Job Descriptions: Why do they matter?
May 08, 2014 at 7:02 AM
While every business has its own management style, HR practices and policies, one area that can help any business is having accurate, up-to-date job descriptions for each position on your payroll.
Job descriptions play a vital role in managing expectations and managing staff. The first and most basic function of a job description is to detail what responsibilities each employee is responsible for and what their annual evaluations and merit increases will be based upon. Job descriptions are also excellent places to outline company-wide expectations and rules of conduct.
Most companies have core values or standards that they expect all employees to adhere to, for example, excellence, teamwork, responsibility. You can incorporate your values into your job descriptions and make common objectives that everyone on your team must meet.
Split the job description into sections for companywide objectives and position-specific objectives. In the company wide objectives you could use bullet points such as, demonstrate teamwork by helping other employees, providing guidance to new employees or whatever your expectation is for that value.
To manage staff effectively, job descriptions should be maintained and updated with the same care and frequency that you would update any other important documents. At the very least, when employees are given their yearly review and when a new employee is about to be brought on to the team.
Job descriptions should also be kept in each of your employee files to ensure that the expectations for that employee are easily accessible.
There is a fine line between being specific in a job description and being overly specific. You can't list every single task that an employee's job requires, nor should you. You'll want to leave a little wiggle room in the job description in case you find that there are responsibilities that you need to add on at a later date. Most employers classify this as other duties as requested or as contribute to the team as needed. Certain companies, including non-profits, host events on nights and weekends. Any expectation of an employee having to work outside of their normal schedule should be listed on a job description so that it is very clear working nights and/or weekends on occasion is an expectation.
Once you have a complete job description and have reviewed it with the employee, both parties should sign the description so there is written proof that the document has been reviewed by both the employer and the employee. The description should then be placed in the employee file.
A clear, thorough job description is useful for everyone!
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