Job Descriptions: How to Make Them Work for You – Part 2 of 3

Job Descriptions: How to Make Them Work for YouAccurate and up-to-date job descriptions are integral parts of successful human resources initiatives in organizations, including recruitment, compensation and classification programs, performance management, development of competencies, retention efforts, employee on-boarding, succession planning and organizational development. With an impact on this many areas within an organization, you’d better be able to actually write one of these things!

The good, the bad, and the ugly…

We’ve all seen a variety of job descriptions. Some are so specific, attempting to outline every possible task and duty that a position could possibly perform. Others are so generic and brief that expectations are not clearly stated. Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot. Enough information to inform employees and candidates about the expectations of the job and the essential functions to be performed, but not so much as to create a laundry list of tasks.

Generally speaking, an effective job description should include:

  • Title (see our last issue of Reach [insert link] for more information about identifying job titles)
  • Pay Grade (if applicable): the relevant pay grade letter or number to which the position is assigned in the organization’s compensation/classification structure. We do not recommend including the salary range as this can change frequently.
  • FLSA Status: the exempt or non-exempt status of the position
  • Department and/or work location: this may include one or multiple locations, depending upon the organization and position. In addition, you may choose to include a disclaimer that the position can be transferred to another location based on the organization’s need.
  • Job summary: an executive summary/overview of the key responsibilities and areas of focus for the position.
  • Essential functions: a listing of the primary duties and responsibilities of the position, typically in order of importance. Functions listed are typically intended as illustrations of the various types of work expected. The omission of specific duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment for the position.
  • Required knowledge, skills and abilities: those things that an employee should be expected to possess or be able to perform.
  • Required education and experience, including licenses, certifications, etc.: the minimum qualifications a candidate should be expected to possess in order to successfully perform the work.
  • Physical and environmental conditions: any ADA and/or other relevant information related to the position, including types of activities to be undertaken in the performance of the job (stooping, lifting up to 50 pounds, bending), as well as environmental conditions including working in confined spaces, working indoors/outdoors, use of chemicals, etc.
  • Disclaimers. These could include items such as the following, and others.

The above job description is not intended as, nor should it be construed as, exhaustive of all responsibilities, skills, efforts, or working conditions associated with this job.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this job.
Finally, all job descriptions should include a date indicating when it was written or last updated, so that employees know that the information is current.
In our next issue we will provide information about how to collect the information to include within your job descriptions, as well as some additional benefits accurate and up-to-date job descriptions can provide to your organization.

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