Job Descriptions are Worthless – there is a Better Way!

So you’ve hired a rock-star – Congratulations! Now, how do you make sure they live up to your expectations?

In my last blog post I shared with you a unique and powerful way to make sure you only hire the very best people onto your team. If you missed that one, make sure and go back and check it out. It’s one of those Golden Nuggets that once you try it, you’ll never hire the old way again!

So you’ve found your ideal new team member. They are excited to start work with you and you can’t wait for them to get on the job and up to speed.

You’ve done the hard work of sorting through all the so-so applicants and making a decision on the person that’s a perfect fit for your team. But your work is

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Job Descriptions aren’t enough to build a powerful team

not done yet – not by a long shot.

How does your new team member know what is expected of them? What are you going to use as a gauge to measure their performance? Is it enough for them to be just a little bit better than the person they are replacing?

I’m not a gambler, but if I were, I would make a BIG wager that right now, as you read this article, you don’t have anything built into your business that will answer these questions!

Sure, there are a few of you (you may be an exception to the rule) who have this nailed down and figured out. When a new team member comes on board your New Hire Process kicks in gear:

You have a very specific and details orientation program – a way to get them familiar with all of the functions in your business.
You have a specific set of training that they must complete and a timeline created for them to specifically review the material and be tested on what they learned.
You assign them a “buddy” or “mentor” – one of your experienced team members – to help them get on board fast and in the right way.
You have a standing review system (daily for 1 week, weekly for the next 3 weeks, monthly for the next 3 months, etc.) to make sure your new team member is getting direct feedback on how well they are coming up to speed.
Does that sound like you? Congratulations!

If you’ve got to admit “Nope, we don’t do that”, then let me give you a real simple place to start. It’s something you can do that will only take you 10-15 minutes but will have a HUGE impact on the success and performance of your team members – both new and old!

In fact, I was working with a client just yesterday and we knocked this out for 6 of his team members in about an hour.

Are you interested?

I titled this article “Job Descriptions are Worthless – there’s a Better Way” for this very reason. Most business owners write a job description when they need to hire someone. OK, I know there are a few of you who actually do have them for each position in your business – but it’s not the norm.

While a job description may be useful when your hiring, it’s worthless once someone has been hired. Here’s why. The Job Description outlines the essential skills and background needed for the job, the degree requirements, the certifications and maybe describes the workplace environment.

But once you’ve hired someone, these things DON’T MATTER. What matters is how well they perform the assigned tasks, their attitude, their behaviors and their willingness to do whatever it takes to help your customers and make your business better.

These things are not found in the job description!

What you need is a Position Agreement for each and every position in your business!

So, just what is a Position Agreement? It’s actually very simple, yet very powerful. It is typically a single page document with 5 major sections:

Summary of Overall Job Responsibilities
Essential Duties Assigned
Success Measures
Non-Negotiables
Signatures
Let’s briefly cover each section.

The Summary of Overall Job Responsibilities is a brief paragraph that you write describing what this position is responsible for. TIP: make sure that each and every position in your business is assigned the responsibility for one or more specific activities of your business (handling incoming customer calls, ordering supplies, managing the warehouse, etc.). But don’t duplicate the responsibilities across multiple positions. If many people are responsible, no one is responsible!

The Essential Duties Assigned should be 4-6 bullet points listing the VERY SPECIFIC activities that this position is ACCOUNTABLE for – what they are responsible to accomplish. TIP: be very specific and list the major things that you are going to expect them to do on a regular basis. Include timeframes, accuracy level, completeness, etc.

The Success Measures should be 3-4 bullet points listing the specific measures you are going to use to determine whether or not they are doing this position well. TIP: try to have at least 1 daily measure, 1 weekly measure, 1 monthly measure and 1 annual measure. This will take some thought, but if you do this, you will set your team member up for success – and your business too!

The Non-Negotiables should be 6-8 bullet points listing the specific behaviors you expect and demand of someone performing this position. Make them clear and actionable – not fluffy and soft. TIP: these should be the behaviors that you would see every day from your IDEAL team member – set the standard HIGH in this area!

The Signatures should be at the bottom of the document and have a place for the incumbent (your team member in this position) and their supervisor (or you as the owner) to sign and date. This is a confirmation that I have received the Position Agreement and I understand what is expected of me. TIP: Don’t skip the step of having each one signed and dated. It’s a powerful way to get confirmation and commitment.

That’s it! Simple, yet powerful! Once you have these in place for everyone on your team, they will know EXACTLY what they are expected to do, how they will be measured and what behaviors they must demonstrate in the workplace.

Oh, by the way, as a Business Owner, you should have one for YOURSELF too! It makes a big statement that you’re serious when you have one completed and signed on yourself.

And, one last bonus tip – once you have them completed and signed, POST them where everyone can see them. No surprises, no hidden agendas. Here’s how we get work done. Here’s how we behave. It will help you identify gaps and holes and make your entire team work better together.

If you’d like me to send you a sample form, just leave a comment below and I’ll send it to you. You’ll be glad you did!

If you have a comment or question, please leave it in the comments section. Share this with anyone you think could use it. I hope this is helpful!

Ride Hard,