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Personal Non-Job Roles

The first of the two personal non-job roles—the career development role—is concerned with the continual growth and development of the employee technically and personally. It’s not an unreasonable expectation for an employee to commit to lifelong learning in their career; though we’ve all met people who have stopped learning and developing in their working life. When challenged, a stagnant employee often gives a lame excuse like, “I’m too old to learn anything new,” or when offered a career development opportunity, they retort with, “I’m just happy doing what I have always done.” Continually improving, upgrading, and expanding their skill-base and developing personally benefits not only the person, but their current and future employer in the transmuting world of work.

There are two dimensions to the career development role. One dimension relates to job-development. In essence, this involves making career decisions about education, training, and career options. The second dimension is about self-development. Self-development involves improving oneself to circuitously assist in carrying out employment responsibilities. Personal development can cover such things, for instance, as managing time and priorities more effectively, developing “people skills,” and reducing stress levels. Exercising the career development role— like the other non-job roles—has benefits for the organization and the individual.

The final of the four non-job roles in the performance framework and the second of the personal non-job roles is the innovation and continuous improvement role. Whereas the career development role is about improving the individual, the innovation and continuous improvement role is concerned with improving the organization.

This role is basically about offering constructive and timely suggestions and changes in how the business can function better. Innovation and continuous improvement can cover a wide spectrum of things in the workplace. For instance, it can include:

  • improving the quality of a product or service,
  • cutting the time and cost of production,
  • increasing output and safety,
  • improving the consistency of meeting deadlines,
  • enhancing interpersonal cooperation, or
  • streamlining systems and processes.

For business to prosper in a VUCA environment—like the employee— the organization needs to be engaged in an endless state of growth and development; all employees can have an important role to play in this regard.

By exercising these four non-job roles, the employee’s performance is extended to fulfilling their organizational role as well as their job tasks. From an organization development perspective, the non-job roles the employee performs well, not too well, or poorly impacts the performance of the enterprise. It’s widely acknowledged that roles such as preserving a positive and enthusiastic attitude, exhibiting teamwork, improving one’s work skills, and contributing to the betterment of the functioning of the workplace are key to organizational performance. And yet these four attributes are non-job-specific and as such, are rarely—if ever—covered sufficiently in an employee’s job description. We need to incorporate them and shift to the role description.

Like specialization and QA, which we covered in the last two chapters, there’s no need to completely abandon these practices, including the job description. But we need to include the non-job dimension of performance in the work document for the business and employee to reach their full potential.

In the next chapter we look at the management myth that a business is best organized around functions.

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