This article is the second in a series of three articles that describes how to get clarity about your present role in your organization and write an effective job description. Yesterday’s article established that writing a job description for your present position will help you clarify your role and establish a sense of better control and direction over your job. See full article here.
Before you begin writing your job description effectively, you need to thoroughly document your understanding of your role, its scope and context. This is the intention of job analysis.
Step 0: Prepare and Survey
You should have been on your current job for a suitably long-enough period of time, ideally three to four months, to develop a fairly reasonable perspective of your job and its requirements. Collect a job description if one exists for your role, your boss’s and your employees’ job descriptions if they exist, your organization’s objectives and any metrics that you report on a regular basis. Study these documents carefully.
Step 1A: Focus on Contribution to the Whole
Yesterday’s article established that your job exists to fulfill an essential function of your organization. Therefore, at the outset, your job analysis should focus on this specific need of the organization.
Identify the goals and the end-product of your organization. If you work at a larger organization, focus on the product of your business division or department. Ask, “Who is the customer of our organization? What do we produce? What service do we deliver?” Then, examine how your role fits in this larger context. Ask, “What contribution does my role make to this whole? How do I add value? How does my work contribute to the performance and results of my organization?”
Step 1B: Understand the Interrelationships
Reflect on how your role is interrelated to others’ roles in the broader context of your organization. If feasible, make a special effort to ascertain the contributions of your manager, his manager and his peers, your peers and your direct-reports. Ask, “How does your role fit into our organization? What are your goals and objectives? How does my work help you contribute in your role? How do you use my work? What can I do to help you and how? What product or service can I provide you to help you become more effective?”
Step 2: Identify What Your Role Requires of You
Given a thorough understanding of your organization’s objectives, establish what the demands of your role are. Stress on defining your key responsibilities and contributions by asking, “What do I need to do to meaningfully add value and contribute to the results of my organization?”
Step 3: Refine Your Role around Your Strengths
In principle, no job should be structured to suit the incumbent employee — every job should be task-focused and organized by function to ensure continuity and succession. However, to promote ownership and job satisfaction of the incumbent employee, her role should be customized to reflect her strengths and weaknesses to the extent possible, without compromising the core contributions expected of her role. This balance between job satisfaction and productive work is critical.
Once you have established what your role demands of you, understand how your unique strengths and characteristics can help your role be more effective for your organization. Ask, “What unique skills do I bring to this job? How can I channel my strengths to enhance this role?”
Step 4: Include How You Can Grow and Expand Your Role
Every job consists of tasks and activities. Managers and organizations often belatedly discover that, when the component tasks tend to be repetitive, an employee may no longer feel challenged and may therefore lose motivation on the job. Hence, all jobs should provide opportunities for the personal and professional growth of the employee and opportunities for the role to expand in terms of its responsibilities and contributions.
To identify how you can grow and expand on your job, ask, “What factors and trends will influence my organization in the short- and long-terms. How can my organization respond? What will be its next initiatives and goals? How will our roles change? How will these changes influence my role? What initiatives can I take to add more value to my job? What else can I do to contribute more? What skills can I acquire to be more effective?”