Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What’s my job anyhow?

Ever been in one of these situations?

  • You need help in the office, so you post a vague job description to test the waters and see if anyone bites. A very smart, highly-qualified applicant does bite at your job posting and wins an unfitting position at your company, because they’re just so wonderful you couldn’t let them go.

  • Your company goes through a reorganization, managers slack on planning for the change and the ever-willing college grad gets stuck in a “we’ll figure it out as time goes on” position.

  • Management changes, and although it's clear the new manager has different ideas in mind, the employee is never told exactly what those are.

After a few weeks on the job, the employee in any one of these situations may be asking themselves - What’s my job anyhow?

Neither your company or the employee will benefit from the directionless position they’re in. When an employee doesn’t understand their role at work or are unclear about their job description, you will be left with a very stressed and anxious employee on your hands.

The main reason why employees leave a job is because they don’t see opportunities for advancement. If an employee is confused with the role they play at work, you may be giving them a good reason to jump ship.

A well written, clear job description will help you attract the right employee for the position and keep current employees on track.

Employers should ensure that job descriptions are always accurate and up-to-date. A good job description should include:
  • Main purpose of the job. Try to describe this in one sentence.
  • Main tasks of the job. Use active verbs, like “writing,” “repairing,” “calculating,” instead of vaguer terms like “dealing with,” “in charge of”
  • Scope of the job. Expand on the main tasks and importance of the job. Note how many people will be under their supervision and what major skills are important to the job.
Employees can often feel that what they do is pointless if they can’t see how it fits into the big picture. Keep a direct line of communication between managers and employees to make sure everyone stays on track with company and personal goals.

Managers should give employees constant feedback, complete with expected job performance and monitor employees' progress. When employees know what is expected of them, with goals to achieve, they're more likely to stay on track with a clear picture of how they contribute to the bottom line.

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