How to increase job performance without investing a single dollar
What if there was a way to increase job performance without having to invest a single dollar? It is as easy as it is obvious, but often neglected part of the organizational process. Although it does not require an additional dollar, it may require an additional time investment. The way to increase job performance without investing a single dollar is to increase role clarity.
The importance of role clarity is often overlooked and neglected by employers and employees alike. The common misconception is that as long as employees know the name of their role and are given a brief description of their responsibilities, then they know exactly what to do and what is expected of them. However, this is not often the case because unless told and briefed in detail, employees do not know what is expected of them on paper or in a dynamic context. This leads to a lot of ambiguity concerning their role, employer expectations, and required results for success at their job. This can cause role conflict between the employer and employee because there now exists incompatible expectations between them. Not only does this create inefficiencies and ineffectiveness, but it can lead to poor job performance simply because they do not know what it they are supposed to do!
What is Role Clarity?
Role clarity is the degree of understanding that an employee and an employer have about the tasks, responsibilities, expectations, requirements, and processes involved with the relevant role. Often, an employee only has a vague understanding of what is required of them, where they fall in the organizational hierarchy, and what are the specific tasks they must complete in order to succeed in their role. A simple rundown only increases ambiguity rather than enable freedom and can cause misalignments between the employee and employer. This means it is important for both employees and employers to have high role clarity and be on the same page because it will help both of them to achieve understanding and synergy about expectations of the role, thereby reducing any conflict or misunderstandings that may arise. Therefore, what needs to be communicated clearly to the employee by the employer is:
- The rights, duties, and responsibilities of their job
- The procedural knowledge to fulfill responsibilities
- The consequences of role performances
- What is expected from the employee regarding their role
- What success in their role looks like
Why is role clarity important?
A person with higher role clarity will have a higher understanding of their job requirements, which can then lead to improved performance by clarifying the behaviours that are valued most by employers since they know exactly what standards they are expected to meet. The employee will then have more confidence to perform the task at hand. Role clarity additionally helps employees to determine when and how to perform tasks that contribute to performance ratings without unexpected, negative outcomes. Without proper role clarity, an employee can:
- Experience stress
- Have poor prioritization
- Have a lower sense of personal accomplishment
- Experience job burnout symptoms
- Experience poor performance
- Experience job confusion
Not only would this cause poor job performance, but if there is miscommunication between an employee and employer, role conflict can occur because of incompatible expectations between them. For example, how can an employee succeed in their role if they do not know what is expected of them? How do they know what to do if there is no basic framework that is detailed enough for them to perform a task with confidence? Additionally, without greater role clarity, employees will spend more time and energy understanding their roles rather than focusing on their tasks. This can lead to:
- Role conflict
- Job duplication
- Cross functional politics
Role clarity is also important for team dynamics and success because it facilitates work alignment in a team which will increase process efficacy and cross functional dependency. When everyone on a team is clear about their roles and responsibilities, they can effectively manage a project together with little to no friction due to misunderstandings, misalignments, and misdirection.
Benefits of Role Clarity
Ultimate job performance and competency satisfaction can be accomplished by explicitly communicating what are the required work-role performances and procedures to meet. This creates benefits not only for employees but also for organizations! Increasing role clarity will provide:
- Clear frameworks and directives to perform a job
- Reduced role ambiguity
- Reduced job overlapping
- Enhanced employee and team performance
- Better measurements of employee performance
- Increased work performance
- Ideas on how to improve processes
- Improved learning
Organizations will not only improve overall organizational performance and efficiencies, but also saves and reduces error costs committed by employees and teams when there is poor role clarity.
Role Clarity Provides Freedom
It is worth noting that providing clarity about roles is not the same as restricting freedom. Providing clarity is providing clear goals, priorities, boundaries that align with an organization’s vision, that will allow an employee freedom to get the job done. Without a framework, alignment between their priorities and the organization’s purpose will conflict, increasing costs and time to completion.
To summarize, if you’re looking to increase job performance without investing a single dollar, increase role clarity for your employees, make sure their understanding of their role is aligned with the organization’s vision and goals, make sure they can identify everything that is required of them for success within their role, and watch their productivity increase!