1 The attached shows details of Position Descriptions, their content, and an example of one.* In seeking to improve the efficiency of the Organisation, please consider your own position in the light of the details required by a Position Description and prepare a draft for your own position.
2 Work by you on this matter will help to consider the Organisation’s existing structure and investigate possible areas of improvement.
Two Approaches – Current & Proposed Improvement
3 The draft should cover the position as you now see it and as you now perform it.
4 At the end of each section of (a) Broad Objectives, (b) Detailed Objectives, (c) Relationships, and (d) Basis of Assessment, please add a new paragraph headed “Proposals” and write the changes that you believe the Organisation should make to your position. In essence, you will compare the position as you now carry it out with the position as you believe you should carry it out.
5 Examples. You may believe that your position should have more position authority than it has. Perhaps you believe some of your objectives (broad or detailed) should go to a different position and such a move would help the Organisation’s overall effectiveness. Under “Relationships” you may believe that you should have more close relationships with another group of positions or that you should report to a person in a different position from whom you report to at present or you believe that one of your Subordinates should report to a different position.
6 In other words, apart from giving you an exercise in writing Position Descriptions which will help you to review what you do at the moment, we also ask you to review the position as you believe it should exist.
7 This task will not prove easy. However it rates as important to help gain improved effectiveness and efficiency in your Organisation. If you apply yourself to it you will gain insight into your own work and those about you.
8 Please have your Position Description prepared (handwritten accepted) and forwarded to me by …………..
9 We will discuss your Position Description with you at a later date.
* These Position Descriptions follow a particular philosophy and layout. Other approaches exist and will vary, sometimes significantly, from the above approach.
Attachment – Position Descriptions
1 These notes give a meaning for a Position Description and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Position Descriptions. They identify and describe four major parts of a Position Description and give examples of these parts.
A Meaning for Position Description
2 A Position Description describes –
|(a) the objectives the Organisation expects & the Position Holder to achieve
|(b) the rights the Position Holder has to make decisions and use the organisation’s resources(which include people), and
|(c) the People with whom the Holder has need to communicate in order to achieve the position’s objectives.
|(d) the standards used to evaluate the performance of the Position Holder.
||Basis of Assessment
Organisations need Written Position Descriptions
3 Organisations should prepare written Position Descriptions if they wish to use them effectively. Non-written ones lead to errors in communication and changes – people have different memories and interpretations.
A Relationship between Position Descriptions and Job Specifications
4 People use different terms to mean different things. No generally— accepted labels exist in this area of Management thought.
5 These notes use the terms so that a Position Description plus a Person Specification equals a Job Specification. The Person Specification describes the person who fits the position.
Advantages of Position Descriptions
6 Position Descriptions help to achieve the following objectives:
(a) Ensure the Organisation has distributed its objectives between its various personnel so that every objective has at least one person trying to achieve it.
(b) Provide each person with a clear understanding of their position in the Organisation.
(c) Aid the training of new Members.
(d) Provide a check list for a re-distribution of duties in a temporary, or permanent, change in the Organisation structure.
(e) Provide a check list to help evaluate a person’s performance.
Disadvantages of Position Description
7 People in Organisations which have Position Descriptions will probably tell you that they rarely refer to them. Although probably true, the original preparation of Position Descriptions probably helped in a general “sorting out” of who should do what. Further, non-use does not prove that proper use would not help the Organisation.
8 Position Descriptions do help to avoid/reduce arguments between people on matters related to their objectives. However they may encourage people to do no more than the activities listed in their Position Description.
9 Further, Organisations (probably) should make more use of Position Descriptions when setting their short-term objectives.
10 However the scope of positions change over time and with changes in Personnel. Sometimes the changes occur deliberately, sometimes they just occur as different objectives receive different emphasis.
11 To keep Position Descriptions accurate in relation to the current real situation, someone must obtain the evidence and re—write the material. Thus a “disadvantage” involves the time/cost to keep them up-to-date. People tend not to refer to out-of-date Position Descriptions even more than they avoid referring to current ones.
12 The term Broad Objectives refers to the few* objectives which represent the overall objectives of a Position.
13 Examples. (a) Branch Manager- Manage the Branch in a way which achieves or betters the budgeted profit. Help achieve overall (Australian) Company objectives as Member of Board of Management. (b) Sales Representative- Sell (personally) the Company’s products; in his designated territory. (c) Industrial Engineer- Help improve productivity in areas of your operations. Warn appropriate personnel of safety hazards.
14 Position Holders achieve their broad, or end, objectives by achieving various sub-objectives of a more-detailed nature.
