It’s surprising how many businesses don’t bother with (or have never heard of!) a JDF (Job Description Form) and yet they are critical tools for managing staff and should form the foundation component of any Performance Appraisal process.
Alternatively we encounter businesses who do have JDF’s but they have never been reviewed and have really lost relevance in relation to the actual responsibilities and duties required by or performed by a position.
A JDF is all about ‘position’ not ‘person’ and details who that position reports to, the ‘Scope’ of the position (generally a paragraph of 4 or 5 sentences for example that details ‘what’ the position is about) and then a list of ‘Key Responsibilities’ and typical duties associated with fulfilling these responsibilities.
Tied to these are Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) which should clearly detail the specific measurements that the employer will use to assess the performance achievement of the person carrying out the role. In other words the ‘guess work’ is taken out of the position and we avoid playing the game of ‘what’s in my head’ when it comes to understanding what the role is about and what the expectations are that devolve to it. It’s amazing how often communication can be completely adrift between employer and employee when lack of paperwork leads to a different understanding of role expectations.
A well written JDF acts as the source of sound ‘Key Performance Indicators’ and other performance measures. So without a relevant JDF it is an almost impossible job to establish clear performance guidelines and expectations. Too often we get clients calling us who say ‘I’m having a real issue with so and so they just aren’t performing ‘satisfactorily’ – now there’s a word that causes issue totally disproportionate to the intrinsic meaning of the word!! What does ‘satisfactory’ mean within the context of your workplace and the position anyway?
A JDF should always include ‘other duties as required’ as no single JDF will capture all of the typical outputs that a particular position will perform during the course of the day or the week.
Too often a JDF is created by a manager or employer with no genuine input from the person actually doing the job. Our recommendation would be that, whilst it is a fundamental responsibility of management to establish a ‘baseline’ JDF, the input of the position holder is critical to ensuring its relevance within your workplace.
In general terms it is reasonable to assume that the person fulfilling the duties of a given position will have much more intimate knowledge of the mechanics of that position than either the employer or of management.
Without a JDF you’ll be struggling to articulate this clearly and to performance manage staff who aren’t coming up to the mark.
So, take the opportunity to either review your JDF’s with staff input or take the time to formulate a clear JDF with the input of existing staff within the role or roles required.
A good JDF is part of our ‘Best Practice Model’ and it should be a critical part of your workplace too.
Call us for further advice and assistance (08) 9792 4451.