Job description is descriptive in nature. It defines the purpose and scope of a job. It is prepared on the basis of information collected by job analysis.
Job description is a written summary of the basic tasks, associated with a particular job. It describe an employee’s qualification its performance on job and even its temporary assignment. It also clarify work content and helps employee to perform their work better. It brings valuable information about selection procedures, training programmes, performance appraisal and pay determinate of employee from job analysis.
In the words of Tapomoy Deb, “Job description is a written list of a job’s duties, responsibilities, reporting relationships, working conditions and supervisory responsibilities involved in a job”.
The job description describes in detail the various aspects of a job like the tasks involved, the responsibilities of the job and the deliverables. It also describes the setting and work environment of the job. Job descriptions are used in recruitment, training, performance appraisal and wage and salary administration.
1. Meaning of Job Description 2. Objectives of Job Description 3. Characteristics 4. Purpose 5. Types 6. Components 7. Guidelines for Writing 8. Contents 9. Steps to Develop 10. Methods of Collecting Information 11. Uses 12. Limitations.
Job Description: Meaning, Definition, Objectives, Purpose, Types, Contents, Steps, Methods, Uses, Guidelines and Limitation
- Meaning and Definition of Job Description
- Objectives of Job Description
- Characteristics of a Good Job Description
- Purpose of Job Description
- Types of Job Descriptions
- Components of Job Description
- Guidelines for Writing a Job Description
- Contents of Job Description
- Steps to Develop Job Descriptions
- Methods of Collecting Job Description Information
- Uses of Job Description
- Limitations of Job Description
Job Description – Meaning and Definition
Job description is descriptive in nature. It defines the purpose and scope of a job. It is prepared on the basis of information collected by job analysis. It is a written summary of the basic tasks, associated with a particular job.
It describe an employee’s qualification its performance on job and even its temporary assignment. It also clarify work content and helps employee to perform their work better. It brings valuable information about selection procedures, training programmes, performance appraisal and pay determinate of employee from job analysis.
Job descriptions are well written duty statements which accurately describe what is being done on a job. It helps the employees for better understanding their job or for better performance of job. As a written duty statement, job description focus on primary duties and responsibilities of the position.
It also describes the job title, code number of the job, department or division where the job is located. It also reveals the relationship of job with other jobs. Job description, describe the working condition of the job such as heat, light, noise level, dust and fumes etc. It describe the machines, equipments, materials used in the job. It mentioned the below and above job which provide an idea of vertical work flow and channels of promotion.
It also indicates to whom the job-holder will report and who will report to him. It provides a clear picture of the whole jobs, by describing the contents of job in terms of activities or tasks performed. Job descriptions helps in maintaining a consistent salary structure. It leads to job evolution, which is used specifically for compensation administration.
On the basis of job description work study and method study are applied procedural improvement and procedural reform can be easily identified or job description. It is use for recruiting, interviewing and selecting the candidates. It is also useful for career progression ladders. For designing performance appraisal form job description is essential.
The main object of a job description is to differentiate it from other jobs and set out its outer limits. Job description is an important document which helps to identify the job and gives a clear idea of what the job is.
It is a factual summary of the job contents, consisting of job title, job duties, equipment and machineries to be used, working conditions, supervision needed, personnel requirements and relationship with other jobs. In the words of Tapomoy Deb, “Job description is a written list of a job’s duties, responsibilities, reporting relationships, working conditions and supervisory responsibilities involved in a job”.
According to Edwin B. Flippo, “The first and immediate product of the job analysis process is job description. As its title indicates, this document is basically descriptive in nature and constitutes a record of existing pertinent job facts”. In job-task-analysis, if an analyst raises the question, what and how an employee does during his working hours in the organization, his/her response will result in job description. It also enables us to identify Major Job Requirements (MJRs).
The most common end product of a job analysis is a documented job description. It is a natural outcome of job analysis and can be described as documentation of the results of job analysis. If the job description is based on the findings of an analyst, the feedback on the initial draft has to take from the incumbents and the supervisors and incorporated in the final draft.
The job description describes in detail the various aspects of a job like the tasks involved, the responsibilities of the job and the deliverables. It also describes the setting and work environment of the job. Job descriptions are used in recruitment, training, performance appraisal and wage and salary administration.
