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Writing Job Descriptions Using Goals and Not Tasks

Creating effective job descriptions can be a time consuming task. A job description should fully account for the responsibilities of a given position. A Gallup survey found that 20% of employees will leave their current role if they feel the responsibilities they are given do not match what is in their job description. And while it might be tempting to create a laundry list of tasks for a particular job and call it a day, truly effective job descriptions should go one step further. Not only should they include the tasks associated with a job but also the goals of that position and how they advance the overall mission of the company. By using goals in the job description, an employee gains knowledge of why they perform certain tasks and how it benefits the company as a whole. This not only translates into effective hiring, but also helps improve employee engagement.

A goal-oriented job description gives a clear definition of what the company will need from its employees to accomplish its goals and shows what the value of specific tasks are. For example, according to author Jim Collins, under the “job responsibilities” section of a receptionist’s job description, it may say that they have to answer the phones. While this is true, the goal of this task is to have a receptionist that helps customers and presents a good image of the company. Goal oriented descriptions leave less up to interpretation and allows applicants to gauge whether or not they can perform these tasks based on the given objectives.

It should come as no surprise that when employees feel as though their work is important in helping the company achieve its broader goals, they are more inclined to bring a higher energy and enthusiasm level to the workplace. It is extremely valuable to share with employees on a regular basis the significance of what they do. When you have regularly scheduled meetings with employees to catch-up on how company goals relate to particular sections of an employee’s job description you enable managers to focus on the aspects of an employee’s job that they have excelled in and give them praise for that.

These meetings also provide an opportunity to review the job description. As employees develop and grow, they may have expanded their role outside of the one they were originally hired to perform. By reviewing the job description with the employee and including updated goals, they can gain a renewed sense of purpose and passion for the work they do. Goal oriented job descriptions are a way to demonstrate the importance of their involvement in regard to achieving company objectives.

Job descriptions that are based on goals rather than job responsibilities may take more time to create, but they are immensely beneficial. They give employees the opportunity to feel like a valuable member of a team and to feel connected with the role they play within an organization. Not only do these practices allow businesses to hold on to the talent they already have, but it can make the recruitment process much more efficient.

But it doesn’t stop there: good job descriptions also capture the employee’s career development action plan. Stay tuned for our next blog to read part two.

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