How to write Job Descriptions that deliver results

A clearly defined job description helps to provide a clear picture of what the organisation requires as well as providing incumbents with autonomy to successfully fulfil expectations. We’ll cover everything you need to know in 6 key steps. 

1.Organisation Structure 

Start with the Organisation Structure and define the functions the organisation needs completed. These will change as the organisation grows and morphs. Referring to job advertisements can sometimes give you a good idea about how other organisations in your industry break down their functions and responsibilities. 

2. Key Objectives 

Identify the key objectives for each job description. What is the real purpose for this job description? What does it aim to achieve for the organisation? Eg for a marketing Role might be to Deliver X number of qualified leads to Sales for a specific budget. For a HSEQ Role it might be to complete a number of inspections/audits with a specific qualitative goal.  

3. Identify the responsibilities 

Responsibilities are the back bone of a job description? What are the tasks that are essential to be completed? Eg might include Accounts – ensure that all accounts are paid on time. Ensure all invoicing for the month is completed by the 4th day of the following month. Injury Management Role – ensure that all workers comp claims are managed effectively.Add to the Job Description the procedures that are responsible for completion. This can be a really straight forward path to ensuring all tasks the organisation needs to be completed are done.  

4. Identify the Authorities 

This can be a tricky area to find balance between providing autonomy for staff so they can efficiently and effectively get what they need to done whilst managing the organisations appetite for risk. I normally describe authorities as what a person in this role is allowed to do. An example might be person in an Estimating role may be able to send quotes up to $X without any other approval. An example for a training manager might be book up to 10 days training for operational employees anything above this might need approval from the general manager. Another common example is an authority to purchase – an employee in the field may have authority to purchase up to $X before needing to clear it with Management.

5. Skills, Training and Experience 

Next Identify the Skills, training and experience required to successfully fulfil the role. The first ones we normally would identify are the bare minimums for the specific role for example must have a white card or a drivers licence. Next identify the foundational skills/ experience. You may wish to identify a training plan or target training where your in a growing organisation and upskilling staff.  

6. Review and Continual Improvement 

Lastly, as with every part of an integrated management system review and improvement are key. Appraisals are the process to do this discussing with the people covering the role the parts of the role that are working the parts of the role that aren’t and possible actions to address. These actions maybe to change the procedure, to automate part of the process, additionally training for the person filling the role

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