Indiana Lee
Written by
Indiana Lee

One of the toughest challenges team leads face is placing the right people in the right job roles for any given project. After all, matching an employee to a position is rarely as simple as dropping the correct shape into a sorting cube. Every team member has a different set of skills that can benefit a project in various ways, which means countless combinations of employees and job roles are possible.

As a team lead, it’s your job to choose combinations that get every project done fast and well. To do so, you need to fully understand your employees, their skills, and what they can bring to the table. Use the following tips to make the most of your team and overcome team-building obstacles by improving your personal outreach and employee connections.

Understand Each Employee’s Official Role

At the most basic level, getting to know employees and what they contribute can involve learning about their official role within your company. After all, every job position comes with a list of responsibilities and qualifications, which may perfectly align with your expectations for an upcoming project opening. Assessing employees’ official roles — and reviewing their resumes — can also provide insights on what your team members are capable of, even if they’re not actively using 100% of their skills.

If you find that your employees’ roles have merged or changed over time, which often occurs as employees take on new responsibilities and pass on new ones, consider creating an org chart to gain clarity on what your team members do and specialize in.

Org charts can help you visualize skills and strengths, so you can easily narrow down your top candidates for each role. For example, if you’re looking for a social media expert, you can quickly look through members of your marketing department to find a potential match for your project team opening.

Schedule One-on-Ones With Your Team

There’s no better way to connect with your team members than by setting up personal conversations with each person. One-on-one meetings — especially when they occur regularly — allow you to uncover helpful skills, knowledge, and natural talents that aren’t recorded on paper.

As an example, let’s say you’re looking for potential project members who can create visuals for a campaign. While meeting with one of your software engineers and prompting them to discuss their professional development goals, they may open up about their passion for photography and the classes they’re taking to improve their skills outside of work. While this skill wouldn’t appear on their resume, discovering it through a personal Zoom meeting or in-person meeting can save you the cost of outsourcing part of your project.

Consider Performance Metrics When Assigning Roles

Many people can share the same skills. Pretty much every tech savvy employee can use Google Docs, create PowerPoints, and post content on social media with ease. However, some of your team members are bound to have more advanced skills than ever. When you want to pinpoint who has the strongest combination of skills for a role, performance metrics can help.

Employee performance metrics can tell you how effectively your team members have performed relevant tasks or roles in the past. Examples of performance metrics can include:

  • Number of sales for a sales role
  • Number of errors for a software development role
  • Average handling time (or phone call length) for customer service representatives

Once you assess the metrics that are most relevant for the roles you’re recruiting for, you can determine who can best provide the skills you need.

Embrace Time Management

Finding the right people for your projects isn’t just about identifying employees with the right skills. You also need employees who are actually available for your project. After all, a team member with too much on their plate will be spread too thin to contribute much to your project. You need an employee who has a schedule that allows for your entire project scope, which should be estimated before you start recruiting employees.

If you find the perfect team member, but they have a limited amount of time to help you out, there are workarounds that you can consider — especially if they have a specialized skill that no other person in your company can offer. 

Whether you work in the construction industry or something else entirely like marketing, retail, or engineering, you can choose to allocate parts of an employee’s current workload to other employees who know how to complete them. 

Instead of keeping your ideal team member occupied with tasks that others are equally capable of, you can put their focus on projects that they’re likely to excel in far more than their peers.

Project management platforms and time tracking apps can be great tools for assessing your employees’ availability. Many allow you to visualize each team member’s current workload, along with the exact tasks they’re working on. However, since an employee’s mental availability can be influenced by their current stress levels, it’s worth asking your employees during your one-on-one meetings how they’re feeling about their workload.

Improve your Role Assignments

Managers are frequently responsible for building teams that can quickly and effectively take projects from start to finish. To do so, you need to get to know your employees and what they’re capable of. On your own time, delve into your employees’ official roles, resumes, and performance metrics to identify their top skills. Then, schedule one-on-one meetings with each person to learn more about what they can contribute — especially if they’re currently enrolled in professional development programs that can help your team in the future.

Before you officially select members of your dream team, make sure to double-check their availability to ensure your project gets their full attention.


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