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Most Position Descriptions describe the role and the responsibilities but almost never the outcomes and what constitutes success in that role.  They list many general duties that are common to most roles.  They may include skills and experience levels.  However, there is little correlation between experience, skills and accreditation and success.  The Position Description then becomes a poor proxy for the actual work required and what success looks like.

Our view is that companies exist because they provide value to their customers and the customers are willing to pay for this.  This implies that the people working for the company need to do activities that create the value.  Consequently every person working in the company has inherently a return on investment.  The salary and benefits they receive can be related to the amount of value or income they are able to generate for their company. 

In many cases it may be difficult to draw a direct line between the income the company makes and the work that they do.  However, it is not impossible and there is work that is done where outcomes can be measured.  The extent and level of these outcomes can indicate success.  All that is required is some analysis of the work required to be done - not the role.

Analysing the work has an unexpected upside - it may be possible to reorganise the workload without employing an additional person.  Also you may find that you are using the wrong type of person in the role.

We have listed the key questions you need to ask:  

  • What are the key objectives to be achieved by the role?
  • What are the strategic issues that need to be addressed?
  • What will the person being doing most on a daily, weekly and monthly basis?
  • What are the most important deliverables?
  • What does excellence look like in terms of result and time frame?
  • What are the people issues that need to be considered?
  • What are the technical issues that need attention?
  • What are the typical probelms that need to be resolved?
  • What are the improvements and changes that are required?

The aim is to develop a document with detailed quantified objectives that can be used to measure perfomance and is linked to corporate objectives.