Letter to the Editor

An open letter to the Blytheville School Board

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Dear Blytheville School Board Members,

Thank you for taking on the important charge of ensuring our schools are run as effectively and efficiently as possible. We know that the most important asset of any community is the people, and the most important people in our community are our children.

Recently, the Blytheville Courier News reported on a Blytheville School Board meeting during which the topic of job descriptions was raised.

The article covered the question of whether job descriptions should be required for all or most of the positions in the school district, and whether they were relevant to the school district you oversee.

With over 30 years’ experience as a senior Human Resources leader, I can attest that a job description is the cornerstone of every high performing organization. A well-documented job description sets the standard by which:

— hiring decisions are made,

— performance is measured relative to

— similar incumbents,

— compensation is set,

— progressive disciplinary action is taken,

— termination decisions must be made.

High performing organizations use job descriptions to set expectations for employees at the onset of the employment engagement as well as to defend employment decisions made by management through the duration of the employment relationship. Clearly articulated job descriptions differentiate positions in organizations where growth opportunities exist.

I’ve led Human Resources departments in small, large, private as well as publically-held organizations and would never lead an organization without them.

Without clearly articulated job responsibilities and job requirements, it would be like taking a road trip across the country without a map to guide the way, and without knowing your car is adequately equipped to get you there. Most importantly, simply monitoring employee performance without a written standard of performance could lead to non-defensible discriminatory activity.

I do understand that the Board does not individually manage employees in the district, but the Board is responsible for the body of work performed by the Superintendent, integrity of decisions that are made and the overall performance of the District. It is my strong recommendation that this issue be pursued and job descriptions are held for every position.

I would be very happy to assist the Superintendent with a job description template and instructions for completion if it would be helpful in any way.

Again, I’d like to offer my thanks to all of you for the work you do on behalf of our beloved community. I know when the school year ends and the students and teachers go into summer-mode, your work never ends, and I’d like you to know your work is appreciated.

— Susie Sylvester Zimmerman, SPHR, MBA