A job description is an essential part of the hiring process as well as subsequent human resource roles in the organization. Through a job description, it becomes possible to structure the nature of a position, to understand its fit within an organization and to ensure it is managed effectively through the organization. A job description gives the HR function better visibility on specific roles by highlighting the knowledge, skills and abilities that the incumbent in any position should possess. As such, the job description is a critical component of any HR related process from recruitment, training, through to performance monitoring and evaluation (Dessler, 2017). At the recruitment stage, a job description helps in setting apart the qualified candidates from the unqualified. The decision as to whether a candidate is qualified or not depends on the specific skills required for a job, which can only be determined from the job description.
Similarly, employee compensation should depend on the scope of the employee’s duties as well as the level of authority accorded to that employee. Both factors are provided in the job description, which also indicates the relationship between the employee’s job and other functions in the organization (Dessler, 2017). The job description determines the job rating assigned to that job, and subsequently the remuneration package befitting to that job group (Royer, 2010). In terms of performance monitoring, the HR function highlights the list of key performance indicators attributed to each role in an organization. These KPIs are the basis upon which performance monitoring is conducted. These KPIs can however not be established without clear guidelines as to the exact roles and responsibilities of an employee, which are provided for in the job description (Mamoon, 2013). These KPIs can also be used to determine whether an employee is performing adequately or not. In case of poor performance, it is expected that based on the same KPIs, non-performing employees can be placed on performance improvement plans (PIPs) and eventually even be laid off. This is an indication that the JD can also be used during employee termination on the basis of poor performance either in discipline or in actual work output.
Part B: Gas Station Attendant Job Description
Providing a detailed job description is essential towards establishing a clear understanding of what a specific job entails and the expectations from the incumbent. Lack of a common perspective on the roles and responsibilities associated with a given job can result in workplace conflicts, which may be difficult to address. The most common outcomes of missing job descriptions is the prevalence of gaps and overlaps in workplace activities where individuals tasked with specific responsibilities are not aware of the scope of their responsibility or of the boundaries of their roles (Mamoon, 2013). Similarly, where the management has a different perception of what an individual’s job should cover from the perception of the individual, there are bound to be conflicts regarding unmet expectations, which could lead to perceived under-performance. Dessler (2017) provides a good structure for the development of a job description, which has been used for the following gas station attendant job description.
The job mentioned is a gas station attendant. The incumbent will be employed to perform various roles within a gas station as outlined in the subsequent sections of the job description.
A gas station attendant is responsible for various duties including collection of payments from those who patronize the gas station. The attendant may collect payments for gas, medicine, cigarettes, and any other products sold at the gas station convenience store and are also responsible for cleaning the facility. He/she may work either full-time or part-time including over the weekends since most gas stations are open 24 hours a day all days of the week (Job Hero, 2019). The incumbent will therefore work in shifts hence the consideration of the job as a flexible role in which one can work even with other commitments. They also mostly work outdoors in the gas station, and report to the shift manager or to the assistant manager depending on the specific organizational structure of the gas station in which they work. The job may also come with the responsibility of conducting simple maintenance activities on cars.
Gas station attendants work closely with several other functions in the gas station. The most direct work relationship is the reporting relationship. The attendant will typically report to the shift manager and work within a team environment. Additionally, they have to practice interpersonal relationships with customers and are responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction. Communication in the workplace is either through face to face interactions or through phone calls especially when working within a workplace that has several other branches (Illinois Work Net Center, 2019). They therefore have to develop strong social skills to enable them perform effectively in the social environment in which they work.
The range of duties and responsibilities performed by the gas station attendant will vary widely depending on the services offered by the specific gas station to which they are attached. Some of these jobs include: maintaining customer relationships, whereby the attendant will be responsible for greeting the customer and creating the first impression with the customer, and enquiring from the customer the nature of services they may need; pumping gas depending on the fuel type specification given by the customer and the amount of gas they need (KEZI 9, 2012); washing customers’ windscreens when they appear dirty as part of the organization’s after sales service activities; conducting the actual customer transactions such as processing credit card and cash payments made by customers, confirming customer identification before selling specific products such as alcohol, and providing customers with the goods they need regardless of the point of sale such as motor oil or snacks from the convenience store; cleaning the gas station by maintaining cleanliness through clean as you go procedures, taking out trash, cleaning floors and the parking lot, and actively engaging in general house-keeping practices; they also stock the general outdoor supplies in the gas station including ice coolers, paper towels, and washing fluids for windows (KEZI 9, 2012). They may also be responsible for indoor stocking of products. Other additional duties include helping customers by checking vehicle fluid levels, inspecting vehicles for tire pressures, and maintaining awareness about crime prevention by looking out for and reporting any suspicious looking activity around the station.
The gas station attendant has the authority to transact business within the scope stipulated in his/her job description on behalf of the company, and with the company’s good in mind.
