Job Descriptions Viewed as Critical Tools to Getting the Job Done

by WOHe

Job Descriptions Viewed as Critical Tools to Getting the
Job Done

Job descriptions are no fun to write, and many small businesses
in the kitchen and bath industry tend to do away with written job
descriptions altogether.

They shouldn’t.

First of all, the wide range of laws, guidelines and court
decisions concerning equal employment opportunities make job
descriptions necessary. Small businesses are quite vulnerable on
the issue of discrimination in employment practices. One way to
defend employment practices is to conduct job analysis and prepare
written job descriptions.

Small businesses are also highly vulnerable on issues involving
the termination of employees. Again, to protect your business
against lawsuits, a written job description can be a valuable
tool.

Written job descriptions can also be very valuable when it comes
to the issue of quality control. When details fall through the
cracks, is it the fault of the employee, or is it the fault of the
jobs you’re asking your employee to do? It may be that things are
not being done because no one is assigned to get them done. Too
often, when job descriptions are not written out, employers tend to
have mistaken ideas of what the employee thinks his job is. Written
job descriptions help find and repair these shadowy areas.

If you’re an employer, the best way to get written job
descriptions is to delegate and have each employee write his own
job description. 

Here are some tips to help them:

  • Ask your employees to spend some time thinking about their
    jobs. They should make notes, or keep a diary of work-related
    activities.
  • Focus on the facts. Ask them not to overstate or understate
    duties, knowledge, skills, abilities and other
    characteristics.
  • Refrain from side issues. Job performance, wages, complaints,
    relationships with co-workers, and similar issues are not relevant
    to this activity.
  • Make each employee aware that there will be no adverse
    consequences from this job analysis. Assure them that no person’s
    salary will be reduced and no person’s job will be eliminated.

For example, these may be the duties of your office
manager:
1. Answers telephone and provides assistance or routes caller to
appropriate staff member.
2. Takes phone or visitor messages and delivers to appropriate
individual. 
3. Greets visitors to the showroom and directs them to appropriate
individual. 
4. Opens, date stamps, sorts and distributes mail. 
5. Compiles and types statistical reports, including tables and
text using spreadsheet software. 
6. Operates and maintains fax and copy machines. 
7. Monitors and purchases office supplies.
8. Makes copies, collates and staples materials as
requested. 
9. Establishes and maintains files; files and retrieves
files. 

In addition, your office manager must have knowledge of modern
office procedures and methods including telephone communications,
office systems and record keeping. He or she needs to know modern
business communication, including style and format of letters,
memoranda, minutes and reports. He or she needs the skill to use a
personal computer and various software packages, the ability to
establish priorities, work independently and proceed with
objectives without supervision. And, he or she must handle and
resolve recurring problems.

With a detailed job description like this in place, you have a
clear sense of what your office manager does. You no longer wonder
why when you see a coffee cup on a countertop in a display, for
example the office manager hasn’t retrieved it; it’s not in the job
description. (You may wish to add light showroom clean-up to the
duties; then you and the office manager are no longer taking it for
granted).

Furthermore, you now have an excellent basis for conducting
performance reviews of your office manager, as well as your other
employees once the job descriptions are completed. You also have an
objective way to judge workload if you have to re-assign duties or
add part-time help. And, when you have to replace an employee, you
have a want ad that almost writes itself and an excellent way to
qualify job applicants easily.

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