Job Descriptions

A Standards-Based Job Description Can Increase Productivity By As Much As 30%.

Now, before you laugh-off the concept of the job description as a tool to increase productivity, you need to know that this is not your typical job description.

The typical job description consists of a listing of meaningless and overly broad references to job responsibilities with language such as “liaison between the client and the company.”  With fuzzy language such as this, does anyone wonder why most managers roll their eyes whenever someone talks about job descriptions?

From our perspective, the job description is THE basic building block of the employment relationship:

  • Get it wrong and it adversely impacts your business goals and profitability.
  • Get it right and your employee and customer satisfaction numbers “go through the roof.”

The secret to our standards-based job description is specificity.

When creating a job description, one of our Member-Partners works with the manager to whom the job reports and the employee who “owns” the position.  This working relationship allows the Member-Partner to identify not only each specific responsibility, but also the manager’s performance expectation associated with that responsibility.

A Member-Partner will offer to a client a choice of two job descriptions:

#1 – BASIC JOB DESCRIPTION:
The following outlines the process that a Member-Partner typically implements in creating a basic, standards-based job description:

A. A Member-Partner conducts an initial conference with the manager and the employee, followed by an email with instructions for the employee to complete the 1st assignment.  The 1st employee assignment is a brainstorming of position responsibilities, along with a best effort at identifying specific performance expectations for each responsibility.

B. The employee emails the completed 1st assignment to the Member-Partner who will meet with the employee to review in detail the (1) responsibilities and (2) performance expectations.  This procedure usually requires the Member-Partner to rewrite the responsibilities and expectations to make them specific and measurable.

C. The Member-Partner emails the 2nd assignment and instructions to the employee, which consists of the employee completing the following 4 sections of the job description form:

  • Knowledge – This section has the employee identify the hard-skills (e.g., knowledge, education, training, experiences, etc.) that are the minimum requirements for holding the position.
  • Environment – This section is an important consideration from a Workers Compensation and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) perspective.  This tab identifies the environment in which the employee works and the physical demands of the position such as “Standing 3 to 6 hours per day,” and much more…
  • Demands – This section is designed to record details of the physical and mental demands as well as the work equipment, work tools, and safety equipment of the position.
  • Soft Skills – This final section lists 23 soft skills that represent the 23 most common soft skills for effective execution of any position.  On this tab, the top 10 soft skills of the position are identified by the employee.  This completed tab becomes an invaluable tool for coaching an employee and for conducting behavior-based interviews when hiring a new employee.

D. The employee emails the above 4 sections to the Member-Partner who will meet with the employee to review the information and rewrite any material to make it compliant with related labor laws.

E. The Member-Partner prepares the job description and emails it to the manager.  The Member-Partner meets with the manager to review the job description and make sure that it meets the manager’s expectations.  Additions, deletions, and/or corrections are made to the job description by the Member-Partner and a finalized job description is sent to the manager for distribution to the employee.

#2 – COMPREHENSIVE JOB DESCRIPTION:

The comprehensive job description includes all of the steps from the basic job description process with the added details noted below.

The comprehensive job description is designed for critical positions such as sales, customer service, professional, and supervisory jobs where (1) the position activities have a substantial impact on the organization and (2) there are important process steps that must be followed to ensure success.

As such, a comprehensive job description requires an employee to identify:

A. Processes – The employee identifies the major process steps of specific functions that are critical aspects of the position.

B. Organizational Impact – The employee identifies the impact of each responsibility and process on the organization.  In essence, this section has the employee identify a “line of sight” between a given activity and the impact the activity has on the organization.  When an employee understands how his/her responsibilities individually and collectively impact the organization, he/she will be more engaged as an employee.

The employee will work with a Member-Partner to document the details of these two steps.  The Member-Partner will prepare the draft of the comprehensive job description and email it to the manager.  The Member-Partner will work with the manager to review the job description and make sure that it meets the manager’s expectations.  Additions, deletions, and/or corrections are made to the job description by the Member-Partner and a finalized job description is sent to the manager for distribution to the employee.

To receive information about our Job Description Program, contact a Member-Partner in your area or our corporate offices.