Great Organizations Are Built on Solid Job Descriptions
“Job descriptions (JDs) are just so 1980s,” a young HR graduate recently commented to me, He could not be more wrong. Having worked in HR for over 25 years, I can tell you that some things just don’t change—and shouldn’t change. New technology consistently bombards us; faster, better, and sleeker processes seem to overwhelm us.
One thing that will never change is the fact that, in order to be a High Performance Organization, you still need to get some “old school” work done. Don’t let technology and “the new workplace” fool you. Now, more than ever, you need JDs.
Here are eight good reasons why:
Recruitment – As you grow and expand, it is almost impossible to hire legally or correctly when lacking a solid, well-written job description.
Teambuilding – It is difficult for Teams to form and support each other when job duties are gray and tasks constantly conflict or interrupt each other. It is enlightening to know what each Team Member is responsible to accomplish.
Performance management – This enables you to set measurable performance goals based on duties listed in the corresponding job description. Having them listed, in writing, signifies their importance.
Training and employee development – You can use job descriptions, along with descriptions of possible job promotions, as a tool to determine what to pursue in regards to classes, seminars, and other career development activities in order to close gaps.
Compensation- JDs can be helpful in developing a standardized compensation program with minimums, maximums, and target pay for each position. They help highlight internal equity issues to decision makers and contribute to fairness.
Recognition and rewards – You can use job descriptions as a baseline for performance, and as a tool to encourage performance “above and beyond” the job description, in order to distribute recognition and rewards or just plain old praise!
Discipline – Sometimes employees just don’t do what needs to be done. Hopefully, this does not happen at your place of work, but sometimes Team Members fail each other. If you need to, you can use job descriptions to illustrate when employees are not performing up to agreed-upon standards.
Essential job function analysis – The physical and environmental setting is important in order to provide employees, including new hires, who need accommodation. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it is also the law. As of July 1992, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that an organization assist an employee when a request is made for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.
Some Key Points to Ensure a Great Job Description Process
- Have the employee own their description
- Remember that no one knows the job better than the employee doing it
- Make the employee accountable to complete it and have HR review it
- The manager should have final JD authority and reserve the right to make changes to the final document, incorporating dialogue with the employee
Don’t make JDs more work then they have to be. Instead, make it a process to enjoy and learn from—it does not have to be awful.
Be joyful and helpful with the process, and your staff will love you for it!
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