Getting to know roles in Holaspirit

Roles are the building blocks of your organization in Holaspirit. Roles are defined by a purpose, a set of accountabilities, and a set of role holders (members). In Holaspirit, we switch to a new way of defining responsibilities and getting work done. Work is not divided among people but among roles.


Why should you have clearly defined roles and responsibilities within the organization?

Defining the roles and responsibilities of members in your organization is important for several reasons:

  • Everyone knows what they’re doing. When roles are clear, people know what’s expected of them, how to behave and what they need to accomplish. Plus, if they can see the importance of their contribution to the group’s overall success then motivation is improved.

  • Everything gets done. In complex environments, under tight deadlines, tasks sometimes pass by. When everyone knows their responsibilities, as well as those of others, there is greater accountability, making sure nothing gets forgotten.

  • Hiring the right people for the job: from the beginning, having clearly defined roles will allow you to identify the type of people you will need, so you can proceed to targeting and hiring the most qualified candidates for the job.

  • People cooperate more effectively. There’s less conflict and ‘political’ tension when high profile tasks are equally distributed, or tracked to make sure they’re not handed to the same person. Also, people have far more respect for colleagues when they can see the part they play in the group’s overall success. A respectful environment is more positive, collaborative and creative.

  • Communication is improved. Not just improved - reduced, which is key. No more losing time to check what was being done, who was doing it and when it was due?


Defining Roles and Responsibilities

To start with, there 3 three things that every member of an organization must be clear about:

  • who they have to report to,

  • what are their responsibilities and corresponding expectations

  • the level of authority they require in order to make decisions.

It is possible for an individual to have one or multiple roles at the same time, depending on what they do. Ultimately, a single role can be filled by multiple individuals.

The first step is simple. Look at what you have and work out what you need. This can be done by making a straightforward list of the people at your organisation. Then create a second list detailing the roles and tasks your organisation performs. You’ll see where you have an extra or shortfall of expertise and include positions that you did not have previously but now you realize you need, while removing those that your organization no longer really requires. You can draft a first version of your organizational chart on Holaspirit to see how the different teams of the organization are connected or interrelated.

Roles attributes

Now, think of the role description as your guide or map, for both the management and the role holder to know the direction that they will be taking in their attempt to pursue the purpose of the organization. The attributes that are present in the role description in Holaspirit include the following:

  • Name: More than just an official job title or designation, this sums up the tasks and responsibilities of the employee who will be holding this position.

  • Purpose: It should clarify the identity and intention of a role. The purpose orients the action of a role even absent any other explicit accountabilities, domains, policies, etc.

  • Domain: It represents a distinct area of influence, control and decision making of a specific role.

  • Accountabilities. Each role is associated with sets of responsibilities. This answers the question on what are the expected results associated with the role.

  • Checklists, Projects and Actions: These refer to the specific activities or work that the individual will work on. With Checklists being recurrents actions that other members of the team wants to have visibility on ; Project, a specific outcome that requires multiple actions to complete ; and Action, a task that could be taken towards the completion of a Project.

  • Performance Management and Indicators: It is also important to define how the individual in that role will be evaluated with respect to his or her performance. What are the metrics to be used? What are the performance targets? This refers to the Metrics or OKRs of the roles


Communicating the roles and responsibilities

There is no point in defining the roles and responsibilities if the people are not aware of them. Each employee should be clearly made aware of what is expected of him or her. This is where Holaspirit comes handy.

People get easy access to their own roles, they can navigate the org chart and search the role of their teammates.


The Different Types of Roles

  • Core Role: A role that is flagged to have a special status for your organization. This may be a coordinator, a spokesperson role for the circle. For decentralized management and organizational governance models (such as Holacracy, Sociocracy), the Circle Lead, Circle Rep, Secretary and Facilitator are core roles for example.

  • Role Templates: A role that is present in more than one circle in your organization. To save you some time, you can create role templates and easily import them in your organization chart.

  • Leader Role: Although working in an agile team comes with a lot of autonomy, you can select a certain role that will act as a leader of the circle to do performance reviews and coach people.

  • Role Assigner: A role in charge of assigning people to roles inside the circle. There are different options to assign people to roles depending on your organization model.

  • Representative Role: Admins and Circle can select a certain role to represent them to the parent-circle. This may be a role with special responsibilities that acts as the spokesperson for the circle when an issue goes beyond the circle’s scope

  • Elected Roles: Roles can be set to be electable, meaning that role holders are elected for a term. Marking a role as electable allows you to set the term limits.

  • Transversal Role: A Role that is invited by another circle to participate in its circle's decisions and operations. It creates a bridge between two circles with a copy of the role in the circle making the request, thus improving the sharing of skills.


Evolving organization

A role is not a job description, it’s dynamic and evolves to the organization’s needs.

Roles are updated regularly in order to adapt to an ever-changing environment.

Organizational change can take many forms. It may involve a change in the company structure, strategy, policies... All those refer to Governance change in Holaspirit.

Contrary to the traditional view of command and control, every role holder in the organization has a word to say regarding the organizational structure and can suggest evolution in Holaspirit ensuring that your ‘organization chart’ is never outdated.


What can Role’s holder do?

As a Role holder, you have the full authority to take any next action you feel is right to take to fulfill the Purpose of your Role. However, you are not allowed to have an impact on a Domain owned by another Role, unless you are authorized to do so (by a Policy).

You can easily see the authority of a role and quickly identify if you are in a position to make a decision. As a role holder, you can:

  • Edit your roles

  • Attend meetings of your circles

  • Create, Edit, Delete Metrics and OKRs for your circle and roles

  • Create, Edit, Delete Checklist, Actions, Projects for your circle and roles

  • Attach documents to your roles

  • Capture your tension and submit proposal


Related articles

Governance Overview

How to add a role or a circle

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