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Five roles to define now


You may be familiar with the story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.


Have you heard this one before? There are clearly many new challenges in the American workforce to be thoughtfully tackled. But, often times, it can be unclear as to who is supposed to do what towards tackling what is required. Here are five suggested roles to consider pinning down within your organization. Clear accountabilities and measures of success can be scoped and assigned for each person. I don’t mean to suggest that these are full time roles; rather, that it is a good idea to ensure it’s clear within your team who specifically needs to drive and solve for certain of 2020’s new needs.

For your consideration…..

Head of Remote: A role to create rules and structure for your workforce for remote work. Includes the task of defining who is required to work remotely and who is permitted to work remotely as they see fit. This role could also be tasked with creating and publishing a calendar for rotations, if different groups need to be on-prem for certain tasks but where it is better to periodically rotate who those people are. This should include coordination with IT around tools to be used for intra-team communication, and possibly also defining cultural norms to be used with those tools (example: does our company emphasize video calls? Or do we prefer use of Slack where possible?) Also, this role should ensure that there are clear policies about what will be reimbursed by the company on a one-time basis or on an ongoing basis in support of remote work (Wifi? Printer paper? Office furniture? Lunch?) This role should be someone who has strong relationships across HR, IT, and Facilities, but may best suit to be someone within HR…this is a role that is people-centric, so that employees have solid information and good tools to execute on their jobs.

Head of Employee Welfare: A role to support employees facing professional or personal challenges. It would be good if this role were to really be expert on the emerging policies your organization has put into place, what is under discussion, what legislation employees may be hearing about (including whether or not your company is subject to those), as well as traditional resources that employees and families can use, such as their health care benefits and EAP. The faster that employees can feel heard and have directional support for their needs, the easier it will be for them to focus on their job in your organization. A “one stop shop” will be helpful towards that goal. Remember too that employees may have concerns about their managers or team leads and if they are properly representing the company’s views or company rules. This role can help sort through any such concerns.

Head of Workforce Modeling: A role to support data analytics for different workforce scenarios. Having a role responsible to handle “what if….”s can help support both the economics and the communications associated with different ideas that get floated. Even if an idea does not get approved as a new policy or practice, it demonstrates transparency on the part of management to be able to say that Proposed Policy X would cost <blank> dollars per year, which management would prefer to spend on alternate business needs. This role can also be tasked with proactively reporting out certain demographic data and hiring trend data for use with public policy or public relations discussions.

Head of Leadership Standards: A role to support both new and seasoned leaders and their responsibilities to the organization. As we physically disperse, it may prove difficult for leaders to forge connections and share successful practices. Plus, there will be new leaders needing these connections to flourish. This role can be chartered to both ensure there are regular ways for leaders to connect, as well as supporting ongoing learning and growth with 2020 business and cultural challenges.

Head of Psychological Safety: A role to nurture psychological safety in the workplace. Let’s face it, a lot of folks are not feeling stable and secure right now. That can mean that situations like a consistently barking manager or never having time at meetings for non-work topics can especially sting. An individual feels psychologically safe when they believe there will not be negative consequences to their status or to their job when they do things that are above and beyond: to offer an opinion, to suggest a solution, or to volunteer for a new project. This role can teach and coach on key actions to be pursued or to be dissuaded to help foster psychological safety. There are compelling business reasons to fine-tune this within your culture; researchers increasingly believe that this is a top area for teams to perform well in both objective metrics (such as sales revenue) and subjective metrics (such as customer satisfaction scores).

For these roles, consider defining who is accountable in each of this roles, but further consider ensuring that all employees know who is accountable. Employees can then be self-empowered to seek out help or answers as needed in these areas, as quickly as possible.

Above all, do not assume that your colleagues and your employees are clear on their responsibilities for emerging business needs nor how to best navigate building or finding solutions. Clear definitions and clear communications across your team should help move forward in an optimized way.


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