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The Job Description

Published 05 Feb 2017

The written job description (J.D.) used to be something found only in big organisations including central and local Government. Today however, a written job description is a required part of every employee’s employment agreement. In our work we often find that the JD is simply a short, high level list of tasks written to satisfy the requirements of the law.

It can be so much more and it really should be. Consider what the JD is, beyond a simple list of tasks.  It defines the responsibilities and accountabilities of the job and is the first building block of the performance management process. The JD defines the interrelationships expected between employees, detailing the division of labour, reporting lines for supervision and the scope for financial transactions and other decision making.

Often, as part of or attached to the JD is a list of skills, knowledge and experience considered necessary for the effective performance of the job (sometimes called the ideal person specification). This is the go to document for recruitment and it enables training needs to be identified when comparing the ideal list with the employee’s actual skills, knowledge and experience.

The combined document also has uses for succession planning, pay determination and the use of rewards programmes. The JD provides clarity for the job holder and for those around the job holder including their colleagues, management and subordinate employees.  The JD is a picture in words of a job competently performed. It also has a ‘life’ so it needs to be reviewed from time to time to make sure the job is still delivering outcomes that you and the business needs.

Sound tricky or complex?  It doesn’t need to be and we can help.  It does need an investment of your time to make sure that the job works for you!  Call us or access the Employers Toolbox for ideas to write your documents.