CONSULTATION : Job Descriptions are a Management Essential

Why do I need job description? My company insists on laboriously documenting the details of my job in one and then when it is finished it just sits there and I never look at it again. What is the point?

Your view is understandable and I suspect it reflects the thoughts of many people. The preparation of good job description is not easy and can become more bureaucratic than useful if not done well. However, your job description acts as foundation for some very important management issues.
It is very important in world of increasing scarcity of skilled resources that managers are able to effectively attract and engage good employees. One of the essential elements of engagement is that person needs to know what is expected of them before they can fully commit. The job description defines the core elements and accountabilities of the role and helps the job holder get good grip on their accountabilities.
The second management foundation delivered by good job description is that it acts as an underlying roadmap for coaching and developing the job holder for higher performance. This is beneficial for the employee in the form of enhanced engagement through achievement and development and also for the organisation which benefits from the increased performance delivered.
The third management foundation delivered by good job description is the ability to use it to identify the remuneration for the role that is fair and equitable. good job description will define the size and scope of the role and enable effective comparison with other roles in the organisation.
A job description is not looked at every day but it is an important reference point for the three key management building blocks described above. It will also help you recognise when your role has changed and enable you to communicate this to your manager in way that enables them to recognise and agree that it should be updated.

I am manager in medium to small business. I have university degree and have been on number of management skills courses over the years. Even so, I have often wondered whether it would be worthwhile joining professional organisation such as the New Zealand Institute of Management. However, I am not sure of the value of doing this. What are the pros and cons?

There are really two types of professional membership organisations. The first is the chartered organisation that governs entry into the profession. For example, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the New Zealand Law Society, and the Institute of Professional Engineers. The second type of professional membership organisation is more general in coverage and does not require the passing of examinations or being member to practise in that profession. Examples of this type are the New Zealand Institute of Management, the Human Resource Institute of New Zealand, the New Zealand Computer Society, and the Institute of Directors.
A main function of any professional organisation will be to define the core competencies for that profession. For example, in the management profession this could cover the roles of supervisor, new manager, middle manager, senior manager, and chief executive. These standards will usually be presented in model and will be based on worldwide research. This acts as guide for development for people working in that profession. The professional organisation will also provide visible recognition of its members’ professional achievements by awarding them membership grades based on these standards. For example, associate, member, associate fellow, fellow, and life member. The membership organisation will often link its competency model with specific training recommendations which will form learning framework for the profession.
A further area of value provided for members is the opportunity to meet other people in the profession and learn from their practical experience. Another added value service is the provision of useful information via websites and membership magazines and newsletters. Other useful services provided by professional bodies cover research, for example NZIM’s
Annual Manager Capability Index, and representation at both the local and national levels. Professional organisations, in general, act on behalf of their members’ interests and provide professional focus that supports the member and adds to their understanding of their profession.
If you decide to join one, you will gain value in excess of your annual membership fee provided you are willing to be an active member of the organisation that you choose to join.

Kevin Gaunt, FNZIM, FAIM, is CEO of NZIM Auckland and has been senior executive with, and consultant to, some of New Zealand’s largest companies.

Address your problems to Kevin Gaunt at: [email protected]

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