The Astron Road Show
The Astron Road Show moves south over the next two weeks!
On May 11th Jennifer presents twice at the Gulf Coast Symposium on Human Resource Issues in Houston, TX, on topics including total rewards trends and retaining and motivating staff. Astron will also have an exhibit booth. Come say hello, we’ll be in booth #802 with new giveaways for 2011!
Welcome, Mike Canterino!
We’re excited to welcome Mike Canterino to the Astron Solutions team! Mike is our newest Statistical Analyst. You can reach him at 212-792-8888 or email@example.com.
How to Reduce Confusion and Uncertainty through Job Descriptions
Today’s article comes to us courtesy of Gina Fedeli, President of GCF Consulting. GCF Consulting’s practice areas include streamlining processes, improving organizational effectiveness, creating metrics and standard operating procedures, and assessing organizational vulnerabilities. To reach Gina, e-mail her or call 203-219-1063.
In these uncertain economic times, with unemployment at a record high and companies figuring out how to do more with less, employees are experiencing an array of emotions. These emotions range from feeling nervous, overwhelmed, or simply feeling unsettled. When an employee is experiencing these emotions, they will spend valuable time worrying about their future or discussing their emotions with colleagues, rather than focusing on being productive in the workplace.
It is not uncommon to hear an employee say “I don’t know what management wants from me.” There are many factors that need to be present in order for an employee to perform optimally. One of the main factors is that the employee needs to know what is expected of him or her.
How does an employer provide this clarity? There are a variety of ways for an employer to provide clarity, and the easiest, most scalable, and repeatable way is the introduction of a comprehensive job description. What is a comprehensive job description? At a high level, it is the tool that an employer uses to provide a roadmap to an employee of what is expected in his / her day-to-day tasks, including benchmarks regarding performance against expectations. Below is a breakdown of the key elements that are needed in a comprehensive job description:
- The title for the position, the location for the position (if applicable), and to whom the position reports.
- The level of the position (part-time, full-time, intern, etc.), and whether or not the position is exempt or non-exempt from overtime.
- A detailed outline of the specific duties. What will the employee be doing day by day? These tasks should be laid out in a highly-descriptive bullet format.
- An outline of the skills that are needed to perform the job well. What technical, communication, and leadership skills are required? For example, the candidate needs to be an expert at Excel and have solid communication skills both written and verbal.
- An outline of the types of experience, education, certifications, or licenses that are required. Does the position require 3- 5 years of previous related experience? Is a specific degree required?
- One of the newer additions to a job description is an outline of general metrics for success in the position. For example, a manager may be expected to conduct a morning staff meeting with all direct reports. This is an expectation for any manager who fills this position.
- A job description needs to be signed by both the direct manager and the employee (and dated) showing that both agree with the terms and tasks.
While clarity is achieved through job descriptions, new questions are also being asked. It is necessary to be prepared with answers to the following questions:
- “Do I need to perform a task that is not outlined in my job description?” The answer is simply “yes,” as long as the request is for a reasonable task that is within the employee’s core competency. It is not uncommon for something to come up that is not part of normal business procedures. It is unrealistic to think that a job description will contain every detail than an employer will ever ask of an employee. To safeguard from any confusion, a disclaimer should be located at the bottom of the job description, directly above the signatures, covering this specific point.
- Why are metrics important? Metrics provide a measurable goal for both the manager and employee to have a quick gauge of how they are performing. Additional employee metrics should be created for either quarterly incentives or to coincide with yearly performance reviews. These metrics should be specific to the development of the employee and his / her goals.
A job description provides the basic guidelines to follow when completing a performance review. When a manager completes a performance review, it is essential to benchmark the employee’s performance against what is in writing as the employee’s job function and general metrics. This approach will help keep the points factual and not emotional. Remember, emotional statements have no place in a performance review.
Confusion and uncertainty are greatly reduced when both employees and employers have an understanding of what “success” looks like for a specific job. The end result is a more productive workforce.Share the article: