Q. My family has operated a small medical supply business for many years. Lately, our business has really taken off, and we now have more than 20 employees in different job categories. We are wondering whether we should develop written job descriptions for the different positions. If so, where should we begin?
A. Well-developed written job descriptions are valuable tools for employers and employees alike. They help the employees understand what is expected of them and where their job duties fit in the overall scope of the company. They can also be valuable recruiting tools, letting prospects know the duties and responsibilities for which they are applying, and giving the interviewing team specific guidelines to help it identify the best candidate for the job.
A well-written and comprehensive job description can also be useful for performing—they enable supervisors to measure the employee’s actual job performance against the benchmarks set forth in the job description.
To begin the process of drafting job descriptions, form an appropriate team and conduct an assessment of each position. Job descriptions typically include:
- An overall description of job responsibilities and functions.
- A description of essential job functions and the physical capabilities necessary to perform the job function.
- Required knowledge, skills, experience and education.
- A description of the work environment.
- A description of the desired characteristics necessary to perform the job successfully.
- Identification of the immediate supervisor.
In addition, job descriptions should include a list of essential and nonessential job duties. Those will help evaluate disabled applicants’ possible accommodations.
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