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I have a written job description, so why is my Boss asking me what I do?

“I have a written job description, so why is my boss asking me what I do?"

I get this question a lot. Most employees think that these requests are a total waste of time. At first glance it looks like the Boss has lost his/her mind. The Boss hired you to do a job. The Boss told you what that job entails (and probably even has it in writing). Now the Boss is asking you to tell him or her what you do?

Employers are often counseled to send out these requests. The typical request will say something like, “In order to create a more productive, efficient and harmonious working environment, Management is conducting a survey of employees regarding their position, their duties and their expectations here at XYZ Company. Please be so kind as to fill out the following survey including, your title with XYZ, what your job consists of and how you feel about your job here at XYZ. Your input will lead to a better XYZ Company! Failure to do so within x number of days may result in disciplinary action. Thank you, Management."

While it looks like the Boss has lost his or her mind, there is certainly a method to the madness. There are lots of reasons for sending out a survey like the one above including, but not limited to:

  • Determining workforce inefficiencies. If 5 people say they do they exact same thing and the Boss only needs 2 people to do that thing, it probably means bad news for 3 of those 5 people.
  • Determining workflow. If an employee is getting bogged down with work, but that employee has the ability to jettison some of the work to other employees and is failing to do so, Management needs to know.
  • Determining if an employee is actually doing his or her job. If an employee says that his or her position is A and A’s written job duties are xyz, but the employee says that he or she does rst all day instead of xyz, then that employee is not doing his or her job.

So, while it looks like the Boss has lost his or her mind, there is probably a really good reason the Boss is actually asking that question…even if it makes him or her look a little crazy.

On to the disclaimer: note that this article is for general educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on it as legal advice. Instead, you should contact a lawyer like me to discuss the specifics of your case. No attorney-client relationship exists as a result of your reading this article. No attorney-client relationship exists as a result of your submitted questions or making comments as a result of this article.

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