Saturday, June 6, 2009

Job Descriptions

Important for small business folks to focus on job descriptions. This is not a "minor task" as it sets the direction for your employees.

Some quick tips:

Job descriptions are imperative to your small business because they define job responsibilities and expectation.

Job descriptions can be used in a number of ways in your business. First, a description will help a candidate decide if the job is of interest. Second, the description will help you interview the candidate to decide if the candidate is right for the position. The job description can help you in training new employees. Finally, the description forms the backbone of your evaluation and review process.

Many people will be tempted to skip this step. It's too difficult; all of my employees know what they are supposed to do; I don't have time; it's a waste of time. The excuses go on and on. Don't fall into this trap! Job descriptions are an absolutely necessary part of your business. As the business owner or manager, you are the one responsible to create them.

The job description should be as clear and precise as possible. Start by listing the major tasks an employee in that position will be responsible for. It could be customer satisfaction, follow-up, or administration.

Next, list the activities necessary to do each task. Be as detailed and precise as possible. If you aren't specific and meticulous in describing every important aspect of the job, federal regulators and courts can assume that the employee can perform the job any way he or she wants, regardless of whether it complies with the company's policy. This is important if you ever have issues with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Labor Department or just a disgruntled employee.

Do this for each task involved with this job. You may have a very long list. That's ok!
Job descriptions that contain detailed statements of the employee's job pass the accountability for that action to the employee. Pretty quickly you will stop hearing excuses. "I didn't know I was supposed to do that" or "that's not my job" are familiar ways for employees to pass the buck to someone else. With a precise statement, each employee knows exactly what is expected and there is little room not to be accountable.

Clear, precise job descriptions will help you to both hire and manage your employees.

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