|
|
The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Eric P. Bloom: Know your department’s role and context

    • email print
      Comment
  • As a manager, you would think that knowing your department’s role and value would be an obvious requirement. That said, it’s not as simple as it seems. Definitionally, a department’s role is related to the specific work that it performs. A department’s context refers to why the department exists and the value it provides to the overall organization.
    Most managers understand and clearly describe their department’s role to the employees within it because it is directly related to the work its employees perform. A department’s context/value is not as often discussed.
    When trying to compare a department’s role versus its value, consider a human resources department. The role of HR department is to administer payroll, coordinate employee life cycle events (hiring, performance reviews, promotions, etc.) and other associated activities. The value of HR is its ability to help maximize company success by enhancing the company’s workforce. This may seem like a trivial distinction, but it’s extremely motivating for employees to understand the value of their efforts, not simply the tasks to be performed.
    When communicating with your staff, you should discuss the following:
    Your department’s value within the company. The way you and your department interact with other internal departments. The value of each individual’s work.
    With some department types, such as sales and customer service, it’s easy to understand how they help the company increase revenues and/or reduce costs. For other departments, such as information technology, it can be hard to see how you help the company increase revenues because your clients are other internal departments. Therefore, if you are managing this type of department, you should take the time to personally understand and then explain to your staff how your department helps maximize your company’s profitability. For example, if you are in the IT department responsible for customer resource management systems, then you should explain how your team is helping the company’s sales force be more efficient, thus helping the salespeople generate more revenue.
    Using another example, if you work for a government agency or charitable organization, then your “profitability,” so to speak, is the maximization of the services you provide to your constituency.
    The reason why explaining your department’s value is motivating, is because it brings purpose to your work. Explaining to a staff member how his/her efforts are helping the company can not only increase an employee’s motivation, but in turn can increase the employee’s performance, reduce employee attrition and enhance overall department effectiveness.
    In closing, as the department manager and an employee yourself, understanding your department’s value can also enhance your personal performance for a number of reasons. First, knowing your team’s value to the company is personally motivating. Second, it will allow you to maximize your group’s value by tuning your internal processes to further enhance your department’s value. Lastly, the action of viewing your department’s context as a component of the overall organization, allows you to open your mind beyond your current role, thus beginning to position you for future promotions.
    Page 2 of 2 - The primary advice and takeaways from today’s column is to know that:
    A department’s role is related to the specific work that it performs. A department’s context refers to why the department exists and the value it provides to the overall organization. A staff’s understanding of its department’s value can help maximize employee motivation and department effectiveness.
    Until next time, work hard, work smart, manage well and continue to build your professional brand. Eric P. Bloom is the president and founder of Manager Mechanics LLC, a management training company specializing in information technology leadership and is the governing organization of the ITMLP and ITMLE certifications. He is also a keynote speaker, nationally syndicated columnist, and author of the books “The CIO’s Guide to Staff Needs, Growth, and Productivity,” “Your IT Career: Get Noticed, Get Promoted, and Build Your Professional Brand” and “52 Great Management Tips.” Contact him at eric@ManagerMechanics.com, follow him on Twitter at @EricPBloom or visit www.ManagerMechanics.com.

        calendar