Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Fast Way to Create New Job Descriptions


For human resource professionals, the business of creating new job (or position) descriptions or revising existing ones is a fine science. However, in the nonprofit sector, many supervisors and managers don’t have access to an HR person or department. They must create their own job descriptions on the fly. Here’s a really fast way to get a job description down on paper.
  • On a piece of flipchart paper taped on your wall where it is accessible to other, write the job title, who the person will report to and what team, department, or work group that the person in the job will belong.
  • Tell others you work with (co-workers, people you supervise, others who will work with the person in the new job) that you want them to write possible duties and responsibilities on the flipchart page. When one page is full, tape another one on top of it.
  • Get the list started by writing one or two things on it. There is nothing more intimidating than a blank piece of paper!
  • After a few days, take the list to a group meeting (any meeting will do). Walk the group through the list on the flipchart paper(s) and ask the group to identify anything that is missing. Do this several times with different groups that already have meetings scheduled.
  • Transfer all the items on the list to a word processing document. Consolidate similar items to remove obvious duplications. Remove any duties that are not appropriate for the position.
  • Organize the list into sections: Major Expectations and Outcomes (these are the big picture things that drive the new position and are the reason that the new position is being created); Duties (these are the tasks that the person must perform in order to meet the Expectations and Outcomes); Reporting to (name a position, not a person, to whom the new position reports); Minimum Required Qualifications (education, experience, training, certifications); Pay scale or classification.
  • Take the draft position description to someone in a senior management position to review and comment and approve if necessary.
  • Make the final changes and distribute the new job description to anyone who needs it.
  • After the position has been filled for a few months, ask for another round of feedback on the job description. Include the person who has been doing the job. Make changes based on this feedback.
  • As with all other positions, do an annual review and update the job description.
Paula J. MacLean is the best-selling author of 5 human resource books. Email her directly at [email protected] with your questions, comments or ideas for future posts.

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