Properly Defining Roles In Technology Teams and JD’s For Success

Posted on August 7, 2019 by BWBacon. Tagged: Resources for Entrepreneurs, For Clients

Imagine going into the office on a Monday morning, sitting down at your desk, opening your computer and then thinking, “I have no idea what’s expected of me right now and I have no idea where I’m going to be in 2 years if I stay here.” Not fun, a little morbid, and very unproductive, right? That’s why defining roles in your organization is critical for fostering high performing employees.

We get it. Defining roles isn’t always black and white. It can be a struggle. That’s why the amount of time and energy invested into building these descriptions needs to be respected by all team members, including your executives. Employees that know their roles will be more engaged because they’re already bought into the position. And highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability, according to Gallup. It’s a win-win for everyone.

When defining roles, it’s not just about what’s expected of the employee on a daily basis in regards to tasks and report outs. It also needs to be about mission/impact alignment, especially when you’re seeking executive team members or high-level managers. If they’re not aligned to your core values, that will most definitely pose a problem. Maybe not right now, but in the not-so-distant future. And replacing anyone, especially management level team members, is not cheap. In fact, replacing an ineffective employee making $68,000 in annual salary can cost a company more than $800,000 if terminated within 2.5 years of hiring. This doesn't even account for the cost of recruiting and hiring a replacement.

Overall, that’s why clearly defining roles is one of the most important things you can do when seeking new talent. It’s challenging, takes time and is often overlooked but it can help you source the right people in an already difficult market to find talent.

Get Expert Tips On Clearly Defining Roles In Your Organization

Leverage Mentors and Peers to Get Insight on Expectations Around the Open Position

Take a few minutes and you can assuredly come up with a list of key influencers in your network that can help you define the roles you need to fill. Speak with board members, stakeholders, current employees, peers, and your personal mentors to help you build solid job descriptions. Leverage their knowledge of what worked and what didn't to save time and pain.

For example, if you’re trying to figure out whether you need a director, VP, a C-Level or a manager, chances are someone in your network has figured this out before and would be willing to provide wisdom on how to approach the problem. Getting advice from others' past experiences on how to split responsibilities across roles can help ensure the success of the team both in the short and long term.

Plan on a 2-3 Year Lifecycle For The Role You’re Defining

Be realistic with your approach and plan out what the role should be for the next 2-3 years, not forever. This doesn’t mean that you’re insinuating that the employee will quit after the 3-year mark, it just means that you’re being realistic about the ever-changing world of tech that we live in. Also, if your company is growing fast, realistically the details behind a role will have to be re-evaluated on a regular basis, especially in highly critical positions.

In addition to the changing needs of the role and your organization, if you don’t revisit job descriptions on a regular basis, you could also be setting yourself up for compliance issues and legalities. Essentially, the stakes are a lot higher for job descriptions to be crystal clear with essential responsibilities, especially if that role is being evaluated on those expectations.

Futureproof Your Hires

Along the same lines as the 2-3 year timeframe, you’ll also want to keep in mind that employees expect opportunities for advancement. When writing your job descriptions, think about how this role can grow and evolve with the organization. You never want your team members to feel like they’re in a dead-end job.

Planning and transparency of career paths and ladders on a role level will not only help current employee satisfaction but is a huge selling point in the recruiting process. Let them know where there can realistically expect to be in three years.

Once you’ve defined these progressions, be sure to include in your job descriptions as well as the interview process and eventually, their check-ins and evaluations.

We hope this helps shed some light on the importance of defining roles and why that’s critical to an effective job description. If you need more insight, here are a few other pieces we discovered on writing descriptions that will attract the best candidates for your openings.


Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

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