Does Anyone Know the Skills Required For a Job?

Does Anyone Know the Skills Required For a Job?

When you first seek employment, do you know all of the ins and outs of the job you’re applying to do? Founder and managing member Ron Slee takes a look at skills in his learning post for this week: Does Anyone Know the Skills Required For a Job?

I have been manic about having Organizations Charts and Job Descriptions and Performance Metrics for Jobs for a long time. I have also always been able to have performance reviews with any teams that I led when I was an employee. For one-on-one discussions of performance reviews, I tried to put the employee at ease. I wanted us to be able to be completely honest with each other. It was reflected in my day-to-day activities as well. I was always “on the floor” walking around and talking with everyone. I guess I was interrupting their work but neither the employee nor I ever complained about my presence in their jobs and their lives. We were family from my perspective.

Today as I look around businesses today, I see organizations without inadequate numbers of employees. Push-push-push. More-more-more. People are complaining about the lack of loyalty that customers have toward their suppliers. I am constantly asked that question “What happened to loyalty?” The internet has changed everything. Many people today are writing about the problems with “WFH” – working from home. We have lost something that we will regret. I don’t agree with that comment at all. We are entering into a new era of work. Most small business has to have employees at work. At their place of business. They cannot work remotely at a coffee shop or a warehouse or a service shop. It is the  larger corporations that are having the problem with WFH. They don’t like it. They think that the “office” is where life happens. We work collaboratively. We make friends and have adversaries. Sometimes we meet someone that we will marry. Everything happens at the office. Isn’t that something?

Our lives and our society depend on us going to the office.     


I truly hope that is not true. It is not true with what I do. It isn’t true with my daughter who teaches in the classroom. My grandchildren went to school virtually for nearly two school years. My granddaughter took advantage of it and loaded her schedule with the classes that would have been too far apart (distance-wise) for her to take back-to-back during her Undergraduate Degree. I don’t think that hurt her at all. I think it helped. My grandson learning virtually was something that he did better with than in the traditional classroom. There were fewer distractions. That would have been the same thing with me. Too many distractions. That is why I have been talking about a book titled “Indistractable.” How helpful that has been in how I organize my workload. But my grandson did very well with virtual learning.

Which brings me to what I wanted to talk about in this blog. Who has defined the job skills required for a job? I know. Education. Years of Experience.  Gets along well with others. The usual stuff. But what skills are required? Can they use the telephone effectively? Can they solve problems? Can they sell? Can they manage an inventory? Do they know how to set up a warehouse, a distribution center? Can they manage a shop floor? Do they have critical thinking skills? Do they have analytical skills? Can they communicate well in writing and orally? Do they have leadership skills? Who has defined and clearly described the specific job skills required for a job function? 

I will suggest to you most people think that those things are supposed to be handled in the interview. Alright I will go along with that for a moment. Who trained the person conducting the interview with the prospective employee? We have a problem here. In my opinion.

This shows itself up in our Job Function Skills Assessments. Experienced and talented people are surprised at their scores. The results that most people get are lower than what they thought they would be. When I discuss it with them, I ask them why they were surprised and they tell me that they do the job and have done the job for years. They are good at their job. They get promoted.

Let’s get specific then and talk about inventory management. I start by asking questions. They give me good answers. They think that they do a very good job. So, I ask them how long it takes to get a part. Their lead time. And everyone now, even during the troubles with the supply chain, says less than a month for most vendors. Then I ask if their inventory turnover is greater than eight times. They look at me as if I was from another planet. The point is that they have been doing the job that has always been done in the same manner. Is that what we want? What we need? Continuous Quality Improvement, CQI, seems have gone away for most of us. 

I do the same thing with people in the service department, or product support selling or parts and service marketing. And everyone that got a score lower than they expected. Our assessments are evaluating the skills that the employee has to have in order to be able to perform that particular job function. Not how the job is being done but rather what the job requires. Instore Selling is not Order Processing. Repairs are not conducted in a job shop it is a planned and scheduled repair facility. Marketing is not simply brochures and trade shows. It is everything and anything that influences the customer to purchase something from you.

That takes me to the title of this blog. 

We need to write a different description of what is expected of the employee in their specific job. That would help in every area of the employee – employer relationship. The trouble with this is the same as most other issues we face. We don’t have enough time to do it. We are not sure what the skills should be for that job. We hadn’t really thought about it before.

Think about this seriously. I sincerely believe it will make your life easier with each employee and it will really help the employee understand what is expected of them with more clarity. The employees will feel much better about themselves and what is expected of them. However, make no mistake, this is not easy to do. Perhaps that is why we haven’t done it before. It is too much like work.   

The Time is Now.

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