First and foremost, we believe job descriptions should be short! The best job descriptions are the ones that get read. If they don’t get read, what's the point in having one?
We see many companies with long, boring job descriptions filled with vague statements like, "You are responsible for daily activities, setting priorities, and organising team members." These kinds of statements are not only mind numbing to read, but they actually communicate nothing about what the person in that role needs to achieve from a performance standpoint.
We believe that a really good job description should be used time and again in many different applications in business.
A job description can be:
A Recruitment & Screening Tool: The job description should form the basis of the job advertisement and the criteria used for comparing candidates during the screening process. Armed with a clear job description, you and your hiring managers will be able to know exactly what is most important in order to achieve superior performance in the role.
A Job Benchmarking Tool: Benchmarking involves the use of one or more profiling tools to draw on information from the job description to develop a list of personal traits that a candidate needs in order to be successful in the role. This is then used to help shortlist people in the selection process.
A Performance Management Tool: The key performance indicators (measures of effectiveness) are a perfect place to start when examining a person’s performance.
A Coaching & Development Tool: A great job description is a tool to assist in designing specific coaching and development plans tailored for individuals, so that the training is relevant and not wasted.
This template has been designed to assist create useful jobs descriptions that can be used for selecting, developing and performance managing superior performers in your business.
Details about The Job Description Template: To use this document effectively, it is important to understand the parts of the document and the terminology used (it can differ from organisation to organisation). Below you will find an outline of each of the fields and the kind of information you will need to put in each:
Page 1 - Cover Page On the cover page there is a section for the person to sign to document. This is to assist in gaining accountability from the person in the role. The reason for this is to ensure that the manager and the person in the role review and discuss the details in the document to ensure they understand their role.
Page 2 - Position Summary Page This page is a general summary of the position, key relationships and review dates. The page is a great tool for new employees to have close as it describes their basic purpose in the organisation.
1. Position Title: The name of the position for which the job description has been written for. (E.g. Account Manager.)
2. Key Relationships: These are the people who the person in the position will interact with on a regular basis. It includes “Reports to” or whom the person is responsible to and “Direct Reports” or who reports to this person (this may also be “Other Team Members” if there are no direct reports).
3. Division/Business Unit: This is the section of the business the position is directly responsible to. (E.g. Human Resources.)
4. Performance Review Date: It is important that all people’s performance is reviewed as a part of their development. This might be the date your company has an initial review of performance for a new employee or it might be for an existing employee. Whoever it is for, it’s important that you (or the direct manager) have this date in their diary to ensure it happens.
5. Job Description Review Date: Business goals and plans change over time; so must the job description. It is important that at least once a year you review each job description in the business and make sure that the Key Result Areas are still on track with desired business outcomes.
6. General Position Statement: This is a general overview of why the position exists and the areas a person in this role are responsible for.
7. Key Result Area (KRA) Summary: This is a summary of the key performance areas and the time that should be spent performing the tasks associated with each. It is broken up into several sections: i. Priority – This is the priority that each KRA is assigned to allow a person in the position the ability to make decisions about what tasks to do and in what order. ii. Key Result Area (KRA) – A Key Result Area or KRA is a general group of tasks that are assigned to a person/position in order to achieve company goals. (E.g. Sales Management, Marketing, Administration.) iii. General Summary – This is a summary of the KRA. It is an overall description of the reason for each KRA in the job description. iv. Time Allocation – This is the percentage of time that should be spent on each KRA to achieve the desired outcome. It is important that when you assign timeframes to a KRA that you leave between 15-20% of time free for those unforeseen things that come up in everyone’s day.
Note: There is space for 10 KRAs in the template. We would argue that if a person has more than 5-7 Key Result Areas they may be “spread too thin”. It is important to analyse the time required for successful completion of the tasks in each KRA and whether it is feasible for a person to do these well.
Page 3 - Key Result Areas (KRAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Page This page describes each of the Key Result Areas in more detail. It is important to remember that these measures should be linked to the outcomes in your business plan.
1. Key Result Area (KRA): This is simply a restating of the KRA. They are arranged in priority order.
2. Performance Criteria: The performance criteria are the specific tasks that are associated with each KRA. This section is used to expand out the KRAs for increased clarity around what specifically is expected of someone in the role.
3. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): These are the specific measures that will be used to determine a person’s success in achieving each KRA. For example, Achieving sales target of 50 widgets per month. These KPIs can be used during performance reviews and when deciding on development activities.
Getting Started… Sometimes even with a template it can be difficult to get started. To get the ball rolling, we have outlined below a process for you to follow when creating job descriptions for your organisation:
1. Review the Business Plan: It is important when creating job descriptions for any company to review the company/department business plan (it can also help to review the organisational chart). Look specifically at the goals and the activities that need to be performed in order to reach them. Where could these activities be completed in the organisational tree? How do they contribute to the achievement of the business plan?
2. Task List: Now that you have decided on where the different goals of the organisation will be achieved, start to list all the activities that are required by each position. Make a detailed list of these tasks that each position should be completing.
3. Group Tasks: Once you have this list together, work through it and group the ‘like tasks’ together. For example, you might group all the tasks that are associated with the sales process together. Give each of these groups a name — these become the Key Result Areas.
4. Develop Key Performance Indicators: The KPIs are the way you will measure the performance of the Key Result Areas. There can be more than one KPI for each area; however, they need to be specific and measurable. Key Performance Indicators might include: number of sales, complaints, calls completed, calls taken, time to complete a task, customers served etc.
Disclaimer: This template has been designed as an aid for you and your company to develop your own job descriptions. It in no way resembles legal or professional advice and DTS International will not be held liable for any damages that may be caused by the use of this template or any of its associated materials.
Clarity is the key to success in any role. If your company does not have current job descriptions for each position – put this template to work!