Case Study: Redesigning Job Roles

Is it time to update your job descriptions?

Signs that your job descriptions may be out of date:
  • People are saying “That’s not my job,” but leaders disagree
  • No one knows who is responsible for…lots of things
  • People don’t see a career path in the company
  • You have to slow down or stop work when someone takes a sick day
  • People are not really sure who they report to
  • Workers think leaders promote their friends, not the best workers
The work we do changes every day. Often our job descriptions don’t keep up and we’re no longer sure who is doing what tasks, what kind of support they need, or whether our bench strength is deep enough.

Example: Our client, a food production company with a dominant position in the beverage market, sought to move their frontline workforce from two job roles (operator and mechanic) to a tiered system of technicians. This project was completed by our Learning Strategist  and including two on-site visits to plants over a period of seven months. The results were clear job roles, succession plans, career paths, and accountability. Below are details of how you can accomplish the same results. 


Scan the environment. Analyze job descriptions and postings, HR data, performance reviews and other artifacts to get a first understanding of the job(s) in focus. Observe and interview workers and leaders to establish what people in the roles do today, what they should do tomorrow, and what are their biggest challenges.

Build Context

  • Understand the business and the environment in which it operates
  • Know the top goals and challenges faced by the business
  • Gather and review materials that describe the job(s): Job descriptions, job postings, performance reviews, Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) data
  • Look for any areas that are out of date, conflict, are vague or should otherwise be discussed.


Focus on a few powerful actions. Create and refine a matrix that clearly describes each task related to the roles. Validate your findings with stakeholders at several levels of the organization.

Observe and Listen

  • Communicate first. Let them know you are coming, what you want to see and do, what your limitations are – and that they’re jobs are not at risk (if that’s true).
  • View the roles in action through on-site visits.
  • Listen to the people in these job roles to hear what they do, the challenges they face, and their ideas for improvements.
  • Listen to the stakeholders who interact with the people in the job roles to hear their views on what people in these job do today, should do tomorrow and what they struggle with.
  • Look for
    resolutions to conflicts identified earlier, identify any new areas that merit discussion.
  • Update
    matrix to separate and clarify each task and sort them into logical groupings.

Envision and Validate

  • Identify relationships between roles and opportunities for a person to grow within a role and grow by transitioning into new roles.
  • Validate job roles, descriptions, tasks, and career path recommendations with stakeholders at several levels of the organization, with special focus on the roles impacted.
  • Refine the roles, tasks and recommendations based on feedback.


Time for Action. Determine compensation for the roles, plan the timing for roll out, support changes with learning, and all along – communicate & listen.

  • Analyze the new role(s) to determine the proper compensation. If a role is too expensive, consider re-working the job description.
  • Based on the operation of the business, determine how many of each role the business will need.
  • Plan the dates for the new roles to take effect, considering impact on essential business operations and performance reviews.
  • Communicate clearly about the change often and be responsive to concerns and questions.
To ensure the success of your team, these should also be in place:
  • Step-by-step visual work instructions for each critical task
  • Assessment tools to determine (by observation) the extent to which a worker has mastered a task
  • Training and performance support materials for unique situations
  • Supportive training in related topics

Not sure where to start?

Our Learning Strategists will partner with you to create a plan, break it into chunks and get you started on the most useful and urgent parts.

Get in touch with us at and 407-603-7063

Accelerating Competency through Job Clarity

Putting this all together can include:

  • Job descriptions
  • Performance reviews
  • HRIS data
  • Focus groups
  • Interviews
  • Training Matrixes
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • Marketing & Communication Plan
  • Onsite observations
  • Persuading leadership
  • Assuring workers
  • Updating policies
  • Establishing procedures
  • And more…