The following guidelines help in writing a good job description:
(i) The scope and nature of the work, including all important relationships, should be indicated.
(ii) The work and duties of the position should be clearly laid out.
(iii) To show the kind of work, the degree of complexity, the degree of skill required, the extent to which the problems are standardised, the extent of workers’ responsibility for each phase of work, and the degree and type of accountability, more specific words such as analyse, gather, plan, confirm, deliver, maintain, supervise and recommend should be selected and used.
(iv) Supervisory responsibility should be explained to the incumbents. Brief and accurate statements should be used.
A new employee should be able to ascertain the extent to which the job description can help in understanding the job and its basic requirements. The employee, who is new to the job and its tasks, responsibilities, etc. can use his own experience with the job description and his job to assess the validity and accuracy of the job description.
As the operations in an organisation keep changing in response to market demand and technological changes, jobs and their descriptions also change. An old and outdated job description becomes redundant and irrelevant in an organisational context. It would be of no use for any of the HR activities it is normally used for. Hence, job descriptions have to be updated as and when major changes takes place in responsibilities, relationships or tasks.
Job Description – 2 Important Objectives: Primary and Secondary Objectives
1. Primary Objectives:
The primary objectives of a job description include:
i. Safety of the workforce.
ii. Development of a superior workforce.
iii. Development of the Human resources department.
iv. Development of an employee-oriented company culture that emphasized quality, continuous improvement, and high performance.
v. Personal ongoing development.
2. Secondary Objectives:
The secondary objectives of job descriptions include:
i. To help managers articulate the most important outcomes they need from an employee performing a particular job.
ii. To assist as a communication tool to tell coworkers where their job leaves off and the job another employee starts.
iii. To tell an employee where their job fits within the overall department and the overall company.
iv. To help employees from other departments, who must work with the person hired, understand the boundaries of the person’s responsibilities.
v. Finally, develop job descriptions performs as an integral piece of the performance development planning process.
Job Description – Characteristics of a Good Job Description
Good job description always calls for accuracy, conciseness, and objectivity in the written document.
It must possess the following essential characteristics:
(1) It should be up-to-date; all the necessary amendments and adjustments should be made from time to time.
(2) It should have proper job title which is short, definite and suggestive so as to indicate the nature of the work.
(3) It should have comprehensive job summary which includes all pertinent facts in short.
(4) It should have clear description of duties and responsibilities; all primary, secondary and other duties and responsibilities should be clearly defined.
(5) It should be easily understandable.
(6) It should clearly state job requirements.
(7) It should clearly specify relationships for reporting and co-ordinating.
(8) It should give substantiating data which show degrees of difficulty associated with each job factor.
(9) It should indicate opportunities for career development.
(10) It should clearly offer a bird’s-eye view of primary responsibilities.
(11) It should reveal meaningfully of the real day-to-day problems of the job concerned.
In short, Job description is an “organized, factual statement of the duties and responsibilities of a specific job”. Its contents should be concise and straight forward, and the details will vary with the purpose it is to serve and with the job concerned.
It will cover an identification section together with details of responsibilities, relationships, a brief summary of objectives, and the basic content of the job which has been identified through job analysis. It will also refer to the working conditions that will apply, standards that will be expected and the criteria by which satisfactory performance will be judged.
Job description can be compiled with the help of training officers, job evaluation staff, methods study engineers, current job-holders, supervisors and managers. Direct observation and interviews can be advantageous in gathering pertinent information through other methods like questionnaire and records may be useful in obtaining background information.
Once the job has been studied, the description should be set out under standard heads so that no important aspects are overlooked. It should then be agreed with the supervisors and the job-holders, and issued to both as an aide-memoire. It will be highly useful when each job-holder uses it for continuing self-evaluation and also for the periodical performance reviews.
Job Description – Purpose: Human Resource Department, An Employee and Supervisor or Manager
Job description includes the duties and responsibilities of a specific job. In practice, a job description is prepared before advertising the job. Job description includes the detailed information on various aspects, such as job title, job summary, job duties, roles and responsibilities, professional skills, wage and salary, and fringe benefits.
