Job Descriptions: A Fundamental Part of Business Success

 

Job Descriptions act as a foundation for most Human Resource management practices including recruitment and onboarding, induction, training and development, performance management planning, and job evaluation.

More specifically however, job descriptions require careful planning as they are essentially arranged into the necessary structures within a business so that special contributions can be made when working towards overall business success.

To ensure each position is clearly defined; well written, accurate and up to date job or position descriptions are a must.

So what is a Job Description?

A job or position description is a written statement that outlines generic information such as company information, position title, reporting line, delegated authorities, and its place in the organisation structure. It then defines the purpose and responsibilities of the position by describing contributions which are often defined as ‘key responsibilities’ along with its corresponding expectation or outcome, often defined as ‘outcome expectations’.

A job or position description may also include ‘key competencies’ that outlines a set of skills and abilities required for the position, followed by a ‘person specification’ section that states the minimum set of skills or abilities a ‘person’ (the position holder) needs to have and also demonstrate, in order to be appointed to the position. Furthermore, the person specification may also outline any pre-employment checks that require clearance in order to be appointed to the position.

Duties and responsibilities will differ across positions and departments, however a typical generic template will include the following headings:

  • Purpose
  • Relationships
  • Decision Making Authority
  • Key Responsibilities & Outcome Expectations
  • Key Competencies
  • Person Specification
  • Company Values

 

For each Employee, a good job description helps them to understand:

  • Their duties and responsibilities
  • The relative importance of their duties
  • How their position contributes to the mission, goals and objectives of the business

 
For the business, good job descriptions contribute to organizational effectiveness by:

  • Ensuring that the work carried out by staff aligns with the business mission statement and strategic vision
  • Assisting management to clearly identify the most appropriate Employee for new duties, and when realigning workloads.

 
Ongoing, job descriptions should be revised when the position becomes vacant, or when significant changes to the business impacts directly on it. When a position becomes vacant, consider reviewing what should be kept in it, and what should be left out, so that you are accurately capturing the current responsibilities of the business.

When changes occur to the business, Employers should actively involve the Employee in any job description revisions that they currently fulfil. Any significant changes to the responsibilities of an Employee need to be discussed and negotiated with them, and then written consent obtained. Fundamental changes may attract claims of constructive dismissal.

 

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