Assigning team members to their tasks is a duty which is as vital as it is tedious.
Everyone pretty much knows what they should be doing, so there’s no need to directly assign them to everything when you could be spending time on more important tasks, right?
Human error (of which memory plays a huge part) affects 1/100 routine tasks where care is needed. This means that the people responsible either makes a mistake or forgets what they need to do (hence why documented processes are so important).
That’s why we here at Process Street have a role assignment feature in our checklists.
Role assignments let you dictate who each task in your process checklists needs to be assigned to without fail every time. All you need to do is set up the role which will have the task assigned, then Process Street does the rest.
Ready to assign your tasks without fail, fuss or tedious fiddling? Then let’s dive right in.
Defined roles make processes flexible
Having documented processes is a great way to make sure that your teams get their tasks done on time and to a high standard. Checklists allow everyone to focus on what they’re doing rather than relying on memory for their next task or training for how to carry out their current duties.
However, recording your processes doesn’t automatically mean that your team will be successful in carrying them out.
One of the biggest problems with adopting new processes is making sure that everyone knows what they need to do, and who they’re relying on and reporting to. They need to know their place in the process in order to be able to plan their schedule and manage their time effectively around those tasks.
This is another reason why it’s important to assign your team members to their tasks in some way. They may well have 10 or more different processes to carry out, and chances are they won’t be able to remember precisely which tasks they’re supposed to do by heart.
Here’s where we run into the bus factor.
People need to be assigned to tasks to know what they’re doing but what happens if they leave the company or change roles? You’re left having to go through every process they were involved with to assign the new employee to their tasks.
That’s why it’s better to assign roles rather than people to your processes.
The team manager might leave but the tasks they carry out will always need to be performed by the next team manager. The person changes but the role doesn’t.
This nullifies the bus factor entirely – it doesn’t matter who is and isn’t available to complete your processes if you can define on the spot (and en masse) who will be completing various tasks.
What are role assignments in Process Street?
Role assignments in Process Street are built to make assigning people to their tasks easier than ever.
Instead of having to edit your process templates to assign a new person, you can define a role to assign to a task and then define who will fill that role using a couple of different parameters.
For example, let’s say that you have an employee onboarding checklist. Let’s say that this checklist has the HR manager doing some initial setup, the new employee filling out some details, and the employee’s trainer/mentor filling out other tasks.
Assigning the various tasks to these three team members would usually be time-consuming and tedious, as each task would need assigning manually for every new checklist (due to the employee and mentor changing). With role assignments, you could instead assign tasks to the role of the manager, employee, and mentor, and then record who will fill those roles at the start of each new checklist.
How to set up role assignments
Before I get into the nitty-gritty, let’s make it clear that role assignments are a Business Pro payment plan feature.
With that out of the way, there are three ways to define a role which can be assigned to your tasks:
- Using the checklist creator
- Using the members form field
- Using the email form field
All of these options can be accessed via clicking the “Assign” button in a task while editing your process template, then clicking the “Roles” submenu.
Using the checklist creator
The “Checklist Creator” role does exactly what it says on the tin; it assigns the person who created the checklist to a task.
Using this you can pre-emptively assign yourself to the tasks in a checklist which are relevant to you, letting you see which tasks you need to complete at a glance and track them from your inbox.
For example, let’s say that you need to work through a pre-publish checklist for your latest blog post. Most of the tasks are relevant to whoever’s writing the post, aside from a few at the end which let the editor take over, make changes, and finally push it live.
This is a perfect example of where the checklist creator role saves you time, effort, and covers a potentially messy area of assignment.
By assigning all tasks relevant to the blog post’s writer to the checklist creator, you can automatically have them be attached to the relevant tasks to follow when crafting a great post. As soon as they run the checklist for their work they’ll be assigned, leaving no room for error.
This way your process is flexible enough to allow different writers to get stuck in at their own pace but still provides the value of a set of core instructions and guidelines to follow.
Using the members form field
The members form field is a little more complicated, as it provides the person working through the checklist a chance to record who should be assigned to a particular role.
A members form field allows users to select a team member from your Process Street organization (or a particular group within it) while providing a label to indicate who needs to be chosen.
For example, you could have a field with the label “HR Manager” and limit the field’s selection to only show members from the HR group in your organization.
Whatever label you use for this members field will then show up as a role which you can assign to a task.
To go back to our blog pre-publish checklist example, let’s say you have multiple editors on the team but only one will be assigned to review any given post at the end of the checklist.
This can be easily accommodated for by providing the writer with a members form field labeled “Post Editor” or something of the like. To make it easier to find the editor in question, you could then limit their selection to only be people within your “Content Creation” team.
Once the field is set up, you then just need to go into each task the editor needs to carry out, click “Assign”, click “Roles”, and then click “Post Editor” (or whatever you named the members form field).
Using the email form field
Email form fields are one of the most useful features in our repertoire due to their flexibility, and this is partly due to their power in role assignments.
Any email form field in your process can be used as a role which can be assigned to any task you like. The tasks will then be assigned to whatever email address is put into the form field while working through the checklist.
“But Ben,” I hear you say, “how does that work? Would it break if the email address didn’t belong to a Process Street account already?”
Absolutely not! Role assignments through an email field don’t require the email address to already be tied to an account. You can use an email address even if they’ve never heard of Process Street and they’ll still be assigned to the task.
This is because we’ll first search your organization for an email address matching the one you enter. If there’s an existing user with that email address, we’ll assign that user to the relevant tasks.
