We've all heard someone say "It's not my job." Not that this portrays a very positive attitude from an employee, but have you ever asked yourself how that person know it's not their job?
We all perform a variety of tasks in a single job position, are involved in different projects and interact with different teams and departments. But how do we know what it is we are responsible for on a daily, weekly or monthly basis? It's called a Job Description.
Job Descriptions are a management tool used to:
- Outline expectations and accountabilities of what an employee should be doing
- Are a communication tool between employee and manager as a basis for performance reviews
- Describe duties and responsibilities to a job applicant
- Identify work flow and procedures
- Assess training and development needs
- Monitor changes in responsibilities
- Determine compensation classification and pay levels
Interview and Observation
The interview process involves asking employees a series of questions to determine the specific tasks they are responsible for on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Questions need to be pre-determined and may differ based on the particular role the employee holds within the organization.
Observing employees while on the job ultimately results in the same outcome but using this method takes more time as the observation period can take anywhere from a few days to a month to complete. This results in the manager having to step away from their own responsibilities for a period of time to complete this process.
Using a combination of interviewing and observing can provide more insight.
The most common method of analysing an employee's job is to have employees complete a questionnaire. Again, questions are pre-determined to capture all vital information that is required to assess the employee's role and create the final job description. The questionnaire method is more popular with management teams due to the minimal amount of time it takes to have an employee complete it.
Using this method can be more time consuming, putting ownership on employees to keep a daily, weekly or monthly log of their responsibilities and then compiling the data which is transcribed into a job description. This technique is easier on management but they will have to ensure employees are keeping accurate notes in order for this process to be effective.
Any one of the above methods will work in evaluating job descriptions and any combination of these techniques can be used to get a clear picture of whom the employee is and what they are responsible for. As mentioned, some methods are more time consuming than others, but in the end, having completed a thorough job analysis can prevent errors.
In today's market, a business owner can purchase software products to assist in writing job descriptions. The job descriptions are mainly generic but can be tailored to suit the needs of an individual organization. This tool allows for flexibility and is easy to maintain. However, when using a generic job description, it could result in conflict when the specific job duties are not clearly identified for the employee. This is where the saying "It's not my job" becomes problematic.
When determining an employee's actual job duties, consider the following:
- Is the job more hands on, conceptual, analytical, or planning?
- Is the employee dealing with people or data?
- What is the level of responsibility the employee has?
- What types of decisions or problem solving situations are they up against?
- Do they have others reporting to them?
Job Descriptions provide purpose, identity and over all they affect the bottom line. If you want to avoid hearing "It's not my job" in your organization, ensure job descriptions are being utilized and updated regularly.