Any business should have strategic goals and objectives…and understand the competencies needed to achieve those objectives. If you compare that to the competencies you have within your business, it becomes your gap analysis. At a simplistic level, you then have the options of developing your existing staff, hiring externally or engaging someone through a contract arrangement or third party provider. Sometimes, however, you need to be careful to not try to bridge a gap that is too big in one step – or one role.
A case study of redefining a role
Recently a client indicated that, due to growth, they were in the market for what they described as a call centre manager/branch operations manager. On further discussion, and in working with them through a series of questions, we determined what they actually wanted done. While the role would involve coordinating and guiding a group of dispersed branches, the main focus was managing, developing and growing a group of centrally-located staff taking sales enquiries, processing orders and coordinating dispatch and installation staff. What essentially resulted was a role redefinition – a strong role and position outline for an administration manager with internal sales experience to manage incoming calls and the order intake process. Each branch was already being managed by very competent branch managers. Currently reporting to the General Manager, it was agreed this structure could continue for another 12 to 18 months until growth required a branch operations manager (whether by engagement or one of the existing branch managers developing to take on additional coordinating responsibility). The initial request for someone to manage a call centre and branch network could have been satisfied. However, it would have caused considerable expense due to a smaller talent pool and would not have been the best next step for the business.
Getting perspective before you bridge a gap
If you find yourself considering a new role to bridge a gap, I recommend asking the following questions:
- What do you really want achieved? Define the purpose of the role in four to six key points – those things that are the unique responsibility of this role. If you cannot define these, the role does not exist. Then, list the specific responsibilities and document the factors that impact the role. What will give job satisfaction? What will frustrate the person in that role? What are the challenges?
- What is the next most important step for your business? Think about your strategic objectives and where you want to be. Once again, ensure this role will move you toward your goals.
- What will success look like if you fill the role you’re contemplating? What are the performance measures? What will need to be done in 12-months’ time for you to say that yes, you have successfully achieved (or exceeded) expectations?
- Does a person exist within your organisation who can fill the gap?
- Do you know anyone that has recently gone through a similar exercise in another business that you can use as a sounding board?
- Do you know a trusting recruiter that can give you an unbiased view of the skills in the market and remuneration expectations?
Ensuring you link your strategic need with the competencies of a role – and then getting external insight – are good ways to ensure you don’t try to bridge a gap that is too big. It will give you the opportunity to define exactly what you want done and should lead to you defining a strong role and person description (you can read more about those in In-house recruitment – critical advice to get it right. It will also give you insight into the availability of those skills in the market so your solution is workable and affordable for your business.