Job Responsibilities Worksheet


The purpose of the Job Responsibilities Worksheet (JRW) is to document the current responsibilities of a position. It focuses on a specific position, provides details regarding the primary job duties and required competencies, and outlines the job scope and supervisory responsibility (if applicable). At Penn State, this document serves as a staff employee's job description. Unlike a static description, the JRW allows the manager and employee to collaborate on how a position functions, while allowing for regular updates. 

The information provided in the JRW correlates to a staff job profile and level, therefore, it is important that the JRW accurately represent the way the position is currently functioning. The JRW also plays a key role in setting goals and expectations, as well as evaluating performance.

Getting Started

The employee and supervisor must discuss the position to ensure mutual understanding. The employee typically works with their supervisor to create their JRW. For newly created positions, the supervisor will complete the JRW to provide to their employee upon hire.

All sections of the JRW must be completed. Incomplete or missing information may lead to an inaccurate reflection of the nature of the position; and in the case of a job review request, may delay the process.

There are six main sections of the JRW. Click on the headings below to learn more about each section (printing this page will allow you to view this page in its entirety):

1. Position Summary

In 2-4 sentences, provide a high level overview of the primary purpose of the position. Keep in mind you’ll be able to elaborate in more detail about the duties, scope, responsibilities later in the JRW.

Examples of well-written position summaries:

  • “The purpose of this position is to serve as an admission counselor for Penn State World Campus. This includes interacting with prospective students via email, phone, webinars, and face-to-face, planning and coordinating recruitment events and communication campaigns, and coordinating the World Campus Alumni Ambassador Program.”
  • “This position is responsible for the leadership, strategic direction, project management, and operations for the recently established Online Professional Education unit within Penn State Outreach and Online Education (Outreach). In addition to these strategic and operational roles, a significant portion of this resource must be devoted to developing and fostering high level relationships with University leaders within Outreach, the administration, and Colleges, including: Deans, Assoc. Deans, department heads, and faculty in order to understand potential opportunities within academic units and connect them to the most appropriate resource to help them address their needs.”

2. Primary Duties

List between three (3) and ten (10) primary duties of this position and estimate the percentage of time spent on each duty over a given period of time. When indicating the percentage of time spent on each duty, consider what is performed over a given period of time. Describe the position as it is being performed today and not as it might be in the future or as you think it should be (except in cases where a JRW is being completed for a vacant or new position).

Order the duties based on percentage of time, from most to least. The percentages must total 100%. Each duty should not be smaller than 5% or greater than 50%. The chart below provides assistance in determining percentage of time.

Percent to Hour Conversion
% of Time Day (8 hrs) Week (40 hrs) Month (173 hrs) Quarter (520 hrs) Year (2080 hrs)
5% 0.4 2 9 26 104
10% 0.8 4 17 52 208
15% 1.2 6 26 78 312
20% 1.6 8 35 104 416
25% 2 10 43 130 520
30% 2.4 12 52 156 624
35% 2.8 14 61 182 728
40% 3.2 16 69 208 832
45% 3.6 18 78 234 936
50% 4 20 87 260 1040

Strive to be accurate and concise in your answers. Be specific to the work being performed on a day-to-day basis. Use words which convey a good understanding of the work being performed rather than vague generalities.

Examples of well-written primary duties:

  • “Assist faculty with routine requests such as scheduling conference rooms for meetings, prepare seminar announcement, and copy, assemble packets and folders of information.” (35%)
  • “Provide leadership in decision making, resolving problems, developing procedures, initiating new programs and engaging faculty, students and staff to meet the goals of the unit. Participate in strategic planning for future faculty led programming which is the fastest area of growth in the Education Abroad unit.” (20%)

3. Position Scope

Briefly describe the extent or range of operation for the position. Provide examples of the size and degree of activity over which this position has control or has impact, such as size of budgets, level of fiscal responsibility (management vs. proxy), number of students, number of faculty supported, and extent of impact (if it is department-wide, college-wide, and/or University-wide).

Examples of well-written position scopes:

  • “This position supports two tenured faculty, three fixed-term faculty, 22 part-time faculty, 86 residential undergraduate majors, 527 online undergraduate students, 32 residential graduate students, and 2000+ alumni.”
  • “This position provides direct support and advocacy related to job and internship development for Career Services in the western region, which includes the following six campuses: Beaver, DuBois, Fayette, Greater Allegheny, New Kensington, and Shenango. The Career Services Specialist (Regional Job and Internship Developer) works directly with six Career Coordinators in the region.”

4. Competencies Required

Competencies are the identified set of knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors needed to perform a job successfully and that they can be measured and/or observed.

The five key competencies are:

Effective Knowledge - the sum total of education, training, skill and experience required to perform the job to the normally expected standard. This encompasses the depth, scope, integration, and application of skills within and outside the body of knowledge or specialty applicable to an individual job category.

Accountability and Self-Management - the degree to which a position requires self-direction and the degree of personal accountability required for the work accomplished. It involves responsibility for oversight and providing reports of actions, causes, and results.

Teamwork and Leadership - the degree to which a position must function in a group and the degree of leadership exercised.

