Creating Collaborative Job Descriptions

By: Jeff Robbins

When most companies think of team roles, images of clunky job descriptions cut-and-pasted from antiquated online job boards come to mind. These job descriptions may provide a bullet list of things a team member should do, but they may not encapsulate the skills—or purpose—of each team member.

Employees are not drones.

Every remote worker needs to have a purpose. Remote managers can expose employees to their purpose by working with them to create collaborative job descriptions. What is a collaborative job description? It’s exactly what it sounds like: a team working together to define the expectations and responsibilities of a role.

I’m all for companies and teams having a bigger purpose, and it is necessary that a position fulfill a specific need. But, we can’t overlook the importance of each person feeling freedom to express their individual purpose through their work. Purpose needs to bubble up and feel authentic, not be foisted upon people.

One of the simplest ways to help team members discover this purpose is to collaborate on their job descriptions.

This means that all parties should have an equal voice.

  • The company: What need is being filled with this role? How does this position fit into the operational processes? How does this job contribute to the company mission?
  • The manager: What are the daily, weekly, and monthly expectations for this role? How does this job enhance the team? What goals will this position help the department achieve?
  • The employee: What are their individual professional goals? What do they want their job title to be? What do they want to accomplish? How can their unique strengths be incorporated into their responsibilities?

You could even invite another supervisor, a team member, or even a trusted client to participate.

This simple act of collaborating around job descriptions will decrease team miscommunications, strengthen intrinsic motivation, and help remote managers make determinations around where team members could tap into their potential and really thrive. In short, it enhances the potential of the employee and of the company.

Remotip #9: Collaborate to create job descriptions for each team member.