How to Write Great Job Descriptions

If you have employees it is really important that they have a well thought through job description. Sounds abundantly obvious I know but some organisations miss this trick, they think it is just too much hassle! Believe me if you go to tribunal you will wish that you had one!

 

As well as being an essential part of the recruitment process, job descriptions are also important once the right candidate has been selected. An effective job description is a really good communication tool as they let the employee know exactly what is expected from them.

How to Write Great Job Description

There are occasions when you need to refer to a job description if you are managing an employee who is under performing or is perhaps entitled to a pay review then this tool can really aide the conversation.

So what should an effective job description include? Here are a few of the essentials: 

  • Reporting relationships to that specific role 

  • Overall job purpose – 25 words

  • Main duties and responsibilities broken into key headings or clusters

  • Signatory of the post holder confirming that they agree with the document – I know some organisations don’t like this approach but I have always found that it makes the communication crystal clear about role expectations.
     

So remember:
 

  1. Define the title: You need to make sure that the role is given an accurate name, often coming up with the job title if half the battle. If the job is managerial role make sure this is included in the title.
     

  2. Describe the duties: Make sure that the job description includes all the relevant duties that the employee will be performing. Obviously the level of authority affects the extent of responsibility in the job description for determining strategy, decision-making, managing other people, and for executive roles, deciding direction, policy, and delivering corporate performance so keep this in mind.
     

  3. Keep it simple: Job descriptions are not procedures manuals - keep the descriptions of duties concise and free of detailed operating instructions. If necessary refer to these is a phrase such as 'according to company procedures'.
     

  4. Annual Review: Use the appraisal as a time of year that all job descriptions are reviewed with the manager and the employee. Make amendments and put on the employees file.

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