A job description emerges from a job analysis process and is a broad outline of the nature and scope of a job and how it differs from other jobs in an organisation. A job, of course, helps an organisation break down tasks and is a way of allocating work activities in specialised work areas.
The division of work and the relationship of one job to another are reflected in an organisation chart, which helps explain how all jobs are coordinated and integrated.
A job description which should emerge from a job analysis will usually contain the following information:
• Job Title/Department
• Specific Functional Duties/Tasks
• Reporting Responsibility
• Critical Competencies Required
• Overall Purpose of the Position
• Key Performance Indicators
• Primary Objectives
• Desired Experience/Expertise
Clarity and focus are vital to understanding the purpose, scope, duties and responsibilities of a job. The job description acts as an anchor point and basic means of communication for the person in the role and their manager.
Unclear expectations are one of the single biggest reasons for underperformance in a job and the job description goes some way towards clarifying expectations.
The job description can act as a reference point for recruitment and selection, appraisal, performance management, grievance procedures, promotions and job enlargement, or job enrichment expansion
The Job Description
I trod, where fools alone may tread,
To speak what’s better left unsaid,
The day I asked my boss his view
On what I was supposed to do;
For, after two years in the task,
I thought it only right to ask,
In case I’d got it badly wrong,
Ad-hoc’ing as I went along.
He raised his desultory eyes,
And made no effort to disguise
That, what had caused my sudden whim,
Had equally occurred to him;
And thus did we embark upon
Our classic corporate contretemps,
To separate the fact from fiction,
Bedevilling my job description.
For first he asked me to construe
A list of things I really do;
While he – he promised – would prepare
A note of what he thought they were;
And, with the two, we’d take as well
The expert view from personnel,
And thus eliminate the doubt
On what my job was all about.
But when the boss and I conflated
The tasks we’d separately stated,
The evidence became abundant
That one of us must be redundant;
For what I stated I was doing
He claimed, himself, to be pursuing,
While my role, on his definition,
Was way outside my recognition.
He called in personnel to give
A somewhat more definitive
Reply, – but they, by way of answer,
Produced some vague extravaganza,
Depicting, in a web of charts,
Descriptive and prescriptive parts
Of tasks, the boss and I agree,
Can’t possibly refer to me.
So, hanging limply as I am,
In limbo on the diagram,
Suspended by a dotted line
From functions that I thought were mine,
I feel its maybe for the best
I made my innocent request;
And hopefully await their view
On which job of the three I do!