Supervisor responsibilities can be quite varied, depending on the company and the job description. Despite the variety of tasks a supervisor may be asked to perform, supervisors are ultimately responsible for looking after other workers. In this capacity, supervisors may handle disciplinary actions, human resources, conflict management, and other duties. Other supervisor responsibilities may include filling in for missing workers and attending meetings with on-site management.
Personnel duties are often considered supervisor responsibilities. This includes both hiring and firing workers. Typically, the supervisor is the first in the chain of command, and therefore often wants a direct say about whom they are going to be working with. On the flip side, if there is an issue serious enough to warrant a termination, this will often fall under the purview of the supervisor.
Disciplinary actions also typically fall under the job of a supervisor. Often, companies have very strict policies about how corrective action must take place, and the supervisor is responsible for following those directives. Supervisors generally start by identifying the problem and the person responsible for it, then putting a corrective action plan in place. The most serious cases will result in termination, though there may be suspensions and other strategies attempted before it gets to that point.
Conflict resolution is often one of those issues that takes a lot of the supervisor's time. If those who work under the supervisor's watch have a conflicting opinion about how something should be done, it is up to the supervisor to step in and help mediate the conflict. To do this, the supervisor needs to be able to relate well to others, listen well, and understand that both sides may genuinely believe in what they are trying to do. In the end, the job of the supervisor is not to pick winners and losers, but make sure everybody is working efficiently and effectively.
Supervisors are also often responsible for handling the paperwork that goes along with being in charge of workers. Verifying time cards, entering the payroll, and handing out paychecks are often supervisor responsibilities that must be performed on a routine basis. In some cases, someone else will take care of entering the payroll, and simply ask the supervisor to sign off on the fact that it is correct before paychecks are issued. The supervisor usually is responsible for approving vacation time and making sure those shifts are covered by others.
Depending on the complexity of the supervisor responsibilities, some may be hired directly out of college, and others may need to spend time getting acquainted with a company before being given more responsibilities. The time spent at the company is used to get familiar with the procedures the business has in place, and how the command structure works. If the company has satisfactory internal candidates, this process should go quicker.