Sunday, October 21, 2012

Working Smarter: Is Your Job Description Accurate

Something I discovered very early in my human resources management career was that job descriptions rarely described the true nature of jobs.

While I admit to never having seen a job description for a jet pilot, there's a good chance it might say things like, "ability to take off and land a jet aircraft". On the other hand, it may well say something broad like, "extensive experience as an aviator."

The challenges with job descriptions are many; first, it's very difficult to include absolutely everything that someone does in their job. As job requirements change job documentation rarely keeps up. There are usually standard features included to cover organizational wide policies eg, support of diversity. The key is to produce a job description that covers all the important elements without making it 20 pages long and include other aspects in rules, policies and procedures. For example, one of the requirements in a job description could be that the job encumbent implement the firm's finance procedures and guidelines.

Instead of having to spell out the sixty things that have to be done regarding finance, the job description refers to it and lets the official finance procedures do the rest.

Those who write job descriptions need a good grasp of the job's requirements and a sound grasp of English expression. Sadly, most job descriptions I see have been written by people without a sound grasp of English expression. This leads to convoluted sentences and vague descriptions of responsibilities.

Why don't you check out what I'm saying by having a look at your job description (you do have one don't you?) and see how well it reflects your role and how well it's written.

Let me know how you go.


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