Detailed Job Descriptions for Employees

Have you ever heard the saying; “It is better to let your employees do their job the best way they see fit so they are happy and productive”?  Of course not.  That would be completely ridiculous.   Don’t you think it would make more sense to create an extraordinary system for your staff to operate within?  A system with clear expectations and ways to measure success?  I know this may be counterintuitive to the Veteran or Baby Boomer Generations who tend to think that if we all work hard together it will all get done.  The truth is that if you want a Generation X or Millennial employee to do their job well you need to clearly define the systems and provide detail of tasks to be performed.  They are not satisfied with just showing up each day, existing, and collecting a check without feeling like they have truly contributed.  Thus giving some validity to the importance of detailed job descriptions in today’s work environment. 

As proof that job descriptions are a must in your company, most studies that rank the top motivating factors to happy employees have sense of accomplishment in their top two.  That means for an employee to feel motivated at their job they must go home each day with the sense that the effort they put in at work actually produced some positive output.  Now, if they don’t know exactly what is expected of them, how do they get that consistent sense of accomplishment?  The answer is simple.  They don’t.  In fact, 72% of the current workforce consider themselves disengaged.  To make matters even worse the estimated cost of one unproductive employee per year is estimated at $320,000.  This situation leads to lots of employer/employee conflict and a high turnover rate. 

With the upcoming 2016 launch of the WFCA University, powered by Benchmarkinc, I have been spending more time at the office and on the road than in previous years.  This created quite an extra burden for my wife and she came up with a general plan that stated, “When you are in town you need to help more around the house in the mornings”. Sounded pretty simple to me.   I started taking care of the dogs, made the bed, sometimes made breakfast, cleaned up after breakfast, and then took our youngest to school. 

It was a complete shock when she came to me with the Colombian look of disappointment stating that I wasn’t really keeping up with my end of the bargain.  As with any logical, supportive, and understanding husband I turned to her to say, “You’re crazy don’t you see all the things I do in the morning”?  Now for any of you that are married to a Latin person you can see how that was a big mistake.  Her response was that I wasn’t doing what she wanted me to do and I wasn’t doing them how she wanted them done.  She even went on to say that I was creating more work for her because my process was not very detailed.  Then the light bulb went off.  I realized the reason for this misunderstanding was the failure to set expectations.  If she just told me what she wanted done, how she wanted it done, when it needed to be completed and in what order, there wouldn’t be any issues.  That is what we consultants call a job description.  Crazy enough, when she forgave me for being a smartass and I performed according to her set of expectations I have been officially out of the doghouse for weeks. 

When it comes to the flooring industry having detailed job descriptions are quite a good thing.  According to a survey conducted by Benchmarkinc in which several hundred flooring owners participated over a three-year period ending 2013 independent flooring stores that have detailed job descriptions for their staff experience:

  • $34,567 higher volume per sales associate
  • 14% lower days in accounts receivable
  • 7% greater than average sales volume
  • $291 higher average transaction 

Creating detailed job descriptions can be a bit tricky.  Although listing tasks for each employee is a good start, it is just that a good start.  Listing that the warehouse position is responsible for staging materials for installers and keeping the warehouse clean and organized is void of the most important piece; what does it look like done right?  A detailed job description will look something like this:

Task:  Stage Material for Installers    

Measure:  All proper materials are placed in staging area, with picking ticket attached, by 5:00 pm the day prior to the scheduled installation date.

That is a recipe that will work perfectly for all duties to be performed by every member of your team.   It provides the framework for what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how it needs to be done.  All three are important variables in retaining happy and productive employees.  Best of all it should give you a piece of mind that your company has a much better chance of being successful without your constant involvement.   Could be a nice step in the right direction to owning a business and not a job.