• by Brian Monette

Job descriptions: why do they fail?

Updated: Jun 16, 2018

Today all organizations are under the pressure of a constantly changing workplace. Successful organizations know the importance of understanding all aspects of their business in real time, and with targeted accuracy. Being innovative, adaptable and strategic are vital components of both growth and longevity. So why is it, in this time of rapid change and competition, that companies continue to rely on the traditional Job Description? This long-standing organizational tool is struggling to meet the high stakes needs of today’s fast-paced and transforming workforce.

Put quite simply, the classic employee job description fails the ‘value over effort’ test. Organizational leaders are recognizing that they can no longer depend on traditional job descriptions to meet their recruiting, development, performance, and leadership needs. All too often HR recruiting staff and front line managers spend valuable time and resources creating job descriptions without having access to the detailed success factors of a role, the role connections across other areas of the business or the key areas of opportunity and challenge. This leads to the creation of vague and misaligned role descriptions that inevitably cause several negative ripple effects throughout the organization. As a result, the wrong person is hired for the job while the best candidate is left on the table. This commonly results in losses in productivity, employee engagement, managerial effectiveness and employee retention. When employees are unhappy, managers are overwhelmed and productivity is low an organization’s ability to stay competitive is at risk. Only companies that can successfully attract, hire, develop and promote the best candidates will thrive and become industry leaders. To do this, organizations need to reexamine how they uncover and share an accurate understanding of each and every employee’s role.

Now is the time for organizations to take a closer look at how they understand, describe and capture job success factors. Leading organizations know precisely what it is that their people do and are able to capture and share that knowledge in ways that are quick, meaningful and accessible. Moving forward it will be crucial for companies to find innovative ways to understand each employee’s experience and efficiently document all the tasks, knowledge and best practices central to the success of their current and future role. Only then will leaders, managers and employees have a shared and impactful understanding of the individual contributions that drive business results.


© 2016 by Transition Path Inc.

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