The general objectives of job description are as follows:
i. Enhances the cooperation among all employees as everyone clearly knows their roles and responsibilities
ii. Clarifies the possible career progress of the employees within an organization
iii. Establishes the pay scales as per the nature of job
iv. Documents the job details that can be referred in future
v. Assesses the competencies of employees to provide a measure for their promotion or demotion
vi. Maintains the hierarchy of jobs for the entire organization.
The job description endows distinguished applications to different elements of an organization. For example, it serves different purposes for HR department, employees, supervisors, or managers.
Job description helps the HR department of an organization in performing various functions, which are as follows:
i. Recruitment and Selection – Supports the HR department in matching the qualification and professional skills of the candidate with the job. In addition, it acts as a guide for the recruitment process.
ii. Training and Development – Assists the HR department in planning the training and development programs for the employees. The HR department first identifies the training needs, then accumulates the resources for training, and afterwards selects the appropriate method of training.
iii. Performance Appraisal – Guides the HR department to establish the performance standards in terms of quality, quantity, time, and cost.
iv. Human Resource Planning – Provides the information to the HR department to develop plans for future needs. It also creates plans for organizational development.
v. HR Information System – Strengthens the information system required by the HR department to perform various activities. The HR department defines how the information will move from one level to another. With the help of job description, occupational codes are framed, job titles are decided, and timely internal and external announcements regarding HR are made.
vi. Management of People – Facilitates the HR department in maintaining the mutual agreement between subordinates and supervisors regarding their functions, job content, and performance standards.
vii. Compensation – Assists the HR department in deciding wages, salaries, and fringe benefits.
viii. Legal Requirement Fulfillment – Aids the HR department in determining the fair labor standards and ensuring equal pay and equal opportunities in the organization.
Job description serves a great purpose for employees as it helps them to understand their position in the organization.
The purpose of job description for employees is mentioned in the following points:
i. Establishing their role, duties, and responsibilities
ii. Recognizing the flow of communication in the organization
iii. Assessing their carrier moves in the organization
iv. Describing their working conditions
v. Matching their educational and professional qualification with the ones set for a particular job
vi. Establishing their developmental goals
vii. Determining the future demands of a job and accordingly training themselves
viii. Differentiating one job from other
ix. Demanding the promotions.
A job description is helpful to a manager in the following way:
i. Defines the work assignments of each job clearly
ii. Assists the manager to control his/her organizations
iii. Provides information to formulate the performance plans
iv. Permits the supervisor to impose the responsibilities and duties on the employees in the light of job description as it is provided to employees generally before joining
v. Enables the manager to compare the duties and responsibilities assigned to employees with the ones mentioned in job description. It also helps the manager in judging the actual work done by employees with the established performance standards and accordingly appraising their performance
vi. Helps the manager and HR department to hire the most suitable candidate
vii. Provides a base for systematic and continuous work process in the organization
viii. Serves as a major decision-maker for reorganizations, realignment, and retrenchment
ix. Discriminates between the major and minor functions of each job
x. Describes the frequency of each job within the organization, that is how often the particular job is performed to ensure the smooth operation of the other organizational activities
xi. Explains the educational qualification, professional qualification, and specific skills required for any particular job, such as communication, typing, negotiation, and writing skills.
Job Descriptions – Types of Job Description
McCormick had classified job descriptors as follows:
1. On the basis of work activities- (a) job-oriented activities (b) worker-oriented activities
2. On the basis of machines, tools, equipment used
3. On the basis of work performed
4. On the basis of job context
5. On the basis of personnel requirements
This classification suggests that job analysis can yield six kinds of useful job information. These descriptors presumably flow from McCormick’s model of the operational functions basic to all jobs, sensing (information receiving), information storage, information processing, and decision and action (physical control or communication).
These functions vary in emphasis from job to job. It is not clear how the five descriptors flow from this model, however it can be suggested that the following job information is needed by organizations- (1) job content factors; (2) job context factors; (3) worker characteristics; (4) work characteristics; and (5) interpersonal relations (internal and external).
