What is Role and Job Creep?
Are Role Creep and Job Creep the same thing?
They are similar concepts, but they have slightly different connotations.
Role creep refers to the gradual expansion or change of an employee’s job responsibilities or duties beyond what was initially intended or agreed upon. It usually refers to the gradual increase of responsibilities within a specific role.
On the other hand, job creep refers to the gradual expansion or change of an employee’s job responsibilities or duties that lead to the employee taking on new roles or responsibilities that are not part of their original job description.
They can happen due to an employee being given new responsibilities or taking on additional responsibilities outside of their role. This can happen for various reasons, such as changes in the organisational structure, new demands from customers or stakeholders, or the employee’s willingness to take on additional tasks.
Taking on additional duties is common when individuals want to progress with their career and gain promotion within a company or to learn new skills for use outside the organisation.
In summary, role creep refers to the incremental expansion of responsibilities within a particular role. Whereas, job creep refers to the incremental expansion of responsibilities that lead to the employee taking on new roles or responsibilities that are not part of their original job description.
Role creep can happen in a number of ways:
- Gradual Inclusion of additional responsibilities: An employee may begin taking on additional tasks or responsibilities without being formally asked or receiving proper training or support. Over time, these tasks may become a regular part of their job, and the employee may not realise that they are outside of their original job description.
- Lack of Clear Job Description: When a job description is not well-defined or not regularly reviewed, it can be difficult for employees to understand what their specific responsibilities are. This can lead to confusion about what tasks are expected of them, and employees may begin to take on additional responsibilities that are not part of their job description.
- Organisational Changes: Changes in the organisational structure, such as mergers, acquisitions, or downsizing, can lead to employees being asked to take on additional responsibilities or to work in different roles. This can happen suddenly and without proper communication or support.
- New Demands: The demands of the business may change over time, and this may require employees to take on new responsibilities. For example, a new product or service may be introduced, and employees may be asked to take on new tasks or responsibilities to support it.
Job creep refers to the gradual expansion or change of an employee’s job responsibilities or duties that lead to the employee taking on new roles or responsibilities that are not part of their original job description.
This can happen as a result of role creep. It can also happen if an employee is given new responsibilities that fall outside their role or takes on responsibilities that are not part of their role.
For example, imagine an employee who was hired into a customer service position, but over time, they begin to take on additional responsibilities such as training new employees, creating marketing materials, and even managing other employees.
The employee has now taken on responsibilities not part of their original job description, and their role has expanded beyond what was intended.
There have to be benefits to both ‘creeps,’ right?
Here they are:
- Increased Job Satisfaction: Employees may feel more engaged and satisfied with their job as they take on additional responsibilities and gain new skills. This can lead to increased motivation, productivity and promotion internally and also externally
- Flexibility: Job and role creep can make employees more adaptable and flexible to changing circumstances and business demands. This can be beneficial for organisations that need to respond quickly to changes in the environment, market or new business opportunities. It also allows the individual more choices and opportunities as they have increased knowledge and skills
- Career Development: Job and role creep can provide individuals with opportunities to gain new skills and experience, which can help them advance in their careers. This can be beneficial for both employees and organisations, as it can lead to increased retention and employee engagement.
- Improved Productivity: As employees take on new roles and responsibilities, they may be able to identify and address inefficiencies or areas for improvement in the organisation. This can lead to increased productivity and cost savings for the organisation and provide the individuals to develop new skills
- Cost-effective: Job and role creep can be a cost-effective way for organisations to address staffing needs, as it allows them to utilise existing employees rather than hiring new ones, and of course, this allows individuals to be valued for the diversity of their skill set
It is important to note that these benefits can only be achieved if the job creep and role creep are completed in a well-managed, well-communicated, and well-supported way.
If not, it can lead to negative consequences which could include burnout, decreased productivity, and employee dissatisfaction resulting in phrases such as ‘I’m not paid to do that.’
Role creep and Job creep can negatively affect both employees and organisations. For employees, it can lead to increased stress, burnout, and dissatisfaction with their job. For organisations, it can lead to decreased productivity, increased costs, and employee turnover.
To prevent both ‘creeps’, it is important for organisations to have clear and well-defined job descriptions, to communicate changes in job responsibilities, and to provide training and support for employees as needed.
This is also an episode on the Conscious Leadership Podcast with additional information