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HR 101 – What to do When . . . When You Need to Compile a Job Description – Part 3

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Please note that this pertains to South African Labour Relations and Best Practices.

The one tip that we discussed last week was that the description of what the staff member needs to do has to be accurate and realistic.

The next tip is that the Job Description has to outline the job’s location, job purpose and content. It also has to document the relationships involved, the authority involved and the controls and checks.

Let’s examine what this means. Let’s take an Operations Manager’s position in a retail chain. Now clearly in this type of scenario, there are many different types of Managers. There would be store managers, Area or Regional Managers, Procurement Managers, Administration Managers, (and that’s just for the stores, never mind what happens at Head Office.) and so on. So if you were looking for an Operations Manager for the “stores” as opposed to an Operations Manager for Head Office or the Warehouse or Factory, this would need to be specified and the fact that it is a Manager that is required and not an operations assistant or an operation’s clerk is of vital importance. This would highlight that the “job’s location in the organization” is one of the Operations Manager of the stores. It stands to reason then, that all the Operations Managers in the company would have similar, but not necessarily the same tasks to fulfil, so these need to be itemized carefully.

The job purpose and content would of course be to “Manage the Operational” requirements of all the stores countrywide and take responsibility for how well the stores run. This would include, but not be limited to, the responsibility of the staff, the sales of the stores and the reaching of targets, as well as the control of budgets and related financial movements. The projection of the company image to the public is also something that should be taken into account. It would include things like staff training on product and sales training, setting of budgets and targets, the responsibility of ensuring that Government legislation is complied with and that the HR and Labour issues are met and controlled. Issues of safety and health would also need to be controlled, not only for the staff but also for clients. Merchandising of stock and procurement of supplies would also fall under the responsibility of the Operations Manager. So be sure to list everything that needs to be done.

The relationships involved would include the staff who would report to the Operations Manager, who the Operations Manager would report into as well as what controls and checks would be in place to measure the Operations Manager performance. This would include, but not be limited to, targets and budgets being met and so on. It would also be necessary to include things like the minimum requirements of the job, you would not employ someone straight out of school to perform this task, now would you? Issues such as, what are the minimum educational requirements (for example, a minimum of matric and a Management diploma or degree or a minimum of x number of years working experience in an Operational Environment or Managerial position) and so on.

Clearly, the expectation of both the holder of the job (in this case the Operations Manager) and their supervisor must be the same or similar. They must equally understand exactly what is required when it is required and how the job must be done. Often issues of “expectation” and “perception,” not meeting in the middle are what causes the most headaches and conflict within an organization.

Next week we will continue with some more tips on how to write a Job Description.