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Job description an essential tool

A JOB or position description is an essential management tool. It needs to be up to date, accurate and informative. Here is a guide for preparing a position description. Position summary Why does the position exist? Why is the position needed? What is the major outcome of the job, ie what is the main thing the job is meant to achieve? Or… What are the major task areas or what are the major results the position should produce? Title of immediate supervisor? Number of people reporting to this position? Position duties and responsibilities What are the main tasks or activities to be carried out in doing this job? How do you go about doing these things? Write statements incorporating what is done and how it is done. Write the statements in order of priority. Which is the most important task? Which is the next most important task? Position requirements Knowledge – what things must be known to enable a person to do this job? Skills – what skills (actions) must a person be able to perform to do the job? Abilities – what physical or mental activities must the person be capable of to do the job? Minimum qualifications What are the minimum education or trade requirements? What are the minimum experience requirements? What are the minimum training requirements? Limits of authority For what activities necessary to do this job are you required to gain the approval of your immediate manager, e.g. expenditure above a certain amount, dismissal of staff, hiring of staff, use of equipment, etc? Client and supplier relationships – internal and external With which other key people do you have regular interaction in your work? What is the purpose of these interactions? To do what? To obtain what? What information, materials and services does this position provide and to whom? What information, materials and services does the position receive and from whom? Key performance indicators For each major task or activity ask – if a person was performing this task successfully, what concrete things would you see happening? How would you know? What evidence would there be? Some managers think that job descriptions are a waste of time. If that is you, here is a simple alternative. On one or two pages, state clearly the following, using two columns: 1. Outcomes I expect you to deliver. 2. My expectations about how you will deliver each outcome.

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