Job Descriptions Suck! WHY?
WRITTEN BY David Lunken, Senior Consultant
Does your organization use job descriptions to define roles? Are they effective? Do your people use them to manage their work daily, weekly, monthly, annually? Probably not! Are they a list of 87 tasks in no priority, or do they focus on any outcome or goal that only get pulled out when we need to fill a position? When was the last time your team members actually looked at their job description? Most are a super long list of all the tasks and specific things that the role requires the individual to do.
Why not focus on the results and outcomes that the organization needs from this role…
Your organization has a vision, mission, overarching goals, strategic initiatives and objectives. The projects, tasks and actions change as needed to support the organization’s goals to drive the strategy.
Why don’t we do the same for individual roles?
Instead of listing out the tasks and all of the specific actions that are required by the job.
BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND!
- Why does this role exist?
- What is the mission and overarching goal for this role?
- If this role did not exist, what would not get accomplished?
- When we look back a year from now what will be different due to success in this job?
What if every employee had a 3x5 index card pinned to their wall with their 3 goals in front of them?
Throughout the day they could ask themselves… is this action helping to drive one of my outcomes or goals? If not, why am I doing this? Also, think about how much easier it would be to check in with your team. How are you doing with A, B and C? Clear, simple, concise.
This is not so easy to do but so helpful.
Here are some real examples:
• Sell new products/services to new customers
• Retain and grow existing by X%
• Sell products/programs we can deliver
Customer Service Rep
• Provide and deliver customer delight
• Achieve accurate and efficient resolution of issues
• Educate customers at all opportunities
• Solve client problems efficiently
• Utilize the appropriate means to solve problems
• Delight customers throughout the process
For a “simple” process to get you started try the following:
Step 1 – Data dump
o On separate sticky notes write one task/or “thing” you can think of relating to the role
o Stick it on the wall
o Continue until you have all of the “things” you can think of, with only one item per sticky
Step 2 – Group
o Move the sticky notes into clusters of similar things
o Continue until you have moved all of the items into 3-4 groupings
Step 3 – Define
o Look at each of the groupings and ask:
Why do we do this task?
Toward what end?
What is the outcome we are seeking?
o Label/title the groupings
Step 4 – Clarify
o Take the grouping titles and draft them into an outcome statement
o Use verbs and adjectives
If every person on your team managed themselves toward their own overarching goals and planned their strategic initiatives while adjusting their projects and actions as needed, what could you accomplish? Instead of managing the tasks, manage the goals and the accomplishment of the results. Good luck!