Job descriptions

If you don’t use Job Descriptions you’re missing the most important document in the whole of management. A job description provides a common platform for recruitment, training and supervision.

A job description is an outline of the primary responsibilities of the job; it should list the duties and responsibilities of each role in order of priority and importance. Formal descriptions should be written for every full-time, part-time or casual position. The job description is one of the most important pieces of paper in a well managed business — from it you can plan recruitment, training and supervision for the job.

If you are writing a job description yourself, try to overcome the temptation to just copy one that someone else has written. Each job is, in some respects, unique.

Job descriptions should be written to reflect the special requirements of each situation.

Consideration should be given to the following in creating a job description:

• What is the title of the job?
• Who does the person in this position report to?
• Who reports to the person in this position?
• What are the major goals of this position?
• What are the key responsibilities within the job?
• What are the major tasks within each responsibility?

Everyone must know exactly what their job is, and how they are judged. This issue is simple: How can you kick a goal if the goal posts are not stationary and visible?

In a well structured business you should be able to walk up to any member of staff and ask: ‘What exactly is your job, and how does your superior judge if you are doing your job well or not?’, and get a succinct answer.

In the absence of staff having this information, productivity will be lost, conflict will arise and performance assessment will have to be based on a subjective rather than an objective basis.

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