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Employee Engagement and Happiness Starts With Role Clarity

January 28, 2014

Role Clarity Creates HappinessWhether you are a business leader, work in manufacturing, or are a full-time home economics engineer, understanding the key accountabilities of your role dramatically increases clarity.  Think about it. Role clarity results in you focusing your limited time on the priorities that help you accomplish your weekly responsibilities.

The benefits of gaining role clarity are numerous, including increased soft skills, efficiencies, role performance and satisfaction. Ultimately, it results in you achieving your professional and personal objectives and enjoying a better life.

At The Nielson Group, we have an assessment that measures, among several other attributes, personal and professional role clarity that we use as part of our strategy and talent development process.   In recent years we have seen a reduction in role clarity across all positions in all types of organizations. The lingo might be refer to a “drop in employee engagement”.

Much of this lack of clarity is likely due to the complexity and ever-changing dynamics of our world and work environment. However, you can dramatically increase your role clarity and life satisfaction by defining the key accountabilities of your position (or life).   The process that we use is fairly simple and one you can complete yourself and/or with those who know the position the best.  (download our key accountabilities worksheet)

  1. First brainstorm why the position exists (not tasks)
  2. Then categorize (A, B, C etc…) the reasons why the position exists.  Put similar reasons into one category.
  3. Write a key accountability statement for each category which should lead to 4 to 6 key accountabilities for your position.
  4. Rank the importance of each key accountability starting with number one as most important.
  5. Assign the percentage of time during the week that the position will put in on each key accountability.

With the key accountabilities of your position defined, audit the list to see if you are currently allocating 80% of your time toward these key accountabilities.  The other 20% is typically spent on non-key accountability work.  Often, the most important key accountability of your position is not necessarily where you put the most time.  Just being conscious of where you use your time will increase your role clarity.

Another way to increase your role clarity is to evaluate your activities over the next week to compare where you spent your time versus the key accountabilities of your position.  Now, determine if you can eliminate (stop doing, delegate, automate) any responsibilities that are not in alignment with your key accountabilities.  Where should you apply more of your focus during the work week so you have more time to focus on your other priorities in life?

It often seems obvious when you talk to someone who has significant role clarity.  They appear to have balance and control of their lives and just seem happier about their place in life.  You can experience that same role clarity by completing the key accountabilities for your position in life.  And by defining the key accountabilities for every position in your organization and department (we provide services to help you get this done quickly and with minimum disruption to the productivity of your staff), you can also provide that same clarity to your employees and colleagues.

Life is too short to waste your valuable time on actions that are not focused on your key accountabilities.  Accept personal responsibility for your role clarity.

What Else Are Key Accountabilities Good For?

Having a solid set of key accountabilities as a foundation, we offer a job benchmarking tool that focuses on the key accountabilities to build a talent profile for the position. The resulting benchmark document includes a hierarchy of competencies, required behaviors, rewards and culture for the position along with development and interviewing advice (what questions to ask applicants). The job benchmark with key accountabilities can be used for talent acquisition and development.

We didn’t choose the title of this article. The employees and management at our client organizations did. We are repeatedly told how much the key accountabilities exercise and job benchmark made a difference. Employees often state “this was the most attention I’ve ever received from my boss” and “I feel my boss and I are on the same page now and it is a good page to be on” and “gaining clarity about what I am suppose be doing is refreshing – and energizing – I look forward to coming to work now“. When we look into the faces of managers and employees after they have completed a job benchmark, we see “happy”.

For executives, flushing out and refining the key accountabilities with a coach is a great way to get clarity about what is important, especially when everything and everyone seems to be demanding your time.

To learn more about our patented Job Benchmarking process visit our website.

Click here to watch a short information video about key accountabilities and job benchmarking.

Request a meeting to discuss your organization’s specific needs:


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