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Creating an Effective Job Description

March 30th, 2012

A “job description” is a common term that actually has a specific legal meaning. When an employee steps into a new position, it’s better for her and better for the company if she knows exactly what she’s there to do. So her position, and every position, should have a corresponding description on file that lists all relevant duties, the role the position fills within the larger company, and how the person who occupies the position will generally be evaluated.

Job descriptions should be multifunctional. If a question ever arises about how to word a posting, how to review an employee, or how to determine if it’s time for a change to either the position or the employee who occupies it, the first step should involve reaching for the file that holds the job description. A great description can (and should) be referenced often for all kinds of reasons.

In addition to being multifunctional, great job descriptions should be clear, unambiguous, and legal.

Elements of a First Rate Job Description

Required Skills

This part of the job description will help hiring managers as they staff the position, especially if this is happening for the first time. In this section, List the knowledge and skills that the position will require, beginning with the skills that are indispensable, followed by those that are optional or will be used only occasionally.

Stay brief and focused. Instead of listing twenty different clerical tasks and corresponding software programs, it might suffice to say “working/ expert knowledge of the entire Microsoft office suite, specifically Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.” Instead of listing every aspect of interpersonal communication, list “the ability to network and build new accounts by engaging socially with clients,” or “The ability to manage a large team with different working styles and frequently conflicting goals.”

How the Job is Actually Performed

In this section, describe the function of the job within the larger company. If this employee will face a broad, overarching task that supports the enterprise as a whole, discuss that task here. For example: “Employee will support the International Business Development team in the effort to build client contacts overseas,”  or “employee will assist the General Manager with daily tasks related to staff scheduling,” or “employee will review all outgoing mass communication materials for tone, content, grammar and accuracy.”

This section will also briefly describe how these tasks are carried out. If the material to be reviewed will come in from the Communications Department and will be handed off to the Printing Department when complete, include that information here.

How the Employee Will be Evaluated

This section will help prevent potential conflict and confusion during the annual performance review process. It can also help mangers determine when employees are ready for promotions and pay raises, and it can guide mentors as they work to understand mentee strengths and areas in need of improvement.

All aspects of a good job description should be in compliance with legal guidelines; otherwise they may expose a company to lawsuits and accusations of discrimination or employee mismanagement. If you aren’t sure you understand the legal implications of a given job description, talk to an attorney before staffing the position.

For additional help with staffing, hiring, or general HR guidelines, contact a local staffing firm in CT at Merritt Staffing and arrange a consultation.

What Do Top Employers Have in Common?

December 9th, 2011

A review of the nation’s top employers as listed by major publications like Forbes Magazine and CNN Money reveals a few similarities between the best ranked contenders. Of course some of these are salary-related, but there are plenty of other factors that can win valuable employee loyalty and earn your company a coveted spot on the list.

What do employees value most? Consider some of these factors. Recognize that many of them can be inexpensive to provide, but can pay off enormously by reducing turnover and attracting the interest of high quality applicants.

Flexibility

There are few things that employees cherish more than flexibility. Since time often exceeds money in terms of personal value, demonstrating a flexible approach to an employee’s time shows respect for that time and respect for the employee as a person. Studies show that employees with flexible schedules often voluntarily put in more hours of focused work during a five day week that those who are required to maintain rigid schedules. There are several possible reasons for this, but the benefits for the employer are twofold: allowing employees to adjust their hours or work from home occasionally can increase productivity and also generate valuable loyalty.

Non-salary perks

If you can’t increase pay rates, it’s always a good idea to review your benefits, especially health insurance benefits, and make improvements if possible.  Many of the companies at the top of the list pay at or close to 100 percent of their employee’s premium costs. Employees also give high marks and show strong dedication to companies with nearby or onsite day-care facilities.

A high percentage of women

Interestingly, many of the companies that rank consistently high on employee surveys maintain a well-balanced gender ratio. If the number of women in the office reaches or exceeds fifty percent, employees of both genders seem happier. The exact reasons are unclear, but with more women in the office, turnover seems to drop and loyalty appears to increase. A similar effect can be noted among offices with high cultural diversity.

Location

Before opening an office or branch in a new location, conduct thorough research, and don’t underestimate the impact of a livable location on employee satisfaction.

A serious emphasis on company culture

In many cases, employees will happily accept lower salaries in exchange for a work environment that’s stimulating, supportive, and offers room for growth. Maintaining a positive company culture often falls to managers, who can have a powerful impact on your bottom line if they demonstrate strong social skills and positive, goal-oriented leadership.

If you’re interested in furthering your education on what you can do to compete with top employers, feel free to contact your local recruitment agency in Connecticut, Merritt Staffing, for more information.

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