This picture is displayed in its natural size Over a hundred years ago, Frederick Taylor wrote his seminal management text The Principles of Scientific Management – at the time, his thinking was revolutionary. Developed in the manufacturing industry, Taylor's management philosophy was founded on quarantining jobs as separate parts in a clear process so that each worker's performance could be measured, monitored and improved. In this orderly world, the job description was useful, even essential.

Today, work is radically different and job descriptions have fallen out of favour. The traditional job description often descends quickly into describing tasks and quickly becomes out of date.

But job descriptions still have an important role to play in communicating what organisations expect from people in their jobs: role clarity is important. Poorly defined roles can be a stressor for workers. Poor role definition arises from lack of clarity in workers' objectives, key accountabilities, their co-workers' expectations of them and the overall scope of responsibilities of their job.

What's needed is a new approach to job descriptions, one adapted to the changing nature of today and tomorrow's workplace.

A more contemporary approach uses a Success Profile and its associated pay range and a competency profile to reinstate the job description as an essential workplace tool both for individuals and the wider organisation.

Learn more about a new approach to job descriptions, download: Job descriptions – Irrelevant or still meaningful.

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