“Seriously, What Does She Do All Day?”

Posted Jul 4 2013 by in Blog, Employee Engagement, Internal Communication, Leadership

Why your employees don’t know what their colleagues do all day

Admit it. At some point in your career you’ve worked alongside someone who appears to do absolutely nothing all day.

You are aware they were hired, and sometimes you even know their job title, but when it comes to their actual tasks or accomplishments you have no idea. And sometimes neither do they.

Role clarity is critical. Not just for employees, but for an entire company. Employees with clearly defined roles are much more likely to be engaged with their work and their organization—which ultimately leads to stronger business results. If role clarity isn’t properly defined or communicated it can quickly escalate into misalignment of corporate objectives.

Below are five possibilities of why your employees don’t know what their colleagues do all day:

The Employee Doesn’t Understand Their Role
Do your employees and colleagues know and understand what is expected from them? From the moment an employee is hired there should be clear and understood expectations of performance. If you fail to clearly define your employee’s role, you are exposing yourself to the risk of unnecessary underperformance.

The Employee Doesn’t Communicate Their Role
If they aren’t communicating to others about their current tasks/projects and how they relate to the bigger picture, their colleagues aren’t likely to know what they are involved in. Introverts may be guilty of this more than extroverts (who always seem to do a better job at looking busy!), but communication doesn’t have to be restricted to staff meetings. Enterprise 2.0 collaboration tools create opportunities for everyone to speak up regardless of their communication style.

Management Doesn’t Communicate Their Role
To effectively facilitate role clarity leaders need to ensure all their employees are aware of what each other is working on. Role misperception breeds confusion which can lead to gossip. Do your employees know what each other is working on? Even more important, do they understand how their role impacts others? Whatever platform you rely on for communication, ensure every employee is aware of each other’s role.

Organizational Chart is Not Transparent
Does your company have an organizational chart? If so, does it make sense to employees? Org charts have evolved from two dimensional outdated documents to a real-time display of relationships and projects that employees are working on and the teams and people related to this. Regardless of the format, ensure your org chart is updated and accessible to all employees.

They Actually Don’t Do Anything
The final reason why you your employees may believe a fellow coworker does nothing all day is actually because it’s true. While some employees are better than others at hiding their inactivity, there are a few warning signs to look out for—like heavy non-corporate usage of Facebook and Twitter, or frequent two-hour lunch breaks.

If your employees are still confused, take the initiative and begin an internal discussion on role clarity. You might just be surprised what you do or don’t uncover.