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What Is a Role Chart? Here’s How It Fills the Gaps in Your Org Chart.

October 19, 2022

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Your small business started with you and a beyond-brilliant idea. And instead of doing everything yourself, you hired a few trustworthy folks to help you get the ball rolling. 

But we all know how that turned out — i.e. your small crew collectively carried out hundreds of responsibilities that fell under departments that didn’t even exist yet just to get things off the ground. 

You may have more than a handful of employees now, but odds are your team members still wear a bunch of hats and contribute to multiple teams to get everything done. To keep track of who does what and who reports where you need an organized map that connects all the dots: A company role chart.

Here’s everything you need to know about building a role chart that perfectly maps out your current and future reporting structure, helps employees understand how everyone’s positions connect, and automatically stays up to date as your team grows and changes.

What is a role chart?

A role chart maps out team members, reporting structure, and responsibilities by role — not by person (like an org chart). In other words, it’s a quick snapshot of all the roles in your organization — who falls under each role, which roles report to each other, and what each role is responsible for.

Your company role chart looks like a tree diagram that connects every role (and every person in every role) — starting with your CEO or President role at the top and then working its way down. Think of it like a company org chart, but instead of outlining who reports to who individually, it maps out the reporting structure of roles (and even gives you the flexibility to include roles that may not exist yet).

Why create a role chart?

A company role chart is the all-in-one resource your team needs to understand who’s in charge of what, stay up to date on the high-level objectives and key results (OKRs) of other departments, and quickly initiate cross-departmental initiatives. When you map out roles and responsibilities, team alignment and collaboration simply fall into place. Here’s how.

Role charts teach your team all the roles and responsibilities. 

Role clarity — or, an understanding of someone’s role along with their coworkers’ positions and responsibilities — is something only half of employees experience. That means you can safely assume that the other half of your team has no idea what’s expected of them and who’s in charge of what. Yikes.

If your employees don’t have a documented distribution of responsibilities, you can expect to hear “Wait, who’s in charge of this?” again… and again. Especially since most teams experience several structural changes a year to get the right people in the right roles, hire, and accommodate for growth. And it’s hard keeping everything straight, for both leadership and everyone else.

When you build a role chart, your whole team can keep track of everyone’s contributions and the changes that happen in real-time. Let’s take a look at how that works.

Role charts display team structure by function.

Building a company role chart helps your employees understand what’s happening in departments they’re not directly involved in. It’s easy for an employee to fixate on their own little team or branch in your org. They’re pretty familiar with who does what, who works closely with who, and what’s going on — in their department. (Give ‘em a high five.)

But chances are, they’re totally clueless about what’s going on everywhere else. Meaning, while they’re in their own little world, they miss how the whole team works together to achieve your organization’s mission. They may have unknowingly shoved a full understanding of your organization aside and now have tunnel vision on their own role-specific goals — forming a huge barrier between them and their best work.

Picture this: Your content creator carries out their day-to-day functions like writing blogs, posting on social media, and updating your website — all to get more attention for your brand. Imagine them trying to do this with absolutely no insight into the mission and objectives of your product team. Are they really able to put out good content if they’re totally missing the “why” behind your product? (You know the answer: Definitely not.)

If your employees can’t reference the overarching goals and responsibilities of each team, they could be overlooking vital information they need to do their job the right way. And while we don’t like to point fingers, it’s up to you to facilitate cross-departmental understanding of your business. They’ll stay uninformed — that is, until you give them the right tools to understand how everyone connects and stays in the know. (Hint: Make a role chart.)

Role charts show responsibilities by role.

Let’s say you have a budget question. You always turn to your finance director about things like this, but they’re on vacation. So, you start to rack your brain and can’t remember who else has access to the information you need.

When you have a role chart, you can simply look at the roles that report to your finance director and check out the responsibilities of each one. You’ll immediately see who to reach out to, helping you get your answer quickly. 

Or, let’s say your customer service rep gets a question about the nitty-gritty technology behind your product. All that techy jargon went right over their head, and they don’t have an immediate answer.

So, who do they turn to for help? Time to check the role chart! They’ll see each person in every department. They may see “Engineer I,” “Engineer II,” and “Senior Engineer” roles. They’ll be super confident about which role to turn to because the role-based responsibilities for each are right there. Proof that they have their hands in the technical mumbo jumbo the customer is asking about. And just like that — the rep can get the right info passed along in a flash. Phew! 