15 Detailed objectives should all help to achieve the Position’s Broad Objectives.
16 They divide into objectives which Position Holders -
(a) can achieve by themselves (e.g. Sign Purchase Order Forms);
(b) need to use other resources than themselves to achieve (Arrange for a Typist to type three copies of all Purchase Orders); and
(c ) must choose between – they have a choice between one or more objectives. (Decide whether to purchase goods from X or Y. Call on a marginally-profitable sales Prospect – or not.)
17 Most people would recognise the latter two classes of objectives as equalling the ideas of (Position) Authority – A relationship between one person and (a) other people and/or (b) resources (including money) such that the person can get others to try to (i) achieve objectives and (ii) use resources.
Detailed Objectives roughly equal Responsibilities*
18 Most Position Descriptions have a section headed “Responsibilities”. Other notes define Responsibility as – The attitude held by a particular person toward a particular objective (or group of Objectives) involving whether the person should – (a) attempt to achieve it, and (b) accept praise and/or blame for the degree of achievement.
* Most Position Descriptions would not exceed two or three broad objectives.
* Some Readers will like the idea of Position Descriptions including a section headed “Responsibilities and Authorities”. These notes prefer to look at these two headings as describing objectives. This approach focuses on what the Position Holder should try to achieve rather than the attitudes (responsibility) the Position Holder and others hold towards the objectives.
19 Thus the heading “Responsibilities” simply implies that someone (higher) in the Organisation believes the Position Holder should try to achieve the objectives of the Position Description and accept praise/blame for the results of the attempts.
20 Readers will find that the Responsibilities section of Position Descriptions fall into two classes: (a) objectives to help achieve the position’s broad objectives or (b) activities which they can quickly turn into objectives. The use of the term Detailed Objectives avoids using the term Responsibility – a word which has a variety of different meanings to different people.
Detailed Objectives include Authorities
21 Most Position Descriptions include a Section called “Authorities. Yet authority (as defined in these notes)* involves the right to make decisions and use the organisation’s resources – as described in paragraph 16 above.
22 Readers will find it quite simple to turn stated authorities into objectives. Mostly the authorities already exist in the form of an objective.
23 Example. The authority to buy goods up to $1,000 becomes the objective; Buys Goods up to $1,000. The authority to hire and fire becomes; Hire Personnel (up to limit authorised in budget). Terminate employment of all Personnel in the Position Holder’s Section, where appropriate.
24 All positions involve relationships between people. This important aspect of any position deserves separate treatment.
25 Position Description should always include:
(a) Immediate Managers— the person or persons to whom the Position Holder direct reports and the people from whom he/she receives (official) instructions.
(b) Immediate Subordinate- the people who the Organisation wants the Position Holder to give (official) instructions.
(c) Others- any other people who hold positions whose objectives and activities assist, or limit, the Position Holder’s ability to achieve the Position Objectives.
* These notes define Authority as: The relationship existing between two or more people such that one or more people will try to do what another person wishes them to do.
Basis of Assessment
26 Some Organisations have Position Descriptions which do not include a section covering the standards used to evaluate the performance of the Position Holder (Basis of Assessment).
27 Since all objectives provide standards, some people would agree that the broad and detailed objectives provide sufficient and adequate standards.
28 However some objectives do not include a numerical factor and therefore provide a less-specific standard.
29 Examples. Compare: “Sell the Company’s Goods” with “Sell $18,000 of the Company’s Goods to Customers in Territory 15”. Compare “Purchase Goods so they arrive by the’ date required” with achieve a situation where 95% of all deliveries of goods ordered by his/her section arrive on, or before, the due date”. (Note: The first example does not include any time objective.)
30 Further, the Basis of Assessment Section will usually highlight the key objectives of a position. Thus it identifies the Position’s Objectives which will make a major contribution to the Organisation if achieved.
31 This section would help the Manager of the Position Holder to assess more quickly the important objectives of a Position. It should also help Position Holders to decide to which objectives they should give most attention.
Examples of Position Descriptions
32 The following sections provides an example of a Position Description for a Purchasing Officer and one for a Branch Manager.
Example 1 – Purchasing Officer
33 Purchase goods and services, at an appropriate price, so that they “arrive” at appropriate places by the date required.
34 Assist with the preparation of cost estimates.
35 Purchase goods and services included in material lists assigned to the position at the best available price, provided the price falls at, or below, the limit laid down., Ensure the Organisation receives the Goods and Services at the right time and at the right place.
36 Seek quotations on goods and services.
37 Compare and summarise quotations received for goods and services.
38 Prepare Offers and Contracts.
39 Sign Orders and Contracts – of value up to the amount of the estimated price of the item.
40 Refer larger amounts to the Supply Manager.
41 Follow up and expedite delivery of goods.
42 Price materials and services – as directed.
43 Consider invoices and progress payment claims from Suppliers where the order or contract prepared and the prices of rates exceed those in the order or contract. Recommend approval of higher amounts or rates if correct.
