Job Description Rules

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A job description is the structured and concise description of the role, responsibilities and challenges of a job that includes the baseline data and other information required to assess the job from the CEO job evaluation plan. It also contains all the information necessary to staff the position.

Essential rules required to write a perfect job description

Rule #1: Collect job information

First, get the information about:

  • The main responsibilities related to the achievement of fundamental operational results and the achievement of the stated public policy objectives.
  • Key business areas in exercising these responsibilities.
  • The level of the position in the organization chart.
  • The scope of responsibilities (numerical values).
  • The major challenges posed by risk management related to the achievement of the organization's mandate.
  • The initiatives related to the core operational activities of the organization and the percentage of effort that each of the key business lines represents in relation to all operational activities.
  • Funding from credits and revenues generated by the organization.
  • Extraordinary situations likely to occur.
  • Behaviors that promote the achievement of objectives.

Then, organize the information under different headings:

  • Position identification
  • General responsibilities
  • Organizational structure
  • Nature and scope of duties
  • Scope of Responsibilities
  • Environment and working conditions
  • Basic skills

Rule #2: Identify the Position

The easiest way is to start by identifying the position:

  • Job title : his official title
  • Organization : the official name of the Crown corporation
  • Location : the geographic location of the position
  • Date of description : the day, month and year when the job description is established

Rule #3: Set general responsibilities

The general responsibilities of the statement explains briefly but accurately, why the job exists ..

The statement, which is in one sentence, should allow the reader to immediately grasp the primary purpose of the position in the organization and clearly bring out the fundamental orientation.

It's important to focus on the core responsibilities of the job, not on writing a detailed summary of the roles and responsibilities of the job.

In the following example, the statement of general responsibilities states that the incumbent must:

" Provide strategic direction, oversight and leadership in the effective management of the resources and assets of the national port system in support of the government's socio-economic agenda, ensuring that the Company is able to fulfill its role as an effective instrument to support the achievement of national, regional and local economic and social objectives. "

The writer emphasizes not a specific function or task, but the result to be achieved. The reader will better understand the primary purpose of the post if the wording is clear and concise. This must always be carefully considered because it situates the context in which the rest of the description fits.

Rule $4: Get the organizational structure

In this part, hierarchical relationships are established.

The location of the position in the hierarchy is indicated, which allows to know:

  • To whom the incumbent is accountable.
  • Who reports directly to him.

Rule $5: Define the nature and scope of duties

This step provides a clear and concise overview of the main business lines and policy objectives that present a great challenge to the incumbent, as well as the priorities or initiatives they embody.

The aim is to give a sense of the lines of business and areas of focus rather than the administrative challenges, such as lack of resources, experienced by all senior executives.

This section should give a clear and concise overview of the work performed by the incumbent.

This information should be structured around three main themes: organizational context; public policy issues; operational issues. Each of these themes is defined below:

  • Organizational context
    • The legislative framework, the nature of the organization's mandate and its business lines;
    • The environment in which the position exists.
  • Public policy issues

    The nature of the essential issues relating specifically to the position as an instrument of public policy.

  • Operational issues

    The nature of the essential issues relating to the position as a whole.

Within these three main themes, it's important to specify:
  • aspects of an economic, constitutional, environmental, strategic or technological nature relating specifically to the position;
  • the leeway enjoyed by the holder to apply the relevant legal texts;
  • the functions performed by the incumbent, that is to say the functions which differ from lower level positions or functions carried out in collaboration with others;
  • The main technical and managerial challenges of the position.
  • Two or three operational and strategic elements that represent a great challenge for the incumbent, or the priorities or initiatives that are part of his leadership challenges - the aim is to give a sense of program areas rather than administrative difficulties, such as lack of resources, which most organizations experience.
  • The degree of effort devoted to each of the key business lines, expressed as a percentage of the overall degree of effort devoted to all operational activities.
  • The nature and source of the controls exercised in relation to the position; specify (if applicable) the issues to be submitted to the board of directors or the minister for resolution or approval.
  • The incumbent's main internal and external contacts (including the frequency and purpose of these contacts). Also provide information about the various types of issues on which the incumbent must consult with others, the various committees of which he sits, as well as the external organizations of which he must be a member due to the nature of his work.

Rule #6: Specify scope of Responsibilities

This section indicates the measurable factors on which the position has a direct or indirect impact.

It may contain several pieces of information, including:

  • The number of employees supervised (calculated in full-time equivalents).
  • The annual salary budget of supervised employees.
  • The annual operating expenses of the organizational unit.
  • The cost of materials purchased or used (annually).
  • The various assets controlled or affected.
  • The source of financing broken down between credits and receipts.
  • Any other amount or value measurable on an annual basis.

