Job Descriptions

Results Oriented Job Descriptions, AKA ROJD the New Wave for ESP

What is a Job Description?

A job description is a formalized statement of the qualifications and duties of a job. Job descriptions clarify who is responsible for certain tasks and help the ESP member understand the specific responsibilities of the position. They may include information on working conditions, equipment used, knowledge and skills needed to do the job, and relationships with other positions and employees.

Currently, job descriptions for many ESP members, if they exist at all, are inaccurate and written without employee involvement. They are often nothing more than a "posting notice" for hiring, or a document used by supervisors as part of disciplinary procedures.

Of those ESP members who have a job description, the majority (57%) believe that it does not accurately describe the amount of work they do, and others (27%) think it does not accurately describe what they do. Forty-three percent have no say about their job descriptions, and one quarter have no job description at all!

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What is a Results-Oriented Job Description (ROJD)?

A results-oriented job description (ROJD) does more than describe what an ESP member does (the tasks). It also describes what the ESP member accomplishes (the results). Administrations, supervisors, employees, parents, and the entire community can recognize success when it's defined in terms of potential outcomes. The ROJD identifies for employees and supervisors how the duties or tasks required of a job improve student achievement. It builds the connection between the ESP member's work and the mission of the school. And by focusing a job description on the results of the work, the community can understand and appreciate what the ESP member does. By using results-oriented job descriptions to describe the accomplishments of an ESP member, the Association can highlight the importance of the ESP member's role in enhancing student achievement and advocate for accurate and meaningful job evaluations, a fair wage and salary structure, and relevant professional development for employees.

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Traditional Job Descriptions and Results-Oriented Job Descriptions: What's the Difference?

Traditional job descriptions written by supervisors and administrators are usually oriented towards "behaving well on the job," emphasizing only those competencies and qualifications necessary to "do the job." Supervisors and administrators rarely do the kind of careful analysis necessary to write an accurate, relevant, and up-to-date job description. They must be made aware of changes in the work, the reality of the work, and the evolution of that job.

A traditional job description states tasks to be done such as, "provide a secure environment for students and staff." Any campus monitor can attest that there's much more to that "task" than meets the eye. It involves maintaining order in the hallways, assisting staff and law enforcement officers, identifying physical hazards that endanger students and staff, and many other actions. A job description that calls for a campus monitor to merely "provide a secure environment" is incomplete.

A results-oriented job description, on the other hand, is comprehensive and all-inclusive. It accurately reflects who ESP members really are and what they really do. The ROJD…

  • places the focus on what is really important, the result.
  • is positive, active, and provides for career growth.
  • is free of employee discipline and behavior references.
  • builds the bridge between job descriptions and job evaluations.
  • defines the evolution of job performance.
  • provides the vehicle for meaningful and appropriate professional development.
  • is a key way for the member, the local, the administration, and the community to focus on and succeed at "enhancing student achievement."

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Why Should the Local Association Advocate for Results-Oriented Job Descriptions?

The Results-Oriented Job Description approach strengthens the local by creating an atmosphere of advocacy for the members. When attention is paid to how jobs are defined and how employees are evaluated, the local can be more inclusive and the members can be more successful in their jobs.

The ROJD process…

  • is positive and proactive.
  • benefits every member.
  • enhances job security.
  • shows members the Association is working for them.

Membership Development Program

An ROJD Action Plan for the local is separate from negotiations and maintenance. It requires planning and long-range activity. The local association's ROJD Committee conducts one-on-one interviews with every ESP member in the district. The local develops, implements, communicates, and drives the program for the membership.

Anti-Privatization Action Plan

When employees become identified and personalized and the daily work they do is recognized, it is difficult for the board to marginalize or trivialize them, or privatize their jobs. Job security is greatly enhanced through contact, recognition, and definition of each and every person who works in the school district.

Negotiations Support Program

A local association that has accurate information about every job in the unit is in a stronger position when it comes to bargaining new contract provisions for ESP.

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Benefits of Results-Oriented Job Descriptions

For Members

  • Create a strong professional identity.
  • Provide for improved communication between employees and supervisors.
  • Encourage the formation of appropriate professional development programs.
  • Increase job security.

For Local Associations

  • Provide an opportunity to create and enhance dialogue with the administration, the school board, and the community about the need for clear job responsibilities for ESP members.
  • Produce concrete evidence of the value of an ESP member's work when associations advocate for improved salary, benefits, and working conditions.
  • Help teachers and other ESPs better understand the critical role an ESP member plays in educating students.

