ACG - Agency Consulting Group

The PIPELINE

A national monthly newsletter for agency principals dedicated to agency management topic

HOW TO WRITE A JOB DESCRIPTION

Whether you are hiring someone new, promoting or changing the position of a current employee or evaluating an employee in a long-standing role, the key to clarity of a job lies in the Job Description.

Job Descriptions need not be daunting or complicated. They simply set out a) the ‘description’ of the job (as if you were advertising for a new person), b) an explanation of the functions of the description, and c) measurement devices that will tell the manager and the employee whether or not the job is being accomplished in the way that the Company expects it to be done.

THE DESCRIPTION

If you write your job advertisements as, “Wanted – Customer Service Representative – Salary commensurate with experience – call XXX-XXXX” you probably don’t get much in the way of a response and, when you do, you will be interviewing many unqualified candidates before, and if ever, you find the right person.

The description of the job below the Title and ‘Reports To’ lines is supposed to describe the job in such a way that a candidate can properly determine if (s)he is qualified for the role. An example (for an Account Executive Job Description) is:

Job Description: The Account Executive is the primary client relationship manager for a designated book of business. As such, the AE communicates with the client and manages the account from a retention standpoint. The AE is responsible (with the producer, if one is assigned) for the successful renewal of the client’s insurance program annually. The AE is the primary service manager for daily service and administration of the client account. The AE quotes assure efficient and effective policy changes and responds to all normal customer requests including claims (opening and follow-up).

This type of description clearly defines the expectations of the job to the incumbent or to any new candidate for this job.

THE FUNCTIONS

The description defines the expectations of the job, but not the functions detail that is needed to expand the description into expected tasks. That’s why the second part of the Job Description is taking each part of the description and detailing the tasks encompassed by the general statement.

1. Client Communications – The AE (with the producer and manager) defines the customer relationship strategy for every customer in the book of business

2. Manages Retention – The AE is responsible for the retention of the requisite percentage of policies.

3. Quotes – The AE gathers sufficient information to market and quote new, additional lines, and renewal policies on behalf of agency customers.

4. Policy Changes – The AE collects information from clients and is responsible for the prompt and effective processing of policy changes.

5. Claims – The AE is responsible for initiation of claims from the client to the carrier and for on-going follow-up with the client to assure proper treatment of each claim to conclusion.

6. Customer Requests – The AE responds to customer requests to completion.

7. Other duties as assigned by manager

The combination of the “description” and the “functions” of the description provides an excellent tool for the employee or candidate to know what is expected for the proper execution of the role of the job. However, the key to the evaluation process is the definition of the standards by which each function is to be completed for the employee to know that (s) he is doing an acceptable job within the assigned role.

Compare this, expanded, set of functions against the function definitions, above to see the final difference that makes this Job Description the proper tool for an applicant to determine whether (s)he is qualified for the job and for both the employee in the role and the manager of that employee to evaluate performance on an on-going basis.

THE STANDARDS

1. Client Communications – The AE (with the producer and manager) defines the customer relationship strategy for every customer in the book of business and visits or communicates the requisite number of times during the year (with call reports on every visit) to assure stable and strong customer relationship between each customer and the agency.

2. Manages Retention – The AE is responsible for the retention of the requisite percentage of policies as defined by the agency retention history and its annual retention goals.

3. Quotes – The AE gathers sufficient information to market and quote new, additional lines, and renewal policies on behalf of agency customers. Ninety percent of new line quotes are to be done within two weeks of a request or prior to requested date. All renewal quotes must follow the agency renewal guidelines and be presented to the client prior to renewal.

4. Policy Changes – The AE collects information from clients and is responsible for the prompt and effective processing of policy changes. Standards for policy changes are completion to the carrier within one week of the request.

5. Claims – The AE is responsible for immediate (within one working day) initiation of claims from the client to the carrier and for on-going follow-up with the client to assure proper treatment of each claim to conclusion.

6. Customer Requests – The AE responds to customer requests to completion, identifying when the request will be completed and following up to assure customer satisfaction. 90% of customer requests are expected to be initiated within one week of a request.

7. Other duties as assigned by operations manager.

Before hiring your next employee, make sure that you have updated Job Descriptions that follow these three guidelines. If you do this, your employees will better know what is expected of them and you or your managers will know how to evaluate the functions of the job in a fair and equitable manner.

We also recommend that Job Descriptions, like employees, must be evaluated and changed as the job changes. For that reason we employ an Acknowledgement Block (to be signed and dated by the employee) and a Sunset Clause on Job Descriptions that expire the Job Description, requiring them to be reviewed at least annually to assure that the description properly reflects the job.

I have read and understand the functions of my position as reflected within this document. Should the functions of my job change over time, it is incumbent upon me to notify my manager and, if necessary, change this Position Description accordingly.

_________________________ ____________________

Employee Signature Date

This Position Description is valid for twelve months, after which it must be “renewed” or changed or it will expire.

Date of last Job Description Update: March 21, 2013.