What are the responsibilities of a supervisor in the workplace?
Supervisors assume several roles in the workplace. They are essential in managing a team’s efficiency and building a positive team environment, but the specifics of these tasks can vary based on the company.
A supervisor’s responsibilities often include:
1. Managing workflow
One of a supervisor’s most important responsibilities is managing a team. Often, supervisors create and oversee their team’s workflow, or the tasks required to complete a job. Supervisors must define goals, communicate objectives and monitor team performance.
2. Training new hires
When a new employee joins the team, their supervisor should help them understand their role and support them during their transition. This might include providing workplace orientation and explaining company policies or job duties. The supervisor may manage all onboarding activities, or they may work with the human resources department to make sure the new hire receives the guidance and information they need.
3. Creating and managing team schedules
In some cases, organizations have set hours for their entire workforce, and supervisors won’t need to adjust them. However, when team members work in shifts, supervisors are usually responsible for creating schedules.
For example, if you are a supervisor of restaurant waitstaff, you will want to make sure you have an appropriate number of servers scheduled for each shift. This usually means scheduling more people during the busiest time of day and balancing shifts so that the staff does not feel overworked. Managing employee schedules also means being flexible and prepared when employees need to make changes, such as requesting a day off, calling in sick or handling a family emergency.
As a supervisor, you’ll often be responsible for reporting team and individual performance to human resources and senior management. You may need to evaluate each member of your team and record employee punctuality, performance on goals, professionalism, disciplinary issues, adherence to company policies and more. You may also be required to develop and administer performance improvement plans.
5. Evaluating performance and providing feedback
Supervisors are often tasked with developing or executing employee feedback and recognition programs. This responsibility might include setting employee and team goals and choosing appropriate rewards for achievements. For example, if a salesperson exceeds their monthly quota, they may be eligible for a bonus. This time should also be used to provide both positive and constructive feedback.
6. Identifying and applying career advancement opportunities
Because supervisors work closely with employees, they often help decide who is eligible for promotions. In some cases, supervisors may directly award promotions. However, even when supervisors don’t have the authority to directly promote employees, senior management professionals often consult supervisors during the promotion process.
7. Helping to resolve employee issues and disputes
When employees are unhappy with their workplace experience, they may approach their supervisor before speaking with HR. Supervisors must use active listening skills to understand employee complaints and to work with them to reach a solution.
If an employee complains that another employee or member of management has violated company policies, the supervisor will likely need to report the issue to HR for an investigation. In the case of minor disagreements between employees, supervisors may act as mediators and help the two parties come to a resolution.