Do we have job descriptions? Sure we have some we wrote 5 years ago in a file somewhere….

I agree, job descriptions are not the most exciting part of human resources. Although job descriptions are not legally required, they can become the foundation of your employee selection and performance management process.

If you are looking to hire a new employee, the recruiting advertisement is most effective when it describes the position and the competencies you require for an Ideal Candidate. To be most efficient, you want a few fully qualified candidates to apply, not hundreds of unqualified ones to sort through. To do this, you want to describe your job in words that make an Ideal Candidate say “Wow- I can’t wait to get this job!” (and the unqualified ones to say, “oh, I am not what they are looking for” and then do not apply). Want sales people who can close 50% of their proposals? —put it in the ad—those sales people with confidence in their closing ability will apply, and “C Players” will keep looking.

For current employees, an enhanced job description can provide the clear expectations for what is required to be considered a good performer in this position. This is where competencies and performance metrics should be added to the job description to create a full Job Competency Profile. For example, an interior designer needs to “coordinate with sales team to provide up to two space design options within 5 days of initial client meeting” and “provide 100% accurate final product layout to purchasing within 3 days of client approval”.

If you do not have performance metrics written down, these are often informally understood (or employees have their own standards). Formalizing these can greatly improve team work—for example, the interior designer might consider her work is “fast” when she gives a draft to sales in 7 days. Sales “expects” that she “should” do this is 2 days.

You get the picture! Instead of letting everyone make up their own performance rules and guess as to if they are “Doing the Right Things”—spend some time developing clear performance expectations and then sharing them with each person.

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