Walmart Inc., a major player in the retail industry, is always looking for opportunities to expand. However, this mindset puts significant pressure on top-level management. Philip Thomas, the Vice-President of Walmart’s Human Resources Department, is charged with the responsibility of drawing an organization-wide policy on employee sick leave. Due to the time-consuming duties of the senior HR official in the constantly growing corporation, Mr. Thomas has to delegate this important task to his subordinates.
Steps in the process for effective delegation
Delegation can be defined as transferring new or additional responsibilities to a subordinate. According to Bateman et al. (2020), the correctly organized process of delegation consists of six steps:
- Goal definition. A succinct definition of goal means that a subordinate charged with responsibility must clearly understand what results they must reach;
- Person selection. A manager must carefully select a subordinate who is competent enough to achieve the goal and, preferably, not overburdened with their direct tasks;
- Soliciting of views. A delegating manager should not simply order a subordinate to do the task. Instead, it is advised to make some personal suggestions regarding the task and receive feedback;
- Resource allocation. A subordinate must be provided with an adequate amount of resources to complete the task: time, money, equipment, people, and authority;
- Progress review. Delegation requires accountability — a subordinate must report the results in specifically determined checkpoints;
- Progress discussions. A delegating manager should specify appropriate intervals in which they will contact a subordinate and discuss the progress.
Advice to Vice President Thomas
Dear Mr. Thomas,
In light of the significant amount of responsibilities you have been recently charged with, I would like to advise you to delegate the task of drafting a new employee sick leave policy. The process of delegation can be performed if you undertake the following steps:
- First of all, you have to set a clear, concise goal. In this case, your subordinate should present a draft that includes a policy brief, purpose, scope, and elements, such as sick pay and paid time off (PTO) provided in various circumstances;
- In this step, you should select one of your direct subordinates within the Walmart HR Department as a task performer. This person will have the necessary authority, experience, and competence to prepare the draft;
- You should share your own views on the draft with the selected subordinate. As a result, you will instill a sense of importance and commitment in their mind;
- It would help if you inquired your subordinate on how much time and resources they will need to complete the task and allocate the required amount. By doing so, you will increase the chances of your subordinate’s success and show that their opinion is valued;
- At this stage, it would be helpful to establish the checkpoints for progress review. Your subordinate will already have a clear objective in mind, and the necessary resources will be allocated. However, checking their progress at the strictly specified checkpoint would prevent an insufficient commitment to the task;
- Finally, it is advised to set intervals for communication when you assess the progress made by your subordinate. This measure will help avoid any possible misunderstandings and confusion.
Deputy Director of Human Resources Department, Walmart Inc.
Delegation of responsibilities to subordinates is a fundamental skill of an effective manager. Even the most skilled individuals should not assume that they will handle all assignments single-handedly. Successful delegation of important tasks requires cooperation and responsibility. On the one hand, a delegating manager must set clear objectives and provide the necessary resources. On the other hand, a subordinate charged with new responsibilities must be held accountable and work consistently instead of hastily finishing the job right before the deadline. Overall, delegation relieves mental pressure and improves performance if all the necessary steps are undertaken correctly.
Bateman, T. S., Snell, S., & Konopaske, R. (2020). Management. McGraw-Hill Education.