Why every employee needs a job description

By Adam Blanch

Employment is a contract between you/your company and an individual. Most people wouldn't dream of entering into a contractual arrangement without a clearly written document that specifies the rights and responsibilities of all parties, yet this basic step is still overlooked by some employers. There are very good reasons why it shouldn't be.

It's vital in matters of employment law

If it comes down to a dispute over pay and performance, or a claim of unfair dismissal, the lack of a job description can make it difficult to prove that the employee wasn't performing or was acting beyond their brief. A clear job description and a solid process by which performance is measured is therefore a necessity.

It holds people accountable for their responsibilities

By giving every employee a job description, the company can clearly see who is doing what. Job descriptions are a vital ingredient in any organisational chart. It's vital for employees to know exactly what is expected of them, and what they need to do to not only keep their job but to advance. If you aren't clear about what will get you rewarded then there is little motivation for doing your best.

It shield employees against mismanagement

Many an incompetent manager will use their employees to fill in the gaps of their own workload and blame employees when their own inability fails to produce results. Being able to demonstrate that they have fulfilled the requirements of their job gives employees a solid basis for defending themselves when the manager's incompetence is revealed.

Which brings us to the most important employee job description of all - that of the manager. Managers should have job descriptions that outline their responsibilities to the 'higher-ups' and their responsibilities to those beneath them. A contract that gives the power to only one party (the employer or manager) will predictably produce misuse of power, employee disengagement, low productivity, low creativity and high turnover. This is because a one-sided contract forces employees to reclaim their sense of power by 'resisting' their employer's power over them. A one-sided contract robs employees of their right to a far workplace and often the motivation to do well.

Do your employee job descriptions make things clearer for everyone?


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