Some HR professionals consider writing job descriptions a waste of time. They complain that it is a task they cannot make time for, plus they have to update them constantly. I can hear these folks now, “Who has time for this? What’s in it for me? I’ve got other more important things to do.”
Here’s the deal. You must look at updating and writing job descriptions as essential. They are one of the most effective employee communication tools for managers, recruiters, and perspective employees. Depending on who you are – employee versus manager, for example – your perspective on the importance of job descriptions will be different. Everyone knows that job descriptions take time to create. But, when you doubt if you should make the time to develop job descriptions, my response is, “How can you not make time?”
Writing Job Descriptions Is Important from the Hiring Perspective
Having a written job description is the first challenge of HR recruiting. I know when I was a HR recruiter, I wouldn’t spend one minute working on a job position unless I had a written job description in hand. Why? I won’t get anywhere, otherwise. When an accurate job description isn’t available, it tells me that the manager hasn’t determined what their needs are so any time I invest on the job position will be wasted. What am I looking for? How do I know when I see it?
On the candidate side, prospective employees need to know what the job requirements are so they know if they are qualified. And, the overview of the job position helps them decide if they are interested in applying. How can you grab a prospective employee’s attention without an accurate job description? It’s simple. You can’t.
Keep in mind that HR recruiters will use written job descriptions as an advertising tool to gain interest in the job position. If you don’t use a clear, accurate job description, you may get more – as in the wrong kind of – interest in the job position than you bargain for. Can you imagine looking for a trainer for your company and getting resumes from horse trainers or fitness trainers? This has happened to me. It’s bad enough that everyone seems to apply to job positions that they aren’t qualified for to get their unemployment benefits. Don’t compound the problem by not writing a job description that clearly defines and communicates your needs.
Writing Job Descriptions Is Important from the Career Advancement Perspective
Employees need to know they have a future at the company and that the future is interesting and attainable. They need accurate job descriptions so they are aware of what job positions are available, what each job entails, and what job qualifications they need to have. That way they can work on getting any skills, knowledge and abilities they’re lacking.
Additionally, managers need to know what the job requirements are in each job so they can work with each employee to develop their skills and grow in their careers.
In fact, writing job descriptions is one of the most effective employee communication tools you have as a manager to ensure that your employees know what is expected of them; so they can meet and hopefully exceed your work expectations. If you don’t tell employees what you’re looking for how are they supposed to know? In your career as a manager you will undoubtedly have employees who will not meet the standards of the job. Writing job descriptions helps to demonstrate what is or is not getting done.
Writing Job Descriptions Is Important from the Legal Perspective
Accurate job descriptions are necessary to make sure hiring and advancements in the company are done fairly. This helps reduce the risk of unfair hiring practices. When hiring, I know I can’t remember every detail of every job position but I want to make sure I’m consistently telling all candidates the same details. That’s why I refer to job descriptions in the hiring process.
Accurate job descriptions are also used to determine compensation details for the position. They are the basis in determining the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) exempt versus non-exempt status. They are also used to determine what the market is paying for the same job position and for ensuring pay equity within your company for those who perform similar work. Writing job descriptions provides you with a reference point for compensation decisions.
The Importance of Writing Job Descriptions for HR Success
Whether you’re hiring someone new, evaluating a current employee or determining compensation, a job description provides consistency and clarity for everyone involved. Taking the time to write an accurate job description now will save you money, time and energy in the future.
Do you value a clear, up-to-date job description at your company? How is your current system working? I’d love to hear.
Are you sure you’re paying your employees “well,” or at a rate where you can retain them? Where are you getting your compensation data? Consider giving a PayScale demo a try to see how you compare with your competition.