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How to develop effective job descriptions

How to develop effective job descriptions

It’s important your employees know what's expected of them so they can carry out their job effectively. Here are some tips to ensure your staff's job descriptions accurately reflect their responsibilities.


Be specific

Be specific and direct about what employees are responsible for. A good job description should include their day-to-day tasks as well as any monthly or yearly responsibilities, such as creating reports or appraising staff in managerial roles.

Job descriptions should be clear and easy to understand. Dot points can be a great way to break down many responsibilities in a succinct way. Short sentences are also more direct, which can help to avoid any confusion and misinterpretation by staff.

List KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a great way to evaluate staff performance and give employees goals to work towards. Ensure all KPIs are clearly listed in the job description, including any timeframes they need to be completed within.

Employees should also be aware of any ramifications of not meeting KPIs, such as possible disciplinary measures if a number of KPIs are not fulfilled.

Ask for input

To ensure job descriptions reflect an employee’s work, it’s a good idea to work with them. Collaborating with individual staff members will ensure all their duties are included and also encourages discussion about other work they would like to do. For example, do they want to take on greater responsibility in order to be trained up for a higher position?

By working with employees, you will also have the opportunity to discover better ways of doing things. For example, does the employee work more closely with another manager that would make a different line of reporting more effective?

Collaborating with employees will make them feel valued because you have sought their input and will also help you uncover more effective solutions for your business.

Review and revise

Consider reviewing job descriptions regularly – for instance every 12 months around the end of financial year. More regular reviews than this can be useful as well, especially if your business is growing quickly. Roles often evolve in the workplace and it’s important that employees have an up-to-date guide they can refer to in order to understand what their responsibilities are.

Employees can also provide greater insight into their role and responsibilities the longer they are in a job, which can be useful in developing better job descriptions in the future. Job descriptions can be a great way for your employees to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. It also provides them with a clear barometer of your expectations and gives them the confidence they need to do their job well.

Make sure you have effective job descriptions for your staff to give them the confidence they need to do their job well.

It’s often beneficial to include detailed job descriptions in your employment contracts. Find out more about this and other items that are often overlooked in work agreements.

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