Five Types of Job Descriptions:
1. Worker Functions – The relationship of the worker to data, people and things.
2. Work Fields – The techniques used to complete the tasks of the job. Over 100 such fields have been identified. This descriptor also includes the machines, tools, equipment, and work aids that are used in the job.
3. Materials, Products, Subject Matter, and/or Services – The outcomes of the job or the purpose of performing the job.
4. Worker Traits – The aptitudes, educational and vocational training, and personal traits required of the worker.
5. Physical Demands – Job requirements such as strength, observation and talking. This descriptor also includes the physical environment of the work.
Job Description – Components
A job description contains the following data:
1. Job identification, or Organisational position- which includes the job title, alterative title, and department, division, plant and code number of the job. The job title identifies and designates the job properly.
The department, division, etc., indicate the name of the department where it is situated — whether it is the maintenance department, mechanical shop, etc. The location gives the name of the place. The portion of job description gives answer to two important questions- to what higher level job is this job accountable; and who is supervised directly?
2. Job Summary serves two important purposes- First, it provides a short definition which is useful as an additional identification information when a job title is not adequate. Second, it serves as a summary to orient the reader towards an understanding of detailed information which follows. It gives the reader a “quick capsule explanation” of the content of a job usually in one or two sentences.
3. Job duties and responsibilities give a comprehensive listing of the duties together with some indication of the frequency of occurrence or percentage of time devoted to each major duty. It is regarded as the heart of a job. It tells us what needs to be done? how it should be done? and why it should be done? It also describes the responsibilities related to the custody of money, the supervision of workers and the training of subordinates.
4. Relation to other jobs- This helps to locate the job in the organisation by indicating the job immediately below or above it in the job hierarchy. It also gives an idea of the vertical relationships of work flow and procedures.
5. Supervision- Under it is given the number of persons to be supervised along with their job titles, and the extent of supervision involved — general, intermediate or close supervision.
6. Machine, tools and equipment define each major type or trade name of the machines and tools and the raw materials used.
7. Working conditions usually give us information about the environment in which a jobholder must work. These include cold, heat, dust, wetness, moisture, fumes, odour, oily conditions, etc. obtaining inside the organisation.
8. Hazards give us the nature of risks to life and limb, their possibilities of occurrence, etc.
Job Description – How to Write Job Description? (Guidelines)
Opinions differ on how to write job descriptions. Some experts are of the view that these should be written in detail and in terms of work flow. Others feel that these should be written in terms of goals or results to be achieved, in other words as performance standards (or what is popularly known as “management by objectives”). The prevalent thinking is that job descriptions should be written in terms of duties and responsibilities, i.e., in terms of functions performed.
Job descriptions are written by Personnel Department or its representatives.
Although there is no set way of writing a job description, the following pattern is fairly typical, and used by many companies:
(i) A paragraph is allocated to each major task or responsibility.
(ii) Paragraphs are numbered and arranged in a logical order, task sequence or importance.
(iii) Sentences are begun with an active verb, e.g., “types letters”, “interviews the candidates”, “collects, sorts out, routes and distributes mail”.
(iv) Accuracy and simplicity are emphasised rather than an elegant style.
(v) Brevity is usually considered to be important but is largely conditioned by the type of job being analysed and the need for accuracy.
(vi) Examples of work performed are often quoted and are useful in making the job description explicit.
(vii) Job descriptions, particularly when they are used as bases for training, often incorporate details of the faults which may be encountered in operator tasks and safety checkpoints.
(viii) Statements of opinion, such as “dangerous situations are encountered”, should be avoided.
(ix) When job description are written for supervisory jobs, the main factors (such as manning, cost control, etc.) are identified and listed. Each factor is then broken down into a series of elements with a note on the supervisor’s responsibility.
The British Institute of Management Publication adds four more guidelines:
(i) Give a clear, concise and readily understandable picture of the whole job;
(ii) Describe in sufficient detail each of the main duties and responsibilities;
(iii) Indicate the extent of direction received and supervision given;
(iv) Ensure that a new employee understands the job if he reads the job description.
Job Description – Contents: Proper Job Title, Job Summary, Job Location, Duties and Responsibilities, Degree of Supervision and a Few Others
1. Proper Job Title:
The job title should be short, definite and suggestive of the nature of the job. The desirable qualities of job holder should be clear from the title so that every job can be distinguished from one another. Commerce and industry nomenclature, wherever applicable should always be used while phrasing meaningful job titles.
