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The What, When, Why & How Of A Role Study

16th March 2022

What…is a Role Study?

A Role Study is conducted to measure precisely how specific job roles spend their time. It is particularly useful to analyse specialist roles that are paid a premium and ascertain how effectively their expert skills are being deployed.

It reviews how consistently a role is carried out by studying the same thing in different locations. For example, if the role is well-defined and communicated, we will inevitably see consistency throughout. Any inconsistencies would suggest that further clarification should be made to define precisely what that role should involve.

When…did Role Studies begin to play a part?The What, When, Why & How Of A Role Study

In the past, organisations had a hierarchy which was designed to convey senior leaders as demigods, with their decision-making being the “be all and end all”. But as the years passed and the economy evolved to move away from manufacturing and into more knowledge-based practices, the decision-making has subsequently spilled across various roles. This has led to the previously conceived notion of a dictatorship fading away and being replaced by flatter structures and cross-functional roles.

With this change, the efficiency and effectiveness of individual roles were thrown into the limelight and needed to be considered. It was vital to ascertain whether a company’s internal structure (or Organisational Design) was working consistently. 

As such, Role Studies were developed, delving deep into an individual’s day-to-day work life and providing a clear picture of how responsibilities are differentiated.

Why…are they useful?

In essence, role studies can help you to make the most of your resources. By studying the levels within a hierarchy, we can identify what separates each role. Think about it this way; when you are designing your business’ internal role structure, each level should have a unique purpose, such as management and executives, for example. If it turns out that two roles are carrying out the same tasks, why would you pay one of them more than the other?

How…we do it at ReThink

Our productivity experts discreetly shadow individual roles across a full shift, measuring the time it takes to carry out individual tasks and benchmarking this against other organisations.

We look at time spent on specialist tasks versus general tasks. For example, if there are three team managers on shift, all of whom spend 20% of their time carrying out manager duties, would it not be more effective to have just one spending 60% of their time on these duties instead?The What, When, Why & How Of A Role Study

Our process improvement consultants review time spent on tasks (such as cashing up, general admin and trackers) as we see different levels of digitisation. Removing or reducing these sorts of tasks would free up time for other things to provide more value.

A Role Study is also used to review specialist roles such as pharmacists or cooks in kitchens, for example. For these (and managers), we ascertain how much time is spent on things that can only be carried out by that specific individual (their unique skills) and compare this to any time spent on general process tasks that can be carried out by anyone.

How can we help you?

Obtaining a thorough insight into the roles within your company is invaluable. Our business improvement consultants can discover what your team does throughout the day, assess your leadership structures (together with how they help deliver business success) and identify areas that may prevent teams from being the best they can.

Contact our team today.

More information on Role Studies can be found in our whitepaper – our experts’ views into demystifying productivity and providing practical know-how and advice. Download here >>