Unfortunately, it is rare to see SMEs with clear and documented job descriptions with roles and responsibilities.

I often see a duplication of tasks, not done in the same way by different people. There is no standardization and therefore less efficiency.

Another observation is the perception that everyone is responsible, so no one really is in the end because everyone thinks things will be done by others. Tasks fall in the cracks. When you realize that it is not done, it becomes another emergency to manage.

Or finally, the tasks are simply not assigned to someone, which eventually ends up causing problems.

Clearly defined roles and responsibilities help as much the company, the managers as the employees.

For the company and the management team, they allow:

  • an increase in efficiency, motivation and commitment of employees;
  • to facilitate the management of employees and avoid being told that it is not in their tasks;
  • to assist your recruitment process by having clear positions for posting and selecting candidates;
  • to establish an organizational structure (organizational chart), performance evaluations and compensation structure.

For employees, clear roles and responsibilities allow:

  • to assist in the integration of new employees by providing a clear framework on their roles and responsibilities in the company;
  • to assist in establishing training and development plans if the employee’s skill level is not at the skill level required by the position;
  • to motivate employees who clearly understand what they need to do.

Here are 5 steps to establishing your roles and responsibilities and documenting them in job descriptions.

1. List the main tasks performed by the person

You can do this without involving an employee who is in the position to be defined, but it is always better to involve them. This will increase the accuracy of the job description and increase the motivation of the employees involved.

2. List the requirements

List the required tools, knowledge and skills required for the position and tasks. This will help you to establish 2 things: first the required skills, like working in a team, communicating well, being autonomous, etc.  Secondly, the necessary knowledge for the job, for example to know Word, Excel, speak English, have a diploma, etc.

It is very important to list the requirements for your ideal candidate. It does not limit you to the requirements of your current people, if they do not have all the requirements you would like in the best of worlds. This difference between the real and the ideal knowledge and skills for the job will serve as a training and development plan for your employees. This will motivate your teams.

3. Document the job description

Have a standard format for all your positions. A job description should be 1 or 2 pages maximum. I propose the following sections :

Section 1: Position title and hierarchical level information in the organization (to whom the person refers).

Section 2: Job Summary. To help you define it, you can answer the question, “What is the purpose of the job? “.

Section 3: Main responsibilities and tasks. Each statement should begin with an action verb. It is important to put in the end, “Any other related tasks according to the needs of the company”, in order to leave you flexibility for small tasks or changes that you will not put in the job description.

Section 4: Required skills.

Section 5: Required knowledge.

Section 6: Dated signature of immediate manager and employee. It is important to write something like, “By signing this job description, I certify (employee’s name) that I have read, understood and accepted this position and these roles and responsibilities.”

4. Revision of the description by the manager

If the job description is done with or by employees, it is important that the manager reviews and approves it. The goal is to ensure that all the tasks and responsibilities of his team are well documented and assigned to the right people.

5. Presentation of documented job descriptions to employees

Once documented, present these job descriptions to your employees so they can read them and sign them. This formality is important in order to make sure your teams understand their roles.

In conclusion, do not forget to revise the job descriptions as needed and at a frequency that you think will be good for your organization, for example every 3 years. These documents are alive like your business.