For costing out a job. The time percentages and task priorities in the job description provide some indication of this. An analyst may find that certain tasks of lesser importance consume large amounts of a worker's time. Time is money and the cost of labor's time generally represents the organization's largest cost. If one or a few tasks of relatively little importance consume a large percentage of the worker's time, then those tasks can be correctly labeled as more costly and perhaps an alternative design or lower cost labor should be found. The job description helps cost control by suggesting where cost-cutting efforts ought to be directed.
For managing job interfaces. When there is frequent and important contact between, or among, the occupants of different positions, considerable attention may have to be given to problems of coordination and cooperation. Since the job description identifies contacts with other jobs, it alerts management to coordination or cooperation-type problems that may require special attention.
For validating selection tests and performance appraisal forms. The job description helps generate maximum employee performance by helping ensure that selection tests and performance evaluation instruments are valid. By checking selection tests for job relevance (i.e., do they test skills and knowledge really needed on the job?) and by checking performance appraisal forms for job relevance (i.e., do they measure how well the employee does actual job duties?), managers can go far toward getting the right people for jobs and toward getting optimal levels of production from the people hired.
For helping job supervision. The job description aids performance control because it helps managers remember who is doing what and what they have a right to expect of the worker. It helps prevent losing sight of what people are supposed to do. The job description not only helps the incumbent know his or her job but it also helps the manager understand the incumbent's job and thereby helps managers and subordinates discuss what the subordinate is supposed to be doing in the organization. The job description defines role boundaries and conveys what task expectations exist within those boundaries. It helps the supervisor plan, organize, actuate, and control job supervision on a more sophisticated level. It helps management run the system efficiently by directing attention to priority tasks and by helping to distribute tasks logically across individuals and departments. In short, the job description helps the supervisor minimize performance problems because its development forces the supervisor to plan for performance problem avoidance.
OTHER KEY USES
The previously discussed five major categories for job description usage in the area of human resource administration far from exhaust the uses management can make of job descriptions. Additional applications for job descriptions abound. The following will highlight some of these uses.
For aiding delegation and easing the communication burden on the supervisor. The job description helps management avoid constant interference with the employee, thus allowing greater freedom for the subordinate. Without job descriptions, managers may have to communicate assignments continually, remind people of assignments, ask for reports, and so forth. Job descriptions can relieve much of this burden for the manager. They can be passed out and discussed with the worker at one point in time during the year so there that there is less of a need to constantly ask for updates. The job description clarifies assignments and serves as a ready reference for subordinates wondering what their assignments are.
Managers may want to issue orally the same assignments as stated in job descriptions. That is fine. In such cases the job description simply provides that all-important redundancy in communications that increases the probability that the assignment gets through.
For resolving jurisdictional disputes. Workers may not be sure of the tasks for which they are responsible. They may think somebody else is responsible for certain tasks when, in fact, the tasks are theirs. Or they may think a certain duty is in their realm of responsibility when actually somebody else is supposed to do it. Work domain disputes can arise. The job descriptions of the parties involved can help resolve such disputes. These job descriptions should clearly state just which tasks go in which jobs. If they do not contain explicit reference to a given jurisdictional question, they are likely to provide enough relevant information about tasks, authority, and so on to aid significantly in resolving the conflict.
For aiding outplacement and retirement planning. More and more organizations are recognizing retirement planning and outplacement as important benefits for the employee and, indeed, as obligations of the organization. Job descriptions can be kept on file for workers, duplicated, and copies given to workers searching for employment elsewhere. Often a job description can serve as proof to another employer of what skills and knowledge a worker has acquired. It can be used by the out placed in interviews with other organizations.
Job descriptions can help employees plan life after their work with the company. They suggest areas of interest and expertise that might be drawn upon in the development of hobbies or social and recreational pursuits upon retirement. They can suggest what kinds of part-time or temporary work activities the person is qualified to pursue.
For helping ensure compliance with laws and regulations. Many regulatory agencies and laws tell what can be done and what must not be done in relation to demands placed on the worker or the kinds of tasks/responsibilities required of the worker. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws require valid performance assessment. Such assessment can only exist, according to EEO guide lines, by building performance assessment around a well-prepared job description, which comes from data derived by a formal job analysis. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) bans certain kinds of hazardous duty. Job descriptions can show compliance.
People who come back to work after injury may have to avoid certain duties that were part of their original jobs. Revised job descriptions can show that the organization has, in fact, altered the job to fit the limitations of the injured worker and to meet workers' compensation requirements. Job descriptions can also provide evidence that the company is observing certain health laws and certain work environment conditions insisted upon by insurance companies.
See the following articles for more information: