Putting Job Descriptions Under the Microscope
Job descriptions. They’re something every human resource person and manager know are important, but keeping them current and pertinent can sometimes slip through the cracks.
Having the most accurate job descriptions for your employees not only ensures everyone is on the same page on duties and responsibilities, but they can help protect your organization from facing disability discrimination claims.
If your business has at least 15 employees, you need to ensure that your job descriptions correctly identify what all the essential job functions are of each position – and list any specific tools or resources needed. Here are six steps to help ensure that all of your current and potential employees have the most comprehensive job descriptions:
- Collect Information and Analyze
Why not start at the source? Interview your employees and managers about the various positions. Use questionnaires. You might even want to take some time to casually observe your employees in their positions to confirm that your descriptions are correct.
- Use Visual Aids
If an employee needs specific resources or equipment for their job, include a photo of what they are. Or, depending on the position, you could videotape the individual performing their job.
- Identify Hazards
Include any hazardous exposure disclosures that safety laws require.
- Describe the Environment
Is the position indoors or outdoors? Is there easy access from one floor to the next (stairs and/or elevator)?
- Mental and Physical
Be sure the job description includes employer expectations outlining mental and physical requirements, education and training plus any attendance or schedule requirements.
- Making Distinctions
As with anything, there’s a difference between what’s required and what would be “nice to have.” There’s no place in a job description for the latter. Only include what an employee needs to get the job done.
Writing Those Descriptions
When it comes to sitting down and actually writing the job descriptions, you’ll want to: use simple and concise language with active verbs; try not to include any industry jargon that outsiders may not comprehend; use a consistent format throughout all your job descriptions; and have supervisors and employees verify the information. Combine these and the six steps above and you’ll have comprehensive job descriptions to keep everyone on the same page and the Americans with Disabilities Act satisfied.
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