Developing Job Descriptions for the Staff

Ensuring Staff Know What They Are Responsible For

Having complete job descriptions act as policy for a practice. When a staff member is given a job to do that is not within the purview of their job description, it can create confusion within a practice. Approved job description manuals act as written arbiters of what a staff member should or should not be doing as related to his or her position. Disagreements can be easily addressed simply by referring to the respective job description manual. Bearing that in mind, it becomes very important to invest sufficient time to creating and editing the manuals to ensure the descriptions do match the job.

The Office Manager is responsible for seeing to it that every staff member has a full written job description manual that would contain:

1. Mission Statement of the practice

2. Office Policies/Practice Rules and Level of Discipline

3. General Staff Member duties and responsibilities

4. Specific duties list and descriptions of how to perform the functions of their position.

Each practice is unique. The job descriptions in one practice can vary from those in another practice. So it is up to each practice to develop job descriptions that truly parallel the functions in that practice.

Developing job description manuals for every staff member is not an overnight process. But if it is addressed methodically, it can be done. Following are steps to follow as you are working to develop the full job descriptions for each position:

1. List out all of the positions within your office.

2. Set up a binder for each respective position in the practice, and work out the duties of each position, including your own, ensuring that they are specific to the position. The binders should include a-d above.

3. List out other areas as they occur to you that should be written out for your job description manual.

4. Present these “rough” drafts to each staff member for the respective position that they hold.

5. Have each staff member go through the descriptions you’ve created and add anything you might have missed.

6. Have the staff members return the drafts to you. From what you get back, now determine what the write-ups are that will need to be completed by the staff members for the positions that they hold. Give them a specified due date to return this to you.

7. There are going to be quite a few detailed descriptions of duties that will need to be done, but don’t try to have them all done at one time. This is going to be an ongoing project that will take teamwork.

8. Determine what the write-ups are that you or your OM should finish..

9. Set up a written project plan that lists out what is to be written up and when it is to be completed.

10. Distribute that plan to each staff member and have him or her proceed to get them finished.

11. Remember not to overwhelm yourself or the staff by setting deadlines that are unrealistic for completing this project.

12. Consider having “get-togethers” where you can all work on the write-ups together. Some offices have organized week-ending potluck “work parties” as they embark on this project.

13. Keep yourself and your staff motivated on this project, reminding one another how helpful it is going to be to the practice as a whole to get all of these job descriptions fully developed.

14. Consider having a “wrap” party once the project has been completed. That will help to provide incentive for everyone to keep pushing on getting this done.

15. Plan to have these job descriptions fully done in about 6-8 weeks.

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