Org charts are not one-size-fits-all.

You may be wondering, “Wait, doesn’t an organizational chart help with a lot of this?” And you’d be right! But they don’t work for every business — especially small businesses. Here’s why.

Role charts stay organized when people wear multiple hats.

Let’s say you start to build an org chart. You stick your CEO at the top and connect them to all their reporting managers who go right underneath. Then, you move one of your salespeople below your customer experience manager since they work super closely with that team. But wait — your salesperson also works events and frequently reports to your marketing manager. So where do you put them? And just like that, your org chart is no longer org-anized.

When you organize company structure based on role, your whole team can see how every position connects to one another along with the responsibilities of each. Plus, they can see everywhere each team member fits in — even when they belong in more than one spot. That’s because one employee can be added to multiple roles, showing every team they’re a part of and every hat they wear. 

Your team is small but mighty (and totally unique). So you need to be extra clear about where everyone fits in. Otherwise, you end up with a confused team and work that didn’t get done because everyone thought someone else was doing it.

Role charts outline your future company structure.

Because an org chart maps out team structure by individual employees, it helps people understand the details of your current reporting structure. But when you want to identify structural gaps in certain departments, outline and prioritize where you want to grow, or plan for the future reporting structure of your company, you need to build a role chart.

When you create a company role chart, you can easily see which departments need more lift than others. And which roles are getting full and need to be dispersed into sub-roles with specified responsibilities. Such as your designers splitting into two or three groups that each focus on a specific line of your merchandise.

When you map out your role chart to include your ideal reporting structure with roles you plan to hire in the future, it helps you make hiring, structural, and other growth-based decisions that align with your goals… when the time comes.

How to build your SMB role chart 

Building a role chart is easy peasy — especially when you go digital. When you add your role chart to your digital business playbook (AKA, your collection of business processes and team need-to-knows) your role chart is easy to edit, automatically stays up to date as you hire, and includes all the information your team is looking for. 

Be sure your role chart successfully intertwines with your business and team member information by including these five essential parts as you build: 

1. Current and future roles.

Your role chart needs roles (duh). But as you add roles to your chart, make sure to include those that exist as well as those you hope to hire for in the future. That way, you can confidently plan as your team grows. 

Keep in mind that you can re-organize your framework, add new roles, and change who falls under each role as your goals change. (These modifications are super easy to make when you go digital.)

2. Role-based responsibilities.

Your team members may have some responsibilities that are unique to them. But for the most part, they’ll be responsible for a specific set of tasks and functions based on their role. Meaning, everyone with that role has identical operations and responsibilities.

You should be able to close your eyes, point to a random person in your role chart, and know exactly what they’re in charge of based on their role. To make this a reality, add what responsibilities fall under each role in your role chart. This helps those who have that role as much as those who aren’t familiar with it at all. 

Bonus round: When your role chart includes role-based responsibilities, you’ll automatically relay any responsibility changes to everyone with that role in real-time. They’ll always have an up-to-date reference to refer to. That way, nobody ends up doing double the work.

3. Links to helpful documentation. 

Documented responsibilities are even more powerful when you connect them to the processes, policies, and procedures that team members in charge of them need to know. 

When you use an online platform to create your role chart, an employee can glance at their own role to see all their role-based responsibilities and get more information on one that’s listed in a click. The link could lead to step-by-step instructions, safety policies — whatever makes sense for that responsibility. No more searching around for important need-to-knows when they’re all right there.

4. Individual team member info.

Because you want your role chart to show where everyone belongs based on role, you’ll need to add people to each role they’re a part of so their name pops right up when someone clicks on those roles. Be sure to add photos to each person’s role chart profile, too, so your whole team can put faces to names and visualize who does what in your org.   

5. High-level overview of each role.

You might have a role called “Communications Executive.” People who aren’t communications executives typically won’t have a clue as to what that person does. And even though you’ll have a list of responsibilities there, you’ll want to add a general explanation of that role. No matter how simple a job title might seem to you, it’s important to add a description to provide clarity for your team members who aren’t as familiar.

👉 Ready to build a role chart for your small business? Map out the current and future structure of your SMB by role — complete with responsibilities and direct links to the helpful processes, policies, and procedures that make your team run like a well-oiled machine. Try Trainual for free.

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Article

What Is a Role Chart? Here’s How It Fills the Gaps in Your Org Chart.

