Monday, April 9, 2012

Job descriptions


In a few previous posts about working in HR, I have written about the importance of understanding and embracing technology.  I had a comment from a colleague once who said. “Well, let’s just leave the tech to the tech people, shall we?”  I laughed because that is about is far from realistic as possible.  My technical colleagues can set up and program anything, anywhere but at the end of the day, it’s those of us in HR who will need to use it.

From that conversation, we transitioned to another HR staple. Job descriptions.  Oh my stars, can you think of anything more dreadfully boring (think of John Cleese in Monty Python).  DREADFULLY, PAINFULLY boring, DULL, DULL, DULL ….but oddly, interestingly important.

Job descriptions.  They are important.  They are useful.  They are needed.

A load of people will roll their eyes and stop reading right now.  But try not to.  Just for a minute.  I am not talking about job descriptions as in, “this is all I will do and if you try and make me do anything else I will call HR and complain;” rather, I am talking about job descriptions that give employees a clear and guided sense of what work is theirs to perform; goals and objectives that will be used in the hiring and then again in the performance evaluations.

No matter how many people disagree, I strongly believe that employees want (and appreciate) what is expected in the job, to have a clear sense of responsibility, obligation, and outcome.  Job descriptions are not intended to be all inclusive but they can be the roadmap for successful job performance.  The beauty of job descriptions is that they are multi functional; they are key for recruitment, critical for performance evaluation, and helpful for talent management.

Other than printing out a job description, putting it in a frame, and sticking it up on the wall, what do you do with it?   Well, plenty.  I consider my current job description a working document.  Once a quarter, I take all of my projects, assignments, and accomplishments and add them to my job description.  It looks something like this:

Responsible for coordination and facilitation of college immigration.
>number of visas issued
>concerns, problems, phone calls, etc
>Department of State reporting
>travel problems
…and so on.

At the end of the year, my performance evaluation has written itself.   Then take a look at your job description and think about ways that you might be able to use it.

1 comment:

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