44 Sign sales tax exemption certificates.
45 Assist the Invoice Clerks with technical queries.
46 Maintain records of prices and confidential records of Suppliers.
47 Visit Suppliers’ works and report on their potential as Supplier to the Organisation.
48 Sign routine correspondence over the title “Purchasing Officer”.
49 Maintain a complete and up-to-date manual for the position.
50 Perform any other duties assigned by the Supply Manager.
51 Report to the Supply Manager.
52 Co-operate with other Staff on matters of mutual concern. Have close relations with Staff of Department for which he/she purchases goods and services.
53 Have extensive contacts with Suppliers prior to confirmation of commitments and during follow up to eventual delivery.
Basis of Assessment
54 Ability to purchase goods and services which arrive at the desired place, on the scheduled date.
55 Ability to buy goods of the ordered quality at an economical price.
56 Appropriate maintenance of records of prices, Suppliers, progress- payment claims, and the approval of invoices.
57 Success in obtaining new supply sources to the Company’s advantage.
Example 2 – Branch Manager
58 Market effectively and efficiently the Company’s products and services to selected markets within the Branch Territory.
59 Achieve or exceed budgeted profit.
60 Prepare specific objectives for the coming six months (the first or second half of the budget year) for (a) the Branch (b) the position itself.
61 Communicate these objectives to the immediate Manager before the commencement of the period of the objectives.
62 Prepare budgets for own Branch for both sales and expenses.
63 Recommend items of capital expenditure of annual budget.
64 Approve purchase of capital items up to $1,000 in value where the item did not appear in the approved annual capital expenditure for the Branch AND the cumulative amount of excess capital budget expenditure does not exceed $5,000 in total for any one yearly accounting period.
65 Recommend purchases of capital items not already included in annual branch capital-expenditure budget and for which the Position Holder has not got the position authority to approve. (Refer to previous objective).
Levels of Stock and Service Capacity
66 Ensure the maintenance of a level of stocks of products and parts and service personnel which will provide the level of Customer service decided by Head Office for the Branch.
Information about Markets and Marketing
67 Approve any surveys (information gathering on a systematic basis) for existing and/or new markets and/or products* which Branch Sales Representatives and/or Branch Service Personnel carry out.**
68 Notify Marketing Services Manager and/or Australian Service Manager (as appropriate to the content of the information gathering) of any activity of the type mentioned in the previous objective.**
69 Recommend desirable research of existing and/or potential markets within the Branch and/or products and/or marketing activities of the Branch.
* Such surveys could include reactions to new products, complaints, and ideas for new products.
** These two objectives - Nos. 67 and 68 - mean that no-one can force the use of the Representatives for information gathering without the permission of Branch Manager or a Line Manager of the Branch Manager. However a Branch Manager who starts such actions must inform the appropriate Managers.
70 Recommend market segments to which the Branch should aim to market — for each specific product or product group.
71 Encourage staff to achieve or better sales targets, at a cost less than budgeted.
72 Ensure that the staff report technical problems (found during selling) to the Marketing Services Manager and/or Australian Service Manager.
73 Recommend appropriate policies on personal selling and service activities to (respectively) the Marketing Services Manager and Australian Service Manager.
74 Approve Customer Nights, Plant Tours, and similar where expenditure will exceed $X on any one night, tour, etc.
75 Ensure Branch Sales Manager(s) review the adequacy of sales territories to achieve the Branch Marketing Objectives.
76 Approve any alteration to sales territories.
77 Approve all gifts to Branch Customers and/or Prospects.
78 Deal personally with Customer complaints where the amount involved exceeds $1,000 or the Branch Sales Manager or Branch Service Manager rates the Customer as a major one for the Branch.
Co-operation between Personnel from Various Departments
79 Encourage and arrange for a high level of: (a) co-operation between and (b) co-ordination between the activities of Branch Personnel from (a) Service, (b) Sales, (c) Office.
80 Recommend appointment of any Sales Agents which operate within the Branch Territory.
81 Approve participation in exhibitions which occur within the Branch Territory.
Advertising and Publicity
82 Recommend advertising objectives for the Branch to Advertising Manager.
84 Approve tenders for any value that exceeds $X but does not exceed $Y.
85 Recommend approval of tenders exceeding $Y to General Manager.
86 Recommend (a) possibilities for, and (b) investigation and development of, new products to Marketing Services Manager and/or General Manager.
