Job Descriptions: Nuisance or Necessity?

Ask most Copreneurs if they have and use written job descriptions and many will say, “Not really. We like to keep things pretty informal around here.” In fact, many founder-entrepreneurs pride themselves on the informality that often goes hand in hand with early stage companies. Others are hesitant to create written descriptions for fear of offending their Copreneur partner. But in our experience, job descriptions don’t create conflict, they help to prevent it. 

Job Descriptions Clarify Expectations. Lack of clarity in roles is a top problem for Copreneurs. Too often, Copreneurs come together because they’re already together, not because they fully understand what will be required of them in the business. You may know each other intimately, but you still need to put your roles in writing. You’ll know what’s expected and have something to go back to if one of you isn’t living up to expectations. 

Job Descriptions Establish Relationships. A well-written job description defines direct reports. You may have started out with employees reporting to “both of you,” but that will only take you so far. Problems arise when employees aren’t clear about who has the final authority on their position and performance, let alone where to turn for guidance on day-today work issues. Why not spell it out?

Job Descriptions Define Performance. A job description is the primary document that drives evaluation of someone’s performance. Without a job description, there is no clear way to assess and discuss how someone is doing in their role. This is especially important for Copreneurs who often find it difficult (or never even contemplate) the idea of giving each other feedback. 

There’s nothing that says you have to have job descriptions, but they’re helpful tools that can serve a practical purpose in your business, as well as alleviate relationship tension. 

This week: What would be the biggest benefit of job descriptions in your specific situation – expectations, relationships or performance? If you were to draft them, what would be the major themes? 

A good business foundation begins with a blueprint.

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