Benefits and Compensation

Why It Pays to Keep Your Job Descriptions Current

Yesterday, we looked at telecommuting—aka “the benefit that keeps on giving” to both employees and employers. Today, our take on another low-cost yet highly beneficial activity you’re probably not spending enough time on: updating your job descriptions.

“Unfortunately, not all hiring managers and companies value a well-developed job description. So, it’s critical to understand the rewards—along with the mitigating risks as they apply to federal, state and local laws—of an effective job description,” Mary Anne Kennedy told us in a recent BLR® webinar. Kennedy is the principal consultant at MAKHR Consulting, LLC.

Here are 4 key benefits to effective job descriptions:


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1) Better Recruitment

Well-written job descriptions serve as communication tools that allow both employees and candidates to clearly understand the expectations of the role, its essential duties, and the required competences, educational credentials, and experience for the role. By doing this well, it can improve both internal and external recruitment, and it can retain and motivate the best talent by ensuring that employee expectations are aligned with business expectations of what the role entails.

2) Better Compensation Data

While the direct compensation probably shouldn’t be on the job description, the job description should allow you to do research to determine the market value of that role. It should also allow HR to assess the internal value, too—to see how it fits within your compensation structure as compared to other jobs.
If done well, the job description will help HR assess where the job falls within any existing pay structures so that you don’t create inequity or compression issues when filling the role.

3) Legal Compliance

While maintaining job descriptions is not required by law, doing so can help your organization stay in compliance with many existing employment laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Also, to ensure compliance with the equal employment opportunity laws, be sure your job description allows you to conduct a fair interviewing and hiring process without leaving out any groups of potential candidates.

4) People Planning

People planning is critical to the company’s business plan. In order to execute and measure success of the goals and objectives for the organization, the following people components are vital:

  • Head count—both current and gaps. A full list of job descriptions across the organization shows all of the roles for the organization, and thus can show what roles are not filled, and that will help with future planning.
  • Succession planning. Job descriptions can note the role of the position within the organization and the future career path so that recruitment is forward-looking to future roles. Hiring managers can then consider candidate fit for not just the current vacancy, but also consider the fit of the individual for future advancement.
  • Training, development, and performance. Job descriptions can be matched up with the performance evaluation system to identify areas where additional training is needed.

When working job descriptions for your company, it’s best to know which laws apply in your state alone and which are federal. We’re here to help with BLR®’s Employee Compensation in Your State. This unique service is your reliable, work-saving resource for compensation laws. You can depend on it to understand the complicated web of wage and hour regulations that apply in your state, and you can count on its trustworthy wage and salary survey data on hundreds of jobs to keep your pay scales competitive.

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