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HR 101 – What to do when . . . You need to compile a Job Description – Part 2

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

Last time we had a look at the difference between an employee’s duties and the job description.

Here are some of (but not limited to) the things that you need to look at and take into account when you want to write a job description.

First of all, you need to be accurate and realistic about the requirements of the job.

Let me tell you a story. Many years ago I was employed by an insurance company, to capture all their handwritten client data onto their computer system and in so doing, drag them kicking and screaming into the 20th Century. They needed to get all of their client information into an electronic format if they were to remain in business and have any sort of competitive edge. At the same time, their own business Administration was in a state of total chaos, and they needed proper procedures and controls put into place to bring some sort of order into their lives.

A few days after I started, I was asked to perform bookkeeping tasks. Now although I am a qualified bookkeeper, I have never done a full set of books for a client and certainly never done a set of books in an accounting package. You see they had seen that I was a qualified bookkeeper (as this information was on my CV) and they thought that they could get two jobs done for the price of one.

Don’t do that – the one job has nothing to do with the other and in this instance actually required two different people.

Make sure that what you require is realistic.

Then there is the case of the domestic worker – here is another story of how things go pear-shaped.

You cannot believe the number of small businesses that have hired their domestic worker as the cleaner/housekeeper/tea lady. This in itself is not a problem at all, in fact, I have done this myself. What is the problem is that all of a sudden the domestic worker becomes the filing clerk and then the office administration clerk.

Now, giving someone the opportunity, if they are capable is absolutely fantastic. Promoting someone to a position that is outside of their capabilities and then holding them accountable when they cannot cope or mess something up, is just plain irresponsible. You cannot fit the Job Description to the person – the person must fit the Job Description. So be honest about what the job entails and what your requirements are for that particular job and then find the person that fits those requirements.

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