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There is a big difference between a job description and a policy. My mentor says it’s always easier to create policy than to deal with a person directly. Policies are simply rules. They enable us to set clear-cut boundaries, but they don’t encourage ownership or thought. Rules only require obedience.
Job descriptions, however, deal with things that are expected of our volunteers or employees. They establish boundaries, and enable us to evaluate a person’s performance against a set of clear expectations. They should also encourage initiative. They should empower people to do more than just cross off one more thing from their “To do list.”
Policy says, “Answer the phone like this: ‘Thank you for calling Perrin Ministries. How may I help you?’”
A job description goes more like this: “We expect our volunteers/employees to handle all of our customers respectfully, to have a positive, can-do attitude and a pleasant demeanor.” This encourages the volunteer/employee to be creative in their implementation of the expectation.
Sometimes it is necessary to create policy – especially the case of a recurring problem. This shows a lack of clear communication on our part. But this should be the exception, not the rule.