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Job Descriptions – The Know How

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Job descriptions are more than just a document, they are an integral element of an effective HR structure. They summarise what a role’s purpose is, what it is accountable for achieving and how those achievements are to be measured. The tasks and duties of the job description are how a role achieves its purpose.

While they may seem like simple documents on the face of things, job descriptions can have a substantial impact on the wider organisation. So, with your business continuing to evolve, change and adapt to internal and external factors, when and how should you update your job descriptions?

When Should Job Descriptions be Reviewed?

Job descriptions are living documents that form the base from which all from which all other aspects of the job build onto. They should be under constant review and edited every few months to ensure it accurately summarises a given position and takes into account the evolving nature of business.

There are various situations where there is an opportunity to review job descriptions. These include:

  • When new positions are created
  • When significant changes are made to existing positions
  • When the business is making organisational changes

In short, there is no hard and fast rule around when job descriptions should be reviewed. Instead, this process should be part of normal business practise as the organisation develops.

How to Review Job descriptions

Job descriptions enable accurate job content assessment for relative job size, both for internal and external market comparisons as well as the foundation for any performance management system.

As job descriptions can be used for multiple HR purposes including establishing job titles, key performance indicator setting and determining salary ranges, it is vital that any audit is conducted as accurately as possible.

Job analysis is an effective way of reviewing job descriptions. This involves the gathering, examining and interpreting of information about the job’s purpose and responsibilities. This process may include a more in depth job evaluation which is systematic process for establishing the relative sizes of jobs by comparing jobs or job content on the basis of common criteria. It is important to note that the job is reviewed not the individual.

Analysing a job will generally include the following actions:

  • Determining the extent of a role’s accountabilities
  • Interviewing employees about their position’s purpose and responsibilities
  • Discussing these findings with managers and others who interact with the employee
  • Comparing current role with those in the same department and job grade and external market.

By analysing all areas of a particular position (not the individual), you’re able to come to a determination of whether changes to the description are necessary.

If you want to ensure that your job descriptions are adding value to your business, Strategic Pay can help make the difference. It’s our aim to define jobs with clarity, enabling you to get the right people into the right roles.

For more information about our services, feel free to get in touch with our expert team today – we look forward to hearing from you.