HR analytics: role clarity impacts performance

Lieke Pijnacker

Do your employees know what is expected of them – not just on paper but in the dynamic context of your ever-growing organization? Chances are that they are unsure, or perhaps border on being clueless as to where their roles start, end, and fit within the bigger picture. Our research shows nearly 50% of employees across all sectors currently lack role clarity in the workplace.

HR analytics: role clarity impacts performance

Role clarity is the degree to which employees have a clear understanding of their tasks, responsibilities and processes at work. This clarity is not limited to their own role; it also includes their colleagues roles. Clarity is an essential precursor of productivity, and a lack thereof can cause stress and confusion. To reduce these feelings and improve both personal effectiveness and the organization’s overall performance, role clarity is crucial.

HR Analytics: Role Clarity infographic & fact sheet

Get data-driven insights about role clarity in the workplace by downloading this infographic and fact sheet.


Role clarity shows 25% improved performance

What exactly are the benefits of role clarity? As a data scientist, I’d like to walk you through the facts. Employees who experience role clarity are 53% more efficient and 27% more effective at work than employees who have role ambiguity. Our research shows that overall work performance increases by 25%.

HR analytics: autonomy and employee engagement

Having a clear understanding of roles affects more than performance though. It also improves trust among colleagues and increases the chance of an employee committing to your organization for a longer period of time. To top it off, 75% of employees with high role clarity are significantly more passionate about their job and report higher levels of job satisfaction than others.

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Freedom and clarity

In case you are wondering if setting roles in stone won’t bore or hold back your employees, our research reveals the opposite to be true. Sure, a certain amount of freedom is required for people to feel a sense of autonomy, involvement and entrepreneurship, but providing clarity isn’t the same as creating an extensive list of procedures. Rather, it focuses on providing employees with clear goals, priorities and boundaries within which they are free to find their own way to get the job done.

On the other hand, your people aren’t looking for endless freedom without a framework for their own responsibilities (as well as an understanding of their colleagues’ roles). Providing clarity enables your people to align their priorities with your organization’s purpose without the risk of drowning in a sea of conflicting expectations.

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Differences among organizations

What difference does the type of organization make? And, does business size matter when it comes to role clarity? Our survey results show that employees in both small (<200 employees), as well as extremely large (>10.000 employees) organizations often struggle without role clarity.

Within smaller organizations, ambiguity could be caused by the type of organizational culture. Start-ups with more fluid work environments often require employees to do what needs to be done regardless of the responsibilities they have on paper. In multinational organizations, the lack of clarity can be the result of poor communication within larger teams. Communicating in an open and structured way, such as through sharing feedback, is essential to reduce doubts and provide clarity regarding tasks and responsibilities.

Want to understand role clarity in your organization? 

To get a complete snapshot of data driven insights into role clarity in the workplace, download our infographic and fact sheet.

Contact us if you are looking for the right tool to measure and track role clarity within your organization.

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