Whose Job is it Anyway?!?

Most organizations like talking about how they recognize the value that each employee brings to their operations. The truth is, very few of them actually do, especially when it comes to longtime staff members. Often an organization will assign and re-assign various tasks due to business requirements but neglect to actually update position descriptions to keep pace with the changes. After all, an update might trigger a raise or reclassification and most organizations want to avoid that at all costs. Most employees will choose not to push the issue since getting extra work is probably a better option than being downsized.

While the short term benefit to the organization is that it is getting more advanced work at no extra cost, this attitude can backfire in the long run. Added work with no extra compensation or recognition can result in stressed employees at best. Worst case scenario? A revolving door of high turnover. A situation in which longtime employees run for the exits can bring catastrophic consequences for the company.

Since the company stubbornly chose not to acknowledge or compensate a runaway employee for the extra assigned work she was required to do, chances are that merely hiring someone who satisfies the requirements of the official position description won’t result in a successful hire. After all, many of the tasks required by the position were never recorded or written down. How is Human Resources supposed to know that hiring someone who meets the official qualifications will not actually result in getting someone who can accomplish the extra tasks that had been unofficially attached to the job?

This situation is made worse by the fact that most organizations will refuse to acknowledge the extra work a departing employee did even after he has left. So they stubbornly keep trying to recruit for the position using the official position description which just sets up the new hire for failure. Meanwhile, the other employees forced to pick up the slack will begin heading for the exits as well.

Despite the fact that time has consistently shown that the best policy is to compensate employees fairly and acknowledge their contributions to the organization, most workplaces will still try to push new tasks on their employees without corresponding increases in compensation for the short term benefits. It’s a great way to run an organization if your only concern is the bottom line in the short run, but it’s a shortsighted way to run a truly successful organization.