Getting granular with job descriptions

In our March issue, we featured “17 Strategies of a Service Superhero,” and one of the strategies included is the need to outline job descriptions specifically and early. This is significant for every position in the dealership – not just service.

Sam Dantzler said job descriptions should get very granular, even if it means including “Clean the bathrooms once a month.” Dantzler added this is critical because if an employee is brand new to the dealership and is only given 50 percent of his or her expected workload in the first weeks, without a job description the employee feels he or she is performing the whole job.

Once the extra duties start piling on, the employee is discouraged because he or she has been working hard and more keeps coming. That employee quickly believes that either a. This isn’t the job he or she signed up for, or b. He or she deserves more money.

So we know job descriptions are important. But if you haven’t written a job description for your dealership before, where do you start?

Here are some helpful tips for getting down to brass tax and providing descriptions for your employees that will help them clearly understand their role in the business.

List duties in the order of priority

The job description should include everything the employee will be required to do at some point or another in his or her role, but we don’t need to lead with “Clean the bathrooms.” Once you have a complete list of job duties for your description, review all of the items and determine which ones will be performed the most often. Rearrange those duties in the order of frequency to give the employee an idea of what they will be doing and how often.

If possible, describe percentage breakdowns. For instance, if your employee will be expected to clean the bathrooms once a week for about an hour and that employee works 40 hours a week, that is two percent of his or her role.

“Other duties as assigned”

In a description for a prior job I held, the employer included “Five percent: Other duties as assigned” as a responsibility. When I got to the interview, the hiring manager told me this meant I could be thrown a task that was out of the ordinary from my normal duties every once in a while, but that it would be a seldom occurrence.

This set a very clear expectation and kept me from ever saying “Well, that’s not my job” if I was asked to help with a special project not aligned with my job functions. I would recommend adding this to any job descriptions where curve balls may come up, which means every job in a marine business, and to clearly state what “Other duties as assigned” means during the interview process.

Use explanatory phrases

Instead of including “Sell boats” as a responsibility, write more fluid and explanatory sentences. “Encourage customers to enjoy the boating lifestyle through the explanation of our brands’ benefits, key features and what sets our dealership apart” is a better description of what the salesperson will be doing on a day-to-day basis.

Ask your employees

If you are hiring for a position someone else in your dealership has held or is holding, ask them for feedback. “What surprised you about the job when you started? What do you wish you had known then that you know now?” This will help fill any gaps that may exist in your current job descriptions.

Include relationships throughout the company

These relationships are how your employee’s role affects his or her peers, superiors and subordinates when applicable. The potential hire should know exactly who to report to and with whom they will be working.

Align job descriptions with business goals

In an interview with Valerie Ziebron for the “17 Strategies of a Service Superhero” article, she highlighted the importance of clearly communicating the company’s goals to its employees and that job descriptions play into this communication.

“The job descriptions should align with what the dealership’s goals are,” Ziebron said. She added that employees should be able to clearly see how their roles help the business achieve those goals.

Don’t be inflexible

While I just discussed the importance of specific job descriptions, don’t trap yourself either. Jobs are subject to change for personal growth, organization development and the addition of new technologies, among other things. Flexible job descriptions encourage employees to grow and change with the dealership.

However, be aware that as employees’ job descriptions change, certain duties could be forgotten. This is where “Other duties as assigned” comes into play: It allows you to assign those duties to another employee if necessary.

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