Job descriptions – why getting them right is so important

We all know what job descriptions are, but how much importance do we actually give them? Writing a good job description should be a really important part of your business, as they provide a road map for potential employees, explaining what the job they are applying for involves.

Here we list a few reasons why job descriptions are indispensable for employers and employees alike:

They set-out expectations

How can you expect someone to do their job if you don’t explain their responsibilities to them properly? Providing applicants with solid job descriptions ensure they understand exactly what will be expected of them if they are selected. Clarity in a job description puts potential employees on the same page as you, and aligns them with your company’s vision and goals and assists you in finding the best person possible for the role.

They empower communication

A well written job description should fully communicate the essential requirements of your vacancy to any applicants. Among other things, they should include a job summary and all the requirements which need to be fulfilled by applicants, such as relevant qualifications and experience. This will avoid any mistaken interpretations being made on what the job role involves.

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They facilitate recruitment and training

Job descriptions need to set out all the important aspects of a particular position, so an employer can easily refer to them when recruiting or training existing employees. All-encompassing job descriptions can improve a company’s ability to manage its people and their respective roles, as well as help them develop both professionally and personally.

They provide structure

Good job descriptions establish structure and discipline within the workforce. In reality, it isn’t that difficult to create them, especially if you involve the employees you already have to help you develop them. As long as they promote the company’s values and re-enforce the company’s culture, job descriptions will help you attract the right people and manage the roles of all your employees effectively.

A well written job description opens the door for a successful hiring process, if you need help or advice get in contact with HR Revolution: +44 203 538 5311 or email: talent@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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5 steps to help manage difficult employees

A difficult employee in any business will reduce productivity, have a negative impact  and potentially upset other colleagues too. So the quicker you can resolve the problem, the better your business will do.

If you let things slide for too long and just don’t act, you will miss important opportunities, waste time and probably money, that you simply can’t regain.

Also remember employees will be looking to you, to see how you manage the situation. Action’s speak louder than words and your action’s send a message to every employee, however any lack of any action sends an even more powerful one.

Perhaps what seemed to be an impressive characteristic during the interview stage has proved to be negative as the months have gone by?  or maybe an experience in your employee’s personal life has changed their behaviour at work?

On the other hand, could a series of small difficulties be starting to mount and cause concern.

Below we have listed 5 tips to help when you’re managing difficult employees in the workplace.

Young business man thinking with colleagues at the back

1. Clear communication

Always give your employee the benefit of the doubt. They may not realise that they’re causing difficulties.

It’s also possible that they know things aren’t going well, but they’re struggling to improve the situation.

Be prepared to listen to their viewpoint. Take time to ask how they’re feeling and to find out what’s going on in their lives. Are they having trouble with their workload? Are there frictions between multiple employees? Is something outside the workplace having an impact on performance or behaviour?

Share the experience from your side, without being overly critical or apportioning blame on your employee. It’s important that they know what difficulties you’re facing as their manager, but accusations will not go down well.

When communicating, it’s important that you’re clear about exactly where the problem lies. Is their performance below the required standard, or is there a specific behaviour that’s becoming a concern? Work with your employee to find ways to improve the situation.

When you listen to a difficult employee, you can often turn things around. Equally as important, you might discover legitimate complaints that you can act on for the good of your business.

2. Always keep a written record

Written records benefit everyone.

If you need to take disciplinary action, it’s essential that you’ve got examples to back up your decision.

Write down any instances of difficult behaviour. Who was involved? What happened? What effect did it have?

You can use your records if you need to take formal steps, but should also be able to refer to them when speaking with the employee in question.

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3. Always refer to your handbooks and HR policies

Every workplace should have handbooks and policies that detail what’s expected of an employee, and it’s essential that everyone has access to these at all times. Storing them within your online HR software is the most effective way to reach every person in the workplace, and to keep everything up to date.

4. Know when to seek advice

Managing a difficult employee is a challenge. Their behaviour will almost certainly be having an impact on their colleagues, and the business as a whole.

Unless you’ve been through it before, it’s like that you will not know how to deal with a difficult worker. What are you allowed to do, and what might cause more trouble?  Even if you’ve been managing difficult employees in the workplace before, these specific concerns might be different.

Don’t be afraid to seek help and advice, whether that’s from another member of the management team or an external HR consultant.

5. Keep going

It’s all too easy to speak to a an employee, tell them that their behaviour isn’t acceptable and then forget to follow things up. Much like being a parent, threatening “I’m going to count to 10…” and having no plan for what happens afterwards.  After you’ve counted to 10, it’s vital that you make another move.

If you provide a warning and the behaviour continues and you don’t take further action, your initial conversation is wasted. You’ll probably need to start again further down the line or even worse, you send a message that you are inconsistent and that your threats are meaningless.

If you need help give HR Revolution a call: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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5 ways to build strong relationships at work

Do you think building relationships at work can feel a bit pointless? you may take the approach that you don’t have to be friends with your colleagues; just get the job done and move on. However, if you stop and think about it, you spend more time with the people you work with then any of your friends or family, so isn’t building solid relationships with people you can trust and work with be important?

The advice below may seem, well, a bit simple and it is, but so often we just don’t follow it and this is mainly due to us not communicating effectively; simply put you need to treat others the way you would like to be treated.