For the Community

  • Create understanding throughout the system and the broader community about the value of the work accomplished by ESP members.
  • Enhance the work identity and professionalism of ESP members.
  • Stimulate discussion about the critical role ESP members have in improving student achievement.

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Traditional Job Descriptions

At one time or another, all employees will be formally evaluated by their supervisors. Most often these evaluations do not accurately reflect what responsibilities the employee actually performs.

Most associations begin their involvement in the evaluation process by influencing school board policy or by negotiating contractual procedures to which the supervisor must adhere. These procedures may also allow the employee the right to appeal and respond should they disagree with the evaluation.

Associations usually next become involved in the development of the evaluation instrument. However, no evaluation process and instrument can correctly reflect the actual job that is being performed by the employee until a job description has been developed that accurately reflects that job.

Only after a job description has been carefully defined is it possible to achieve an evaluation instrument and an evaluation process that will closely reflect the actual functions being performed by the employee.

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Job Description Format

A job description should:

  • Not contain any provision that negates the rights guaranteed under the collective bargaining agreement or school board policy.
  • Be written with precision, and it should say what it means.
  • Identify the position by title, in what department the position is located, and to whom the employee reports.
  • Not contain abbreviations.
  • Indicate if the employee supervises other employees. If so, list their job titles and a brief description of those positions.
  • Not include duties that are to be performed in the future.
  • Contain a brief but informative narrative of the position.
  • Contain a detailed listing of the job duties which will be regularly performed. In addition, infrequent and periodic duties should also be listed and the frequency which they are performed indicated.
  • Not contain generalized statements;


Job Descriptions Do's and Don'ts

  • Specify the amount of education and experience necessary to perform the job satisfactorily.
  • Identify the tools, equipment, and machines which the employee would be responsible for operating, safekeeping, and/or maintaining.


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The importance of Job Descriptions

Job descriptions clarify who is responsible for certain tasks, and help the employee understand the specific responsibilities of the position. Job descriptions are also helpful to applicants, supervisors, and personnel staff at every stage in the employment relationship. Accurate job descriptions are a prerequisite for accurate and meaningful evaluations, wage and salary surveys, and an equitable wage and salary structure.

Job Description Don'ts

  • A poorly written job description affects evaluations negatively if:
  • It distorts the actual importance of the position.
  • It fails to pinpoint the critical elements which may differentiate between successful and unsuccessful job performance.
  • It ignores the decision-making aspects of the position.
  • It either fails to focus on the actual behavior and skills necessary for success in the position, or defines required behavior in ambiguous terms.
  • It describes worker requirements or characteristics that are not really necessary for success.

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Basic elements of a good job Description

Job identification

  • What is the job title?
  • In what department is the job located?
  • What is the title of the supervisor or manager to whom the employee will report?
  • Does the employee supervise other employees? If so, give their job titles and a brief description of their responsibilities.

Job Summary

  • A brief but informative narration of the position. This information should be general in nature but still provide the reader with an understanding of the overall description of the position, job goals, and a general portrayal of the kind of individual who would be best suited for this position.

Job Duties

  • What duties must be regularly performed by the employee? List them in their order of importance, and indicate the approximate percentage of time for each duty.
  • Does the employee perform other duties periodically? If so, list these tasks and, if possible, indicate the frequency.

Job Descriptions Do's and Don'ts

  • Describe the everyday tasks of the job in terms of variety and complexity. How will information be obtained, interpreted, and used by the employee?
  • What contacts will the employee have with other personnel, management, public, vendors, etc? For what purpose?

Job Specifications

  • How much education, experience, and training are necessary in order to perform the job satisfactorily?
  • What about the job will require the employee to coordinate, prioritize, and facilitate work flow?
  • What are the working conditions? Be specific about noise, heat/cold, space, repetitious work, degree of supervision, etc. Include mental, physical, and environmental demands.
  • What machines, tools, or equipment is the employee responsible for maintaining, safekeeping, and operating?

Accountabilities

  • How often is the employee given supervision, instruction, discretionary authority, or authority over others?
  • At what point is the employee's performance reviewed?
  • What additional training or education will be required? When and how often?

Write with Precision

  • Keep sentence structure as simple as possible.
  • Begin each sentence with an active verb.
  • Be precise in defining the position's responsibilities.
  • Qualify wherever appropriate.
  • The job description should follow a logical sequence.

Say What You Mean

  • Choose each word carefully. Does it say what you mean?
  • Use an ordinary word rather than a complicated or ambiguous word.
  • Use a single word where possible, rather than a series of words which might tend to obscure the meaning.
  • Avoid technical words unless you are sure they will be readily understood.
  • Always write to clarify and not to obscure.

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