A job description can be the tipping point to having a successful small business. Too often,the self-employed business owner becomes immersed in performing the business and really doesn’t know what his employees are doing and how they are doing it.
This is a recipe for disaster or a near disaster as one of my personal business coaching clients discovered. He had a small company of four employees and was ready to add a fifth. When I first started collaborating with him I asked him for a job description for each employee as well as himself.
As with most business owners he balked at having to create them. His response was, “We’re doing great. Everyone knows what they are doing.” I replied that “Yes, everyone knows what they are doing. But do you know what they are doing and are they doing it right?”
Job Description—What Are You Doing?
For those of you who have taken online training, business training or business courses you understand the importance of a job description. A job description not only defines a job but how the job is being done. A job description brings accountability to measure performance.
This last part, measuring performance is critical. Without accurate measurements, most businesses will ultimately drift into failure. Running a small business is part art or feel and part logic, the thinking.
When my client said his people knew what they were doing he was correct in one sense. They did know what they were doing. The first question was whether or not what they were doing was positioning the company to grow. Were they doing things the right way?
It turned out much to his surprise and disgust, they certainly did know what they were doing. The problem was that much of it was related to making their positions as easy as possible and they were actually detracting from the performance of the company.
Job Description—Know What You And Your Employees Are Doing
Without a job description it is hard to have any meaningful accountability. Why? The job becomes whatever and however the employee chooses to define it. And, that definition can change to suit the circumstances.
The scattered self-employed business owner is focused on everything at once which means that much gets overlooked. And, when it comes to trusting employees without a job description you are writing the formula for failure. Failure and ignorance go hand in hand.
Job Description To The Rescue
After discovering a multitude of problems because each employee had no job description this self-employed business owner embraced the process. Within two weeks each employee and himself had a job description. Yes, there was some resentment with some of the employees and ultimately two of them were let go.
But, the result was everyone knew their responsibilities, a chain of command was established freeing up the self-employed business owner’s time. Each job description brought accountability and improved performance. Also, a definitive work flow was established. Things calmed down.
And, where this business had been stuck for two years it was able to grow significantly with a solid foundation in place. The key as this owner found out is not to hire the best people. The key is to have the best process. When you have the best process you will increase the odds of having people do their best.
And, the center of the best process is to have a written job description for each employee. It created standards. Without a job description in place for each team member it is not possible to have a vibrant and long-term team.