Job descriptions affect your employees' performance in a variety of ways, and the detailed, written descriptions guide both your managers and their subordinates in their day-to-day work. If you don’t currently provide job descriptions for each staff member, discuss with your executive team members how job descriptions can improve two-way communications and boost your organization's productivity.
Hiring employees without a written job description can lead to reduced productivity when the new hires are unprepared for their duties and require extra training to fulfill their jobs. Even when you are thorough during the interview process, you might be surprised to learn a new hire is missing a skill he needs for a particular position. Just because someone worked in human resources, he doesn't necessarily have experience in payroll, benefits planning or legal compliance. Detailed job descriptions help both you and prospective employees know if they are qualified for a job you are advertising and whether they can begin working effectively from day one. A written job description can also help you during a lawsuit by an employee who claims he was terminated for not doing work he wasn't told about when he was recruited and hired.
A key benefit of job descriptions is that they enhance employee productivity. In some cases, lack of a job description causes employees to emphasize the wrong aspects of their jobs. A written job description should not only include the tasks an employee is expected to perform but also a ranking of importance of each duty. Job descriptions prevent employees from the misunderstanding which work is theirs, reducing instances of work not being done because someone thought the duty was not in her job description or work being duplicated because two employees assumed they were responsible for a task. Employees who know not only what they’re supposed to do but also what their peers’ responsibilities become stronger team members.
Morale and Retention
Employees who work without clear direction can become confused, frustrated and demoralized. They can also feel managers are shifting work to them unfairly, further contributing to decreased morale and high turnover. Review job descriptions with each employee to make sure he understands what you want and if he agrees with your assessment of his position. Ask for suggestions regarding how to improve the job description.
A written job description serves as the basis for an employee’s annual review. If a worker knows he will be retained, promoted or terminated based on how well he meets the requirements of his job description, he will review it during the year to make sure he meets his responsibilities. As he becomes familiar with a new job or as the company’s needs grow, he might meet with his supervisor to modify the job description.
One of the benefits of written job descriptions is that they create stronger organizations. An organization chart is a list of all the positions at a business and shows who reports to whom and who does which work. Written job descriptions let employees know what they will have to do to qualify for positions that offer advancement. Before you create and announce an organization chart for your company, ask department co-workers to get together and create their vision of a chart for their department with written job descriptions for each employee. This can help you spot a significant disconnect between you and your workers, or it can generate helpful ideas that improve your efforts.