October 3, 2013
Categories: Organizational Management

BanjoIf your shelter doesn’t have written job descriptions for its staff members, you may not be doing your best for the animals in your care.

In the fall of 2012, Maddie’s InstituteSM conducted an online survey of executive directors, employees and volunteers from companion-animal care organizations across the country about their training and development of employees and volunteers.

The number one tip for keeping staff members engaged and getting work done effectively? A written job description that provided “concrete clarity regarding
expectations” and that would “build engagement and drive accountability and performance of each worker
throughout their career with you.”

Still not sure how to tackle the job? Here are some “don’ts” from BusinessManagementDaily.com:

  1. Describing the employee instead of the job. That’s easy to do
    because an employee – particularly a good one – will often leave a
    personal stamp on the position. If you describe a position in terms of
    how its previous occupant performed it, you will find yourself looking
    for a clone of the ex-jobholder, and that can prove to be an
    impossible task.
  2. Using imprecise language. Language should be direct and clear.
    Sentences should be short and simple. Try to avoid words like “send,”
    “operates,” “prepares,” “handles” and “responsible for.” Language
    should emphasize the skills and purposes of the current job.
  3. Not being specific enough. Briefly state exactly what you want the
    applicant to do. Incorrect: “Quality control inspectors should
    inspect finished products.” Correct: “Inspect nuts emerging from
    production process for burrs. Place nuts with visible burrs in scrap
  4. Assigning the same responsibilities to two different jobs. For
    example, your marketing director and your credit manager could both find
    themselves responsible for approving credit sales. Assign the
    authority to one or the other, to avoid future disputes.

You can read more about writing job descriptions here.

Find more Maddie’s Institute training and development tips here, and view or download a PDF of the entire survey report here.