Who LOVES writing job descriptions? WE DO!
We originally posted on this back in 2016…since then we have done many projects for clients updating their job descriptions and providing useful tools to manage their job description system going forward.
Far from being a piece of administrative paperwork that never sees the light of day, job descriptions help in so many ways:
For the employee:
- Sets clear expectations
- Shows what is needed to be deemed competent in the role
- Shows how the employee’s role fits within the organization
For the manager:
- Communicates expectations clearly
- Creates accountability
- Provides the basis for training and development activities
- Assists with performance management
- Assists with developing appropriate compensation structures
- Helps focus recruiting and selection efforts
As you can see, managers may benefit more than employees from good job descriptions. From an organizational standpoint, job descriptions are the starting point for your performance management and talent review processes.
So, we know they are important and valuable…but how do you get started? We suggest these best practices:
- Start with templates. Not just a template, but several templates because you probably have roles that differ enough from each other yet have commonalities. We recommend that you use at least a separate template for your managers…those who have direct reports…and staff…those who do not. Make sure you state very clearly and consistently the management responsibilities the managers have…don’t bury it at the bottom or treat it like an afterthought.
- Use a job content questionnaire. This tool helps guide you through a consistent process to learn what you need to learn about the job. It is a better way than simply having a manager start with a blank piece of paper…it allows you to facilitate the discussion and focus it on relevant items.
- Develop a job chart. This is one of the most useful tools we have developed for our clients. When you have twenty, fifty, or even one-hundred or more jobs, the job chart helps you track basic data on each role: job title, education requirements, years of experience, travel requirements, working conditions, and physical requirements. Having these data in one place makes it easier to ensure consistency in terms of qualifications and helps you develop new jobs later, by having a convenient place to see what kinds of qualifications may be important.
There are more tools we have developed that help our clients ensure their job descriptions stay current, succinct, clear, and most importantly, useful. If you need help developing your job descriptions or other human resources consulting needs, contact us and check out our updates for more helpful resources.