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The Importance of Job Descriptions

April 12, 2021by Barbara Flynn0

This month People First is focusing on job descriptions and their importance.

 I started out in Human Resources over 40 years ago as a Personnel Assistant.  Human Resources was not the term referred to back then but today I would have had the title Human Resources Assistant.  I quickly moved up the HR ranks because of my passion for people.

 I fell in love with my role and my director soon encouraged me to get my Master’s Degree in HR.  I enrolled at Nova Southeastern University where I was in the MBA Program with an HR Specialty.

 During the two years of classes, I began to recognize the need in my company for a Career Development Program.  And so, I made the decision to focus on that during my classes.  My term papers and oral presentations revolved around that need.  I felt that if the company was paying for my education, the least I could do was to give back in some way.

 When it came time to present the theme for my Master’s Thesis, it was a no-brainer.  I knew that I would be creating a Career Development Program for my company. 

 My outline for the program consisted of a) writing job descriptions for each position in the company, b) creating career paths for each position, c) creating a skills inventory for each position, d) creating a skills bank and how each skill could be obtained and finally e) the process. 

 That leads me to the subject of this blog, job descriptions.  I realized as I began to meet with department heads and sat down with them to write the job descriptions how important they really are.  I was fortunate in that I had full cooperation of the company and management.  Department heads sat me on the job so I could experience a “day-in-the-life” of most positions.  I talked to employees who were in those roles to get their input.  It was an eye-opener for me and I learned early-on that without job descriptions, chaos can exist. 

 If people do not know what their roles are, how can anything get done?  How do you know what to compare in the market if you do not know what you are comparing?  Job titles alone do not tell the whole picture.  You need details.  That is what job descriptions provide. 

 Just think, if someone asked you “How much do you pay your accounting clerk” how would you answer?  If you are paying $15 per hour and they say they are paying $20 hour do you immediately think you are underpaying?  Not necessarily.  Their accounting clerk may have a lot more responsibility.  You would not know that without a job description.

 With the knowledge I learned from that exercise with my first company, I was able to take that with me to my next job where I successfully started a wholesale costume jewelry manufacturing company.  From the beginning, we had job descriptions.  Everyone knew what to do and we took that company to a $5 Million business in just 5 years.  Now that is what I call success!

 Let us help you make a success of your business.  Job Descriptions play an important part of your success.  Do you have them?  Are they current?

Barbara Flynn

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