Reasons Why Job Descriptions Are Important

by Jill Leviticus

Job descriptions provide important information regarding duties and expectations for both employers and employees. An employer increases the chances of hiring the right person for the job if it is described accurately in the job posting, where it's a good idea to include the job description. While well-written job descriptions can help guide an employee, poorly written descriptions may contribute to a lack of understanding of key job responsibilities. The job description can also provide a good starting point for employee reviews, as the employee's performance can be measured against the stated responsibilities as well as specific goals.

Classification and Purpose

Job descriptions provide employees with clear information on the title of the position and note what person or position will supervise the employee. The job description also includes information on the person’s rank in the company, if applicable. For example, an employee who accepts a job as a senior analyst can expect to work on more complex projects and have more responsibility than a junior analyst. A good job description also will include information regarding the way the position benefits the company. The Accounting Web website notes that employees can lose motivation if they don’t understand why they are doing what they do.

Detailed Information on Duties

Job descriptions describe in detail the most important functions of the position. Good descriptions include descriptions of the tasks and provide benchmarks for measuring success. The list of duties also might include information on how long it might take on a daily or weekly basis to complete a particular task. Keeping this list up-to-date will help ensure that employees understand exactly what tasks are and are not part of their job. Good job descriptions also can be used as a resource to settle an employee dispute about which member of the department should perform a certain task.

Legal Compliance

A well-written job description is an important tool that can be used to make sure that you are following all applicable employment laws. Listing all the duties and functions of a position will help support your claim that a position is either an exempt or nonexempt position. A thorough description of duties will help support your view that a particular job can’t be performed by a disabled person because no acceptable accommodations exist. Wording the job description correctly will help ensure that you don’t violate the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and discriminate against a disabled employee. The National Law Review website suggests noting that employees must be able to “move” from place to place, rather than “walk” to avoid discriminating against wheelchair-bound applicants or employees.

Hiring Benefits

A well-written job description plays an important role in ensuring that applicants receive the same information regarding a job. Giving a printed copy to an applicant will allow her to thoroughly review the duties and responsibilities of the position and determine if it is a good fit. The job description can also serve as a source when you write an advertisement for a position, as the description contains all of the pertinent information regarding the job.

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