A while back, a laboratory in preparation for their first inspection asked me an interesting question. This lab was reviewing their personnel files to ensure they were in compliance and wanted me to take a look at their job descriptions to make sure they were adequate. While I proceeded to help this lab with the information they needed, I began to think about the importance of having an adequate job description and what this can do for a laboratory. I started to think about my early years as a bench tech, in which I wore different hats and was often a jack of all trades, and master of nada.
So why is a job description important? An adequate job description outlines the main duties or responsibilities associated with the position. From management’s point of view, having a detailed job description allows for a more targeted approach when hiring because it makes clear what kind of skills/knowledge a person must possess in order to fit the bill. But an adequate job description is not only important for Human Resources or for hiring purposes, it is also important when it comes time to assessing employee performance as well. A detailed job description communicates to staff the manager’s expectations for the position. And if the hiring process was successful in identifying the candidate that best fits the skills and knowledge necessary for the job, having a clear understanding of expectations should yield an effective performance!
From the employee’s point of view, there is nothing more frustrating than working hard, or going above and beyond and being evaluated as sub-par or just average. If an employee is thinking about moving up the ladder, looking at the job description is a good starting point to understand how to exceed management’s expectations. Having clear communication regarding the duties and expectations associated with the position will make it easier for both management and staff to measure effectiveness and/or identify opportunities for improvement. So next time you get a chance, check out your job description and see if your understanding of your role and responsibilities matches that of management.