2. Job Summary:
The findings of the job analysis should be descriptively summarised so that all the necessary facts are incorporated in paragraphs to make it convenient to identify the job. Primary, secondary and other duties to be performed on the job should also be indicated clearly.
3. Job Location:
Job location should be given in the description. It is where, i.e., in what department the job is to be performed.
4. Duties and Responsibilities:
The duties and responsibilities to be performed on the job, arranged in a chronological order with proper classification of duties should be clearly written in the job description. Time taken in performing the job and sub-jobs should also be mentioned.
5. Degree of Supervision:
Certain jobs like unskilled work require close supervision while other jobs like skilled or supervisory or managerial jobs require less supervision or no supervision. The degree of supervision required on each job should be mentioned in job description.
6. Requirement of Machines, Tools and Materials:
The machines, tools, equipment and materials required in the performance of each job should also be included in job description to indicate the nature and complexity of the job and help to devise the training programmes.
7. Description of Relation to Other Jobs:
The job is described in relation to other jobs. This helps to explain the vertical relationship of promotion and horizontal relationship of work flow and procedures.
8. Description of Working Conditions:
The working conditions, the job hazards and physical surroundings within the working area should be described. It will be helpful in job evaluation.
9. Description of Amendments:
Job description should be elastic enough so as to incorporate all necessary amendments from time to time to make it up-to-date.
10. Mention of Policies:
The policies for the job holders should be mentioned in the job description.
Job Description – Steps to Develop Job Descriptions
The following steps may be taken to develop job descriptions in an organization:
Step # 1. Gather the Appropriate People for the Task:
The manager to whom the position will report takes the lead to develop a job description, but other employees who are performing similar jobs can contribute to the development of the job description. Additionally, if the position is new and will relieve current employees of work load, they should be part of the discussion. A first position? The manager or company owner can develop the job description on his or her own.
Step # 2. Perform a Job Analysis:
You need as much data as possible to develop a job description.
The job analysis may include:
a. The job responsibilities of current employees,
b. Internet research and sample job descriptions online or offline highlighting similar jobs.
c. An analysis of the work duties, tasks, and responsibilities that need to be accomplished by the employee filling the position,
d. Research and sharing with other companies that have similar jobs, and
e. Articulation of the most important outcomes or contributions needed from the position. The more information you can gather, the easier the actual task to develop the job description will be.
Step # 3. Write the Job Description:
A company may have a format for job descriptions so check with Human Resources. Often, however, all Human Resources expects is a list of the responsibilities and they prefer to develop the final format congruent with job descriptions across the company.
These are the normal components of the job description:
a. Overall position description with general areas of responsibility listed,
b. Essential functions of the job described with a couple of examples of each,
c. Required knowledge, skills, and abilities,
d. Required education and experience,
e. A description of the physical demands, and
f. A description of the work environment.
These components give employee clear direction.
To make sure it accurately reflects what the employee is doing and your expectations of results from the employee.
An employee’s job description is integral in the development of his or her quarterly employee development plan.
An effective job description establishes a base so that an employee can clearly understand what they need to develop personally, and contribute within your organization. Develop job descriptions to provide employees with a compass and clear direction.
Before you begin interviewing, it is critical to have a written job description in place for each unique position. Having a written description accomplishes many important things that protect your business and your employees.
A good job description includes:
a. Serves as a reference guide for determining comparable industry salaries.
b. Helps maximizes dollars spent on employee compensation for the position by ensuring experience, and skills needed for the job, are detailed and matched to prospective applicants.
c. Functions as a foundation for developing interview questions.
d. Details information about the position that can be incorporated into “help wanted” ads.
e. Discourages employees from refusing to do something because “it is not my job.”
f. Provides a basis for employee reviews, salary increases, setting goals, and growth paths.
g. Serves as legal documentation that can be useful in the event an employee files a termination or discrimination lawsuit against the company.
