Job Descriptions

A shop owner with 20 employees gets advice on creating employee job descriptions. November 10, 2005

I am looking to see if anyone has a good source for basic template job descriptions. We are trying to grow our company and I think this would help fine tune and keep people accountable. We basically have about twenty people. We are also missing two very important ones in the GM and SM ,but that is another problem. This is what we have right now: President (ME), 2 estimator/project managers, 1 cad person, 1 bookkeeper, 1 beam operator, 1 pt operator, 2 mill men, 1 finisher, 2 assembly, 1 band, 2 custom workers, 1 sander, 1 shop cleanup guy, 1 driver with 1 delivery guy, 3 installers, 1 production manager and 3 installers .Our company is growing, but at the end of it all there are no big bags of money leftover. I think one of the things that I need to do is have better control of my company, and one of my first steps is to create written job descriptions for eveyone, including myself. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor R:
I can't answer your question, but I have one to ask that you may want to think about when giving each employee a title. The way you outlined the operations and number of employees working at that operation, do you have employees qualified to fill in at any operations when one quits or goes on vacation?

From contributor J:
What the company I am at now has begun doing is have the employee write their own job description as a place to start, then the management will review, make changes, etc. This has helped to not only identify differing job titles, but also to set expectations for new employees (since they have a written job description) and help current employees be accountable for their responsibilities.

This exercise has also helped to identify who was doing to much and needed help, and how to separate their current duties into two job positions. For example, we are not currently large enough to have a full time purchasing agent, but when we do grow large enough that person’s job has already been defined by the person who does it part time now because that person has written a description of what he/she does while he/she is doing the purchasing.

From contributor D:
I would suggest doing a "job analysis" (gather information about the job). Usual means are questionnaires, interviews, personal observation, or a combination of these methods. Create factual statements, notes.

Write the Job description - your example:
CAD GIRl Mon.-Fri with some occasional Sat. work. No notice.

Responsible for all in-house and out-of-house design and coordination of the same with business manager and associates.

Verifies conformance of work to specifications, secures appropriate stamping and certifications.

Assist surveyor team as required, offer in field cad assistance via mobile program.

And so on - giving "all" the duties and specifically explained.

The description gives details about the job to the applicant, then there are no surprises concerning the job. It becomes a training guide and a standard to measure performance (job evaluation). During the research be sure to get a good personal feel for what the job actually is like and how much time it takes to complete tasks and the physical arrangement around the work station and how it does or doesn’t lend itself to efficient work. You’ll eventually end up with this - job description, job training/employee orientation, job evaluation, workstation layout engineering, motion studies and time studies, and thus the step into lean. Also - maybe the most important thing - a president that knows how to do each job and how much time it takes.

From contributor F:
I can't imagine you needing a GM with only 20 people unless you want to work part-time or semi-retirement. I would suggest an accountant to replace your bookkeeper if you grow much more, a sales/customer service manager and 1 or 2 working supervisors if your production manager is overloaded, such as a working supervisor over installs (no need to increase head count).

You do need to delegate all aspects of daily operation, and track the important numbers: know at the end of each month exactly what you spent on labor and materials and overhead, and hold your production manager accountable for these numbers. This is where an accountant comes in - and the accountant can also take care of HR duties too. All critical tasks need someone’s name next to it - but not yours. You are there for oversight and make sure everyone is doing their job - by the numbers. Then you will start to make a profit. Your concern about job descriptions is just a small piece of the management pie.