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The Job Description Form Template is a key document that describes each unique position in your company. It is core to a number of areas in HR and is used and referred to in several HR Kits. The Job Description Form Template includes the following sections:
Job-Related Technical Skills
Core Company Success Traits
Position Success Traits
How it's used
Once the Job Description Form Template been modified for your company, it will be used by:
- Staff members, who will complete/modify the Job Description Form for their own positions
- HR & Hiring Managers, who will complete/review/modify the Job Description Form for the purposes listed below
Why use it
Having a standard format job description for every position is a critical HR fundamental. A job description form template helps you determine how critical a job is, and how it relates to other jobs, and is a primary tool for setting performance expectations and evaluating individual performance against them.
A completed job description form clearly and formally articulates the responsibilities and expectations of each unique position. It's an important tool to inform the following HR processes:
- Justification for opening a new position: Ensures a well-thought through description of a new position.
- Job postings: Provides a succinct description of the position responsibilities for recruiting, and is particularly important when an employee leaves suddenly and there's no opportunity for overlap between the previous and new incumbents.
- Interview questions: When the position requirements are clear, it's much easier to create targeted interview questions.
- Job offers: When a job description outlining technical and behavioral expectations is included as part of the job offer, it provides clear and unbiased criteria for the probationary period.
- Performance reviews: A well-written job description provides most of the measurement criteria for a performance review.
- Job evaluation: The position title is not always a good indicator of the job level. What may be considered a ‘Director’ role in one company may be a ‘Manager’ or ‘VP’ in another. When evaluating an employee’s salary and comparing the position to internal and/or external salaries, a job description provides information to properly benchmark the position.
- New Manager: When an employee gets a new manager, the manager is able to understand the current expectations of the direct report’s position.
Further benefits of having a job description form completed for every position in your company:
- Ensures the company and employee share a common understanding of position requirements and expectations. People like to know what's expected of them and how they'll be evaluated.
- A completed job description template can be used to defend termination of a low-performing employee.
- Provides bona fide criteria to defend against claims of discrimination or mistreatment by employees who have received a poor performance review.
What you risk by not using it
If you don't use a job description form template:
- If an employee leaves the company without having completed a job description form, the knowledge of their responsibilities and the type of skills required to execute on them walks out the door.
- Without a clear job description, it may be difficult to defend decisions to reward or terminate employees. For example, if an employee is rewarded for ‘exceeding expectations’, the completed job description template serves as a minimum standard of expectations that can be successfully used to differentiate between high and low performers.
Job Descriptions Tips
- Re-evaluate a position every time it becomes vacant
- You may find resistance to the process of completing job descriptions. Use your ‘red tape chips’ wisely when insisting on time-intensive processes, but we think this one is worth pushing forward. The benefits and protection it offers your company is well-worth the time and effort it takes to put it in place.
- The job description is a living, breathing document. It should be revisited at least once a year, particularly when performance reviews are conducted.
- Assigned a unique number to each completed job description. A job description is not a description of an individual. It is a description of a position, regardless of who holds the position. For example, if you have 15 Customer Service Representatives, all 15 employees would have the same job description and number.
Obstacles/objections you may encounter when implementing job descriptions
- Time-consuming to create initially. Requires substantial commitment if there are no job descriptions currently for positions in your company.
- Time-consuming to review annually and maintain relevancy.
- May trigger fear in employees when they're asked to document their responsibilities and other aspects of their positions.
- Some employees may see it as overly bureaucratic for a small business.
- If your company is a start-up and employees are expected to be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’, it may be difficult to create a succinct and distinct job description for each position.
Suggestion for how to get it done
As a small business, you probably don't have the resources to assign one person to complete a job description form template for every position. That person would have to interview each incumbent holding a unique position, observe them on the job, document their findings, and go through a review process with each employee, manager, and HR. Here's another way to get it done:
- Ask each employee to complete the first draft of the job description form template for their position.
- Have each line manager review the job descriptions for the positions of their direct reports – or someone who best understands the position and similar positions – and add/remove/edit content as needed.
- Assign HR (or a delegate) to review all completed job description forms to ensure consistency and appropriate alignment of responsibilities with positions.
- Include a review of every job description as part of the annual performance review process.
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Which HR kit is the Job Description Form Template included in?
The Job Description Form Template can be used on its own as a stand-alone HR form, or as part of the following 4 ConnectsUs HR kits:
So much more than just templates