Job Description – Methods of Collecting Job Description Information
Method # 1. Interview:
Three types of interview can be used to acquire the job description information-
i. Interviewing the incumbent.
ii. Interviewing a group of employees.
iii. Interviewing the supervisor.
i. Interviewing the Incumbent:
In this method, the person holding the job is interviewed and the information is derived from the employee himself or herself. This is a very direct approach and is very useful when the employee understands the importance of the process of job analysis. Interviewing an individual employee is essential when there is no other job in the organization that matches the duties and responsibilities performed by the incumbent in that job.
There is also a possibility that in order to get ahead the employee would overstate his responsibilities.
ii. Interviewing a Group of Employees:
This method of interview is most useful when there is more than one employee performing a job with similar duties and responsibilities. Generally, inputs are taken from a group of employees having the same duties. This helps in saving valuable time and also gives a better job description due to the number of opinions that can be obtained from such an exercise.
iii. Interviewing the Supervisor:
There are times when it is not possible to select a few employees among a group and question them regarding the job. This can result in a skewed response that cannot provide full information about the job. In such a case, the best method will be to take into consideration the opinion of the supervisor who is just above the incumbent.
Generally it is observed that the supervisor has much more valuable information than the incumbent. This also helps in getting a complete picture of the job.
Another good way of obtaining such information is asking the employee to fill in a questionnaire.
There are two types of questionnaires:
i. Structured Questionnaire:
A structured questionnaire will have the same basic questions included in the questionnaire. These questions are applicable to all the jobs that are present in the organization.
But there can be a few shortcomings in this process as describing each and every job through a set of few questions reduces the flexibility. Not all jobs can have the same functions, and thus the structured questionnaire highlights some duties while diminishing some other duties. In such a case, an unstructured questionnaire is more useful.
ii. Unstructured Questionnaire:
This type of questionnaire can have a lot of open-ended questions asking the employee to describe the job. Such questions also have the potential to probe the employee in his efficiency and understanding of the job. Unstructured questionnaires are very useful in cases where the jobs are totally different from other jobs in the organization.
An optimum combination of structured as well as unstructured questions can lead to the best questionnaire. But the time consumed in forming such a questionnaire and testing is very high, leading to costs that a company would like to avoid.
A questionnaire is the best alternative to interviewing a large number of employees. It is much more cost effective.
When a job basically involves physical activity that is observable, the method of observation is very useful. Certain examples of observable jobs are that of a mechanic, a janitor, an assembly line worker, or an accounting clerk. Observation cannot be considered appropriate for jobs that involve a lot of immeasurable mental activity. Jobs such as that of a lawyer, design engineer, etc. cannot be described simply through the method of observation.
This method cannot be used in jobs where there are infrequent activities such as a nurse’s job that might sometimes involve emergency cases. Waiting for such activities to occur can slow down the process of observation.
A major problem faced during the observation method might be a case of ‘reactivity’. This is the case where workers tend to modify the way they work or perform more duties than they are allotted just because they are being observed.
Generally, observation is combined with interviewing in order to remove any discrepancies in the process. Any observation that was not understood by the observer is later clarified during the interview with the worker.
Asking workers to keep a log of the activities they do in a diary can be extremely useful. This provides a complete picture of the job that is being performed, especially when the worker is later interviewed regarding the logs. One disadvantage of this method would be that the employee might forget to enter certain information due to time constraints.
Some advances in technology have brought this method into higher usage by using recorders, dictating machines and pagers, wherein the worker does not have to remember to make his log. Instead, he is called over a pager to dictate the function he is performing.
Sometimes it is advisable to use more than one method or a combination of any of the above methods to get an accurate result.
Note- There are websites now available that give an almost complete job description of a particular job title, for example, www(dot)jobdescription(dot)com.
Job Description – Uses
Job description is a factual and organised statement describing the job in terms of its title, location, duties, and responsibilities, working condition, hazards and relationship with other jobs. It is a functional description of what the job entails. It is descriptive in nature and defines the purpose and scope of a job.
It tells us what is to be done, how it is to be done and why. Importance of job description is that it provide a clear idea of what the job is.
It is also helpful in identifying the job. The main object of a job description is to differentiate it from other jobs and set out its outer limits. Job description is a written summary of the basic task associated with a particular job. It is developed on the basis of the information collected by job analysts. It is helpful for the employee for better performance of job, as it clarifies work functions of the organisation.
