Why Does a Well-defined Job Description Matter?

“A well-defined job description is important for increasing individual and organizational effectiveness.”

Have you ever seen a job description that read something like this?

How likely do you think your new employee will be successful based on this description of expectations?

There is a direct link with the cost of hiring and turnover to your company’s bottom line – as much as 5x’s an employee’s annual salary. Unclear job expectations can lead to job dissatisfaction, low morale, absenteeism, low productivity, and a constant churn of employees in and out of your organization…and that costs! So why wouldn’t you want to get this aspect of your business solidly nailed down?!

Your employees will perform better when they know what you expect of them and those expectations are clearly defined. The job description describes the work to be done by outlining the essential duties, competencies, qualifications, authority for decision-making, and impact of a given position on the organization. Therefore, it helps employees understand their duties and responsibilities and how their job fits within the mission and objectives of your organization. The job description should not only describe what outcomes should be achieved, but also how to achieve the outcomes.

Job descriptions can positively impact organizational effectiveness by ensuring jobs are aligned to carry out the organization’s mission and objectives while also appropriately aligning workloads. They are an essential tool to use in your recruiting process to ensure you are selecting the appropriate employee for the job. They are expected to serve as a roadmap for success based on clearly defined expectations.

A poorly defined or out dated job description can create a hot bed for hiring/firing and performance related issues. A well-defined job description can provide legal defense if there is a need to terminate an employee or when you need to make compensation and promotion decisions.

Which talent management practices does the job description affect?
• The recruitment process as it ensures the most relevant, qualified candidates apply for the job.
• Selection decisions (i.e. pre-employment assessments, interviewing).
• Onboarding practices that include not only new hire orientation, but also ongoing training and development through the first 6 to 12 months in a new job or role.
• Productivity by providing a clearly defined set of objective/observable outcomes understood by you and your employees so they can focus on the right aspects of their jobs.
• A performance management process that objectively directs the evaluation/measurement of job performance during annual reviews.
• Employee training and development where insights to skills gaps or opportunities to expand roles/responsibilities can be determined.
• Compensation planning that aligns with the market value of the role.
• Legal compliance with existing employment laws.
• Workforce planning to address headcount supply/demand, employee succession planning, training, and development experiences.

What’s the process?
The process begins with a job analysis. Beyond the duties of the job, this process helps you think through:
• What goods the job is responsible for producing or services to be provided?
• How to structure the job to maximize the potential for achieving business outcomes?
• What is exceptional vs. acceptable vs. poor performance? How will it be measured objectively? • What level of skills must an employee possess vs. how much is expected to be learned on the job?
• What behaviors must be demonstrated to support successful performance of the job and alignment with organizational values?
• What resources, processes, or methods are needed to support the employee’s success in the job?

The job analysis process provides information for writing the job description, determining the job family (e.g. Machine Operators), determining the job title (e.g. Machine Operator 1), and determining the classification (e.g. exempt/non-exempt, managerial/professional, or executive). The results of the job analysis process are documented as a Job Profile.

The information about the job is gathered using a structured qualitative Job Profiling process that takes approximately 12-14 total man-hours to complete and includes:
• A review of the organization’s mission and structure
• A review of the functional structure and objectives for which the job supports
• Manager and/or employee interviews (e.g. one-on-one, focus groups)
• Standard questionnaires of essential job tasks
• On-the-job observation
• Review of any other relevant internal documentation, processes, or systems • Documentation of the job profile

Hopefully, now you have a better understand of how a well-defined job description can increase individual and organizational effectiveness.

MAGNET utilizes its certified experts to assist manufacturers with a job profiling process, which is supportive of their talent attraction and retention objectives. Please contact us for more information. 216.391.7002



Posted by Donna Rhodes in Workforce, Workforce-Development

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