October 19, 2022

Jump to a section
Share it!
Sign up for our newsletter
You're all signed up! Look out for the next edition of The Manual Weekly coming Wednesday am!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Your small business started with you and a beyond-brilliant idea. And instead of doing everything yourself, you hired a few trustworthy folks to help you get the ball rolling. 

But we all know how that turned out — i.e. your small crew collectively carried out hundreds of responsibilities that fell under departments that didn’t even exist yet just to get things off the ground. 

You may have more than a handful of employees now, but odds are your team members still wear a bunch of hats and contribute to multiple teams to get everything done. To keep track of who does what and who reports where you need an organized map that connects all the dots: A company role chart.

Here’s everything you need to know about building a role chart that perfectly maps out your current and future reporting structure, helps employees understand how everyone’s positions connect, and automatically stays up to date as your team grows and changes.

What is a role chart?

A role chart maps out team members, reporting structure, and responsibilities by role — not by person (like an org chart). In other words, it’s a quick snapshot of all the roles in your organization — who falls under each role, which roles report to each other, and what each role is responsible for.

Your company role chart looks like a tree diagram that connects every role (and every person in every role) — starting with your CEO or President role at the top and then working its way down. Think of it like a company org chart, but instead of outlining who reports to who individually, it maps out the reporting structure of roles (and even gives you the flexibility to include roles that may not exist yet).

Why create a role chart?

A company role chart is the all-in-one resource your team needs to understand who’s in charge of what, stay up to date on the high-level objectives and key results (OKRs) of other departments, and quickly initiate cross-departmental initiatives. When you map out roles and responsibilities, team alignment and collaboration simply fall into place. Here’s how.

Role charts teach your team all the roles and responsibilities. 

Role clarity — or, an understanding of someone’s role along with their coworkers’ positions and responsibilities — is something only half of employees experience. That means you can safely assume that the other half of your team has no idea what’s expected of them and who’s in charge of what. Yikes.

If your employees don’t have a documented distribution of responsibilities, you can expect to hear “Wait, who’s in charge of this?” again… and again. Especially since most teams experience several structural changes a year to get the right people in the right roles, hire, and accommodate for growth. And it’s hard keeping everything straight, for both leadership and everyone else.

When you build a role chart, your whole team can keep track of everyone’s contributions and the changes that happen in real-time. Let’s take a look at how that works.

Role charts display team structure by function.

Building a company role chart helps your employees understand what’s happening in departments they’re not directly involved in. It’s easy for an employee to fixate on their own little team or branch in your org. They’re pretty familiar with who does what, who works closely with who, and what’s going on — in their department. (Give ‘em a high five.)

But chances are, they’re totally clueless about what’s going on everywhere else. Meaning, while they’re in their own little world, they miss how the whole team works together to achieve your organization’s mission. They may have unknowingly shoved a full understanding of your organization aside and now have tunnel vision on their own role-specific goals — forming a huge barrier between them and their best work.

Picture this: Your content creator carries out their day-to-day functions like writing blogs, posting on social media, and updating your website — all to get more attention for your brand. Imagine them trying to do this with absolutely no insight into the mission and objectives of your product team. Are they really able to put out good content if they’re totally missing the “why” behind your product? (You know the answer: Definitely not.)

If your employees can’t reference the overarching goals and responsibilities of each team, they could be overlooking vital information they need to do their job the right way. And while we don’t like to point fingers, it’s up to you to facilitate cross-departmental understanding of your business. They’ll stay uninformed — that is, until you give them the right tools to understand how everyone connects and stays in the know. (Hint: Make a role chart.)

Role charts show responsibilities by role.

Let’s say you have a budget question. You always turn to your finance director about things like this, but they’re on vacation. So, you start to rack your brain and can’t remember who else has access to the information you need.

When you have a role chart, you can simply look at the roles that report to your finance director and check out the responsibilities of each one. You’ll immediately see who to reach out to, helping you get your answer quickly. 

Or, let’s say your customer service rep gets a question about the nitty-gritty technology behind your product. All that techy jargon went right over their head, and they don’t have an immediate answer.

So, who do they turn to for help? Time to check the role chart! They’ll see each person in every department. They may see “Engineer I,” “Engineer II,” and “Senior Engineer” roles. They’ll be super confident about which role to turn to because the role-based responsibilities for each are right there. Proof that they have their hands in the technical mumbo jumbo the customer is asking about. And just like that — the rep can get the right info passed along in a flash. Phew! 

