Create Great Job Descriptions


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Presentation for PSAB Spring Conference 2013

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Create Great Job Descriptions

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  4. 4. And it was so.4
  5. 5. Jobs were staticWorker and machineFritz Lang MetropolisSymbols-clock-lines-uniformity-rules-terror of losing job-golden city vs ghetto-management at top-separated from worker5
  6. 6. Taylors scientific management consisted of four principles:• Replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on a scientific study ofthe tasks.• Scientifically select, train, and develop each employee rather than passively leavingthem to train themselves.• Provide "Detailed instruction and supervision of each worker in the performanceof that workers discrete task" (Montgomery 1997: 250).• Divide work nearly equally between managers and workers, so that the managersapply scientific management principles to planning the work and the workersactually perform the tasks.Taylor had very precise ideas about how to introduce his system:It is only through enforced standardization of methods, enforced adoption of the bestimplements and working conditions, and enforced cooperation that this faster workcan be assured. And the duty of enforcing the adoption of standards and enforcingthis cooperation rests with management alone.[9]Workers were supposed to be incapable of understanding what they were doing.According to Taylor this was true even for rather simple tasks.6
  7. 7. I can say, without the slightest hesitation, Taylor told a congressional committee,that the science of handling pig-iron is so great that the man who is ... physically ableto handle pig-iron and is sufficiently phlegmatic and stupid to choose this for hisoccupation is rarely able to comprehend the science of handling pig-iron.[10]Taylor believed in transferring control from workers to management. He set out toincrease the distinction between mental (planning work) and manual labor(executing work). Detailed plans specifying the job, and how it was to be done, wereto be formulated by management and communicated to the workers.[11]6
  8. 8. Elton Mayo’s team conducted a number of experiments involving six female workers.These experiments are often referred to as the Hawthorne experiments orHawthorne studies as they took place at The Hawthorne Works of the WesternElectric Company in Chicago.Hawthorne Experiment DetailsOver the course of five years, Mayo’s team altered the female worker’s workingconditions and monitored how the change in working conditions affected the workersmorale and productivity. The changes in working conditions included changes inworking hours, rest breaks, lighting, humidity, and temperature. The changes wereexplained to the workers prior to implementation.Hawthorne Experiment ResultsAt the end of the five year period, the female worker’s working conditions, revertedback to the conditions before the experiment began. Unexpectedly the workersmorale and productivity rose to levels higher than before and during the experiments.The combination of results during and after the experiment (ie the increase in theworkers productivity when they were returned to their original working conditions)led Mayo to conclude that workers were motivated by psychological conditions morethan physical working condition.Hawthorne Experiment ConclusionsAfter analyzing the results from the Hawthorne experiments Mayo concluded thatworkers were motivated by more than self interest and instead the following applied:7
  9. 9. Psychological ContractThere is an unwritten understanding between the worker and employerregarding what is expected from them; Mayo called this the psychologicalcontract.Interest in WorkersMotivation in workers can be increased by showing an interest in them. Mayoclassified studying the workers (through the experiments) as showing an interest inthe workers.Work is a Group ActivityWork is a group activity, team work can increase a worker’s motivation as it allowspeople to form strong working relationships and increases trust between theworkers. Work groups are created formally by the employer but also occur informally.Both informal and formal groups should be used to increase productivity as informalgroups influence the worker’s habits and attitudes.Social Aspect of WorkWorkers are motivated by the social aspect of work, as demonstrated by the femaleworkers socializing during and outside work and the subsequent increase inmotivation.Recognize WorkersWorkers are motivated by recognition, security and a sense of belonging.CommunicationThe communication between workers and management influences workers’ moraleand productivity. Workers are motivated through a good working relationship withmanagement.
  10. 10. Functional Job Analysis therefore lets you answer the question, "To do this task andmeet these standards, what training does the worker require?“For half a century this was the dominant model for analyzing work. The Dictionary ofOccupational Titles, which relied heavily on this model, was a taxonomy andconceptual schema for understanding work. It was in effect, a common language.Functional Analysis was heavily used by the United States Employment Service• Selecting workers who filled job specifications• Counseling entrants to the labor market or a particular job about the expectations ofthe job• Career counseling and steering people with particular needs toward jobs for whichthey are best suited.What became known as the field of personnel management and later human resourcemanagement did not arrive until after World War II.8
  11. 11. In the 90’s, the DOL decided to cease updates to the DOT and instead build an on-linetool for employers.This approach to building a job description is fast and based on content methodologywhich means it is validated. For example, if you rely on this data for a job in yourorganization that closely resembles an ONET job, and you are later challenged (underEEOC regulations) about why you require a bachelor’s degree for a particular job, youcan defend your decision by stating that you relied on ONETonline.We will take time to explore this site and how you can use it to develop your jobdescriptions.9
  12. 12. Job descriptions are the foundation of a good human resource system. If job analysisis thorough, they can be utilized for the following:• Recruitment• Selection• Orientation• Job Evaluation• Compensation• Training and Development• Performance Evaluation• Promote compliance with employment regulations, especiallyEqual Employment OpportunityAmericans With Disabilities ActFair Labor Standards Act• Assist with good faith defense of other complaints under regulations, especiallythe following:Labor Relations LawsWorkers CompensationUnemployment CompensationThe employment regulations cited aboveANY COMPLAINT WHERE A QUESTION REGARDING ACTUAL JOBDUTIES IS INVOLVED10