The valuation method doesn't attach excessive importance to these "quantified" elements. However, the writer should include as many as possible (between 2 and 4), in order to paint a full picture of the position.

Thus, in the model, the number of employees, the operating budget of the organization, the amount of credits and revenues represent possible numerical indicators in order to give an idea of ​​the influence exerted by the incumbent.

Rule #7: Specific responsibilities

This section indicates the essence of the expected results and strategic objectives set for the incumbent.

The difference between this section and the general responsibilities section is that the latter describes the purpose of the position in general . This section specifies the important end results to be achieved (which implies how to proceed and how effectively).

It should be noted that the special responsibilities section doesn't list the functions and activities, but rather is a general statement indicating what is expected in a very concrete way from the incumbent .

In the following example about Particular responsibilities, it can be seen that the result towards which all activities tend is clearly established, and that the first particular responsibility relates to the intellectual leadership that the incumbent provides to the organization:

" Exercise the intellectual leadership required to develop and realize a common vision as well as common objectives and strategic directions for the approval of the Board of Directors, in order to ensure the commercial viability of the Company and its ability to contribute to the achievement the objectives of the government's socio-economic action program. "

Each statement should:

  • Start with an action verb.
  • Specify the final result.
  • Indicate how to proceed or the actions to be taken to achieve the end result or strategic objective.

Typically, four to seven separate statements should be written for a single position. However, there is no hard and fast rule for how to divide the job responsibilities into separate statements.

Responsibilities should be listed in descending order of importance so that the reader can know what to expect.

For example, we note in the model that the managerial leadership to be provided by the incumbent appears below in the list of specific responsibilities.

To ensure the effective management of the financial and other resources of the Company, including the management, control and reporting of human, financial and material resources, information and facilities.

This doesn't mean that the managerial leadership that the incumbent is supposed to provide is negligible, but that the elements of intellectual leadership that he is called upon to demonstrate are more important. This is a position recognized primarily for the value it adds to operations and management.

Rule #8: Provide the environment and working conditions

This section provides information on the effect the environment has on the job in terms of achieving results and meeting public policy objectives . In considering this element, it must be remembered that it's assumed that everything has been done to eliminate or minimize difficult working conditions; the rest, ie d . tight deadlines, media on the lookout, etc., is one of the essentials.

Do not forget to describe the elements of the environment and working conditions which, due to the nature of the job are distinguished by their intensity, frequency and duration, or by the combination of these three factors. In other words, it's important to mention items that are recurring or have to be endured over a long period of time.

Here are some definitions in this regard:

  • Pressures - the degree of exposure to factors inherent in the work which often have the effect of increasing tension and anxiety.
  • Sensory skills - the level of attention ( i.e. sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) required on the job.
  • Requirements - the effort or physical force required of the incumbent, and the unfavorable conditions to which he is necessarily exposed to perform his work according to the established standards.

In the model job description, pressures are linked to the incumbent's obligation to make decisions taking into account competing interests.

These elements, or a combination of them, are found in all job descriptions. It's necessary to identify those involved and assess the effect they have on the achievement of the expected results of the holder.

Rule #9: Demonstrate the basic skills required

This section provides background information on the behaviors that the incumbent must demonstrate in order to achieve results or achieve the strategic objectives that have been set. These behaviors are demonstrated through the following basic skills:

  • Innovative / Conceptual Thinking - Ability to understand a situation or problem by identifying characteristics or links, and consider the main underlying factors. Conceptual thinking involves the systematic organization of the elements of a problem or situation that leads to an original solution, and the willingness to think outside the box, go beyond convention and try various avenues of solution.
  • Leadership - Ability to lead a team and convince his troops to work towards a common goal in the interest of the organization, the shareholder and the Canadian public in general. It's about energizing individuals and groups and gaining their support for the changes that are needed. The incumbent takes responsibility for championing change efforts by fostering employee engagement, both immediate and long term. Leadership can be taken broadly or narrowly.
  • Flexibility - Ability to adapt and work effectively in a variety of situations and with multiple groups and individuals. This implies that the incumbent is able to understand and appreciate different and opposing views, to adapt his approach to the situation, as well as to make changes and integrate these into his approach.
  • Impact and Influence - The incumbent should know how the organization's issues, policies and decisions affect the public interest, and be sensitive to the needs / action plans of multiple stakeholders. He must also know how to use his influence effectively to bring about a specific impact or effect.
  • Listening, understanding and reacting - Seeking to understand other people or situations. The incumbent must not only understand what is said and what is communicated to him or her orally or in writing, but also to perceive and respond sensitively to unexpressed or barely discernible feelings and concerns. This element measures the growing complexity of human relationships and may encompass cross-cultural awareness.

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