Someone mentioned job descriptions to me the other day. They had been approached by an employee who had said they hadn’t got a clue about what their job entailed. I said that every employee ought to have a proper job description. In fact, one of Bizezia’s business solutions is called Work Manual and it includes more than 500 professionally written templated job descriptions, all of which are fully editable.
OK, why do I think employees deserve proper job descriptions?
Most employees are legally entitled to receive a written statement that covers their main employment particulars within two months of starting a job. Part of that written statement is known as the principal statement and must include:
- The legal name of the employer company:
- The legal name of the employee:
- The date the current employment began:
- Any earlier date upon which employment with a previous employer began which is treated as “continuous” with the current employment:
- The employee’s pay, or how it is calculated, and the intervals at which it will be paid – e.g. weekly or monthly:
- The employee’s hours of work:
- Entitlement to holidays – including public holidays – and holiday pay. The information must be accurate enough to allow precise calculation of accrued entitlement:
- The address of the employee’s place of work. If they will be working in more than one place then you should indicate this along with the employer’s address: and
- Job title or a brief description of the work.
That means that an employer can choose to just list the job title OR a brief description of the role in the written statement. Neither option properly communicates what is expected of the employee.
Preparing a job description is not a legal requirement but it is an important part of employee documentation. If expectations and requirements are not properly set at the start of employment, then problems can occur further down the line if there is a mismatch between the employee’s performance and the employer’s expectations. This is not fair on either party and can just lead to unnecessary conflict.
In fact, without a clear and realistic job description in place at the recruitment stage there’s a much greater risk of filling a vacancy with an unsuitable candidate.
Employees deserve job descriptions that clearly identify their responsibilities, the knowledge and skills they require and their position within the company’s organisation.
Why your employee needs a job description
A well written clear job description:
- helps an employer differentiate between job applicants to recruit the right person for the job on offer
- helps an employer address any questions from unsuccessful applicants
- communicates a business’s company direction and values
- sets clear expectations of what is expected from the employee
- tells an employee (and co-workers) where they fit within an organisation
- identifies any qualifications and experience necessary for the job
- is flexible enough to allow the job to grow and change to suit the employee’s skills and the business’ needs
- provides a reference against which an employee’s performance can be measured. (This is particularly important if an employee is underperforming)
- indicates any necessary adherence to any relevant employment legislation (e.g. health and safety legislation)
Writing a Job Description
A job description should include:
- The job title.
- A summary of the general nature and objectives of the job.
- The position in the company, including the job titles of:
– the person to whom the employee will report,
– any subordinates,
– any other relevant working relationships.
- A list of the main duties or tasks of the employee. This list should contain all of the duties and tasks that are necessary for the successful performance of the job. It should make clear where the employee has overall responsibility and accountability for both their own tasks and tasks performed by their subordinates.
- A list of the qualifications or experience required to fulfil the job’s functions split into those that are essential and those that are desirable.
- The location of the job.
- Equipment to be used in performing the functions of the job (include any health and safety guidance if appropriate).
- Salary range/grade for the job.
What else does an Employee need to know?
A job description is just one of the documentary tools that helps employees understand what is expected of them and where they stand in a company.
But what about policies and procedures?
Providing your employees with an Office Manual that includes both company policies and company procedures helps both your business and your employees. It helps set employee expectations about the company’s work environment and communicate corporate standards and procedures.
For more information on Work Manuals, please email me at email@example.com and I’ll send a free copy of my publication: Why Your Company Needs a Work Manual
He was a Council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales from 1988 to 1996.
Martin Pollins ran his own firm based in Sussex and was the first Accountancy firm in the UK to advertise on television and Martin went on to create and launch the CharterGroup Partnership (the UK's first Accountancy network) and then LawGroup UK (one of the largest networks of lawyers in the country).
Martin started work on the Bizezia concept in 1996, developing the broad range of information resources and products over the past 18 years.
Latest posts by Martin Pollins (see all)
- It’s much better to be different than it is to be better - March 19, 2015
- Here’s the way to a better practice - March 16, 2015
- Here’s how to find the time to… - March 10, 2015