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Putting Job Descriptions to Good Use

June 16th, 2017 by Susan Reagan, Inspiring HR

If you have been in most working environments for any amount of time, the term “Job Description” has probably seeped into your vocabulary. Typically known as that document that contains specific information about a job such as essential duties and responsibilities, knowledge, skills, and abilities, required qualifications, and physical requirements, why are they so critical for most organizations to maintain?

It’s important for any size company to understand the benefits of well-developed job descriptions and how they can help in keeping the organization legally compliant.

  • RECRUITING: Having a job description with knowledge and skills defined helps to ensure you are seeking out the right candidates and eliminating those that don’t fit the needs of your organization. Well written job descriptions can improve both internal and external recruitment, and can retain and motivate the best talent by ensuring that employee expectations are aligned with business expectations of what the role entails. Interview questions, hiring criteria and the screening process should be based off the duties and qualifications outlined in the job description.
  • ONBOARDING: Job descriptions are an effective communication tools between the employer and the employee. It’s important that organizations spell out all of the details of the job requirements to new hires up front. In order to attract and retain the most qualified candidates for the job employers should outline the specifics of the job in a well written job description. Having a well written job description can save a company time and money and less confusion during the hiring process.
  • ON-THE-JOB: Job descriptions are useful for communicating expectations to employees up front. The job description outlines the essential duties and responsibilities of the job. Employers can also use job descriptions as part of their performance reviews and to determine compensation being given for a specific position. Another reason that job descriptions are useful is that they can be used as guidelines for training.
  • COMPLIANCE: Job descriptions are highly useful for making sure that organizations are in legal compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers could experience situations where an employee is requesting a reasonable accommodation in order to be able to successfully perform his/her job. The job description outlines what the specific requirements of the job are. Job descriptions are also useful for assisting with FLSA compliance. With the upcoming changes in classifying exempt and non-exempt positions’ salary thresholds, starting your self-audit with your job description is a systematic and logical approach.
  • POST EMPLOYMENT: Lastly, job descriptions can be useful for a company by determining the difference between winning or losing an unemployment claim. Have you ever had to terminate an employee for poor performance and then they turn around and win their unemployment claim? Do you wonder how that could possibly happen? It is necessary to have a detailed job description in place for each position within your organization. Many state unemployment agencies tend to take the side of employees when it comes to an unemployment claim. However, by creating useful job descriptions you are giving the company more leverage against unemployment claims.

Detailed job descriptions can be a legal defense for organizations that may face such claims. Developing a useful job description does not have to be cumbersome. Take the step today to help protect your company by having an accurate job description for each position within your company.

Click the link to view the recent Top 10 Reasons to Update your Employee Handbook or check back for more on human resources, payroll, insurance and benefits.


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