Revamping Descriptions

“I’ve been reorganizing duties as I’ve begun bringing employees back to work. How do I let my employees know what’s now expected of them?”

Your HR Survival Tip

It seems any major financial crisis, such as a recession or pandemic, results in companies finding new and better ways to be more efficient and more profitable with fewer employees. The changes initially made are based on immediate necessity but then you realize what you’ve done can actually work well going forward. Major changes require a different approach but the following works well for tweaking workloads.

You’ll start with an initial conversation with the employee to inform them you have made changes based on business needs changing, reorganizing the workflow, reorganizing the work to better match skills…whichever reason fits your scenario. Then provide the employee with those changes via memo or updated job description.

We prefer a revised job description because it has many purposes and, in this situation, provides a better overall description of what the job now entails rather than just listing the changes. Ideally, you provide a job description to candidates when hiring, use it to keep employees focused on their responsibilities, and have it play a key role during performance reviews.

Create your job description by starting with a list of 6-8 primary responsibilities for that role. You’ll know you’ve listed the correct items if you would be satisfied with the employee if they accomplished little else. Use 1-2 sentences for each of your 8 items so you’ve encompassed the whole responsibility.

As an example, the first responsibility for a Customer Support Rep might be: Field customer calls, record complaints, assist customers with answers to their technical questions and help them resolve their product problems/inquiries following tactics outlined in standard operating procedures. Evaluate customer problems and determine the point of escalation.

You probably wanted to create at least 5 bullets for that example. However, once they answer the phone, the rest of that statement just includes the possible outcomes of that call. Therefore, it’s all one thing and it’s easy for the employee to understand this is what you’re expecting from them because it’s presented in a more cohesive manner than bullets.

There are a few more things you ultimately want to add to each job description but this is a fantastic start. Every job description needs input from the employee and management to ensure its usefulness and accuracy. Job duties change periodically and so should job descriptions. Let us know if you’d like help!

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