Here at EffectiveHRM, we naturally see lots of job descriptions as part of our service provision, and we help many of our clients put their employees’ job descriptions in order.
However, we also see many businesses who don’t see the point of a job description.
We thought it would be useful to demonstrate in our latest blog why having up to date and relevant job descriptions is an essential business practice, with clear benefits for the owner/manager.
What is a job description?
Most frequently, people associate job descriptions only with the recruitment process. This would be a mistake.
A written job description is a document used to set out the roles and responsibilities of a particular job. And yes, such descriptions help prospective applicants assess whether they have the required skills and experience for a role. But, if you take a step back, it is the also a document that the organisation has had to put some thought into, in order to figure out what they will need from the person in the role.
In putting the thought into articulating the skills and experience level that is required, the organisation can narrow down the applicants in the sifting process and interviewing process.
If you are painting a house, it is the equivalent of doing the boring, but vital, preparation of masking-taping the skirting boards, sanding the woodwork and sugar-soaping the walls. It’s a pain, but it’s going to lead to a better overall finish.
Does the usefulness of a job description go beyond the recruitment process?
Of course it does! Any job description should be a live document and reviewed regularly (because, let’s face it, sometimes a role changes, and what is needed in the role will change too.)
Why is a job description useful?
There are many benefits to an effective job description – here are a few:
- To provide an employee with the expectations that are required of them in the role
- To provide enough detail to help the job applicant assess if they are suitable for the position
- To allow the prospective employee to determine their role or standing within the structure of the organisation
- To support the recruitment team during the selection process
- To help formulate questions for the interview process
- To assist in forming a legally binding contract of employment
- To help set goals and targets for the employee upon joining
- To aid in the evaluation of the employee’s job performance
- To help formulate training and development plans
Please note that only the first three benefits are for applicants or employees – the remaining benefits are all for you as an employer, so this is definitely a job worth doing.
Get your job descriptions in order!
It’s a good idea to keep job descriptions updated with the assistance of the employee who is in the role. It helps the employee gain a sense of ownership of the role. It should be a document that is reviewed regularly (say, with the appraisals on an annual basis).
So now you know why job descriptions are an essential and a benefit to you, what next. If you need some help to get your job descriptions in order, or perhaps you would just like a template to kick start this project, drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
DISCLAIMER: The article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. While the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances may impact the accuracy and validity of the information. EffectiveHRM is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for any action or decision taken as a result of using the guidance.