Most of us are aware of this HR-related document that identifies what we theoretically are supposed to do in our day-to-day work. However, when was the last time you took a peak at what your Company expects of you or the last time you evaluated what your Company expects your employees to do? This begs the question, what is the real purpose of a job description? A properly drafted job description can be useful for the organization, management, and the employee for reasons such as:

Performance Checkups – Imagine walking into a meeting and being held accountable for something that you had no idea was your responsibility. Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should. With a proper and up-to-date job description, both the manager and employee are on the same page with the standard expectations of the position, easing frequent performance checkups.

Identifying Roles and Value – One of my personal nightmare jobs would be to go to work every day and not understand or realize how I am making a difference. Most employees like to know how their job is important to the Company overall. A well done job description can explain the employee’s role within the organization and how they contribute to its success.

Finding an Employee – An often overlooked step in trying to find an employee for both new and existing positions is a review (or completion) of the job description. If you are limited to basic, generic job descriptions you may find yourself struggling to find the best fit for the job. How do you know what to interview for if you don’t even know the essential functions and expectations of the job you’re trying to fill?

ADA, Leave Protection, and Workers’ Comp – A common concern employers have is what happens if an employee is injured, or if an employee comes back from leave, but needs their job modified? The first place we always start is the job description. A properly done job description not only identifies the duties, but also physical requirements such as sitting versus standing, equipment used, and even how much weight the position is expected to pick up.

Exempt or Non-Exempt – With the recent news regarding the DOL’s attempt at changing the exempt tests (primarily raising the minimum salary threshold), many employers are taking a much-needed look at the FLSA classifications of their employees. Despite the minimum salary increase being on hold indefinitely, employers would be wise to reevaluate the job descriptions of their exempt employees to ensure that they are accurate as far as duties go and that they meet the DOL’s current exempt tests.

The above list is just a sampling of the importance of your job descriptions. HRCentral recommends regular reviews of each job description to not only match what the employee does on a day-to-day basis, but also for compliance with the latest regulations. If in doubt, give us a call and we can assist you in evaluating your job descriptions for completeness and compliance.