The humble job description is a document that often doesn’t get the love and attention it deserves.
Largely ignored by smaller organisations, their first contact with one can often be the frantic scramble to put something together at the last minute when it comes to hiring a new member of staff – if for no other reason than to avoid an unnecessarily long phone conversation with a recruiter.
So, when it comes to creating your job description it is important to understand the wider value it can add to your business. As beneficial as a well thought out document can be, it can be just as harmful not to spend enough time thinking about what you’re saying to your employees and applicants.
It is easy to think that job descriptions are just tools for recruitment, but like it or not, it’s already much more than just your substitute job advert. Outside of the recruitment process, these are just a few of the other things that your job descriptions can be utilised to improve upon:
- Job descriptions provide employees with clear expectations of what is required of them. Many problems in the workplace arise from workers having confused expectations, often through no fault of their own. Having a document that clearly lays out the fundamentals of what is required in a role is fair to everyone and avoids the potential for many disagreements.
- They provide a point of comparison for determining similar industry salaries. It is rare that two jobs in different companies are the same. A clear job description and understanding of your role is vital to fairly assess competitive pay rates and avoid you having to pay more than you need to for certain skills.
- They provide a starting point for employee reviews and appraisals. Extremely useful regardless of whether you’re setting quantitative goals or discussing role direction.
- They help to cover potential legal claims. A job description itself is not a legal requirement, however, they have proven to be invaluable in discrimination cases as a means by which to prove the objective requirements of a role. Including the physical requirements of a role in a job description can help with new applicants and existing employees that might seek to tailor their own responsibilities.
- It provides a fantastic opportunity to share the company direction and values. Whatever size your business, a well written job description will help to align new and existing employees with the direction of senior leadership.
Should your job description be vague in order to attract a wider pool of candidates, you might find that your employee is then confused about their responsibilities. If your job descriptions are just being used for appraisals, you could find that they are too specific to reference against the market to get an accurate price point for the role. Getting it just right can be a delicate balancing act.
So now you know what your job description can do, it’s time to think about what you want yours to do, and if they’re well thought out and kept up to date, your job description will be a great asset to your business.
Sometimes it can be difficult to balance all the factors, but if you feel like you need a helping hand, Kate Underwood HR can offer professional advice and support. Why not call us on 02382 025160 or email: [email protected]