Getting Started: Documenting Roles


Before engaging staff it is important to think clearly about the support you require, the paid roles you need filled, the skills or attributes needed by any staff you engage and your expectations of the workers in the role.  Some roles will require on-going review and adjustment because of changing support requirements and some positions will remain static.

Creative and thorough planning will make this step easier and make it more likely that you employ the right person for a particular role.

Clear documentation of a role can:

  • Assist your workers to be clear about why they have been employed and your expectations of them in the role.
  • Assist you in further recruitment processes such as developing advertisements, and interviewing and selecting appropriate workers.
  • Assist you in reviewing both a worker's performance and your own plan and how this is being fulfilled
  • Assist to establish a more formal relationship with owners if that is what you would like.

A document could include:

Job or Position Analysis: This should be based on a deep understanding of your needs or the needs of the person requiring support and the priorities of the needs that are to be addressed.

Personal Specifications: This involves developing a profile of the type of worker ideally suited to the position.  For example:

  • Able to work independently
  • Able to work on weekends
  • Able to attend staff meetings once a month
  • Experience and skills required such as manual handling, meal preparation or tutoring.

You might also want to think about temperament, interests, attitudes and values and any physical requirements needed for a particular role.

Team Specifications: If you employ a team of workers to address multiple needs it would be helpful to breakdown the actual roles, the duties required and the skills necessary to carry them out.  This will help identify the skills and abilities lacking in your current team.

Employees and Contractors
Part of planning to engage staff would involve a decision about whether to engage people as employees or as independent contractors

Engaging an Employee
A Role Description for an employee would usually include: duties, responsibilities, reporting relationships, conditions of employment, job summary, essential job functions, qualifications and experience.  This Employee Role Description is one example of what should be included. 

Engaging a Contractor
An agreement with an independent contractor would usually include: time frames, key tasks and objectives/aims/goals and terms of agreement. This Contract for Service is one example of such an agreement.

Further information about engaging employees and/or contractors is available in the Employee, Contractor or Other Payment Options section of this website.


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