If leaders want them to matter, make them matter. Write them with more detail. Review them with extreme scrutiny. Clarify the expectations of the position until there is mutual agreement. Make them matter.
Centerbrook, CT (PRWEB) August 16, 2013
“Job descriptions are one of those business tools, like policy manuals, that belong in every company,” says Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies, a leading business coaching and training firm. “It simply makes sense that every job comes with a written description of expectations of what success in that specific position looks like.”
Job descriptions are nothing more than an outline or an overview – not a complete reference guide with step-by-step instructions. Still, leaders cannot underestimate the importance of having job descriptions, nor can they overestimate their functionality. Because of this, Strategies has just published a new article on the importance of understanding the ins and outs of job descriptions.
Here are Strategies’ five insights on job descriptions:
THEY NEVER MATTERED: Most job descriptions are best described as “read once – throw away.” They get handed out during the hiring process when assigning an employee to a new role. It is in this moment that job descriptions get their 15 minutes of fame. Then, they get filed away. They may only be position outlines, but job descriptions deserve more than this cursory review. INSIGHT: If leaders want them to matter, make them matter. Write them with more detail. Review them with extreme scrutiny. Clarify the expectations of the position until there is mutual agreement. Make them matter.
GO THE DISTANCE: Job descriptions are a jumpstart – not the be-all and end-all to success in a given position. By design, job descriptions are heavy on the “why” and “what” expectations and outcomes of a job. They do not deliver the essential “how” elements that achieve the expectations and drive the desired outcomes. This is where the training, coaching, and mentoring process comes into play. Even when hiring experienced talent, it’s the training, coaching, and mentoring process that assures a smooth transition into the company culture. INSIGHT: Keep job descriptions in the proper perspective of an outline. It’s everything that happens in the “how” process that ensures success.
TIME FOR A REWRITE: As companies evolve and grow, so must job descriptions. The last thing leaders want is for their job descriptions to describe yesterday’s expectations. If a leader is truly on a quest to reach the next level, their job descriptions should define up to date, next-level expectations. INSIGHT: Annually review and update job descriptions to ensure that they are in alignment with company performance and growth objectives.
BUT THEY STILL DON’T KNOW: What happens if a company has detailed, current job descriptions written and distributed throughout the company, and yet employees are still asking, “What is my job?” Before leadership places all the blame on the employees, they must take a deep breath and listen to their feedback. Maybe what they’re really saying is that leadership is not clarifying expectations and outcomes. Many leaders are notorious for rushing through and short-changing explanations. INSIGHT: Creating absolute clarity takes time, attention to detail, and patience. If leader ever catch themselves saying, “Can’t they just do their jobs?” what they’re really saying is, “I haven’t prepared my team thoroughly.”
KEEPING THEM RELEVANT: Keeping job descriptions relevant means giving them attention during performance reviews to identify areas of excellence and areas that need improvement. It’s also an effective way to keep job descriptions up to date. INSIGHT: Job descriptions are living communication tools of work expectations versus actual performance. Keep them relevant by making them part of the performance evaluation process.
Neil Ducoff is founder and CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership, Wake Up! and the recently published second edition of Fast Forward.