Maintaining Job Descriptions
Dr. Annette West
July 24 , 2011
The InAndOut, Inc., company provides warehousing and fulfillment services to small publishers of books with small print runs. After the books are printed and bound at a printing facility, they are shipped to InAndOut for handling.
The owner and president of InAndOut, Inc., Alta Fossom is independently wealthy and delegates all day-to-day management matters to the general manager, Marvin Olson. Alta requires that Marvin clear any new ideas or initiatives with her prior to taking action. The company is growing and Marvin expects to hire new employees within the next year to meet this growth.
Job descriptions for the company were originally written by a consultant about eight years ago. They have never been revised and are hopelessly outdated. As a general, Marvin is responsible for all HR management matters. Since Marvin has to clear new projects with Alta, he needs to prepare a brief proposal that can be used to seek approval of new job descriptions. Importance of Job Descriptions
Whether you're a small business or a large, multi-site organization, well-written employee job descriptions will help you align employee direction. Alignment of the people you employ with your goals, vision, and mission spells success for your organization. As a leader, you assure the interfunctioning of all the different positions and roles needed to get the job done for the customer.
According to Susan M. Heathfield, About.com Human Resources Guide, effectively developed, employee job descriptions are communication tools that are significant to your organization's success. Poorly written employee job descriptions, on the other hand, add to workplace confusion, hurt communication, and make people feel as if they don't know what is expected from them.
Foster Thomas Blog, Complete HR Solutions states, “it is essential to maintain accurate job descriptions.” Job descriptions are important both from a legal and practical standpoint. From a practical point of view, job descriptions help the jobholder understand the responsibilities of the position and provide a sense of where the job fits into the company as a whole. From a legal perspective, job descriptions aid in the compliance of several laws. Job descriptions provide a basis for job evaluation, wage and salary comparison and equitable wage and salary structure (Equal Pay Act). Job descriptions are often used as supporting documentation when it comes to establishing a job’s exempt or non-exempt status (Fair Labor Standards Act). Job descriptions provide a basis from which to determine whether an applicant with a disability is qualified for the job and to determine if any accommodation is required to perform the essential functions of the position (ADA analysis). Outdated job descriptions lead to risky business decisions. For example, if an employee is terminated because he/she could not perform a job function but that function is not on his/her job description, the company risks a wrongful termination charge. Similarly, if a disabled employee is terminated due to inability to perform an essential job function, but the essential job function is not listed on the description, the employee may claim that he/she was terminated due to his/her disability, not a legitimate business reason.
Job Descriptions Format
From a format perspective, job descriptions should contain the following sections and statements:
* Essential duties and responsibilities;
* FLSA classification;
* Job specifications (i.e., education requirements, other skills required); * Physical demands, work environment
* Job Summary or purpose
* Signature and date section for the employee and supervisor. * Physical demands statement: “Reasonable accommodations may be made...