Even though we know job descriptions are absolutely essential for every employer, it is one of the most commonly out of date documents in the workplace (maybe second to performance reviews).  Job descriptions should clearly identify what is expected of that position and what essential functions they should provide.  A good job description will assist employees and managers with job duties, help with identifying essential functions for ADA requirements and workers compensation situations, and even help in the recruitment for an open position.  A good job description will consist of the following elements:

  • Job title, a brief description of the position, and the position classification (e.g. FLSA status, full-time or part-time)
  • Essential functions of the position and additional responsibilities
  • Environment, material/equipment used, and physical activities required
  • Proficiencies, education, and experience required
  • Signature line for employee and manager/supervisor

Most employers with proper HR support do not require their managers to be proficient at writing job descriptions, but they should be requiring managers to provide the information necessary for HR to write an accurate job description and evaluate the FLSA status of the positon.  The following items are what a manager/employer should look for when creating or modifying a job description:

  • What is the purpose for this position and what does it take to achieve that purpose? For example, a Janitor position’s purpose is to clean the building. One essential function for that position is to empty the trash cans.
  • How many hours on average does it take to accomplish this position? Is it full-time or part-time?
  • Who does this position report to?
  • What type of resources does this position need? For a janitor, it may be a vacuum, cleaners, etc.
  • How does this position interact with the environment? Do they stand, walk, sit, and what percentage of the time?  Additionally, do they interact with the public, internally or with very few people?
  • What type of individual to you want to fill this position? (e.g. experience, education, etc.)

I recommend that every manager re-evaluate the job descriptions for their employees at least annually (performance review time is a great opportunity for this review).  HRCentral and your HR Department rely on managers to provide answers for the above questions to help appropriately put together your job descriptions.

An inaccurate or poorly done job description can cause a lot of issues in the event of a law suit, a workers’ compensation claim, during the leave management process, etc.  Thankfully, very few employers and HR departments have to go it alone.  With ever tighter budgets, HR is being asked to do more; HRCentral is here to help with projects such as job description reviews and updates, or are here for long-term relationships with daily HR support.