Why You Need To Update Your Job Descriptions

Let’s take a look at job descriptions. Chances are you already have job descriptions for your team. If you don’t, it’s time to write those! Job descriptions are so important for setting expectations and doing performance reviews!

Assuming you already have job descriptions, it’s important to keep them current. When is the last time you took a good look at them and updated them based on what your employees are actually doing everyday (rather than just what they were supposed to do when you hired them)? If you haven’t done this in a while, this off-season is the perfect opportunity to review your team’s job descriptions and update them as needed.

Here’s why it’s important to have complete, up-to-date job descriptions:

 

  • Jobs change – No matter what a person’s job description was when they started, their duties have a tendency to grow and change as the company grows and as the employee grows, learns, and develops new skills.
  • People leave – Of course you hope that your employees love you enough to stay forever, but we have to be prepared for the unexpected. If one of your employees decides to leave their job, you need to be able to make a comprehensive list of all the things they do so you can delegate those tasks to other people until you can find a replacement.
  • Create detailed job descriptions – Ideally, that job description can become a job posting and performance expectations and goals. If an employee leaves, you’ll need those details in order to find a replacement who will be able to fill the role completely.
  • Set clear expectations – A job description spells out exactly what is expected of each employee and provides the direction they’ll need to perform their job successfully. When it’s time for performance reviews, the job description can be used as a benchmark to analyze how well the employee is performing, but only if it actually lays out everything expected from the employee in the real-life day-to-day running of the business.
  • Establish goals – If there are things you wish certain employees could do, this is the time to bring that up. Maybe they’re missing training or certifications they’d need in order to do additional tasks. Take the time to think through what it looks like to get them to where you want them to be and set goals based on that timeline.
  • Improve communication – Having a clear, complete job description helps you as the employer to communicate expectations and to clearly communicate when those expectations aren’t being met and why. It’s hard to tell an employee “You’re not doing your job” if the thing they’re not doing isn’t in their job description.
  • Determine minimum qualifications and requirements – If a job requires a certification, that should be listed in the job description. Other objective minimum requirements can be listed as well, including things as basic as a need for good attendance and the ability to work well with a team.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – In the case that an employee request an accommodation in order to perform the job, a job description will be important in determining what constitutes a reasonable accommodation.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – By clarifying the status of the position (exempt vs non-exempt) in the job description, you’ll be able to set parameters for work hours, pay type and overtime.
  • Unemployment claims – It’s not uncommon for an employee to be terminated because of poor performance and then end up winning their unemployment claim. It is vital that you have written job descriptions for each position in your company. By creating job descriptions, and keeping paperwork on file that proves your employees see those descriptions, you will strengthen your argument against faulty claims.

Job descriptions are your first line of defense as an employer, if someone takes legal action against you. They also allow you to set goals and expectations for employees and will be instrumental in finding a new employee if an employee decides to leave or you find yourself in the position of having to terminate an employee for any reason. This is not something to put off until you need it. The process doesn’t have to be all on your shoulders. Go over the job descriptions with your employees so they can give you feedback on what tasks they’re doing that aren’t included and what they feel is absolutely necessary for their position in terms of experience and education. Job descriptions should be updated once a year at minimum, but if there is a change to the job description, add it immediately so you don’t end up spending more time later catching up.

Come back next week to learn everything you need to know about conducting annual performance reviews (including why that job description you just updated is so important!) See you then!

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