All of today’s great business leaders talk about the importance of attracting the best people, motivating them to ensure you get the most out of them and finally making sure they stick around.
Many of you have read The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. The book describes One Minute Goals as, “where both the employee as well as the employer knows what is expected from the beginning of a task. Writing is important so that you can periodically view your performance against your target and check your progress. Thus, one minute goals help you to perform better and produce efficient results”
A Job Description (JD) is very much like a One Minute Goal – it should be in writing, it should be agreed between the employer and employee and it should clearly explain what the employee is expected to do to perform their job well. Without it, employees can become unsure as to what are priorities, how will their performance be measured and therefore how they can tell if their boss is actually happy with them. It would be like asking a builder to construct a house for you but not giving him a plan of what you expect or what it should look like – which of cause would be ludicrous.
Amazingly, about half of the clients who list a search with us have Job Descriptions that are years out of date, no longer relevant, do not clarify what should be achieved and how it will be measured, or worse still have no JD at all. This is usually because they don’t understand how to use a JD correctly and see it as a document that gathers dusk, and not surprisingly staff turnover is usually high and performance and productivity usually low.
The purpose of a well written JD should assist in the entire employment life cycle in terms of recruitment advertising, agreeing the skills required, performance management, succession planning or termination.
At the selection stage the JD is used to decide on questions during the interview process and importantly be a tool for candidates to assess if it’s a role that they can do and in fact want to do. Just yesterday I spoke with a CEO who had just completed a series of interviews for a role that involved 22 people from the hiring company (including flying overseas for a panel interview). After hearing they were “still trying to agree on exactly what they were looking for” he wisely withdrew from the process.
A JD can also help the onboarding process with specific mention of 30, 60 and 90 days goals. But most importantly the JD is what performance is measured against. If the JD includes expectations of employees with specific measureable objectives and targets there are no surprises or emotion when the performance management discussion takes place. All parties know what the score should be and all are able to easily see what it is and then talk about why it is different. From this training and development needs may be identified for those that are struggling and/or recognition and rewards (bonus or commission) for those that are doing well.
It may sound obvious and basic, but the 3 major things that we hear that make people disillusioned about their job which can lead to looking for a change are:
- Not knowing what they are meant to be doing
- Having the goal posts continuously changing
- Receiving little or no feedback on how they are going.
All it takes to solve these problems is a good relevant JD. JDs should be updated yearly to take into account changes to the business needs.
TSHR - Trak HR Consulting is able to assist with developing or updating Job Descriptions. For more information please contact:
Garry Connell on 0409 590 996 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Belinda McPhee on 0417 239 458 or email@example.com