Eric Jacobson

Archive for the ‘Job Descriptions’ Category

Use Job Descriptions

In Employee Engagement, General Leadership Skills, Job Descriptions, Leadership, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Management, Setting Goals on March 2, 2011 at 4:55 am

It’s tempting to not write job descriptions, especially if you own a small business or lead a small team of employees.  But, don’t fall into that trap. 

Whether you have one or many employees, be sure each has a current and accurate job description. 

A job description is a written document that should include the:

  • employee’s duties
  • responsibilities
  • outcomes needed from that position
  • required qualifications
  • reporting relationship

And, if you have job descriptions but they are poorly written or out-of-date, that will lead to confusion and misunderstandings. 

Once you have a job description for each employee, you’ll be able to ensure the descriptions all fit together logically and leave no holes in the duties that need to be assigned throughout your team or business.

  • Check your job descriptions at least yearly to be sure they reflect the employee’s proper title and current duties. Very often employees get new job titles or are assigned new tasks mid-year, and those don’t get reflected in their job descriptions. Don’t let that happen.

Finally, if you don’t have access to a Human Resources department that can help you craft your job descriptions you can find lots of good examples online.

Performance Reviews Are Also For Small Businesses

In General Leadership Skills, Job Descriptions, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Management, Motivating Employees, Performance Appraisals on July 9, 2010 at 8:29 pm

“I think that senior management of businesses should hold managers accountable and take Human Resources out of the role of ‘performance review cops,'” proclaims Sharon Armstrong, author of the new book, The Essential Performance Review Handbook.

“Best practice organizations of all sizes recognize that the success of any performance appraisal system depends heavily on senior-level support,” explained Armstrong.

And when Armstrong refers to businesses of all sizes, she means even those with fewer than 10 employees can benefit by using an appraisal system.

Armstrong’s reasoning is:

For the small business — it’s a chance to:

  • communicate their future plans
  • provide an objective basis for raises and training
  • build stronger working relationships
  • improve overall organizational productivity
  • provide documentation for inquiries on general promotion policies or individual claims of discrimination

For the manager — they get a change to:

  • build their management skills
  • develop and improve rapport with employees
  • identify and reward high performers
  • identify performers needing coaching or training
  • identify general training needs
  • improve group morale

For the employee — they:

  • find out how they’re doing
  • receive recognition for their accomplishments
  • gain two-way communication on goals and performance
  • are encouraged to take responsibility for their performance and progress
  • receive goals that will guide their future efforts
  • are provided opportunities for career development and improvement

Armstrong’s book includes plenty of helpful tips and techniques, along with a host of sample appraisal forms that business can use to create a form and overall process appropriate for their business.

Armstrong is although the author of The Essential HR Handbook, which is ideal for HR managers and non-HR staff, as well.

HR Handbook Is For All Managers

In General Leadership Skills, Hiring, Job Descriptions, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Performance Appraisals on January 12, 2010 at 9:28 pm

It’s unfortunately too common for an employee to be promoted into a management position with little to no Human Resources (HR) training.  Similarly, many small business owners don’t have a dedicated human resources person so they end up muddling their way through critical human resources issues while wearing the HR hat.

These are some of the reasons authors Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell wrote the book “The Essential HR Handbook,” described by them as “a quick and handy resource for any manager or HR professional.”

If you don’t have the time or funds to attend HR training at a nearby educational institution or if there is not within your workplace a qualified and seasoned mentor to teach you HR skills, this book provides the novice manager important basics, accompanied by real-world examples and templates that you can readily use as you lead your team of one or more employees.  It’s also an excellent refresher for managers who need to hone their hiring, onboarding, and performance evaluating capabilities.

Within 250 digest-size pages, authors Armstrong and Mitchell cover:

  •        Strategic planning
  •        Mission statements
  •        Optimal staffing
  •        Interviewing
  •        Orientation and onboarding
  •        Training and development
  •        Performance evaluations
  •        Benefits
  •        Compensation
  •        Employee relations
  •        Legal considerations
  •        Diversity
  •        Technology
  •        21st-Century workplace challenges

So, the book covers the core elements of the HR function, and includes in each topic section/chapter a summary “Main Message For Managers” that serves as both a quick read for those with limited time and as a reminder point for future reference.

One of the most important chapters walks the reader through the entire performance appraisal process where the authors caution managers to watch for these pitfalls when rating employees:

  1.        Clustering everyone in the middle performance-rating categories
  2.        Overlooking flaws or exaggerating the achievements of favored employees
  3.        Excusing substandard performance or behavior because it is widespread
  4.        Letting one characteristic — positive or negative — affect your overall assessment
  5.        Rating someone based on the company he or she keeps
  6.        Rating someone based on a grudge you are holding
  7.        Rating someone based on too short of a time period
  8.        Rating everyone high, to make you look good

In addition, even seasoned managers who interact with their HR staff can benefit from, in particular, reading and learning the lingo in the chapter on legal considerations.

When Armstrong isn’t writing books, she’s reading, and one of her favorite leadership books  is “The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave,” written by Leigh Branham, of Keeping The People, Inc., in Overland Park, KS.

Use Job Descriptions

In General Leadership Skills, Job Descriptions, Motivating Employees, Performance Appraisals on November 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Photo By: iStock

Whether you have one or many employees, be sure each has a current and accurate job description.

A job description is a written document that should include the employee’s duties, responsibilities and outcomes needed from that position. It should also include the required qualifications and reporting relationship.

If your employee has a poorly written job description, or one that is out-of-date, it will lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

Once you have a job description for each employee, you’ll be able to ensure the descriptions all fit together logically and leave no holes in the duties that need to be assigned.

Check your job descriptions at least yearly to be sure they reflect the employee’s proper title and current duties. Very often employees get new job titles or are assigned new tasks mid-year, and those don’t get reflected in their job descriptions. Don’t let that happen.

Finally, if you don’t have access to a Human Resources department that can help you craft your job descriptions you can find lots of good examples online.

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