Everything HR

"What's My Role Again?" - The Importance of Job Descriptions

January 13, 2017

Imagine that your company is expanding and adding a new position, or taking on a new project for a client or customer that will require a different type of work than was previously performed by those in your organization. How do you ensure that the person you hire or assign to do the job has the skills and qualifications necessary? How do you define the responsibilities of the new or modified position in order to minimize the chance that the employee becomes confused about what they should be doing? Ever had an employee retort, “That’s not in my job description,” when you broach a new task? Creating a new job description or updating an existing job description to encompass the specifics of the new role should be the first step you take towards preventing these problems.

Regardless of the size of your company, job descriptions are an important factor to the ongoing success of your business. Job descriptions can have a positive impact in many different areas, from recruitment and selection to performance management, as well as compensation and organizational planning. But before you dive into creating job descriptions, you may want to know what the elements of a job description are, and why job descriptions are so important.

A good job description provides a clear and concise summary of a position’s duties and responsibilities. It outlines the essential qualifications and requirements a candidate or incumbent must have, and the work conditions an employee can expect to face. In addition, a properly written job description explains the core competencies required of the position. By providing this description of the position, you, as a manager or employer, are able to evaluate a number of factors, including:

  • What qualities and attributes you require when filling a position;
  • What to evaluate when appraising current employees;
  • How a particular position helps your company achieve its objectives;
  • The compensable factors at play; and
  • What kind of training and development initiatives you need to undertake in order to develop a skilled and capable workforce that will continue to meet your business’ ever-changing needs.

Job descriptions are extremely useful yet frequently overlooked employment documents. They can provide value in many diverse situations, including recruitment and selection, managing employee performance, setting and achieving organizational goals, and determining appropriate compensation.

Creating job descriptions for every position in your company and keeping them up-to-date is a good business practice and makes excellent financial sense—so what are you waiting for?

Download our free Job Description Guide, which looks at the advantages of job descriptions for multiple areas of your organizational goals.

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