Org charts are not one-size-fits-all.

You may be wondering, “Wait, doesn’t an organizational chart help with a lot of this?” And you’d be right! But they don’t work for every business — especially small businesses. Here’s why.

Role charts stay organized when people wear multiple hats.

Let’s say you start to build an org chart. You stick your CEO at the top and connect them to all their reporting managers who go right underneath. Then, you move one of your salespeople below your customer experience manager since they work super closely with that team. But wait — your salesperson also works events and frequently reports to your marketing manager. So where do you put them? And just like that, your org chart is no longer org-anized.

When you organize company structure based on role, your whole team can see how every position connects to one another along with the responsibilities of each. Plus, they can see everywhere each team member fits in — even when they belong in more than one spot. That’s because one employee can be added to multiple roles, showing every team they’re a part of and every hat they wear. 

Your team is small but mighty (and totally unique). So you need to be extra clear about where everyone fits in. Otherwise, you end up with a confused team and work that didn’t get done because everyone thought someone else was doing it.

Role charts outline your future company structure.

Because an org chart maps out team structure by individual employees, it helps people understand the details of your current reporting structure. But when you want to identify structural gaps in certain departments, outline and prioritize where you want to grow, or plan for the future reporting structure of your company, you need to build a role chart.

When you create a company role chart, you can easily see which departments need more lift than others. And which roles are getting full and need to be dispersed into sub-roles with specified responsibilities. Such as your designers splitting into two or three groups that each focus on a specific line of your merchandise.

When you map out your role chart to include your ideal reporting structure with roles you plan to hire in the future, it helps you make hiring, structural, and other growth-based decisions that align with your goals… when the time comes.

How to build your SMB role chart 

Building a role chart is easy peasy — especially when you go digital. When you add your role chart to your digital business playbook (AKA, your collection of business processes and team need-to-knows) your role chart is easy to edit, automatically stays up to date as you hire, and includes all the information your team is looking for. 

Be sure your role chart successfully intertwines with your business and team member information by including these five essential parts as you build: 

1. Current and future roles.

Your role chart needs roles (duh). But as you add roles to your chart, make sure to include those that exist as well as those you hope to hire for in the future. That way, you can confidently plan as your team grows. 

Keep in mind that you can re-organize your framework, add new roles, and change who falls under each role as your goals change. (These modifications are super easy to make when you go digital.)

2. Role-based responsibilities.

Your team members may have some responsibilities that are unique to them. But for the most part, they’ll be responsible for a specific set of tasks and functions based on their role. Meaning, everyone with that role has identical operations and responsibilities.

You should be able to close your eyes, point to a random person in your role chart, and know exactly what they’re in charge of based on their role. To make this a reality, add what responsibilities fall under each role in your role chart. This helps those who have that role as much as those who aren’t familiar with it at all. 

Bonus round: When your role chart includes role-based responsibilities, you’ll automatically relay any responsibility changes to everyone with that role in real-time. They’ll always have an up-to-date reference to refer to. That way, nobody ends up doing double the work.

3. Links to helpful documentation. 

Documented responsibilities are even more powerful when you connect them to the processes, policies, and procedures that team members in charge of them need to know. 

When you use an online platform to create your role chart, an employee can glance at their own role to see all their role-based responsibilities and get more information on one that’s listed in a click. The link could lead to step-by-step instructions, safety policies — whatever makes sense for that responsibility. No more searching around for important need-to-knows when they’re all right there.

4. Individual team member info.

Because you want your role chart to show where everyone belongs based on role, you’ll need to add people to each role they’re a part of so their name pops right up when someone clicks on those roles. Be sure to add photos to each person’s role chart profile, too, so your whole team can put faces to names and visualize who does what in your org.   

5. High-level overview of each role.

You might have a role called “Communications Executive.” People who aren’t communications executives typically won’t have a clue as to what that person does. And even though you’ll have a list of responsibilities there, you’ll want to add a general explanation of that role. No matter how simple a job title might seem to you, it’s important to add a description to provide clarity for your team members who aren’t as familiar.

👉 Ready to build a role chart for your small business? Map out the current and future structure of your SMB by role — complete with responsibilities and direct links to the helpful processes, policies, and procedures that make your team run like a well-oiled machine. Try Trainual for free.

Article

What Is a Role Chart? Here’s How It Fills the Gaps in Your Org Chart.

October 19, 2022

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