Question:

I just started working for a company that does not have any written job descriptions. I am at a loss on how to create them when I am new to the company myself. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Answer:

A job description is an important tool that describes the tasks, duties, functions and responsibilities of a job. It should contain details about the specific type of work required, how that work is to be completed, the frequency and purpose of the work, and which functions are essential to the performance of the job. A well drafted job description should provide a clear and concise resource to be used by employees and supervisors as a guide for job performance.

When drafting a job description, consider the following steps:

Analyze the job. Start by interviewing employees about the tasks they are performing and observe them at work. Ask employees to fill out a questionnaire describing the job. Include information about the credentials, experience, and minimum level of education and experience needed. Describe the physical attributes an employee must have in order to perform the job duties with or without a reasonable accommodation. Review the information with the employee who is in the job and the employee’s supervisor.

Define the essential functions of the job.  List tasks that are essential to performing the job. Examine each task and determine the consequences of not performing the task. If the job cannot be done if the employee does not perform a certain task, then that task is an essential function. Pay attention to the frequency of specific tasks and the physical requirements of a particular job. For example, does the employee have to lift items as part of the job? If so, the job description should include the frequency of lifting and the weight that needs to be lifted and these duties should be classified as essential functions. Use the term “essential function” in the job description. This is important in the event an employee is disabled and you need to determine if the employee can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

Draft the job description. Have a standard format for all job descriptions. Consider including the following:

  • Date of hire, date the job description was written.
  • Exempt or non-exempt, full or part time classification of the job, shifts assigned.
  • Job title, who the person reports to, and whether the person supervises any other employees.
  • The objective of the job and the summary of job duties and responsibilities.
  • Essential functions of the job.
  • Production standards.
  • Education, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities requirements.
  • Time spent and frequency of performing tasks.

A statement should be included that the job description does not contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee, and it is subject to modification. The employee and the supervisor sign the job description.
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