In today’s fast-paced business environment when duties and responsibilities seem to change as quickly as the wind, how relevant is the job description? Lately, I’ve had more than a few clients tell me they were thinking about abandoning them altogether.
I’ve always cautioned my clients against doing this, and a recent article by Robert Levy titled “The Job Description: From Static Relic to Dynamic Business Tool” outlines the reasons why.
In the article, Levy says that job descriptions are not outmoded. However, how they have been designed and used are.
Think about your past job descriptions. Better yet, if you have access to them dig them out and read them over. Unless the people creating them were very progressive, chances are your job descriptions were pretty generic, one-dimensional, and lacked direction. When you read these job descriptions, do you get a crystal clear idea of your job? Does it outline what you need to do to succeed? Does it draw a line from your achievements to current business strategy? Does it relate your job-specific duties to broader business objectives? Probably not.
Organizations that churn out these types of job descriptions are missing out on a big opportunity. The opportunity to develop what Levy calls “dynamic job descriptions.”
Levy defines a dynamic job description as one that provides an employee detailed work priorities, performance expectations, and job competencies, all of which align with the organization’s business strategy. He says good job descriptions should include two elements:
• Essential job responsibilities. This element shows employees how their duties and performance link to business strategy. It includes key deliverables, work outputs, and performance expectations, and must be updated as business strategy changes.
• Job competencies. This lists the functional and technical skills, as well as behaviors and approaches, which are necessary for the job success.
According to Levy, with dynamic job descriptions companies can:
• Compare employee competencies to those required to successfully do the job;
• Identify capable employees, ensuring that leaders always know which employees are ready to fill jobs when needed; and
• Customize performance and planning so each employee knows how his or her duties and performance affect business objectives.
From an leadership coaching standpoint, one of the greatest things about dynamic job descriptions is that they allow an employee’s performance and competency to be accurately measured. So, they become a terrific tool in performance reviews, as well as an integral part of employee development.
The dynamic job description is not your grandmother’s job description. Use it to measure competency and performance, identify coaching and training needs, for career pathing, and to ensure that individual job duties are aligned with company objectives.
The executive coaching process can help bring your organization’s job descriptions to the 21st century. Contact TurnKey Coaching Solution at 281-469-4244 to learn more about creating and using dynamic job descriptions.