7Job Design


I'm going to start by being blunt: We are universally terrible at job design.

Most jobs aren't actually designed at all—we're lucky if they are a list of loosely connected tasks and we rarely, if ever, think about how the person doing them will feel. As a result, we end up with boring, repetitive jobs; frustrating jobs; and jobs where the person can't tell if they've had a good day or a bad one.

To make matters worse, we then document these positions with job descriptions—some of the most awful documents to come out of HR, which I often think have a primary aim of being waved at someone as we fire them, saying, “See, you didn't do any of these things.” And then, as if this weren't enough, we convert the descriptions into job advertisements that paper over the cracks and make the key responsibilities even ...

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