Why Are Job Descriptions Important?

Why Are Job Descriptions Important?

Job Descriptions Are A Useful Communication Tool

Job descriptions can be a useful communication tool to describe exactly what tasks you expect your employees to perform. Job descriptions may also address performance standards, environmental conditions and accommodations or even work rules that apply to a particular job.  Clearly communicating your expectations to employees will ensure they perform their duties correctly.

Identify the Right Employees 

Job descriptions can help identify particular skills or abilities that are necessary for a position or the environment or accommodations that apply to the position. A good job description tells the applicant what the position may involve or require. After reading the job description, some applicants may decide that they are not a good fit for the position or are not interested in it.  A prospective employer cannot be held liable for any “adverse action” under any applicable laws if a candidate withdraws from consideration.

Describe Minimum Qualifications

If a job requires a particular certification, such as a commercial driver’s license, a particular degree, or professional designation, like “SPHR” it should be listed it in a job description. If you will drug test a candidate before starting or continuing work, that should be stated in the job description.

It is important to spell out the minimum qualifications including such basics as the need for good attendance and the ability to work well with others, or to maintain a high-level of confidentiality.  If a candidate is seeking a position and does not possess the required certification or qualifications, you have a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for not accepting the candidate for the job.

To Help Justify an Employee’s Exempt Status

Job descriptions will not determine whether a person should be exempt or nonexempt under applicable wage and hours laws. A job description must first accurately reflect the duties of a particular position. Additionally other elements of the applicable exemptions must also be present with respect to each individual worker to qualify as exempt. If you claim a person is exempt from minimum wage, timekeeping and overtime requirements under the “executive” exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the job description should state that the employee manages a “group or department” of the company and regularly supervises at least two or more full-time equivalent employees every week. Other managerial duties should also be referenced in the job description as well.

When you are are attempting to qualify as exempt under the “administrative” exemption, the job description should state that the employee “regularly exercises independent judgment and discretion about matters of significance.” Describe the duties that involve such independent judgment and discretion, such as “negotiates or resolves” a situation would be useful.

Reasonable Accommodations – Varies by state

If a qualified candidate with disabilities applies for a job, the job descriptions can help with the interactive process that such laws require. A job description serves as a starting point for what the employer believes to be the essential job duties necessary to perform the job. The candidate then must identify which of the listed duties he or she cannot perform.

Once the duties are identified, the employer and individual with a disability can begin an interactive dialogue about what accommodations may help the employee to perform those duties without being an undue hardship on the employer or without creating a direct threat to others. A job description can also be helpful in soliciting the advice of professionals such as Human Resources, Counselors or Physicians, about whether the individual can actually perform a particular job.

Salary Benchmarks Serves as a Reference Guide

Determining comparable industries, labor markets and salaries helps maximize dollars spent on employee compensation.  To ensure the experience and skills needed for the job, are detailed and matched to prospective candidates.

Training and Employee Development

Job descriptions may be reviewed when determining possible job promotions, as incentives for employees to pursue classes, seminars and other career development activities.

The Reasons Are Endless!

The job description might be the most useful tool a business or an employee has.  Without it communication lines are blurred, feedback is difficult and classifying employee labor is impossible.  At Dube Consulting we highly-recommend job description for any-size business.  Contact us for more assistance.

Leave a Comment