How To Write a Job Description that Works for Your Employees

In a big company, employees often rely on their job descriptions to determine what they are responsible for, and what is outside the area of the job. This is especially true in unionized environments, in which even minor infractions might cause trouble between management and the employees. Sometimes, vague and unclear job descriptions result in employees, managers and departments having trouble in coordinating with each other. Vague job descriptions might also result in some being overpaid, while others go underpaid. Therefore, job descriptions need to be clear-cut.
Drafting job descriptions is usually thought of as primarily a job of Human Resource managers, but in reality it requires the whole company’s cooperation, or at least cooperation by all heads of the different departments.

Why should we have job descriptions?

  • They help employees to know their job responsibilities.
  • They are a way to clarify what type of training an employee needs to fulfill the job.
  • They make recruiting people to fit the job easier.
  • They make it easier for managers to evaluate the employee’s performance.

What does a proper job description look like?

  • It concisely and clearly communicates what tasks and responsibilities the job entails.
  • It provides the basic qualifications for the job.
  • It shows what is expected from the person who fills in the job.

What are the essential parts of a job description?

  1. Job Title. This is a short name that describes the main tasks of a person filling the position.
  2. Job Summary. This is a short outline of what the job is all about. This includes the following:
    1. Job title
    2. Supervisor
    3. Department
  3. Key Results Area. This outlines the duties and responsibilities of a person employed under this job description.
  4. Job Specifications. These are the minimum requirements for the job.

Here are the basic steps on how to tailor fit job descriptions to your employees. This is particularly useful if your Human Resource department is overhauling its job descriptions.

  1. Observe the employee whose job description will be written. This may be done through videotapes or film of the employee as he does his job, or through on-site observation.
  2. Draft a questionnaire. It must be carefully prepared so that employees can easily follow the instructions and answer the questions correctly.
  3. Send the questionnaire to the employee being observed. This will be the basis for the questions in the interview.
  4. Interview the employee being observed along with his immediate supervisor. Iron out any questions or vague items in the questionnaire.
  5. Draft the initial copy of the job description, and talk it over with the employee and supervisor. Edit on the spot if need be.
  6. Send the final copy to the manager for final approval. If there are any additional edits to be done, it should also be shown to the employee.
  7. Place the approved job description in a file where it can be accessible to anyone who may need it. It’s best if the file is kept in a secure place, accessible only to the human resource manager or his staff.
  8. Review and update the file annually. There may be cases where some parts of the job or the job itself may have changed within the year.

This will be a long process where the job description creator will be going to and fro. Nevertheless, the benefits tremendously outweigh the costs, because this way you will be able to utilize each employee more efficiently. Your employees can also be more productive, since they are able to work in an environment that calls for their best skills and abilities.


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