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Defining roles and responsibilities and determining remuneration

MLA & AWI July 5, 2024

It is important team members understand their role within the business and how their responsibilities contribute to the wider business goals. This applies to all business employees, whether they are family members or not.  

Understanding their role in the business and their connection to the overall game plan provides employees with clarity and a sense of purpose. Both are keys in motivation. A few key documents can aid this communication and clarity. They are: 

  1. an organisational structure that illustrates the roles in the business and their connections  
  2. job descriptions for all roles, summarising their main duties and responsibilities.  

The key with these documents is to develop them collaboratively with each team member, asking them to identify the most important aspects of their job.  

It is important the organisational structure and job descriptions are connected to remuneration. What people are paid should be directly connected to the role they perform and the value they add to the business and team. All efforts are recognised with appropriate remuneration that meets minimum legal standards and motivates individuals. The other benefit of having clearly defined roles is allowing employees to understand what they need to achieve to earn a promotion or salary increase.  

Creating an organisational structure

The aim of creating an organisational structure is to map out how the team works together and to identify any reporting relationships, such as a farm assistant reporting to a manager. This process can feel odd in a small business with only family labour, but it is still worthwhile. As additional people are employed it will be necessary to develop an organisational structure.  

List the people that work for, or are connected to, the business:  

  • Include operational roles, such as owners, managers and farm assistants.  
  • Include business roles, such as finance, bookkeeping and payroll (these may be all done by one person or multiple if the business is larger).  
  • Then list all the roles provided by people external to the business, such as pregnancy scanner, nutritionist, shearers, wool classer, agronomist, accountant, etc.  

When the list is complete, draw a diagram that reflects how they interconnect.  

Developing job descriptions

Job descriptions (sometimes called a position description) also can be developed as a team, using a whiteboard or large piece of paper or Word or Excel.  

Start by creating a table listing all the team members’ names across the top and the key operations of the business down the side. Populate the table cells with who does what for each operation. Tool 4.3 contains a job roles template with some examples.  

This type of table format instantly outlines a job description for each individual (vertical column) and an overview of the operation (horizontal row). For example, you might have a column for Joe’s role as manager and a row that outlines the tasks for shearing by another team member.  

This information can be pulled out into separate job description for each role or left in the table. A spreadsheet can work well for a larger team.  

Developing remuneration offers

After defining the roles and responsibilities via an organisational structure and job descriptions, remuneration packages can be reviewed and finalised.  

The keys to developing a remuneration package are: 

  1. Know the Pastoral Award and FairWork requirements.  
  2. Know the local market for the relevant industry and district.  
  3. Consider benefits that promote employee retention.  
  4. Communicate in person and follow up in writing.   
  5. Review annually.  

It is important remuneration reflects the role undertaken. It can be useful for family labour to have an annual wage or drawing connected to the role they perform, helping to reduce possible conflict areas and recognise individuals for their contribution.