How Important are Job Descriptions?

by Bethany Wright on April 15, 2019

in Administrative,Compliance

I'm not Qualified for this Job

A job description is a document that some employers dread creating, and don’t think are all that important. However, I am here to tell you, those employers are wrong! Job descriptions are essential to build a foundation for many HR programs that can help drive your business forward.

A well-written job description can help employers in a multitude of areas, including, the following:

Recruitment: A well-written job description helps hiring managers sift through applicants to locate those with the appropriate minimum qualifications. A comprehensive job description should also provide applicants with information on what skills, knowledge and abilities they must possess to be considered for the position, as well as specific details on what they can expect as their job duties if hired.

Compensation and Pay Equity: Job descriptions are useful tools when developing a compensation structure and salary ranges for each position. In addition, up-to-date job descriptions can help when conducting a pay equity analysis to keep in compliance with Oregon’s Equal Pay Law.

Performance Optimization: An up-to-date job description makes clear to the employee what is expected of them and what they will be held accountable for. Goals can be set up based on those duties listed on the job description and their performance can be evaluated based on whether or not they are meeting those specific goals.

When an employee is not performing at the level expected, a well-drafted job description can be used to clarify expectations, provide them with a reminder as to their job duties, and reaffirm current goals.

Career Development: Job descriptions are a good tool to utilize when discussing future career goals with your employees. Sitting down with an employee to discuss their current job requirements, and how they could advance to a higher level position, or possibly advance the position itself, is a great way to keep employees interested in their current job, as well as look to how they can move forward with the company.

Compliance: Detailed and up-to-date job descriptions are critical for compliance with EEOC guidelines, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, if an employee asks for a reasonable accommodation, the job description helps determine which functions are essential to the position and whether or not there is a reasonable accommodation available. In addition, an up-to-date job description helps to determine whether or not an employee may be exempt under the FLSA and can help protect you from overtime claims.

Because of the variety of functions job descriptions take on, it is crucial to keep them up-to-date. Annually reviewing each job description when discussing new goals with the employee for the coming year is an ideal time to make those updates. Job descriptions should also be evaluated each time you recruit for a particular position, to ensure the job description still supports what the hiring manager is looking for.

If you don’t currently have job descriptions for all of your positions, or if it has been some time since you updated your job descriptions, give us a call. Cascade routinely assists with job description projects and can help take the burden off of your already hectic HR department.

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