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Using Job Descriptions to Guide Employee Development

In our previous blog we wrote that by also using goals, rather than just tasks, in job descriptions was more effective and useful for both employers and employees. (You can click here to read that blog.) As we discussed, by using goals in the job description, an employee gains an understanding 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. But there is another way that using goals in job descriptions is helpful; they can also help guide employee performance and career development.

When there are clearly defined goals laid out in a job description, you can use those to set measurable performance goals for an employee. With these in place, there is no confusion on either side as to what the responsibilities and expectations are for given role. Management can then coach employees on how to reach those goals. When the job description includes defined goals, managers are able to give feedback that is both constructive and meaningful on a daily basis to provide real-time praise, during scheduled evaluations, and when disciplining due to lackluster performance.

It is natural that an employee’s role in the company may develop and evolve during their tenure. But, if they begin to feel their roles evolve faster than their job descriptions, they can quickly become frustrated. It is important that managers keep an eye on how employee roles change and demonstrate they are aware of the changes. Managers should take note of any changes in duties or responsibilities as they occur and apply them to the job description. According to Mind Tools, employees should be able to share their opinions on how they feel their job description matches the work that they have been doing. This can also uncover opportunities for career development. For example, if a company hires a tech support worker but, over the course of his time with them, his job has developed a focus around software training, amending his job description and perhaps offering an opportunity to develop his skills as a trainer could benefit both the employee and the company.

When goals for a position are clearly laid out in the job description, it is also easier for employees to discover the various paths they may want to take to further their career within the company. It can provide them with the motivation to pursue more difficult tasks so as to show a resolve to further their career. A goal-oriented job description can illustrate what other opportunities are available within the company that an employee may aspire to hold in the future. When they know what the opportunities are for advancement they then have an incentive to pursue learning and growth opportunities, such as classes, seminars, trainings, or other career development activities.

Well-written and up-to-date job descriptions can be extremely beneficial to a company. Not only can they help in deciding whether or not a new hire can meet requirements of the job, they can be instrumental in the performance and career development of employees.

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