Wearing Too Many Hats: Why Employees with Multiple Roles Aren’t as Efficient

Wearing Too Many Hats: Why Employees with Multiple Roles Aren’t as Efficient

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Often business owners and supervisors find certain workers excel in their performance. As a result, it is easy to find yourself handing more and more responsibility to that employee. However, if you aren’t careful the star performer you depend on most, especially, will either get burned out or start dropping balls

Here’s why wearing too many hats interferes with company efficiency.

Potential for Burnout

First and foremost, when you depend too much on one person, there is an increased potential for burnout. When this happens the person who once seemed to be able to tackle any challenge with ease begins to show signs of breaking. They begin to work longer hours, and because they are spread too thin, can only contribute small amounts of effort to each task and role they are assigned.   

Jack of All Trades

You know the old saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none?” This applies to situations where a single employee is forced to wear too many hats. Sharing the workload in a team is the best way to avoid your star performer taking on the brunt of the work. As a result, they focus on the tasks suited to their skill set so those tasks are performed expertly. 

As Forbes put it

“When people wear multiple hats, it should be within the boundaries of the position you’re paying them to fulfill. Ensure the responsibilities are still appropriate to what you would ask one person to accomplish.”

The less important roles are then distributed to those with suitable skill sets so the work is completed to a higher standard across the board.

Sense of Fair Play

While it might make sense from a business owner’s standpoint to give more work to the people who tend to perform well, it undermines a sense of fair play in the workplace. If one or a few people have heavy workloads while others do not, the teamwork model falls apart. It is even worse if you fail to compensate those workers for their additional work. 

If resentment sets in, those with heavier workloads will fail to remain efficient as their morale level drops.  You might also be paying people to sit around and twiddle their thumbs.

Difficult to Prioritize

The more work piled onto one person’s desk, the more difficult it becomes to prioritize. This can interfere with getting important work handled in a timely manner. However, it can also allow less important work to pile up. Even if the employee in question is good at prioritizing, you have a higher risk of creating a domino effect. So, something such as following up on unpaid invoices or safety checks for the warehouse fall behind. 

While these are day-to-day concerns that aren’t urgent, when left unattended it creates serious issues down the road.

Uncertain Expectations

Time for another old saying, “I didn’t sign up for this.”

When employees are hired to perform one role, their job is clearly defined. However, as you continue to add more and more responsibilities to a person’s job those roles become blurred. Do they focus on the job they were hired to do and put the rest aside to complete when time allows? Does the onus of completing new tasks now fall on their shoulders, and the person who used to do it is off the hook? 

The more roles someone has, the more difficult it is for them to meet expectations. As a result, balls are dropped, and important tasks are overlooked.

The bottom line is that, although it seems easier to give more work to the people you trust, learning to hire the right people to fill individual roles is more efficient. The people with the right skills can perform their tasks to a higher standard while improving efficiencies across the board.  

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