Here are 5 ways you can drastically improve how you communicate with your colleagues:

1. Honesty is the best policy: If you don’t know, just say so! But go that bit further to offer to look into the issue and get back to them in a set time frame. Most importantly, do it, honesty is built on being true to your word and part of building a relationship is people knowing they can trust and rely on you.

2.Be clear with people: So often we go around the houses when telling people what we want, which ends up not really telling them anything! For example instead of saying “perhaps next time you can consider what other information you might include” be clear and say “next time I’d like you to include X, Y and Z” that way it is absolutely clear what you want and they will respect you more.

3.Do not “demand” your request: Remember manners matter, always ask politely. People are much more likely to respond in a positive way if you ask rather than demand. Put yourself in their shoes, which would you prefer… “Can you please get back to me tomorrow with that” or “I want it tomorrow, final”… I know which I’d prefer!

4.Be interested: There is nothing worse than someone looking at you with a vacant expression on their face muttering a few words every now again, when you know they haven’t listened to a word you’ve said.  Make sure you give confirmation that you have been paying attention, you can either repeat what they have said such as “so, just to confirm….” Or ask questions or for more information so you show you are interested in what they are telling you.

5.Don’t forget you have ears too: You don’t always have to do the talking or even worse interrupt or talk over someone because you think you already know what they are going to say. Let them express themselves and finish what they want to say, to show that you respect their opinions.

These 5 simple tools can be put to use by everyone at every level so why not try it and encourage others to do the same and we can really start to build those relationships.

If you would like to speak to someone about communication skills, get in touch to see how we can help: call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Appraisals are a two way street!

Are you about to carry out your appraisals/performance reviews?  You may have been given an outline of what should happen or written instructions; but are you comfortable with what to do and how to do it? Do you really know what you want to get out of it?

Remember performance reviews aren’t just be about filling in rating boxes, 1 for poor, 5 for excellent and giving an average to decide whether a bonus is due or not.  It should be about building relationships with your team, where both parties should be completely honest and find ways to work and improve together.

Here’s how you can achieve it:

Firm, fair and thoughtful feedback – Remember you should be communicating regularly with your employees, so negative issues shouldn’t come as a complete surprise so no need sugar coat your review, but of course that doesn’t mean you should reduce them to tears.  Remember be constructive, people will want to improve, but may just need the correct guidance.  Are your expectations clear enough?  Honest, sensitive feedback and realistic goals are key.

Listen to them – Like I said it is a two way street so don’t do all the talking.  Of course you need to point out your observations and feedback, but give them a chance to express themselves too. Steer clear of yes/no questions and encourage them to talk about their goals, you will learn more about them and where they are heading.

Look to the future – Although a review is exactly that, a review of work over the past quarter (six months etc.), talk about how things can be turned around to work for you both going forward. Ensure you explain to them where the company is heading so they want to work with you to get there.

Get their feedback – You should respect your employee’s opinions and should want to learn things about your management style/skills too, so ask them. They will know better than yourself if they truly feel guided and supported.

Remember, it’s not all about making it fluffy and everyone walking out with the “best employee award”, potential problems need to be tackled, just put some thought and structure into how you do it.

And…

Make plans together, people always try that little bit harder to make their own ideas work!

Make sure you get the very best out of your appraisals and download your FREE Guide to Effective Performance Review now…

 

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3 ways to deal with “constructive” criticism…

When someone in your team chooses to give you some “constructive” criticism, if you are anything like me, it may lead to you going into a little bit of a strop and being overly defensive. Of course this in turn is not constructive at all (nor is the criticism to start with I know …) but it then leads to an unnecessary ‘heated’ discussion which whether you are right or wrong is NOT productive, not to mention it completely saps your energy!

Before acting hastily, stop and take the time to think about what is actually being said. Perhaps the person saying it is not all that articulate or being unintentionally patronising and if spun into your own language, would it be as bad as you first thought? Besides, this little bit of extra thinking time will calm you down and you can prepare your response appropriately in one of the following ways:

  1. Don’t dismiss it – be succinct and explain why things are as they are, from your perspective, but take into consideration what they have said and plan it into your future actions.
  2. Agree with them – OK so this is easier said than done, especially when you are still seething inside because you really think you are right (but are you?). Maybe spin it just a little, for example say “I agree, and if we had all the time in the world on this project I would certainly do as you say, unfortunately we need to stick to the client deadlines”. The message is clear you understand what is being said but will still do things your way.

WARNING: don’t forget it is never a bad thing to heed advice, structure it in to your chosen path, remember you only “think” you’re right.

  1. Explain the options – Calmly talk through your plan and then theirs, highlighting the potential outcome of both (remember do not be patronising!). This shows acknowledgement of what has been said, yet gives them the responsibility to decide the final decision. Will they want that or will they agree with you?

Always remember why you got agitated in the first place.  Was it the criticism, was it the tone in which it was said, or perhaps you just needed a coffee?

Your reaction will define the situation.  Do not be patronising in your tone, be reasonable, don’t throw back criticism at them for the sake of it and the biggest thing to remember when using any of the above three points, you might, just might, be WRONG!  If that is the case, it won’t hurt you to just admit it and agree to rectify the situation.  Admitting someone else is right will earn you respect and next time they may just go a bit easier on you!

If this sounds all too familiar, we’ve added a link below to our Guide to Effective Communication, or perhaps if there are other issues at play, our Guide to Stress Management.  Both are FREE to download…  what are you waiting for!

If you’d prefer to talk to someone, give us a call on 0203 538 5311 and let us help.