Key Competencies/ Skills
In order to be able to perform well in the roles of a gas station attendant, different employers require different academic qualifications. The most basic is that the attendants should have a high school diploma or equivalent. In some states, the age requirement is a minimum of 21 years, since most of the gas stations (Job Hero, 2019). The job is an entry-level job and training is offered by the employer while the work is done under supervision by either the station manager or the station assistant manager. The training period is also short, approximately 2 weeks.
Besides the academic and training qualifications, there are other skills and capabilities that a potential candidate should possess including: physical fitness, since the attendants should be able to pump gas, to work quickly in both hot and cold environments, and to portray stamina and strong endurance capabilities; customer service and communication skills since the attendant is responsible for addressing customer needs at the station; mathematical/ analytical skills to enable the incumbent to collect funds and remit change accordingly; salesmanship, which enable the potential candidate to sell extra products that may not be clearly visible from the gas pump; and multitasking capabilities to enable the incumbent attend to several vehicles and/or customers at the same time (Illinois Work Net Center, 2019). The incumbent should also have great attention to detail to enable them notice small problems that could be compounded especially when engaging in activities such as cleaning windscreens and performing general maintenance tasks on vehicles.
It is expected that gas station attendants should be exact in their workings to avoid errors which could lead to losses to the employer or destruction to vehicles. They are also required to engage in the same mental and physical activities repeatedly with a lot of consistency in outputs, and to make sound decisions without necessarily consulting with the supervisors. They also have to work on their daily goals and tasks independently and still meet monthly targets consistently.
Working Conditions/ Physical Environment
As a gas station attendant, you will work outdoors most of the time. There is also the probability of exposure to hazardous conditions and materials such as gasoline fuels, which are highly flammable; there is also risk of exposure to gasoline fumes and other contaminants. Other risks associated with the job include exposure to varying environmental conditions depending on the weather, exposure to distracting noise (Illinois Work Net Center, 2019). For this reason, the attendant has to wear personal protective equipments and may also be provided with uniforms by the employer. Moreover, gas station attendants are required to work in close physical proximity with others.
Part C: Labor Market Assessment
The labor market conditions for a gas station attendant job are characterized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as cashiers. They are responsible for a wide range of responsibilities involving cash handling, and earn salaries that reflect their position as gas station cashiers. According to a report by Job Hero (2019), the median wage for gas station attendants is approximately $9.41 per hour, while the stipulated pay rate for cashiers is approximately $ 10.11 an hour or $21,030 per annum. Considering the performance and the categorization of gas station attendants within specific gas stations in which they work, most employers do not offer medical insurance benefits to the attendants. Additionally, they are rarely included in benefits such as vision and dental coverage by employers who provide medical cover for them. Those who work part time do not receive any additional benefits from their employers.
Other benefits that are commonly associated with other jobs such as paid vacation and sick days, may only be made available to gas station attendants who have stayed with their employer for significantly long periods of time namely, 3 months to one year at the minimum (Job Hero, 2019). The actual timeline for consideration however depends on the particular employer. In spite of the classification as cashiers, the BLS purports that there is little potential for growth in this field over the next few years (through 2026). This implies that a gas station attendant is not the kind of job anyone would consider for the future. Moreover, the limited education and experience demands only indicate that there is high competition for such jobs and any employee is easily replaceable.
Most of the gas station attendant jobs are performed by young individuals, probably around 20-35 years of age. They are subject to the legal, and social trends that are currently occurring as well as to technological advancements in the service industry. With increasing adoption of technology that supports self-service through e-commerce and automated machinery, the manual job roles associated with the gas station attendant jobs are continuously reducing. The growing population on the other hand promises greater competition for the available jobs. For this reason, it is expected that individuals working as gas station attendants should make greater efforts for sustainability, and be more innovative towards their roles.
Moving forward, the qualifications for being a gas station attendant are expected to be more stringent as gas station owners are moving towards automation of operations. High school diplomas may not be sustainable as a qualification for the job over the long run. Gas stations could therefore take the responsibility of training their attendants, introducing new skills, and hiring people who can add more value to the workplace, specifically in either mechanical or electrical departments.
Dessler, G. (2017). Human resource management, 15th Ed. Pearson Publishers.
Illinois Work Net Center (2019). Filling station attendants. Illinois Work Net Center. Retrieved from apps.il-work-net.com/cis/clusters/OccupationDetails/100192?parentId=111600§ion=conditions§ionTitle=Working%20Conditions
Job Hero (2019). Gas attendant job description. Retrieved from www.jobhero.com/gas-attendant-job-description/
KEZI 9 (2012, August 13). The life of a gas station attendant. YouTube Video. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM5A8tWc5ZE
Mamoon, Z. (2013). Hiring the right people for your organization. Global Journal of Management and Business Research Administration and Management, 13(8). Retrieved from pdfs.semanticscholar.org/3a9d/fccb8da1fbdf3b5e0fa02d8708babb801ba8.pdf
Royer, K.P. (2010). Job descriptions and job analyses in practice: How research and application differ. College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations, 50. Retrieved from via.library.depaul.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1012&context=etd