  13. 13. If your job descriptions do not reflect actual duties, revise or dump them and createnew ones.Possible scenarios1) The employee does not have time to perform the duties that are identified asprimary because of other pressing issues. Eg., The employee was hired in part as arecording secretary, but the only way that job can be performed is if it is doneafter hours.• SOLUTION: Re-design job2) The employee does not want to perform the essential duties because they believeanother part of their job is more important. Eg., Codes enforcement focuses onfire safety and inspections to the exclusion of other equally important functions.• SOLUTION: Managerial direction and performance counseling3) The employee is new to a job and is still “growing into” the job functions.• SOLUTION: Review the job description with the employee at appropriateintervals to assess their progress and document your discussion. Thisemployee should not be penalized but, for instance, if he is still not“actually” supervising and directing others, he should not yet be exemptfrom overtime.11
  14. 14. Keep documentationThree different areas of focus, but the job description can address all three.• Job Analysis• Job Evaluation• Performance Evaluation12
  15. 15. See for examples of primary tasks and other key elements of jobdescriptionJob Titles are important for identifying where a job belongs in the universe of jobs. Itcan be creative but at the minimum should convey what other jobs this one is like;that is, does it belong to an established class of jobs? Job Titles that convey moreauthority or expertise than is actually exercised are a bad idea. For example, abookkeeper should not be called an accountant if the person does not haveappropriate education or certification to support that title. Why? One, because itmesses up market surveys! But more importantly, it sets into motion amisunderstanding about the scope and nature of work, and our job is to IMPROVEcommunication about what is expected.General summaries are important as a thumbnail sketch of a job. They areused in market surveys and reflect at a glance the level of complexity and howmuch autonomy is exercised in the job.To comply with the ADA, an employer must distinguish between essential andnonessential job functions. Essential functions are those that are central to jobperformance. The job would not exist without those essential job functions.Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for anotherwise qualified individual to perform the essential job functions.13
  16. 16. The Competency section is critical to performance reviews and employee training anddevelopment plans.ADA compliance is also promoted by identifying working conditions that may berequired to perform the job. For example, peripheral vision to operate somemachinery; or ability to work in a busy office and deal with irate, frustratedcustomers!FLSA exempt (not covered by overtime regulations) or non-exempt (covered byregulations)As an aside, questions about “Reporting Relationships” often reveal much about anorganization and surprisingly, many have a difficult time answering them.14
  17. 17. Many municipal governments are being affected by these changes!Today we have more complex systems:We are highly interfaced with the public, our customers.Like it or not, we are becoming more inter-connected with our neighboringmunicipalities, especially with respect to environmental issues and infra-structuresystems like water, waste-water and power.Today our work is largely about solving problems in uncertain systems. This requiresus to be more connected to one another because no one person has all the pieces ofinformation.Teamwork, collaboration and ability to adapt to change are the key skill sets we needto be emphasizing in jobs.15
  18. 18. Although the traditional job description will be here for awhile yet, the description ofthe future will be more likely to describe a person, as opposed to a job.• Roles• Portfolios• Tags16
  19. 19. [People will need to refer to the handout on the website to view this in detail]A municipality with few staff for its robust size, but all of whom are highlyexperienced and efficient, is facing retirement of many key employees. They want toknow how to put into place an organization structure and job design that will helporient future employees understand their culture, values and how they work. Theypride themselves on being lean, focused on execution, and working as a team; inshort, they are a high performing organization and they want that to continue in thefuture.This chart is a work in progress but introduces a way to think about work: This organization structure design focuses on primary roles and processes (howwe get things done) and less on hierarchy Job Titles will e developed to help the public understand functional job focus andto help the Township match pay to the marketTAGS17
  20. 20. • As jobs are designed, they can be tagged with FUNCTIONAL AREAS or withPROJECTS.ROLES• People may have a PRIMARY ROLE in one functional area (and this willprobably be reflected in their job title) but they may be tagged with otherfunctional areas or projects and have different roles with those assignments.• Tags may be re-assigned on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.17
  21. 21. JOB DESCRIPTIONS WILL LOOK MORE LIKE PORTFOLIOS• Each employee develops a portfolio that reflects the progression of jobknowledge and skills.• When Marlene’s job is reviewed, it is based on what functions and areas offocus she has been tagged with.• She also has project and task tags that have nothing to do with these areas andmay change quarterly or annually.• These tags convey how much she has on her plate, also the scope of herexpertise and ability to contribute to the organization.In order for this to work, core work processes need to be documented.1. Identify your primary and secondary functional areas of work. For example,a. Board relationsb. Administrationc. Planningd. Business Servicese. Customer Service18
  22. 22. f. Community Development1. Breakdown and develop a short description for each functional area2. Within those functional areas, document how core work processes look. Forexample, you can map the flow of activity and describe important steps in thefollowing:a. Purchasingb. Customer Responsec. Accounts Receivable and Payabled. PermittingInstead of job specifications the organization will focus on work process specifications.So, for example, if a primary part of your work is customer service, then your jobPORTFOLIO will identify that this is a primary function, but the work processspecification will identify how that is accomplished in the organization.If business services are a primary function of your job, then you will be expected tobe a specialist in core processes that support accounting activities; others, who areinvolved in only part of the process may be generalists. (They know what to do withthe money when it comes in but they are not responsible for overseeing the wholeprocess.)In the future, job descriptions really will reflect more the person, and what thatperson contributes to the organization mission, vision and goals, instead of the otherway around where we try to fit someone to a pre-configured job.18
  23. 23. These should be reflected in every job description, or job portfolio!19
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