Job Descriptions – Pain or Helpmate?

There are no requirements for employers to have job descriptions for prospective candidates or current employees. In the work environment of 2018 – it seems like a good deal of employees wear different hats. And in that case, job descriptions dusted off from the 2004 archives might be a moot point. Aside from being ever changing, job descriptions can be a very helpful tool for communication, performance evaluations, potential job applicants, disciplinary actions, and even legal matters.

Job descriptions can be effective in many different ways. Helping employees know exactly what is expected of them is important. This can be done with on-the-job training, but having something written down shows a professionalism and dedication to helping employees understand their place in your organization.

When it comes to evaluations – job descriptions are especially important to have a baseline in which to evaluate your employee with. Even with a brand new position – comparing the expectation of a performance with the reality of a performance is easily identifiable with a proper job description.

The same bodes well for disciplinary actions. Helping an employee understand that they’re underperforming based on a factual job description (again, a performance standard) is helpful in showing that the disciplinary isn’t subjective, but given because a job duty/responsibility isn’t met.

Placing a job advertisement in a timely manner can prove invaluable. Having a job description ready at the get go when HR or you yourself need to place an ad prevents having to scramble and write something quickly in order to get the ad live.

And finally – having a proper job description can help when it comes to FMLA and ADA claims. What does the job actually require? Lifting requirements? Shift requirements? Working on site? When an employee requests accommodations either for an FMLA return or ADA accommodation, it’s invaluable that a job description with requirements are established in order to accommodate accordingly – or at least have an interactive discussion about what can be accommodated.

A great idea when it comes to job descriptions – is to have current employees create their own. Ask your existing staff to write down what it is that they do each day and categorize their job into: duties (tasks, meetings, reports, etc…), requirements (degrees, certifications, skills, etc…), and what a typical day looks like. Allow HR to review these job descriptions to see if it is in line with what is expected. Getting your employees involved in this task will help them as well to outline their own jobs. Solution Services is a great resource when it comes to creating job descriptions and helping clients use them to their advantage. Call us today for a free consultation and see how we can help with your HR, Payroll, and Risk Management needs.