Role Breadth: Are Two Roles Better Than One?

When I was younger, I worked at a fast-food restaurant. I noticed that while most of my peer coworkers and I each held the job title of “restaurant team member”, we performed very different jobs and all had very different responsibilities. I mostly worked at the cash register and interacted with customers over the drive-thru intercom. Other employees were trusted with cooking, baking and preparing orders, and a couple of employees were trusted with being slotted into any sort of role. Often, this last group had been with the restaurant longer and had accumulated a variety of job-related skills during their tenure. These were the employees who were given priority for overtime shifts and were flagged for promotion into management positions at other store locations. In other words, the employees who performed the greatest variety of job tasks were also considered the “best” employees.

The term role breadth is used to describe how many different tasks or projects a person performs in their job.