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Why Do Companies Have Job Descriptions?

Most companies believe that job descriptions are a nuisance. We often hear employers state that they don’t want to have job descriptions because they expect their employees to complete all duties as assigned. We hear employers state that nothing is sacred and everyone should be expected to do whatever they are asked. While this may be true, there are many advantages to having well written job descriptions. Here are a few:


Well written job descriptions are great to use during the hiring process. They help you to better identify qualified or in some cases non-qualified candidates. Using job descriptions to structure well written behavioral-based interview questions will only help you to be more successful during the interview and hiring process. Ultimately, they will also help to add to the financial bottom line of your company as you will have hired the most qualified and experienced candidate for the open position.


Well written job descriptions assist with defining the expectations of the job for an employee. By having well defined essential duties and responsibilities an employee knows exactly how they are expected to perform and know the indicators for improving performance. The expectations may then be used by the manager and/or supervisor for appraising the employee’s ongoing performance.


Job descriptions that include physical requirements and work environment guidelines may be used in workers’ compensation claims. By providing the job description to the medical facility, the treating physician will be better equipped to determine the work restrictions that should be placed on the employee. In most cases, it increases the employee’s recovery time and decreases the amount of time that they are away from work.


Job descriptions that include physical requirements and work environment guidelines may be used to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its amendments. An employer and employee knowing what the physical requirements are for the job are better equipped to determine if they are able to make reasonable accommodations for an employee without causing undue hardship to the company.


Documenting essential duties and responsibilities helps employers to evaluate the “duties test” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). By reviewing the essential duties and responsibilities and supervisory sections of the job descriptions an employer is better able to determine whether or not the employee in the job meets the requirements of the “duties test” to determine whether they are exempt or nonexempt from overtime regulations.


For employees who are looking for career development and learning opportunities within a company, having job descriptions available for other jobs is a great tool. They are able to read those job descriptions and understand what is required from a knowledge, skills and abilities perspective for a candidate to be hired into that job. This aids them in their ability to know where they should be cross-trained and where they may be eligible for promotional opportunities.


So, as you review the job descriptions that you have within your company evaluate whether they are meeting the advantages listed above. If so, you are in great shape. If not and you need assistance getting started, please give us a call. We have experience and expertise in writing job descriptions for companies of all sizes in all industries and would love the opportunity to assist your company as well.




Written By: Kristen Shingleton, M.B.A., CCP
President, New Focus HR LLC








New Focus HR is a human resources consulting and training company that services all organizations. Our expert team collaborates with businesses to attract, motivate, retrain and retain their biggest assets, employees. While engaged with an organization, our focus is to find solutions that improve the company’s internal HR-related practices while increasing results at the same time! Our focus. Your results.