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Drafting a Good Job Description

By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

It doesn’t really matter whether you have 10 or 10,000 employees, your business, or any business with employees will gain a direct benefit from having well written, accurate job descriptions.  Accurate job descriptions in an engagement letter or an employment agreement helps to eliminate confusion. More importantly, having an accurate job description also ensures that all duties of the job are assigned efficiently and to employees who are qualified. The most import benefit from having well written job descriptions is that they help protect the employer when things go bad.

1. START OFF RIGHT

A well written and thorough job description should be written as a dynamic document. You need to start of right but you also need to understand that things change. The job descriptions should provide enough flexibility to adapt to changes in the staffing, technologies, or resources that may come and go in the business. A well written job description is also drafted with clarity and succinctness.

2. THE COMMON ELEMENTS OF A JOB DESCRIPTION

It doesn’t really matter whether it is the CEO or the secretary that you are writing the job description for. In every job there are common elements that are essential to every job description,  These common elements include:

  • A list or summary of the special skills or credentials that are needed for each job to successfully accomplish that job’s tasks.
  • A concise and accurate job title or name;
  • Well defined reporting relationships. This should include the title of the person to whom each employee reports. This should also include the titles of each employee that a manager or supervisor manages along with other pertinent and important working relationships;
  • A listing of each specific task and responsibility of the job with a prioritized summary explaining the most critical aspects of the job;
  • A concise summary of the performance expectations, including quantitative and qualitative metrics for each employee; and
  • A description of the objective of each job so there is a summary of the nature, purpose, and scope of each employee’s duties;

 

3. THE BENEFITS OF A WELL WRITTEN JOB DESCRIPTION

A well drafted job description provides several tangible benefits to both the employee and the employer. For instance, a good job description provides a clear view of the job position for potential candidates. It also acts as a way for the employer to measure performance and deal with employment disputes or disciplinary issues that could arise. When it is well drafted a good job descriptions gives the employee a map of the pathway of the priorities the employer has for the job. More importantly, a good job description helps the employer and each employee have a common understanding of the expectations of the employment relationship. In accomplishing these goals, a well drafted job description protects both the employee and the employer.

In summary, a well written job description is so much more than just a list of tasks and responsibilities. It lays the foundation for a good and productive relationship between the employer and the employee.

If you have questions about preparing job descriptions for your employees, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Employment Law attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at lve@racinelaw.net. We will answer your Idaho Employment Law questions and will help you solve your Idaho Employment Law problems.

This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.

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