Updating job descriptions before 2024 starts
We often get asked how frequently job descriptions should be updated. Of course when you need to recruit for an open position, it is a good idea to scan the job description to see if any updates are needed. Otherwise, an interval of every two or three years is a good time to review all of them and see if updates are needed.
So when is the best time of year to do this? If you are reviewing and updating all job descriptions, the third and fourth quarter of the year is the best time to do it. The reason is you can then be ready to roll them out at the beginning of the next year and start off the year right by setting expectations effectively.
A well-written job description is essential for effective people management. It is a go-to resource for both employees and managers in all aspects of the employment relationship, from performance and compensation to recruitment, training, and development.
Whether you are creating a new job description or updating an old one, it is important to focus on the most important and relevant information. The job description should not be an exhaustive list of tasks, but rather a definition of the essential duties and qualifications for the role.
Here is a minimum of what you should include in a job description:
- Job Title: The job title should accurately reflect the role in terms of both function and level. Overstating the job title can lead to confusion about responsibilities.
- Position Summary: The summary should be one or two sentences long and summarize the role. It should not include every duty and responsibility performed by the employee.
- Duties and Responsibilities: The duties and responsibilities should be more specific than the position summary, but they should not look like a daily task list.
- Experience: Clearly distinguish between required and preferred experience. Required experience is essential for the employee or candidate to perform the job, while preferred experience is nice to have but not absolutely necessary.
These are just a few important items to start with when developing your job descriptions. When written well, a job description clearly outlines the essential function of the job and becomes one of the most useful tools you have for managing people and holding them accountable.