Job Descriptions Are the Roots to Your Company

Job descriptions are one of the most important documents a company can have, yet, at the same time they are also the most overlooked.  I think of job descriptions as the root system to every company, everything flows from them.  In order for all the parts of a company to flourish, job descriptions need to be cared for and maintained.  All too often are job descriptions completed, placed neatly in a binder and left on a shelf to collect some dust.  Job descriptions needs to be living documents.  Descriptions should be updated once a year at a minimum.  A great reminder to work on job descriptions would be to attach the task to a milestone:

  • Performance reviews
  • Hiring
  • Change in the tasks of the job

According to SHRM magazine, job descriptions should be an ongoing process and should change anytime something significant happens.  It is realistic, however, to have a position that hasn’t changed much for the last thirty years and has had the same employee the entire time.  Even if that is the case, descriptions should still be updated at least every year.  Think about how much has changed in the last five years with social media, smart phones, and other advances in technology.  Video chat is no longer a dream of the future!  In other words, you don’t want your 1970’s job descriptions to be dated with talk of typewriters, operators, and rotary phones.   If you’re still not convinced about pulling those descriptions out of the archives and dusting them off, consider the risks.  Imagine an employee has slowly been taking on more and more responsibility until his or her workload becomes too much to handle.  Ponder the damage control that may have to happen if that employee refers to their job description and realizes they are doing much more than their fair share of work.  You may have to grant a salary increase that simply wasn’t in the budget, or you may have to find other willing employees to spread those tasks around to.  Either way, at that point it would be better to have no job description rather than an outdated one.  But, instead of wishing for a basement fire to burn up your archives that host your old job descriptions, it might just be easier to update them.  Be sure to follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn for weekly HR tips to make your life a little easier!