How to Create / Write an Effective Job Description

It is important that you prepare an effective job description for every unique position in your business. A set of well constructed job descriptions will act as a collective communication instrument that will help drive your workforce to meet business targets.

How to Create / Write an Effective Job Description

The benefits of effective job descriptions are therefore far-reaching, but below we have outlined two of the most important reasons for having an effective job description.

Firstly, it will clearly inform the employee of their duties and responsibilities and the level of performance that your business requires from them. Job descriptions are therefore an important part of the performance management process in your business. If you want employees to perform well, you must provide a clear and accurate job description.

Secondly, a job description can also help you to establish a fair and attractive rate of pay for the position in question. This is because a job description can help you to compare your role against similar roles in the marketplace and establish a market median rate of pay, which you can peg your own compensation level too.

Job descriptions should be flexible

In most business environments, but particularly small and medium sized business environments, work can be varied and unpredictable. To complement this, job descriptions, especially those in small and medium sized businesses, should contain a degree of flexibility in both the type and volume of work that an employee may be required to do. A rigid job description can encourage inflexibility in your staff which could lead to them refusing to do certain tasks or work particular hours. This would of course be detrimental to your business.

Job descriptions should be structured into sections

An effective job description will be structured into a sequence of key sections. This makes sure that the person preparing the job description will include all the key descriptive elements of the role. It also ensures that the job description will be fully absorbed by the reader or associated job holder. Below, I have detailed the key sections that you would expect to find in any good job description.

Key Sections of A Good Job Description

Job Title:

This is self explanatory. However, try and use an industry recognized job title rather than a title that is only understood within your business. This will make it easier to attract new recruits when advertising the role. You can check job sites or ask your recruitment consultant in order to establish the most attractive job title variant.

Purpose:

It should explain the overall objective of the role and how it helps the business to achieve its overall business goals such as profitability, customer satisfaction etc…

Line Manager:

This is self explanatory

Department:

This simply helps to orientate the job holder by explaining how the role fits in to the broader organisation.

Reporting Lines:

If the job holder is a manager, describe the direct reports and dotted line reports, as it illustrates the full scope of the role to the job holder..

Budgetary Responsibility:

If the job holder has a budget, then detail the amount here as it helps to fully explain the scope of the role to the job holder.

Key Relationships:

This should describe any key figures, both internally and externally, that the job holder must work with effectively in order to get their job done. This could be other managers, clients, suppliers etc…

Job Duties and Responsibilities:

This should be in bullet point format and should lists the tasks and duties that actually make up the role. The duties should be listed in order of descending importance. It can help if you indicate the percentage of time that will need to be devoted to each duty.

Flexibility Clause:

At the end of the duties section, you should add the following words, ‘you may be required to carry out additional responsibilities from time to time according to the needs of the business’

Key Performance Indicators:

This tells the employee how their performance will be evaluated and is crucial as this helps to encourage the job holder to engage in productive activity as opposed to mere activity. For example, while a sales person’s job is to ‘make appointments’, ‘do presentations’ and ‘sell’, their key performance indicators will be the ‘amount of sales they make’ against quota on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Person Specification:

This should describe the key attributes that the ideal job holder would possess. This would typically be split into three sections: Qualifications, Skills and Behaviours. A behaviour would be something like ‘attention to detail’. You should also indicate which of these attributes are essential and which are desirable.