Key result areas, key performance indicators and job descriptions

Defining roles can be tricky. Yet, as I’ve explained elsewhere: role clarity is important if staff are to perform at their best and not spend time treading on each others’ toes, or leaving activities and functions incomplete.

Personally I am NOT a fan of traditional job descriptions that tend to describe the activities of the job (what you need to do.)  Whilst such documents may be appropriate for very low level jobs, I feel that for most roles where we want individuals to use their initiative, they have three problems:

  • What matters to a business is not what is done, but the outcome achieved.
  • Defining activities rather than outcomes does not encourage the individual to find a better way to achieve the same outcome.
  • Defining what to do encourages the potential for gaps of the ‘It’s not my job’ form.

Therefore, I prefer to define roles using Key Result Areas (KRAs) to define the outcomes the role exists to achieve and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to define how success in the role is measured. I embed those alongside more traditional job definition items such as mandatory and desirable attributes of the person such as skills, attitudes and behaviours.

Once you’ve defined the job, you’ll need to recruit someone to fulfil the role. So you might find this additional article here on recruitment useful.

Here are some examples – please feel free to take them and modify to suit your own purposes:


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