Job Debriefing Questions

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Businessman talking on a phone and taking notes.
Businessman talking on a phone and taking notes. (Image: Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images)

There are several types of job debriefings. The most commonly used type is one intended to provide two-way information between employees and management upon the completion of an off-site assignment. Occasionally, debriefings will be held when an employee is laid off, retires or is terminated. Post interview debriefings are also sometimes offered over the phone or via correspondence for job applicants that did not succeed in winning the assignment at the discretion of the company.

Job Debriefings Explained

A post-completion off-site assignment debriefing is a helpful method for managing independent contractors as well as employees. For management, a job debriefing helps illustrate both the quality of the worker's behavior on a given off-site assignment as well as a record for the worker for future review by management in charge of determining personnel assignments for off-site jobs. For the employee, a job debriefing offers a chance to voice concerns that arise when working in the unusual situations encountered outside of the controlled setting of an office or localized manufacturing facility. Job debriefings also can be helpful as a method for internal performance reviews based upon business quarters or other business cycles native to the specifics of the company's business practices.

The Supervisor's Role in a Job Debriefing

There are a couple of key questions for supervisors to ask during a debriefing, but the first thing the supervisor should do during the debriefing process is provide a breakdown for the employee or employees relating to whether or not the goals of the assignment were successfully completed during their off-site job. Once the breakdown of qualitative performance based upon management goals for the assignment have been covered, the supervisor in charge of the briefing can then move on to asking questions of employees such as what difficulties, if any, were encountered, and whether any of the assignment's objectives were exceedingly difficult or unrealistic. At the end of the debriefing, session supervisors also can ask for general input about employees' feelings or observations relating to the specific job.

The Employee's Role in a Job Debriefing

The first role of the employee during a post job debriefing is to listen and absorb the information presented by the supervisor, especially whether the company's goals for the assignment were met. This initial listening process gives the employee a chance to either mentally review the progress of the assignment or reflect upon reasons why management goals were difficult to meet if the assignment was not successful. The second role of the employee job debriefing is to provide honest and accurate answers to the questions posed to him by his supervisory management so that all the facts can be taken into consideration, giving management the opportunity to correct any errors in judgment that might have led to problems. For projects that succeeded perfectly in all aspects, the role of employees in the job debriefing is to attempt to provide suggestions for streamlining the next similar assignment to increase the profit margin.

Debriefings and Improved Profitability

Thorough debriefings have both a direct and indirect effect on improving a company's profitability. The direct effect comes from the ability of management staff to identify and respond to difficulties encountered by employees, streamlining the work process and saving on the financial cost of wasted employee time. The indirect effect of properly conducted debriefings is to foster a business culture where the employee feels valued and that his concerns are taken seriously enough to be considered by management, which in most cases leads to a happier and more productive worker.

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