Edit ModuleShow Tags

Job descriptions versus job agreements

For years, I’ve been encouraging clients to create job agreements rather than job descriptions, but it wasn’t until last week that I fully appreciated the science behind why this simple shift in linguistics makes such a big difference in behavior.

Job descriptions are a one-way communication of what the requirements of the job entail.  Some include goals and expectation.  Good ones include what the employee can expect from the company as well.  But even at their best, a job description is just a one-way communication from company to employee.

Job agreements are a two-way communication between company and employee.  Rather than hand your employee their job description or bury it with other onboarding paperwork, a job agreement includes a dialogue where the manager and new hire discuss all aspects of the job, agree on them and sign off on each point that they are on the same page.
Over the years, various clients have thought that this simple adjustment was a stroke of genius (thank you).  Well, it’s time for an upgrade to sheer brilliance.

Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, gave an example of the power of connection in a recent keynote for CEOs from all over the world.  Simon asked us to imagine we had completed a tough and lengthy negotiation with a client.  In the end, we got everything we wanted.  After signing the contract, we extend our hand to shake on it, but they refuse to shake our hand.  Even though the contract was signed, the majority of the audience indicated they would be skeptical of the person who would not shake their hand.

Turns out there are feel-good hormones that our bodies produce when we shake on it giving our brains a sense of confidence, and feel-bad hormones we produce by not shaking on it that trigger skepticism.  Here is a simple equation:

High skepticism = low trust = low and slow productivity
High confidence = high trust = fast productivity
Okay, you know what’s coming next . . .

Upon conclusion of your well-crafted job agreement conversation, and signing off to ensure everyone is on the same page, add a simple handshake to seal the deal and enjoy the rush of feel-good hormones on your way to higher profit margins and lower employee turnover.

Edit Module
Merit Gest

Merit Gest is President & Founder of Merit-Based Development, a Denver based firm specializing in on-boarding top sales talent.  She is one of a small handful of specialists in the world certified and trained in Emotional Intelligence and Cultural Transformation Tools, giving her a unique perspective for hiring, on-boarding and retaining top sales talent.  Reach Merit at 720-980-1286 or Merit@MeritGest.com

Get more of our current issue | Subscribe to the magazine | Get our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Seven great ways to keep your cash flowing

If there is one lesson that a recession teaches even the most successful businesses, it's that their biggest threat is often not a lack of profit. It's a lack of cash flow. Slow-paying customers are frequently the culprit.

How to make kindness a state of mind

It should be okay to mention that we are struggling with a problem or concern, but instead we bury any chance of connection by saying something like “I’m fine, thanks.”

Why do so many millennials live in their parents' basement?

As a result of watching the value of their parents’ home drop drastically during the 2008-2009 housing bubble, Millennials have grown wary of homeownership.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Thanks for contributing to our community-- please keep your comments in good taste and appropriate for our business professional readers.

Add your comment: