A few thoughts on the connection between job descriptions and employee performance appraisals, and the associated risks and rewards. The Joint Commission requires that job responsibilities be clearly communicated to employees.

In most industries, this is not a problem. But in healthcare – facing the ever-present shortage of talent – many employees are working far outside the parameters of their formal job description.

As an employer, do you see this as a fact of life, and believe that people need to pitch in? Or do you see this as a serious risk, where consequences could far outweigh the benefit?

It’s a no-win situation that brings up a lot of different questions:

Is the employee okay with this, or would they rather be doing what they were hired to do?

· How do managers appraise employees effectively when they may not fully understand what they’re doing?

· How do healthcare organizations create training and development plans for these employees?

· What is the overall effect on employee satisfaction and retention?

· Does this have an adverse effect on patient care?

· Are we increasing the risk of a sentinel event?

And on and on and on.

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One way to address all these questions is job descriptions. It’s believed by many that even if you have to expand a job description, that’s better than one that isn’t accurate or none at all. Effective performance management solutions enable healthcare organizations to define performance and skills at the very beginning of the process. The employee is presented with a better understanding of what is expected of them and how they will be measured. Managers and educators can build and assess competencies that are aligned with the work employees are actually performing.

You may be surprised how something that seems so small can lead to big results. Improved productivity and performance. Increased employee satisfaction. Even better patient care.

So if improving job descriptions is the first step in achieving all these benefits, what are you waiting for?

About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.