How to Create a Job Description
One of the first questions I ask any couple in business I work with is, ‘Do you understand each other’s roles in the business?’
Being able to work together successfully and appreciate each other’s contribution begins with a very clear understanding of what each person’s role and responsibilities are. If you can’t articulate your partner’s role and responsibilities in your business – or you know they can’t articulate yours – a job description will help.
Each partner in a couple in business should have a clearly defined, written job description.
Benefits of a Job Description
The benefits a job description brings to your business as a couple include:
- Removing doubt around who is doing what.
- Providing clarity on the day-to-day responsibilities of each person.
- Giving each partner security around the importance of their role in the business.
- Ensuring the business can function efficiently. Any gaps can be recognised and a plan created to cover the gaps through upskilling, employing a staff member or outsourcing.
- Allowing each person to have input into their responsibilities based on their skill/expertise/interest rather than the duties that have to be covered within the business.
Job Description Template
If you already have some job descriptions for other roles within your business, you probably already have a job description template. You can use your existing template with the below step-by-step guide to creating your own job descriptions.
If you don’t have any job descriptions in your business (yet), you can download our Job Description template below to create your own version.
Once downloaded, you will need to add your logo to the top header and your business name to the bottom footer of the template, where indicated. This will personalise the job description to your business.
Save this version as your Business Job Description template for future use when employing staff so all job descriptions you create are consistent.
Use the step-by-step guide below to put together yours and your partner’s job descriptions.
Over the course of the next few days/week, write down on paper or type into a document on your computer every task you do. Your partner should do the same. Focus on recording the majority of tasks you do over this time to get an accurate picture. No task is too small to record.
If you have staff, ask them to review it as well. We often forget or downplay our roles as business owners and you may find other tasks are added to it by your staff.
Note: If you at the stage of thinking about starting a business together, you can do this step by writing the tasks you would each like to be doing within the business.
Once complete, each review your lists and rewrite/type them. Remove duplicates and expand on any tasks that have a number of parts or that are too simplified.
Now review both lists together. You need to be in agreement on what each of you do and are responsible for in the business. This may be a quick discussion if you are on the same page or may take longer and some compromises by both of you until you can agree.
This is also the time to create a ‘Position Title’ if you don’t currently have one for your roles. Your position title should reflect the types of tasks you are responsible for and helps both internally and for external contacts of your business.
Once you have your agreed list of tasks, it’s time to prepare them for your job descriptions. Review your tasks grouping similar ones together. Create a number of ‘section headers’ that represent the similar tasks then write/type your tasks under their relevant section headers. Sections could be marketing, administration, sales, accounts, service delivery etc.
Using your template/ the downloaded template, enter all of the identifier details at the top such as name and position title.
You are now ready to enter your tasks. In the section for ‘Position Duties’ (or if using your own template the applicable section), enter your section headers, and list as bullet points the tasks under each. Use an order that makes sense to you/your business.
The next section on the job description (downloaded version) is ‘Responsibilities’. Here you need to write a list of the areas of the business you are responsible for, either using bullet point or numbering.
Responsibilities will be different for each business, so you will need to put these together using the tasks in Position Duties as a guide. Think of this list as the areas or outcomes you will be responsible for the successful completion/delivery/management of.
For example, Areas could be all tasks and staff management (if relevant) related to marketing or administration. Outcomes could be KPIs or sales targets (if you use them), service delivery if you are service-based, production of products if, for example, you make your products.
The section for ‘Competencies/Skills Used in Position’ allows you to list the required competencies and skills for the position. This will showcase the skills you bring to the role and may also identify any that you need to upskill.
The downloaded job description has sections for ‘Key Internal and External Relationships’, you may not have this if using your own job description. If not relevant to your business you can remove them. These sections allow you to be clear on who manages what internal areas eg staff, and who is responsible for managing external relationships to the business eg clients, suppliers. This helps with communication and avoids confusing important business relationships.
You may have noticed we skipped ‘Position Summary’ at the beginning of the job description. It is better to complete a summary of your position once the job description detail is finished. You will have a much clearer view of the position’s place within the business. Go ahead now and write a 2 to 3 sentence position summary.
We’ve now complete the job description content. You should as a last step refine, proofread and format your document into a professional, useable job description.
Step 11. Have the person the job description is for sign the document. In the case of a couple in business, both partners should sign the document after discussing and agreeing on its content. For a staff member, have the staff member sign the document, countersign the document for them or have the most relevant person in your business countersign. Provide the staff member with a copy and keep a copy on file.