Job Descriptions

Beth Peakall

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Job descriptions. What does that conjure in your mind? A task list? A document gathering dust somewhere? Do you have a job description and is it accurate?

Legally, the answer to the last question needs to be yes. In reality, most of my NVQ candidates have job descriptions but, when they put them in the folder, they tend to say “it's sort of right".

Well, “sort of right" isn't really good enough. It means that my students do what they believe to be their job, but this belief may or may not be shared by anyone else. If they do it long enough like that, it becomes custom and practice, which can have legal repercussions for a company. Just imagine being a new manager and trying to enforce “sort of right" job descriptions!

I remember when I managed a diverse staff team thinking that all the job descriptions were like a jigsaw puzzle. They should all link together to create the picture of what my team did. I took over the newly created Allocations and Rents team. We had reorganised, and all the teams and job descriptions were brand new. It really was like putting a puzzle together – trying to work out who did what now, where jobs began and ended and how to fill in the gaps.

As stressful as that was, it did make me and the Tenancy Services Manager clarify our team pictures. From there we were able to determine the tasks needed and to find them within the various job descriptions. We needed to find the links between the teams as well as the separation in our tasks.

Talking to our teams and going through the job descriptions were crucial. I don't think I have ever spent so much time with job descriptions as I did in that first year after the reorganisation. We all worked hard to make sure all our job descriptions (mine included!) were accurate. It was time well spent because when it came to the appraisals, we could all say that our job descriptions were an accurate reflection of our duties.

It gives confidence to both managers and staff to have accurate job descriptions. It ensures everyone knows what needs to happen and that the picture created by the linking of all jobs within your company is the one you want.


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