87 Recommend changes in sales promotion material and/or selling methods occasioned by the marketing of new products.
88 Assist in the launching of any new products within the Branch territory.
89 Approve the granting of credit where the amount granted means the Customer will owe the Branch no more than $3,000 once the next delivery received (and assuming the Customer does not pay anything off the existing account, where one exists).
90 Assess the adequacy of existing channels of distribution to achieve marketing objectives.
91 Recommend changes to channels of distribution.
93 Approve any major changes in methods of delivering goods to Customers.
93 Foster good relationships, and a favourable image, with (a) the Public and (b) Company Employees.
94 Recommend number and type of personnel to achieve Branch Objectives.
95 Encourage and/or use selection techniques where specified by Head Office or Regional Office.
96 Recommend alterations to Company selection techniques.
97 Assist in selection of Branch Personnel where Manager believes desirable.
98 Approve the selection of all Branch personnel; but may delegate this position objective to one or more immediate Subordinates, if the Appointee will fill a Branch position where he/she will not have charge of any Branch Personnel.
99 Approve the promotion of any personnel (from within or without the Branch) to a position within the Branch.
100 Approve the transfer of Representatives between Sales Territories.
101 Approve remuneration of all Branch Personnel (other than own remuneration) provided the approved remuneration falls within laid—down remuneration ranges for the specified position.
102 Recommend remuneration for any Branch Personnel where it falls outside the laid-down remuneration range for the specified position.
103 Approve allocation of any company-owned vehicles.
104 Approve requests for use of company-owned vehicles outside Branch Territory.
105 Approve type of vehicle used by Sales and Service personnel where staff use their own vehicle on Company business.
106 Recommend organisation structure(s) for the Branch.
107 Recommend changes in own Position Description.
108 Approve changes in Position Descriptions of any Branch position (other than own) provided such change does not alter the Branch organisation structure.
109 Approve changes in the employment conditions of any Branch position (other than own provided such changes do not disagree with, or tend to oppose or negate, any conditions laid down by the Regional and/or Head Office.
110 Recommend time to take own Annual Leave.
111 Recommend payment of own expenses.
112 Approve expense payments for all immediate Subordinates.
113 Dismiss any Branch Personnel in cases of serious misconduct and where delay undesirable – but must report such action and the reason for the decision to his/her immediate Manager.
114 Approve the dismissal of all Branch Personnel who do not report directly to this position.
115 Seek to keep up to date with information related to the objectives of own position.
116 Keep informed on the objectives of his/her immediate Manager and the activities of other aspects of the organisation which will help achieve the objective of own position.
117 Ensure Branch personnel receive training appropriate to their own position and for other positions where an appropriate person(s) has identified the personnel concerned as having potential for further promotion.
Communication of Relevant Information
118 Communicate information, and encourage other to communicate information, which should help improve the productivity of the Organisation: (a) “downwards” to personnel under own control, (b) “upwards” to higher-level Managers, and (c) “sideways” to other relevant personnel.
119 Evaluate the performance of all immediate Subordinates in relation to their position objectives and standards of performance.
120 Carry out, or supervise closely, all negotiations with Unions.
121 Recommend any agreements with any Union.
122 Maintain the accounting system as specified by Head Office.
123 Ensure preparation of all accounting reports and records – as decided by Branch and/or Head Office.
124 Encourage use of accounting procedures and policies decided by Branch and/or Head Office.
125 Sign all cheques issued by the Branch where he/she believes the Branch should issue the cheque to the Drawee for that amount. (The position Holder cannot delegate this objective to anyone else without the written permission of his/her immediate Manager.)
126 Recommend preparation of legal contracts as required.
127 Recommend signing of appropriate legal contracts.
128 Ensure protection of all Branch Assets.
129 Arrange for security of all Branch Assets.
130 Recommend insurance cover for all Branch Assets.
Outside Consulting Service
131 Approve any expenditure on consulting services not allowed for in the Branch Budget provided such expenditure will not make the total of such expenditure, in the current budget year, exceed $5,000
132 Recommend any expenditure on consulting services which falls outside the budget and the limit established in the previous objective.
133 Report directly to the General Manager.
134 Manage directly: Branch Sales Manager, Branch Service Manager, Branch Office Manager.
135 Receive assistance from) if desired and/or where designated by the General Manager, the following Head Office Personnel: Australian Service Manager, Marketing Services Manager, Finance Manager, Personnel Manager, Information Systems Manager.
136 Communicate directly with Major Customers and Prospects.
Basis of Assessment
137 Achievement of the Branch profitability budgets without sacrificing reasonable chances of achieving a similar (or better) return on capital employed in the following few years.
138 Development of staff to greater productivity.
140 Development of staff with potential to perform well in higher-level positions – not necessarily only within the Branch.