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Little Find

Forget job descriptions

Are you finding it hard to unearth and retain the right talent? Rather than raising pay, you may need to invest in making the work more interesting – and to move away from job descriptions in favor of focusing on tasks.

You can’t put a round peg in a square hole. Stop hoping that your employees will perfectly fulfill every aspect of their job description. Instead, it’s time to take a look at the work itself, deconstructing and constructing jobs in an agile, flexible work organization. Thinking in terms of tasks so you can match them as closely as possible to your employees’ talents changes everything! 

For instance, instead of making a distinction between an in-store salesperson and a telephone adviser, you could easily ask the former to work two days a week in the call center. This way, they will put their know-how as a salesperson and their experience of direct contact with customers to good use while developing skills associated with telephone sales.  

Everyone’s a winner: Employees increase their input and can focus on the tasks they like and develop new skills. And the company raises its employee retention and flexibility. This task-based logic means you can speedily re-deploy employees to meet new demands, but also isolate tasks that could be easily automated. 

TO go further

“Can’t fill jobs ? Deconstruct them”

by Ravin Jesuthasan and John W. Boudreau (MIT Sloan Management Review, 2 February 2022).

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Tagged with: job, job description, employees, task
Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.