Job descriptions are often overlooked in IT departments as a source of headaches. Technical issues may take center stage when you think about IT pain points, but the more mundane aspects of your organization could be seriously hurting you. While you may not pull them out on a daily basis, making sure your job descriptions are accurate can make the difference when you’re trying to provide world class service to customers.
Know Your Stuff
With any IT position it is critical to capture the technical skills required for success. Failure to outline those and to keep the list updated as technology changes can complicate employee evaluations and lead to confusion over responsibilities. You should know what skillsets you have at your disposal by skimming through your descriptions. It should also be easy to know what you don’t have when looking to support a new service or initiative.
Growing and Keeping Talent
A good organizational design with accurate job descriptions makes it easy to tell what the next rung in the ladder is. Your junior personnel should be able to see what roles they can grow into and you should be able to mentor them appropriately. Accurate and complete job descriptions give them the ability to grow their careers in a way that supports retaining corporate knowledge. Now, next time they ask for career advice or want additional training you can chart how it tracks with future roles they might hold in your organization instead of spending your training budget on someone else’s future superstar.
Clearing Up the Reporting Chain
“I’ve got eight different bosses right now” laments one of the characters in Office Space. This cult classic probably hits a little too close to home for some folks when it comes to the organizational design of their IT staff. While your org chart may have trouble showing it, there’s an inherent matrix structure in many modern IT organizations. If that cross functional work isn’t properly documented, you’ll eventually run into either “that isn’t my job” or “you can’t tell me what to do” when folks become overworked or can’t see the world outside of their silos. Make sure you document all the hats you expect your team members to wear, but also make sure they’re clear on who they’re accountable to.
Onboarding New Team Members
The hiring process for IT positions is sometimes difficult. HR may not be able to spell TCP/IP but you need to be sure that your new network support engineers know it inside and out. Get HR to focus on the right candidates for openings by providing good descriptions up front. Help candidates find you by making sure your descriptions are up to date with the latest technology. In demand skillsets change and top performers are always upgrading theirs. In this fast paced industry everyone wants to work with the latest and greatest – do you want to be seen as Blockbuster or as Netflix? Perhaps more importantly, as a hiring manager, which company’s applicant pool would you rather see?
Bottom line is that the humble job description can provide you with a wealth of benefits. As your IT organization matures, making sure they’re done right becomes more critical to supporting your success and essential to enabling IT to enhance the business instead of being a drain on resources.
Do you have eight bosses? Do your inaccurate job descriptions have you interviewing Betamax technicians instead of streaming media experts? SAI can help. Get in touch and let’s start a conversation.