The following are the some of the important uses of detailed system of job description:
1. Job evaluation- Job description establishes a foundation upon which a formal job evaluation plan can be built up in which basic wage and salary differentials are based upon a sound conception of relative differences in job requirements.
2. Placement- Job description provides an effective and objective guide on which placement decision should be made.
3. Counselling- Job description gives the vocational counsellor accurate job information upon which he can depend to give advice to inexperienced and physically handicapped workers.
4. Training- Job description gives the training director the type of information he needs in planning a training curriculum that will minimise the maximum potential skills and abilities of all employees and stimulate employee self-advancement. It should aid in getting the maximum amount of effective training for every rupee spent on training programme.
5. Safety- Job description aids the safety director in reducing the number of accidents by giving him a manual of job characteristics that can be used in a programme of detailed analysis of possible job hazards and dangerous working conditions.
6. Employee evaluation- Job description assists in defining the dividing line between job requirements and actual employee performance on the job, and is an effective aid in performance or merit rating.
7. Labour relations- By providing a means of common understanding between management and employees on the duties of each job, one source of employee grievance is likely to be eliminated and basic pay differentials based on job definitions are likely to eliminate suspicious of favouritism.
8. Wages and salary survey- Job description provides a method of comparing rates of pay on key jobs in other companies in the community with the assumption that the jobs under survey are actually comparable jobs. This aids the company in meeting its obligation of paying rates par with those paid by other companies.
9. Methods of improvement- Job description discloses possible changes in manufacturing methods as a result of the detailed job analysis involved in the programme. The purchase of automatic machinery may be based upon a study of skill requirements in view of the fact that large potential reductions in manufacturing costs lie in the job requiring a high degree of skill. Job analysis provides a basis for re-engineering of jobs.
The following points should be kept in mind for job description:
i. While doing job description, special care should be taken towards our language. For the same reason, technical jargons should not be used in job description.
ii. No exaggeration should be made while listing job requirements. For example, if the education upto SSC is sufficient for the performance of the job, it should not be mentioned that the education up to graduate level is required for the job.
iii. If the job description is designed for the purpose of division of work, special care should be taken so that there is no conflict among the employees regarding their areas of duties. It should be clearly mentioned in the job specification that the duties of each job can be expanded, when felt necessary. Thus, no employee will be able to say that he is not required to do a certain work.
Job Description – Limitations
Job description serves as a guide and helper for the HR department, managers, and employees in an organization. It keeps the employees informed in advance about what they are expected to do. It also enables the employers to monitor the progress of the duties performed by the employees and take corrective actions whenever required.
In any use of job descriptions, it should be remembered that these descriptions are not perfect reflections of the job. “The object of a job description is to differentiate it from other jobs and set its outer limits.” Further, executives tend to carry work patterns with them into new jobs, thus modifying the job drastically.
To avoid such problems, care must be exercised in writing a job description to make it as accurate as possible, and at the managerial or professional level, it should be reviewed and discussed after the job. Jobs tend to be dynamic, not static and a job description can quickly go out of date. Therefore, jobs should be constantly revised and kept up-to-date, and the personnel and the other departmental heads should be apprised of changes.
Both supervisors and subordinates should understand the uses to which a job description would be put so that appropriate information is recorded by them. The relevant parties should agree that a job description fairly reflects the job; otherwise job evaluation and job performance review would seem to be unfair.
However, in practice, job description is affected by certain limitations, which are as follows:
i. Fails to reflect the true snapshot of the job sometimes
ii. Finds it unable to update the changes in the job duties
iii. Fails to ensure its appropriateness as the job may be misrepresented by the person who is defining it. In addition, if the information to write job description is gathered by wrong methods than the future use of job description becomes obsolete.
iv. Fails to convey its purpose if the true meaning of job description is misunderstood by either the subordinate or the supervisor
v. Fails to reflect the day-to-day responsibilities of the employee and shows major activities to be performed by him/her
These limitations can reduce the effectiveness of a job description; however, if certain guidelines are followed while writing the job description, it can become effective.