Are there roles in companies that could be considered superfluous or counterproductive?
19 / 9 / 2023
In today's corporate vision, having two or more figures performing the same or similar job function is considered unnecessary, if not harmful, as it involves role redundancy. This redundancy can manifest through the presence of duplicate positions, tasks, or skills. But is this the right approach? Recently, we have witnessed a large number of layoffs in various companies, regardless of their size. This "layoff" phenomenon occurs for various reasons, including role redundancy.
Taking the role of the recruiter as an example, a position present in almost every company, an article in Forbes magazine lists some companies that have implemented a series of personnel reductions, specifically in the Human Resources sector.
Having clarified the general concept of role redundancy, I would now like to delve deeper and define two types of redundancy:
Principle redundancy: occurs when two or more figures are hired with the same role title, such as two Recruiters or two Software Engineers.
Objective redundancy: occurs when two or more professionals, despite starting their careers with different tasks, end up performing the same activities aimed at the same corporate objectives.
These two types of redundancy can often coexist within a working environment, even if applied in different contexts. For example, consider the case of an IT company working on a complex software development project. The team might include two Software Engineers who share the same role, thus manifesting a principle redundancy. This might seem like a duplication, but it actually provides greater flexibility and response capacity to emergency situations or work peaks. Different perspectives and opinions may arise, creating positive synergies towards achieving the purpose. In the same example, an objective redundancy also manifests, as the team includes a Product Manager and a UX/UI Designer. Despite having different skills, both roles work to achieve a common goal, which is the success of the project.
But then, where's the problem with redundancy?
The real problem with this phenomenon lies in the pride, incompetence, and inconsistency of some companies.
Within corporate dynamics, situations of confusion and inefficiency are created: for example, in the process of integrating a new resource (onboarding). When a new employee joins a company, it's up to the latter to help them integrate, perhaps by assigning them a tutor to accompany them throughout the journey. However, it is common for company employees, such as Software Engineers, Product Managers, or UX/UI Designers, to be chosen as tutors. In addition to achieving the goals for which they were hired, they must also perform this function, in most cases, without any additional economic reward.
Another form of redundancy is found in some company policies that prevent employees from contacting the human resources department. This dynamic is especially typical of large companies and is justified and "solved" by appointing a worker from the company as Career Manager for a predetermined number of people. Although it is the employee themselves who chooses to take on this additional responsibility compared to their original duties, it is indeed the company that strongly encourages the employee to accept, since, in addition to the already heavy workload, there is also a reward in terms of visibility and prestige. In practice, it is about being considered the best among the exploited.
Reading these examples, we can say that the inadequate management of resources causes the loss of identity of some corporate figures, thus contributing to entropy and sometimes triggering indignation and dissent among employees.
Therefore, I add a third type of redundancy, namely overload redundancy, and I define it as the real culprit of this phenomenon.
The solution for the most "cunning" companies is to do a deep soul-searching. For other companies, which may make mistakes but not necessarily out of dishonesty, there are practical solutions, below are some:
Role review: Companies should regularly conduct a role review to identify any overlaps and redundancies. This should include a detailed analysis of the responsibilities of each position.
Organizational restructuring: Based on the role review, the company can implement a restructuring. This could involve merging redundant roles, reassigning responsibilities, or creating new positions to manage new needs.
Review of planning methodologies: It is vital to start, continue and conclude any process and corporate dynamic by adopting a studied strategic planning method. Even more important, however, is to cyclically check that this method is actually applied in the right way.
Continuing education: Companies should invest in mandatory continuous training for their employees. This can help ensure that team members have the necessary skills to adapt to new roles and responsibilities.
Clear communication: Effective communication is essential to prevent role redundancy. Companies should clarify the responsibilities of each role and ensure that this information is easily accessible to all team members.
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