If the user doesn’t exist in your organization already, we’ll invite them to your organization as a guest and assign them as per usual.
That way you don’t have multiple users with the same email address in your organization, anyone assigned doesn’t have to be part of your Process Street organization.
Whether it’s a client who you need to fill out a few steps in a feedback checklist or a warehouse employee signing for a package, this is an ideal solution for roles which don’t belong to someone who’s a regular member of your processes.
Automating your role assignments
If you’ve never used business process automation before, you’re missing out on one of the best ways to streamline your work and eliminate basic tasks.
If you already automate your processes, you know just how much time and effort you can save, letting your team focus on the work that actually needs their attention.
Either way, role assignments can also be automated to make assigning tasks to the correct people even more efficient!
Zapier allows you to automatically trigger checklists to run and even fill form fields with customizable data based on certain triggers.
Let’s use an employee onboarding process as our example once again to make things simple.
Zapier could detect when a new employee is added to your database and run an employee onboarding checklist in response. This would also allow Zapier access to the new employee’s data, meaning that their email address could be pushed into your email form field for “New Employee Email”.
In other words, as soon as the new employee is entered into your system, Zapier could automatically create an onboarding checklist for them in Process Street and (through an email form field) assign them to all of the tasks they need to complete.
Going further, if tasks are set up to be assigned to the role of the checklist’s creator, Zapier will take care of this role assignment too.
This is because Zapier works by using a team member’s account to gain access to your apps. In this instance, your HR manager could have the Zap (the automation in Zapier) set up using their account, meaning that they will be automatically assigned to any task labeled as being for the checklist’s creator.
It can take a while to wrap your head around at first but automation is an incredibly powerful tool if you learn how to use it. To learn more, check out our free ebook on the topic:
Role assignment use cases
You know how role assignments work. You know why they’re useful and how they can save your team time and effort while making sure that everything is assigned to the right people to perform their tasks.
So, just to prove the point and demonstrate the span of use cases, let’s get stuck into a few core examples of role assignments in action.
Specifically, I’ll show you how you could use role assignments in the following examples:
- Employee onboarding
- Blog pre-publish checklist
- Vehicle inspection checklist
While I’ve already highlighted how this process could be broken up earlier in the post, role assignments are worth their weight in gold when it comes to as delicate and time-sensitive a process as employee onboarding.
The process above is a great way to get started but, with role assignments, you can take it one step further to making sure that the employee is fully on board and ready to tackle their tasks effectively.
All tasks in the “Before first day” and “First day” segments should be tackled by the HR manager to make sure that you make the best first impression and give the employee the best chance of success.
After that, almost everything can be handled by the employee’s mentor in order to lessen the load on the HR manager while still giving the new hire the training and attention they need.
These assignments (especially the mentor) will vary depending on who needs to be assigned. So, rather than manually assigning each task every time, you can use role assignments.
The HR manager can either manually or automatically (through Zapier) trigger the checklist to run, and their tasks can be set to automatically assign to the “checklist creator”. Nice and easy.
The mentor’s tasks can all be set to be assigned to the role of “Employee mentor”. Then, when the mentor is selected in the “Assign a mentor” task (using the members form field), this will automatically make them responsible for every following task.
It’s simple, it’s easy, and it makes sure that everyone knows exactly what they have to do despite potential variation in the person who needs assigning.
Blog pre-publish checklist
Similar to employee onboarding, a blog pre-publish checklist will always need at least two people to work on it. The writer of the post and the editor who will give feedback and (ultimately) approve it for publication.
While it doesn’t quite have the same complexity in terms of the tasks that need to be assigned, it serves as a great example of how role assignments can save you time even in processes where the majority (if not entirely) of the checklist needs to be completed by one person.
You don’t need to assign your entire team to different tasks to save time. A huge amount of tedious work goes into assigning each and every task to the same person, yet, with role assignments, this no longer has to be an issue.
Practically every task can be set to assign itself to the role of “checklist creator” here. That way the writer only has to run the checklist in order to be assigned to each and every task to see it in their task inbox.
The only task that needs assigning to someone else would be the “Have the post approved” task towards the end of the checklist. This could be set to automatically assign to the member’s field for “Person approving the post” in the same task, who can then fill in the final dropdown form field with their final approval.
Vehicle inspection checklist
Let’s have a change of pace and show off how tasks can be assigned via an email form field.
A vehicle inspection is a pretty standard affair. However, an issue arises in this (and any other similar situation) if the inspection is generated by anyone other than the person carrying out the main tasks. This means that you can’t just set everything to be assigned to the role of “checklist creator”.
Enter our email form field. By including one of these you can assign tasks to the person with the email address entered in the form field, whether they’re a member of your Process Street organization or not.
Setting up each task to be assigned to the role of the “Vehicle Inspector’s Email Address” in the first actionable task means that, as soon as their details are filled in by the checklist creator (which could be automatically done via Zapier) the rest of the checklist will assign itself to them. This, in turn, sends an email notification to let them know that they’ve been assigned and provide them a link with which they can get to work on the checklist.
Don’t get bogged down assigning tasks manually every time
It’s time to say goodbye to tedious individual task assignments and the human error that comes with no assignments at all.
Take advantage of role assignments with Process Street and see just how much time and effort you can save!
Sign up for a free account today.
Have any questions about or interesting uses for role assignments? Let me know in the comments below!
Ben Mulholland is an Editor at Process Street, and winds down with a casual article or two on Mulholland Writing. Find him on Twitter here.