Role Overview

Learn more about roles and how they structure your organization

Karolina Krawczyk avatar
Written by Karolina Krawczyk
Updated over a week ago

Roles are the building blocks of your organization. They are defined by a purpose, a set of accountabilities, and the members within it. Holaspirit supports 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 your organization?

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

  1. Everyone knows what they’re doing. When roles are clearly defined, people know what’s expected of them, what they need to accomplish and how to get there. Plus, by seeing the importance of their contribution to the team's overall success, motivation is improved.

  2. Everything gets done in time. 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.

  3. Hiring the right people for the job. From the beginning, having clearly defined roles allows you to identify the type of people you need, so you can proceed to targeting and hiring the most fitted candidates for the job.

  4. 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 team's overall success. A respectful environment is more positive, collaborative and creative.

  5. Communication is improved. Not just improved - efficient, which is key. No more losing time to check what's being done, who's doing it and when it's due.

Defining Roles and responsibilities

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

  • who they report to

  • what their responsibilities are 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. Also, 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 in your organisation. Then create a second list detailing the roles and tasks your organisation need to be achieved to . You’ll see where you have an extra or shortfall of expertise and create positions you might realize are needed, while removing those that your organization no longer really requires. You can draft a first version of your organization chart on Holaspirit to see how the different teams of the organization are connected or interrelated.

A transparent structure will serve as a way to get started, helping to highlight issues which may not have been as obvious before.

Roles attributes

Now, think of the role information as your guide or map. For both the role holder and the member(s) they report to, this gives the direction to follow to pursue the purpose of the organization.

On a role page, you'll find information such as their:

  • 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 clarifies the identity and intention of a role or circle. The purpose orients the action of a role or circle even without any other explicit accountabilities, domains or policies.

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

  • Accountabilities: Each role is associated with a set 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 role holder will work on. Checklists are recurrent actions that other members of the team want and need to have visibility on. Projects are a specific outcome that requires multiple actions to complete. Actions, are simply steps 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 their performance. What are the metrics to be used? What are the performance targets? This refers to the Metrics or OKRs tabs on the role page.

Take a look at the Roles

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

People get easy access to their own roles and those of the entire organization. They can navigate the Governance app, looking into the Roles section or the organization chart to find the information they need.

The different types of Roles

  • A Core role is a role that is flagged to have a special status in your organization. This may be a coordinator or a spokesperson role for the circle. For decentralized management and organizational governance models such as Holacracy and Sociocracy you'll find the Circle Lead, Circle Rep, Secretary and Facilitator for example.

  • A Role template is usually used for a role needed 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.

  • A Leader role might be needed in your organization. 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, for example.

  • A Representative role can be selected by Admins and by the circle to represent them in 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

  • A Role assigner is 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.

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

  • A Transversal role is 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.

Roles in an evolving organization

A role is dynamic and evolves to the organization’s needs, meaning they are updated regularly in order to adapt to the ever-changing environment they're in.

An organizational change can take many forms. It may involve a change in the company structure, strategy, policies. On Holaspirit, these are referred to as Governance changes.

Contrary to the traditional view of command and control, every role holder in the organization has a word to say regarding the organization's structure and can suggest evolutions on Holaspirit through proposals to ensure the organization chart is never outdated.

What can a Role holder do?

As a Role holder, you have the full authority to take any next action you feel is right to fulfil 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 and core circle member, you can:

  • Add, Edit or delete 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 (Read more)

  • Capture your tension and submit proposal

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