Redesign roles — a guide
Managers may need to adapt or redesign team roles so they are able to respond to their changing operational environment.
Redesigning work teams by implementing a small reorganisation, redesigning existing roles or developing new roles are some of the actions which can help improve services, strengthen team efficiency and ensure alignment with changed organisational objectives.
You might be extending an existing role so that it has the capability to undertake a particular task, you might move tasks between different levels of skill, or sometimes an individual staff member takes on new duties.
During any change process consider whether:
; you are achieving the main outcomes expected from your team as required by the agency ; you are fully using the skills and capabilities of your team members
; your team is effectively using all the technology available
; there is a variation in capacity caused by any skills shortages with hard to fill roles.
Words of caution
; Significant role redesign is a long term activity - Roles which require training or retraining may
take longer to become fully operational.
; Involve human resources expertise - Ensure you have the support of your human resources
team and engage them early in the change process. More significant or complex redesign
processes may require executive approval.
; Consider interdependencies - Changing one thing often impacts on other things. Consider the
implications of the intended change on the agency’s processes, roles, technology, structure and
work group management.
1. Define the need for change
Identify and define the service problem, constraint or employee change that needs to be solved.
You need to be able to explain why changes to roles are required and what you aim to achieve
through any redesign activity.
Consider what the benefits to the change might be:
; what works well within the unit – and why?
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; what could be improved?
Get to the root cause of the issue – it is not always obvious – especially if the team has been in
place for a long time with local practices.
2. Understand what needs to be changed
2.1 Map the existing processes
; Flow chart major processes
; Prioritise key processes
; Identify opportunities for efficiencies
Review the team workforce conditions:
; Management structure
; Team structure
; Individual roles
; Staff satisfaction.
2.2 Assess the workforce
; Who does what in the current process? Involve staff – you may be surprised at the
range of tasks that have evolved in a role over time.
; Have staff members track their activities and the time spent over a one or two week
period to get a picture of time spent. This will help when tasks are to be stopped or
; Talk to key individuals who are critical in achieving your aims. This includes managers,
operational staff and your agency’s human resources area.
2.3 Identify service gaps
; Which internal and external stakeholders are involved? What issues do they have?
; Are you achieving outcomes as required?
; Have you a sustainable work force into the future, particularly in skills shortage areas?
2.4 Shed non-value adding tasks
; Are all the responsibilities or tasks you have identified necessary? Can any be removed
without any consequences? Which responsibilities can be removed and reallocated?
Remember it is important to consider the impact that any reallocation of work will have
within the wider team environment.
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3. Redesign — do you need to reorganise; redesign roles; or develop new roles?
Identify the possibilities - you could:
; Use existing staff in different areas
; Utilise new roles
; Undertake role extension within a professional category
; Undertake a role extension across professions
; Existing roles in new settings such as change the type of administrative support
configuration to free up higher-end professional tasks.
Agree the opportunities for new or redesigned roles. Once the tasks have been clearly identified
and agreed, use the job role template (insert link if we have one??): ; What is the purpose of the new or amended role?
; What are the main functions of this role?
; What regulations affect this role or need to be considered?
; How will the role improve service delivery?
; Who will supervise the role?
; How will the role be covered during periods of staff leave?
; Is the role temporary or permanent?
Considering best practice:
; Has the change been tried elsewhere or before? Did it work then – if not why not? Talk to
those who have done similar things and learn from their experience. ; Has the role been risk assessed - what were the outcomes?
; Have you incorporated sufficient flexibility so that the changed roles can evolve over time as
the agency requires?
; Are the changes to the role sustainable?
; Do the changed roles fit into future planned developments within the organisation?
Agree a training and development plan as part of the development of the performance agreement necessary for the employees with new or amended roles: ; What explicit level of performance is required?
; Is there a need to update the skills?
Before moving into implementation, think through:
; Who will be eligible to undertake this role?
; How will you inform others about the role?
; Have you consulted with all the people affected by the changes – internally and externally?
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4. Test and implement
; Undertake a recruitment process into a new role if necessary.
; Inform, train and support the employee in the changed role.
; Update delegations databases.
; Communicate to internal stakeholders e.g. all levels within the agency.
5. Monitor and evaluate
; Track the impact of the redesign on: clients, service levels, on the workforce, and internal
and external stakeholders.
; Establish short to medium term indicators, for example
— Increased job satisfaction
— Skills and capabilities more accurately address current and predicted organisational
— Improved client or customer satisfaction.
; Establish longer term indicators, for example
— Improved client experience
— Improved career paths and increased staff retention
— Improved service sustainability.
Build in review and revision points e.g. when will you evaluate the changed role? How will you communicate the changes and ongoing evolution of the role to stakeholders?
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