Communication - the nature and scope of the communication activity required by a position on a regular basis.

Innovation and Problem Solving - the type of problem resolution, quality improvement activity and/or process and procedure development undertaken in the position.

At each level of a position, all five of these competencies are used, just in different ways.

Examples of competencies for management and non-management at various levels:

Example Competencies
Competency Non-Management Management
Effective Knowledge Level 2 example:
  • Possesses knowledge of Microsoft programs, ISIS and possible access to Data Warehouse
  • Demonstrates intercultural competency skills to effectively communicate with sponsors and students
Level 2 example:
  • Demonstrates broad understanding of and appropriately applies good financial management practices
  • Utilizes technology to enhance decision making and improve organizational effectiveness
Accountability & Self-Management Level 5 example:
  • Accepts personal accountability for work and consequences
  • Is self-directed in the work and works independently without day-to-day guidance from the supervisor
  • Manages multiple projects and competing priorities meeting the quality standards of the unit and University
Level 3 example:
  • Works with direct reports to set project timelines and advance overall vision of the unit
  • Reviews completed work of others for conformity to policy and effectiveness of approach
  • Delegates more advanced tasks to others
Teamwork & Leadership Level 1 example:
  • Understands team goals and collaborates with colleagues to achieve them
Level 2 example:
  • Encourages others to work together as a team
  • Models desired behaviors and demonstrates personal commitment to the team
Communication Level 4 example:
  • Successfully communicates with employees at all levels of the organization on a regular basis- including via face-to-face, email and other technology (i.e. Adobe Connect and Polycom)
  • Fosters open dialogue and actively listens to others in order to build and maintain effective and respectful working relationships throughout the University
Level 5 example:
  • Articulates a strong vision for increasing student enrollment with the college
  • Communicates complex issues clearly to a varied audience (including University leaders, employees, students and other stakeholders) in a timely, complete and accurate manner
Innovation & Problem Solving Level 3 example:
  • Recommends, enhances, and/or implements quality improvement processes and policies that have an impact on the department’s operations
  • Applies creative thinking to develop new solutions
  • Embraces and presents ideas that are environmentally conscious.
Level 4 example:
  • Resolves complex issues
  • Acts decisively in effectively handling difficult problems and not just symptoms by managing risks for the department
  • Identifies and improve processes

By understanding what competencies are and how they fit into your position, you’ll be better equipped to complete your JRW. For additional information on how competencies translate in each level, review the in-depth Competency matrices found under the Additional Resources section below. 

5. Supervisory Responsibilities

Identify if this position has supervisory/management responsibilities for others. If this position has direct reports, indicate the number of full time staff employees reporting to this position along with the specific employees that the position supervises/manages. Direct reports are those employees for whom you have direct supervisory responsibility and report to you on a regular basis.

If you select yes, you’ll also select from one of the three options that best describes the position’s supervisory and "direction of work" responsibilities:

  • Minimal or no supervisory responsibilities.

  • Supervisory responsibilities within a department or functional area. Responsibilities include coordinating, directing and assigning work and may also include participation in interviewing and selecting staff, evaluating employee performance including making recommendations regarding pay, performance, and disciplinary action.

  • Full management position responsible for managing employees within a department, unit, and/or subdivision. To qualify as full management, a position is responsible for at least one full-time employee in the Workday system, which includes performance management, time off approval, etc. Other responsibilities may include workforce planning, authority for disciplinary action, interviewing, selecting, and training staff, making decisions regarding pay.

6. Additional Requirements 

Utilize this section of the JRW to provide any additional comments or information that was not covered in the prior sections that you feel are pertinent to the position, such as licensures, accreditations, certifications, specific physical requirements, work environment, effort, skills, etc. Note: This section is critical to the initial JRW creation by a manager and is optional for the annual process.

  • Must be a Licensed Physician Assistant or Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner 
  • Frequently required to use personal protective equipment to prevent exposure to hazardous materials
  • Physical demands include exerting up to 10 pounds occasionally
  • Requires industry relevant project management certification, such as PMI

Best Practices

Things to keep in mind when completing your JRW:


  • Use this guide as well as other resources for idea generation when writing your JRW
  • Use a factual and impersonal style when writing your JRW
  • Write clear, concise, and complete sentences
  • Begin each task with a present tense action verb
  • Focus on key/critical responsibilities critical to the position
  • Base the content on the responsibilities and duties of the position
  • Use explanatory phrases telling why, how, where, or how often to add meaning and clarity
  • Incorporate relevant information such as level of independent judgment, physical and mental effort, contacts, work complexity, equipment, and supervisory responsibilities.
  • Generally include 4-6 responsibilities

Do not...

  • Cut and paste information from this guide, job profiles, matrices or any other reference tools
  • Use narrative or first person form when writing your JRW
  • Use unnecessary words that add fluff to the duty
  • Base the content on what the person doing the job can or can’t do
  • Write the JRW based on the desired classification outcome
  • Write the JRW as a procedure manual on how to do the job
  • Use a template JRW
  • Include minor or occasional tasks

Additional Resources

If you have further questions or concerns about completing and submitting your JRW, please contact your supervisor or your HR Consultant.