My Experience With Job Descriptions
I have mostly been self employed in my work experience, however the few roles that I have had working for others the job descriptions were extremely minimal or non existent. In my first work experience I was a salad side chef, which entailed prepping food before we opened and then prepping the plates with the sides in order for the head chef to put the entree on the plate. These roles were explained to me verbally and were listed on my job application, but it was a very brief experience. I quickly learned that I had much more expectations of me such as taking the plates out to the servers, cleaning the kitchen after shifts, as well as helping prep food for the main chefs.
In my second work role I worked at a Hardware store for several years. When applying for the role, I was not given a work duties or expectations list but was rather verbally prepped on what I was to be doing. These roles included unloading freight and stocking shelves, helping customers with their questions, and working the cash register carrying out transactions. In this role I was quickly tasked with working in the paint section helping take orders and mix paint, something that was very foreign to me and not what I had in mind when applying for and accepting the job.
While these situations are not ideal when you are surprised by things you are not expecting going into it, the lack of job descriptions and outlines of roles and responsibilities can be much worse than what I experienced.
Why Having Structured Job Descriptions Matter
Having structured job descriptions established for employees is extremely important for employee productivity, efficiency, safety, and protection from liability. Without having a structured job description, employees may struggle with staying on task, accomplishing the tasks expected of them, and also completing their duties in a timely manner. The efficiency is directly related to this and without having job descriptions and duties, employees are unable to work as efficiently and effectively as possible. Without having employees roles and responsibilities outlined, the safety risks of the company and employees are heightened. When employees are not certain of what they need to be doing and are less trained in those duties, they may be more likely to get injured performing those duties. Additionally, if an employee is uncertain of what to do they are at much more risk of getting injured or injuring others. Lastly, when a company lacks documentation for worker roles and responsibilities they are opening themselves up to much more lawsuits and liability due to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 that states a company must specify “elements of the job population.” Some of the challenges of developing and maintaining job description documentation is that the workforce and operations are always changing, which requires the paperwork to constantly be updated. Additionally, companies may hire employees in the same “role” for different specific duties or expectations which can make the paperwork process much more difficult as well. However, all of this can be maintained and updated with an up to date and active HR organization or manager.
Tyler, K. (2018, April 11). Job worth doing: Update descriptions. SHRM. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/Pages/0113-job-descriptions.aspx
MGMT 453 . (n.d.). Canvas.oregonstate.edu. Week 4 – Learning Materials. Retrieved April 28, 2023, from https://canvas.oregonstate.edu/courses/1940354/modules
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