As a conservation district board member, your responsibility to the employees of your districts starts with a thorough job description and an annual performance evaluation.
Did you know?
- Good job descriptions greatly influence recruiting. Applicants get a clearer picture of what you are seeking, plus interviewers are better able to objectively assess the applicant’s skills against defined tasks and measures. With clearer expectations, the chances you’ll hire the right candidate greatly improve. Application screeners and job interviewers have an easier task too, because potential applicants are less likely to apply if they cannot do the work or don’t want to. Qualified persons might not even apply if the job description looks impossible, is too general, or is cluttered with tasks they do not want to do. Also the individual hired usually experiences fewer surprises about “what the job actually is.”
- Many times job descriptions are too general or list all the possible responsibilities, tasks, and qualifications that might pertain to a job title and do not state tasks that can be easily monitored and measured. Job descriptions should give qualitative or quantitative measures for the tasks, stating how many, how much, how often, or how well each task should be done. More clearly specifying your expectations of the employee will improve your ability to measure actual performance against expectations, too.
- Job descriptions are often written and then just filed away and forgotten. Job descriptions should be updated each year to identify exactly what is expected. If you get better performance than expected, the individual might be rewarded in some way. If you get lower performance, then either the performance should be carefully examined or the job description missed the mark.
- District boards should ensure performance evaluations are conducted on all employees at least annually. The ideal person to do an employee evaluation is the individual with supervisory authority who knows an employee’s job performance best.
- Performance evaluations assess performance against defined job descriptions or workload assignments. They should identify where training is needed to improve areas of unacceptable performance or where rewards for exceptional performance might be warranted. It’s also a good time to modify/update the job descriptions to reflect the work planned for the next year.
- Evaluating job performance is most objective when good job descriptions exist and the employee’s performance has been regularly monitored. In fact, the employee should be able to anticipate the evaluator’s assessments. The evaluator is less likely to hear responses like “I don’t understand why you think I am not doing a good job, I thought I was doing good work” or “You expect so much, I just cannot get it all done. I don’t know what you want.”
Disclaimer: Did You Know? recommendations and observations may not apply to all states. NACD’s DO/MS Committee requests your understanding. We also invite you to find out what your state and local laws and policies say about any particular item.
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