A guide to supporting role clarity
Clearly defined job roles, responsibilities and reporting lines will ensure workers understand expectations and avoid uncertainty, which is a risk to mental health at work. This guide outlines some key practices that will reduce the likelihood of confusion, conflict and stress in your workplace.
What is role clarity?
Role clarity is more than having a role description provided when you start a role. It's about knowing the tasks, responsibilities, and processes for your job and having regular discussions about them. This includes:
- what is expected of you
- your day-to-day tasks
- what your specific goals are
- how your work impacts the larger goals of the business
- how your work will be evaluated and measured
- where your role sits in the business.
Role clarity is important to focus on across different points of time in a role. It should be part of the onboarding process for new employees, ongoing through regular consultation in one on ones, and be reviewed with any changes or new projects.
Why is role clarity important for workplace mental health and wellbeing?
Role clarity is a risk factor that can impact mental health. Lack of role clarity can leave staff feeling unsure about what they need to do to succeed. This can:
- cause confusion
- create conflict due to a lack of clear expectations
- cause stress to both leaders and staff, as work is not delivered in a productive and efficient way.
Leaders play an important role in reducing this risk by having regular catch ups with employees and setting clear expectations.
Tips to improve role clarity in your workplace
- Hold regular one on ones with employees.
- Ensure roles and responsibilities are clear and understood. Documenting them can help with this.
- Consult with your staff regularly by asking about their concerns and help them manage issues like workloads, schedules, or priorities.
- Ensure your people can do their job effectively by providing adequate resourcing, training, and materials.
- Provide a business organisational chart so staff know where their role sits in the business, how it links to the overall business objectives, and what that means for their day-to-day tasks.
- Provide clear reporting lines.
- Provide training and development opportunities to ensure staff can do the job expected of them.
- Consult with your people to get feedback on the understanding of their role, and regularly review progress on goals.
Best practice for job descriptions
You can also help improve role clarity by having job descriptions which clearly cover the following:
- job title
- job purpose
- key responsibilities
- reporting lines.
Below is an annotated job description for you to refer to when writing role descriptions for your people.
Remember, role clarity is something that should be regularly revisited once a person is offered and accepts a position within your workplace.
Training for managers
Our free 'Managing for Team Wellbeing' training will help anyone managing staff or leading others improve their leadership skills and build a mentally healthy workplace.
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