Task Delegation Can Save Your Bacon
By Mike Raia Posted July 18, 2018
No one is "always available." Though we may feel infinitely connected and permanently online, people still get sick, have to deal with urgent family matters, take vacations, attend conferences, etc. As much as we try to tell our teams and coworkers that we can always be reached, the reality is that we sometimes we can't.
Facing this truth, a question you should consider is "Who's my backup?" It may sound simple, but consider the variety of tasks you perform regularly, some of which may not even be part of your job description. You're probably part of several processes at your organization and although your part may be simple, the process is dependent on you taking a simple action, for instance approving a request.
A Delegation Scenario Gone Horribly Wrong
Consider a scenario where you're a Customer Service Manager and a customer requests a refund. The Customer Refund Process dictates that any refund over $10,000 requires the approval of you, the Customer Service Manager. Lost in the blizzard of things to do before leaving on vacation for a week, you forget that you are the only one who is technically allowed to provide these approvals. Though several other people on your team could step in, review the situation, and make the correct decision, no one has actually been delegated to do so.
At the end of the day, before you leave for vacation, a refund request comes in from an important, difficult customer who received a duplicate shipment from your warehouse and was charged for both. Unfortunately, by the time it bubbles up and lands in your Inbox, you're gone and you won't be checking email for the next ten days. The only person who knows about the request is the agent who received it. Once they send it along to you, they put it out of their mind. There's nothing anyone can do anyway since it requires your approval.
Ten days later you return to the office and discover you've just lost the customer. They've been waiting "nearly two weeks" to hear from you about the refund and they've decided to move to another supplier. They question your commitment to their business and are threatening legal action. Welcome back to work!
How To Prepare for Delegation Disasters
All of this could have been avoided if you had delegated the Customer Refund Approval task to someone else. Better, if the process was automated and the task was assigned to the proper person either during the time you were out or after two days passed without a decision being made. Another option would be to delegate a group of people, any of whom could make the decision. That ensures that even if the delegated backup is unavailable someone else can step in.
Now imagine similar scenarios related to your own role. What are the simple tasks you perform that are part of a larger process? What happens if those tasks aren't completed for a day, a week, a month? In some cases, the effects won't be significant. In other cases, a few days of inaction can have serious repercussions internally and externally.
How Integrify Handles Task Delegation
You can assign delegation a few different ways in Integrify. To assign someone to basically be a stand-in for all your tasks you can set up delegation through your profile. This allows you to assign someone to complete all your tasks, regardless of process, for whatever time frame you set. In your profile, click on the shortcut icon next to "Delegate my tasks" and you will see the following form:
The first field (Delegate User) allows you to search for another user by name to manage all of your tasks. Next, choose the date and time when your delegation should start and end. During this period, any new tasks assigned to you will be delegated to the other user for completion. After the period you set ends, new tasks will be assigned to you as usual.
Other ways to delegate tasks can be created within the individual processes themselves using group approvals or setting up escalations:
However you set up task delegation, the end result will be a safety net that ensures critical tasks are taken care of no matter the situation.