What Business Owners Ought to Know About Job Descriptions

 In Human Resources

What Business Owners Ought to Know About Job Descriptions 

Every employee benefits from knowing what is expected of them and how they will be evaluated. All of this information can and should be detailed in a job description. Job descriptions are often not given the credit they deserve. While yes, they may take time to create, they more than make up for in the clarity they provide to current and future employees.

But more than that, they are invaluable to an employer, business owner or manager.


From the Hiring Perspective
In a best case scenario, the job description has been created for a role that needs to be filled.

  •  The thought process required to create a specific job’s description will ensure that that this role and its duties align with your company vision.
  • The clear responsibilities, skills and experience required will allow you to more quickly filter through applicants that do not fit your needs.
  • While conducting interviews, the job description can act as a foundation for the development of your interview questions.
  • As a document to be shared, it can orient a new employee to expectations, compensation, responsibilities, and structure.
  • Once a new hire is made, a job description can be used as a tool in creating a training program for new employees based on what goals need to be reached.

From the Performance Management Perspective
For a current employee, having a clear and detailed job description creates understanding of their individual responsibilities and what is expected of them. When used to communicate expectations, job descriptions are a measurable performance tool that can help you congratulate or coach your employees on meeting goals.

  • Areas in need of training and development can be more easily identified when expectations listed within a description are not being met.
  • Compensation plans can be more easily monitored and compensation of a current employee can be checked to make sure that it reflects their level of responsibility and qualification within your business.
  • Managers can more effectively develop their employee’s skills and growth when they know exactly what each job requires.
  • It is important that feedback be timely. Meeting or exceeding goals and expectations can be more easily recognized by management and can be more effectively rewarded.

From the Legal Perspective
A detailed job description is an important tool in the legal management of a business. It can provide many essential benefits to administration and personnel management. If an employee is terminated for poor performance a job description can assist your company in defending its decision.

  • If an employee is terminated for poor performance a job description can assist your company in defending its decision.
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) requires overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a week by non-exempt employees. The exempt or non-exempt status of an employee is determined in part by their duties. A well written job description with an accurate list of essential duties can go a long way in confirming their status.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) considers it a violation if you fail to provide reasonable accommodation to a known physical or mental limitation of a qualified employee with a disability. Required accommodation to that employee relates directly to their job duties. If a disabled employee is unable to perform an essential function of the job with an accommodation, you are not required to retain them.
  • If faced with a claim of discrimination a well written job description can help support the challenged decision be it regarding compensation, promotion, discipline or discharge.

Job descriptions can often be set aside as an optional extra or deemed too time-consuming by business owners without a Human Resources department in house. They are, however, a necessity for any business to ensure clarity, security and smooth sailing. Job descriptions are a tool that can be created by an outsourced HR professional that will prove worth its cost.

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