behind a decision to hire, there’s a good chance you’ll end up heading in the wrong direction. Bringing a new employee into your business costs time and money, so it has to be worthwhile and it has to be done right. 

Everything stems from your company’s values and mission statement, so reflect on those before kicking off the hiring process. Then, consider why you feel the need to hire right now. Are you looking to scale and need extra support to accommodate more business? Or are you simply looking to add more hands to the mix and make everyone’s life easier? 

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If growth is on your mind, you’ll need to consider the capacity of your existing team and how much additional support is required to hit your goals. As you rebalance your team’s workload, you’ll likely find that you’re creating more defined roles for everyone.  

But if you’re looking to offload other employees’ tasks, you have to shine a light on the areas in which your team members underperform, dislike, or have even grown out of doing in terms of experience. For example, hiring a social media manager may allow your marketing director to step out of the weeds and focus on higher-level strategies without worrying about researching hashtags or scheduling content. 

Create detailed job descriptions. 

Job descriptions are more than just advertisements for openings; they serve as guides to provide employees with direction in their day-to-day responsibilities. A well-defined role helps your team members achieve within your set parameters, allowing them to feel successful and remain motivated. It also lets you identify and address gaps in your team. 

For example, say you create a job description but, once it’s on paper, you realize it’s too heavy for one person. Now, you know that you need to rebalance your team or focus on hiring more than one employee.  

While it might seem tempting to slap together a bare-bones job description to expedite the hiring process, investing more time and thought at the start will save you many headaches down the line. 

Hire for the position, not the person. 

A great applicant can have a five-star personality and plenty of enthusiasm for your business, but if they can’t fill your open role’s duties, they aren’t a fit. You might be tempted to adjust the position to bring on this amazing person, but you’ll find yourself in the same place with the same gaps in your business. This kind of move ultimately leads to resentment when you accept the reality that you can’t get what you want from them. 

That’s not to say their role cannot change over time—it absolutely can! Even with the best intentions and hiring plan, you’ll likely adjust team expectations over time as your business and market demand evolves.  

There’s a difference between rebalancing your team to support efficiency and rebalancing to onboard a new hire. So be clear in the beginning and don’t accept less than what you need when hiring, but remain flexible as your business grows. 

Think twice before letting go of a new hire. 

Picture this: You hire a new salesperson who won you over during the interview process. Clearly, they’re great at selling! Fast forward a few weeks, and you learn that they’re only good at selling themselves. You’ve onboarded and assigned, but they simply aren’t producing the results you expect. 

What now? Do you fire them since they’re “not a fit”? Maybe, or maybe not.  

Remember: You can’t change personality, values, and character, but you can change skills. Consider why you think a new hire isn’t a good fit. Are they causing internal conflicts? Have they lied or shown a lack of respect for others? If so, you likely have a good case to let them go. 

But if it’s because they’re lacking a trainable skill, don’t be so quick to count them out. If you feel they have the potential to be a great asset, consider investing in education and training to help them grow into their role. You could even sign a short-term agreement to keep them onboard until you reevaluate after they’ve gone through more training. 

Consult with your existing team. 

It might feel like hiring is solely your responsibility, but it’s essential to bring your current employees into the process. For one, they’ll likely need to train and manage the new hire as they learn their role. On the other hand, you may find that hiring isn’t a genuine need in your company—but your employees who are on the ground know where they need the most support. 

It’s also possible your employees are concerned about how their own roles will change, so be prepared to reassure them and explain how and why this move will support the company. It’s possible they’re open to increasing their workload for a pay increase, which would ultimately save you the time and money associated with hiring in general! 

When it comes to hiring, onboarding, and leading a team, err on the side of more communication than you think necessary. As time goes on, your employees will gain confidence in their roles—but, to start out, it’s vital to provide all of the details, tools, and resources our team needs to succeed. 

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