Blog Post 2: Job Descriptions


Having concise, accurate job descriptions is an extremely important part of any human resource department; these descriptions act as a legal buffer as well as daily guidelines and goal posts. In my previous experience as an HR assistant, our company was really working to streamline job descriptions. Unfortunately, they tended to be written around a person rather than around a needed task, which very quickly became problematic; jobs would grow around an employee rather than around the needs of the organization and so when someone would leave, the entire job description would often collapse and needed to be written into existing jobs. We also tended to hire at a higher wage than other competitors in the area. Eli Rosenberg notes in their article, “These businesses found a way around the worker shortage: Raising wages to $15 an hour or more” that companies that hire at competitive rates are more likely to attract and retain employees (1); my current employer recently increased our base rate and the vacancies that had sat empty since early Feb. of this year have all been filled within weeks.

As the authors of “Job Worth Doing: Update Descriptions” (2) point out, it is extremely important to view job descriptions as living documents without allowing constant changes in job descriptions to allow jobs to be written around individuals. This can also streamline interviewing, as well as opening up the pool of candidates by allowing jobs to be tailored and catered in culturally appropriate ways. It can also allow hiring managers to better anticipate hiring needs (4).

All of this comes back to an HR managers ability to manage their own trust of their employees- trusting in our own abilities to hire for talent, and retain that talent (5). This requires stepping back and gaining a bigger picture perspective on the needs of any given firm; in order to full engage the human side of hiring, it is important to remove some of that obligation from job descriptions.

Citations

  1. Rosenberg, E. (2021, October 6). These businesses found a way around the worker shortage: Raising wages to $15 an hour or more. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/06/10/worker-shortage-raising-wages/
  2. Tyler, K. (2018, April 10). Job Worth Doing: Update Descriptions. SHRM. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/Pages/0113-job-descriptions.aspx
  3. HR forum: SHRM information center. (1993). Employment Relations Today, 20(2), 235–242. https://doi.org/10.1002/ert.3910200212
  4. Harter, J., Buckingham, M., & G. (2016). First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently (Har/Psc ed.). Gallup Press. pg. 117

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