Do we foster attitude and interest from our collaborators?

It keeps surprising me the great number of businesses, not only small, but also medium and large, that do not count on a plainly defined and clearly written job description and functions for each one of the collaborators of the economic-financial area, which in many occasions is known simply as Administration.

In my professional experience I have found diverse situations in connection with this topic, but in almost all of them there was a series of common aspects.

When we speak about a new business or a business unit recently created, logically the first step we may think of is defining and preparing the necessary team to cope with the work to be done, according to the company of the project’s requests, following rationality, proportionality and feasibility criteria, trying to avoid excesses or defects in its configuration.

But, the most repeated situation has been to find business or group of businesses where it does not exist a written description of positions and functions, a circumstance that is being habitually justified with arguments of the following type:  “Each one knows what to do”, “things have always being done this way, and we are still here”, “this business has never needed such formality”.

As a general rule, in those cases, depending on the number of collaborators that form the team, I have interviewed all of them, or those in charge or responsible for each department, following the target of ascertaining what, from their point of view, does each one of them and what they think each one of the others are doing.  This double perspective is obviously complemented with my own analysis and observation of the operation and performance of every collaborator in each one of the analyzed areas.

During these conversations I also obtain an additional profit, getting to know which are their anxieties, interests, worries and motivations, aspects that along with their aptitudes and attitudes allow me to determine in which of the existing or to-be created positions each of them may have a better fit.

From this moment onwards, I already have enough elements to be able to prepare the job descriptions, which include in a clear, simple and practical way, preferably within a single page, the objective of the position, the functions to perform, the responsibilities to assume, the tasks to carry out and the reports to present, since I consider all of them are essential elements for the adequate performance of each position.

Although it may seem otherwise, the description of positions and functions is not ready yet, as we must explain not only what has to be done, but also why and what for it is done, so we achieve that the collaborator feels as participant of the business activity, not being necessary to share data or information that can be considered as strategic or confidential.  Having a more complete idea of which is their position in the company organization, how does their work affect to other departments, which is their contribution to the company operation, they will undoubtedly work at will, with a more positive attitude, with greater interest in what they do, even reaching to a greater extent the satisfaction of the well-done job.

Later it will be necessary a monitoring of each position, with its corresponding performance evaluation (always adapted to the particular reality of each company), a permanently open communication channel (through individual and group periodic meetings), an updating of the position content and its functions (in agreement with the business and the environment evolution), a temporary support among areas or departments program (covering illness or holidays situations), a rotation of positions (powering the development of complementary abilities)… a series of works that are useful to maintain and to promote a positive attitude with regard to the position, that will always redound to benefits and advantages both for the collaborator and for the business.

(Post published on 19.Oct.2012, blog upgrade date is shown)

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