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Workable Job Descriptions – Where Do You Start?

March 11, 2014

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A job description is a major part of creating confidence for a new person on a position.  Filling a position that was held by another and for which the leaving employee can turn over their hat is not very complicated. 

But what about a new position; one that you want to create?  How often do you find yourself a little confused over the description for the position?  You know you need help and you want to lighten the load for some key staff—but where do you start.  And have you ever kept adding personnel because everyone was “overloaded” only to find you seem to be getting less and less done?  And what about the situation where the more staff you add the more “work” seems to be piling up? All of this cuts into your bottom line.

 How can you solve these problems?  And where do you start?  There are a few key points you should look at before adding personnel or if you just want to reorganize for better efficiency.

  1.  Determine exactly what it is you are trying to produce; what result etc.
  2. Work out all the steps necessary to achieve that product.  For example, even producing letters for prospects that will result in leads being generated requires many steps. These steps need to be worked out in sequence, as this forms the basis of the job description.
  3. Note:  You will often find there are some duties that take longer or that require more than one person to do the work, as in Accounting where assistants enter bills, invoices etc.  Where there is a heavy workload you designate that as one position.  Where there are lighter loads you could double up, one person could “wear two hats.”
  4. Simplify the structure.  There is nothing worse than putting a new staff member on post and giving them four or five people they “report to.” A new staff member needs to know how things flow.  They need to have some basic idea of the other positions in the company and who is responsible for what.  In this way you will avoid the problem of them bringing all their problems to you.
  5. Give every post a purpose.  Delineate why this person is doing what they are doing.  Often you will hear, “Do it this way because we tell you to.”  That is not good enough.  Especially for a person that is a high performer or that has initiative.  You need to tell them why they are doing what they are doing.  You will find that if you have a clear statement of the purpose of the position the person will come up with ideas for improvements or ways to better achieve the purpose and it will be much easier to create willingness to do the job.

 Often what happens however is that you do not have the time to work all this out.  You end up coping like mad.  Review of existing job descriptions reveals confusions as to who is supposed to do what.   Two or more people seem to be doing the same thing.  Two or three staff are overloaded and working like mad to keep up while others spend their time doing little or nothing of value.  Even worse—preventing others from getting their jobs done. 

Creating job descriptions that result in an increase in profits, orderly flow of production and high morale is an art.  It takes time, but it is time you must make if you want things to improve and expand.   Good productive personnel want more responsibility and they want to contribute.  Start here and you can end up with an excellent team that will help you reach your dreams.

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