What Exactly Do You Want From Me?

James McDonough, Membership Development

James McDonough blog sizeThis is a fair question workers ask their employers, and it seems simple enough. Yet a recent survey by Robert Half indicates that almost half of new hires believe their new job duties don’t accurately match what was described to them in the interview process. Imagine the impact this has on new employees! To maximize productivity and morale, employers must clearly define what they want from the people they hire.  Here are five steps to success:

Step 1: Understand your own business. Define your organizational structure and how the various positions fit together to meet operational needs.

Step 2: Write clear, accurate Job Descriptions for each position. Involve front-line supervisors and staff already in those roles. Be as specific as possible, clearly defining essential functions, mandatory qualifying skills and key priorities for the position.

Step 3: Evaluate the alignment between organizational structure and job descriptions. Verify accuracy, completeness and address any gaps. Finalize with input from key staff to avoid the trap of wishful thinking!

Step 4: Present full job descriptions to employees and new hire candidates. Discuss and be clear about what the job involves. Focus on essential job functions and desired outcomes. Define priorities for them to ensure alignment with organizational goals. If you don’t, they’re likely to define their own priorities that may conflict with their team’s objectives.

Step 5: Evaluate annually. Engage staff in the discussion. Are the job descriptions still relevant, accurate and aligned with organizational needs? If not, revise and discuss with impacted employees.

Of course an employer can’t define every single duty. The phrase “All other duties as assigned” provides the flexibility needed in evolving workplaces. If that vague catch-all category describes what employees do with most of their time, then it is time to revisit the five steps!