Uses and Limitations of Job Descriptions

Job descriptions have a wide application in every organization. They can be used to assess the need for employees' training and development. A job description that states the specific standards and output levels expected of an employee can readily be used to gauge the employee's performance. Managers can easily identify any disparity between the employee's output and the expected results based on the job description.

Organizations are dynamic institutions and therefore change is a constant factor to be considered when designing job descriptions. This means that employees must be allowed a level flexibility beyond the written job description in order to fulfill the requirements of the job. As it is, a job description describes what management expects from the employee but has no provisions as to how the employee should execute the job. Each employee has his or her own ways and ideas on how to do the job and although they may be aware of the specifics of their job description, it is likely that each one will focus on certain tasks and accountabilities to do the job while forgetting the others. The level of involvement and performance is the determined in the end by the employee's experiences and background.

An employee's performance can be measured in terms of output as required in the job description wherein the job's objectives must be clearly expounded. Without this, it will be quite hard to determine if the employee's output matches the objectives. However, where modern management techniques are applied, the individual is used where his or her demonstrated abilities can be better utilized and frequently, even the specifics of the job description are set aside. The HR personnel will be hard put to state this in the written job description.

Companies must always be ready to embrace and apply needed changes all throughout their structures. When change happens, good and accurate information is essential especially when it comes to the tasks and accountabilities that go with each particular job. This will prevent any overlapping of responsibility and managers can easily identify any duplication of functions, if ever they happen. A job description revised in time to reflect the changes will help guarantee that each vital process or function is attended to and not forgotten.

Looking at a job description from the job seeker's point of view, a well-written job description is a tool to attract qualified candidates. Job seekers also have their own standards regarding the company they wish to join. The best qualified candidates will look for inappropriate words or discriminatory phrases in the job description. Such terms in the job description will turn off anyone interested in the position. According to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employer is not allowed to ask questions related to disabilities of the prospective employees. This means that when posting job descriptions to attract applicants, employers should not include standards that may be interpreted as discriminating against individuals with disabilities.

Although as we have stated, a job description can be applied to many processes within the organization, its main function is still to clearly differentiate the purpose of a particular position from others. It establishes the limits and structure of authority and decision making of the position in relation with the other positions of all levels.

Loren Yadeski, author of this article is also interested in job descriptions and recommends you to please check out best job descriptions if you liked reading this information.

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