Meaning, Need and features Job Description26/08/2022 1 By indiafreenotes
A job description or JD is a written narrative that describes the general tasks, or other related duties, and responsibilities of a position. It may specify the functionary to whom the position reports, specifications such as the qualifications or skills needed by the person in the job, information about the equipment, tools and work aids used, working conditions, physical demands, and a salary range. Job descriptions are usually narrative, but some may comprise a simple list of competencies; for instance, strategic human resource planning methodologies may be used to develop competency architecture for an organization, from which job descriptions are built as a shortlist of competencies.
According to Torrington, a job description is usually developed by conducting a job analysis, which includes examining the tasks and sequences of tasks necessary to perform the job. The analysis considers the areas of knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the job. Job analysis generally involves the following steps: collecting and recording job information; checking the job information for accuracy; writing job descriptions based on the information; using the information to determine what skills, abilities, and knowledge are required to perform the job; updating the information from time to time.  A job usually includes several roles. According to Hall, the job description might be broadened to form a person specification or may be known as “terms of reference”. The person/job specification can be presented as a stand-alone document, but in practice it is usually included within the job description. A job description is often used by employers in the recruitment process.
A job description is a useful, plain-language tool that explains the tasks, duties, function and responsibilities of a position. It details who performs a specific type of work, how that work is to be completed, and the frequency and the purpose of the work as it relates to the organization’s mission and goals. Job descriptions are used for a variety of reasons, such as determining salary levels, conducting performance reviews, clarifying missions, establishing titles and pay grades, and creating reasonable accommodation controls, and as a tool for recruiting. Job descriptions are useful in career planning, offering training exercises and establishing legal requirements for compliance purposes. A job description gives an employee a clear and concise resource to be used as a guide for job performance. Likewise, a supervisor can use a job description as a measuring tool to ensure that the employee is meeting job expectations.
Job description management
Job description management is the creation and maintenance of job descriptions within an organization. A job description is a document listing the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of a specific job. Having up-to-date, accurate and professionally written job descriptions is critical to an organization’s ability to attract qualified candidates, orient & train employees, establish job performance standards, develop compensation programs, conduct performance reviews, set goals and meet legal requirements.
Prior to the development of the job description, a job analysis must be conducted. Job analysis, an integral part of HR management, is the gathering, analysis and documentation of the important facets of a job including what the employee does, the context of the job, and the requirements of the job.
Once the job analysis is complete, the job description including the job specification can be developed. A job description describes the activities to be performed and a job specification lists the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform the job. A job description contains several sections including an identification section, a general summary, essential functions and duties, job specifications, and disclaimers and approvals.
Job descriptions are then used to develop effective EEO/ADA, HR planning, recruiting, and selection initiatives; to maintain clear continuity between compensation planning, training efforts, and performance management; and to identify job factors that may contribute to workplace safety and health and employee/labor relations.
Impact of the Internet
Job description management, as well as other facets of talent management, has been affected by the expansion of information technology. Prior to 2000, there were very few Internet-based human resource solutions available to human resource departments. HR departments often stored their printed job descriptions either in filing cabinets or Word-based job descriptions on computers or company servers. Today there are countless companies offering cloud-based talent management systems to businesses allowing HR to easily store HR information, collaborate with other departments, and access files from any device with Internet access.
A job description is essential to ensure clarity of why the role exists. It can be used:
- To provide the employee with the expectations that are required of them in the role
- To provide enough detail to help the candidate assess if they are suitable for the position
- To help formulate questions for the interview process
- To allow the prospective employee to determine their role or standing within the structure of the organisation
- To assist in forming a legally binding contract of employment
- To help set goals and target for the employee upon joining
- To aid in the evaluation of the employee’s job performance
- To help formulate training and development plans
- Job descriptions may not be suitable for some senior managers as they should have the freedom to take the initiative and find fruitful new directions;
- Job descriptions may be too inflexible in a rapidly changing organization, for instance in an area subject to rapid technological change;
- Other changes in job content may lead to the job description being out of date;
- The process that an organization uses to create job descriptions may not be optimal.
Importance of Job Description
Job descriptions are usually essential for managing people in organizations. Job descriptions are required for recruitment so that managers and applicants can understand the job role. Job descriptions are necessary for most people at work.
This is especially so in large organizations. Job descriptions improve an organization’s ability to manage people and play roles in the following ways:
- Clarifies employer expectations for the employee,
- Provides the basis of measuring job performance,
- Provides a clear description of the role for job candidates,
- Provides a structure and discipline for the company to understand and structure all jobs and ensure necessary activities, duties and responsibilities are covered by one job or another,
- Provides continuity of role parameters irrespective of manager interpretation,
- Enables pay and grading systems to be structured fairly and logically,
- Prevents arbitrary interpretation of role content and limit by employee and employer and manager,
- Provides reference tool in issues of employee/employer dispute,
- Provides reference tool for discipline issues,
- Provides important reference points for training and development areas,
- Provides neutral and objective (as opposed to subjective or arbitrary) reference points for appraisals, performance reviews, and counseling,
- Enables formulation of skill set and behavior set requirements per roll,
- Enables the organization to structure and uniformly manage roles, thus increasing efficiency and effectiveness of recruitment, training, and development, organizational structure, workflow and activities, customer service, etc.,
- Enables factual view (as opposed to instinctual) to be taken by employees and managers in career progression and succession planning.