A job description summarizes the duties of a position and states the essential responsibilities of the job. A company relies on a job description to relay this information regarding a work role to potential candidates to encourage qualified applicants to apply and discourage the application of unqualified individuals. The job description also serves to structure job interviews by focusing attention on the work requirements and applicant credentials that are most important to success in the position to be filled. The job description also establishes expectations for potential employees of the criteria that will be used to evaluate future on-the-job performance. (Download the template and the guidelines) and (Job Description Template)
According to Mary Massad the director of HR product development for Administaff, www.entrepreneur.com a business owner can use a good job description not only as a valuable aid in the job-recruiting process, but also as an outline for reporting relationships and working conditions. A well-crafted job description can also be used for:
Performance management. You can use it to set measurable performance goals based on duties in the job description, and then coach your employees to meet these goals as needed.
Training and employee development. You can use your employee job descriptions, along with descriptions of possible job promotions, as incentives for employees to pursue classes, seminars and other career development activities.
Compensation. Job descriptions can be helpful in developing a standardized compensation program with minimums and maximums for each position.
Recognition and rewards. You can use the descriptions as a baseline for performance, and as a tool to encourage employee performance "above and beyond" the job description in order to receive recognition and rewards.
Discipline. If you need to, you can use the job description to illustrate that an employee isn't adequately performing job functions.
Return-to-work programs. You can prepare for light or modified duty options to allow for a smoother transition from a workers' compensation injury or leave.
Essential job function analysis. Written job descriptions have become increasingly important due to the enactment, in July of 1992, of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A well-developed job description can provide details on the "essential functions" of a job. This is very helpful when an employee requests a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. The job description can contain prerequisites for positions such as educational requirements, employment experience, physical requirements, supervisory responsibilities and certificates or licenses needed. Well-developed, accurate job descriptions may also prove useful in providing a defense against charges of employment discrimination beyond the recruiting process.
When it comes to job description, flexibility is the key. It may be wise to create more generic job descriptions that emphasize expectations and accountabilities, rather than specific tasks, thereby encouraging employees to focus on results rather than job duties. A more wide-ranging job description is also easier to maintain--it doesn't require modification with every minor change in duties.
Mary Massad is the director of HR product development for Administaff, a leading personnel management company that serves as a full-service human resources department for thousands of small and medium-sized businesses throughout the United States. For additional HR information, visit HR PowerHouse, an HR website powered by Administaff.
Below is a Step by Step Guidelines on how to write a Job description in addition to a free template to use.