Here's How to Develop a Job Plan at Work

Job Plans Provide Direction for Employees

Young business woman discussing her job plan with her manager.

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Need an employee and company friendly way to keep employee job descriptions, goals, and plans up-to-date without Human Resources intervention? Consider writing a job plan as an alternative to the traditional, normally not up-to-date, lengthy job description. 

Owned by the employee, in conjunction with and negotiated with his or her manager, the job plan solves the most frequent problems organizations experience with job descriptions. Similar to a job profile but with more detail, the job plan clearly defines the employee's job. 

Advantages of an Employee-Led Job Plan

An employee-led job plan is always up-to-date, is descriptive of the job the employee is doing and is owned by and important to the employee. The job plan is an improvement over an HR written job description that is usually out-of-date, tough to maintain, and a document that employees don't own and use as a guide.

The written job plan will guide an employee's use of his or her work time and inform the employee of the priorities and needed outcomes. The job plan, done well, emphasizes an employee's most significant goals and expectations. You can use a job plan to assess an employee's progress on goals and core responsibilities.

It makes a useful starting discussion point during weekly one-to-one meetings and in any meeting to discuss setting goals, planning the future, or desired changes to an employee's job. 

Since the job plan is negotiated with the manager, he or she feels 

How to Develop the Job Plan

Managers work with employees to make sure that every employee has an individually developed job plan. The document is maintained and updated as necessary by the employee with the concurrence of the employee’s manager.

The document lists the employee’s responsibilities and the core job functions, goals, and expectations for performance. It is the employee’s responsibility to execute the job plan with management support and agreement.

Managers work with employees to ensure that employees have appropriate elements of their company's mission, goals, objectives and guiding principles in their job plans. Managers also work with employees to ensure that regular performance discussions and feedback are occurring relative to the core functions, job expectations and goals in the job plan.

Managers work with employees to ensure that each employee has appropriate stretch goals that serve both the company and the employee in place in their job plan.

Group Job Plan

In developing the job plan, employees who have the same job with similar responsibilities will work as a team to develop the job plan for the job with the assistance and concurrence of their managers. In the instance of a group-developed job plan, each employee might also expect to have individual goals, that are specific to his or her position.

In addition to these core responsibilities, activities and functions that were agreed upon as a group, these additional expectations also define the scope and expectations of the individual's job. When an employee is performing core job plan functions and responsibilities and meeting job plan goals, the employee is making a solid contribution to his or her organization.

Overall Approach to the Job Plan

The employee who is doing the job takes the lead in writing the job plan using this job plan format. The goals and plans that become the final document are negotiated with the employee's manager or supervisor.

Progress should be reviewed periodically with the supervisor and success on the job plan and goals should affect compensation decisions.

Unlike performance development planning, which is for employee development, the job plan measures progress toward goal accomplishment. The job plan provides clear expectations for employee performance.

This guarantees that the employee and the manager are on the same page and share meaning on the employee's performance expectations. This is a positive, powerful way to make sure that employees are focused on producing what the organization most needs from them.