Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Position Descriptions

I have witnessed time and again the lack of position descriptions especially for the office staff. It seems that some small business owners have them and some do not. While some small business owners do have position descriptions, some of them do not utilize them.

Position descriptions are a valuable tool for any business. They alleviate discrepancies, unaccomplished work, confusion within the office, and co-worker rivalry. These are just some of the problems that I’ve witnessed while virtually assisting small businesses.

Position descriptions describe the employee’s duties and responsibilities. This is essentially how the employee receives your expectations for their work performance. This resource protects the business owner in many situations.

How might a business owner utilize a position description you might ask?

For starters, you can use a position description to fulfill yearly review obligations. Yes, your employees should receive yearly job performance reviews. This is something else I have noticed slipping to the side in some small businesses. How else will your employee and you gauge their performance? This does not need to be a lengthy and time consuming process. A yearly review can take 15-30 minutes and cover all your expectations and reviews while receiving employee feedback.

You may use them to address work performance, whether exemplary or poor. Position descriptions are extremely easy to use regarding employee performance. It should all be laid out. Follow the position description as a guide for your review. An employee cannot argue that they were unaware of a job duty if it is written in ink.

Up-to-date position descriptions also help a business owner when hiring new employees. New employees will not need to keep asking you job related questions if they can refer to an informative position description. They save time and energy.

If you have a multi-level position within your company, how to attain each level should be addressed within the position description. For example: Head Secretary – Office Manager – Business Assistant. Each stage of this job should be explained completely in the position description. You may also have three separate position descriptions for this one job. Each separate position description would list all additional responsibilities and how to attain (be promoted to) the next level of the job. Phases can be attained through years of experience, job knowledge, added responsibilities, or a combination of all these categories.

Once you have well developed and maintained position descriptions, your employees will know what duties to perform. Hopefully, this helps work flow smoothly within the office. Position descriptions really do help keep disgruntled employees at bay and they protect your business.

Remember, position descriptions are good for you and your office.

Colleen Degnan Johnson
CMJ Office

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