I think we can all agree that 2020 has been one very crazy year. Employees and employers have been forced to learn tough lessons on pivoting and remote work. At MCDA CCG our HR team has been observing how our clients use of systems, communication skills, performance feedback (or lack of), standard operating procedures, etc., has helped or hurt them during these challenging times. As we prepare to enter 2021 we are working with our clients to improve their HR Department processes. Let’s talk about job descriptions…
Job descriptions are not just a simple administrative task, they serve many purposes. Organizations put in place many changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many were meant to be temporary but many employers must confess that some aspects of their jobs, or how they deal with certain challenges, have inescapably changed.
What purposes do job descriptions serve?
Great question! Here are some areas of focus…
- Recruiting Candidates – Establishing a job description is one of the primary steps to finding the proper candidates. To help keep your hiring process non-discriminate and equitable your interview questions, screening process and hiring criteria are ideally based off the essential duties outlined in the job description. Your company has surely made adjustments around remote work, flexible scheduling, safety protocols, and in some industries changes in product delivery or services, do your job descriptions accurately reflect your hiring needs? Note: In states such as Colorado, effective 2021, it is required that compensation be listed in job postings to promote equity in pay. This means that you will need job descriptions to substantiate pay rates.
- Employee Onboarding – A well written job description is a very effective communication element that details the job requirements to new hires; saving your company money, time, and confusion during the hiring process. Establishing clarity upfront will set the tone for the employee onboarding experience. Losing a new employee due to a poor onboarding experience is too expensive and time consuming.
- On-The-Job – A properly written job description can be used as an intricate part of performance reviews and also in determining compensation for a specific position. Did you have any roles that changed in 2020? Did you keep up with written expectations for your staff? With change associated with some roles, training may be needed, job descriptions can be utilized as a guideline for training needs. Note: As mentioned earlier in states such as Colorado, pay transparency must be tied to job descriptions which extends past the hiring process and into compensation management.
- Compliance –
- Are you working to stay legally compliant with the (ADA) Americans with Disabilities Act? Compliant job descriptions, that include physical requirements based on essential duties, come to the rescue when a candidate or employee requests reasonable accommodation in order to successfully perform their job by giving you physical guidelines by which to evaluate someones restrictions.
- Are you classifying positions correctly under the (FLSA) Fair Labor Standards Act? Determining whether someone is entitled to overtime or not, starts with evaluating their job duties against Fact Sheets. Salary is the second component. If you do not have a properly written job description, it will be virtually impossible to self-audit whether or not you are paying employees correctly. You can be exposed to losing a wage and hour claim from the (DOL) Department of Labor. Note: Now that we have gone a year under a new salary threshold for exempt employees, (DOL) Department of Labor audits might be headed your way.
- Post – Employment – Well written job descriptions paired with employee handbooks are typically the determining factor in winning or losing an unemployment claim. Have you terminated an employee for poor and unacceptable performance only to have them win their unemployment claim? Frustrating, right? States that frequently award unemployment for poor performance require that you: 1) Prove that the termination decision was well within the employee’s control and 2) That they had clear expectations and opportunities to improve that they failed to meet in order for them to find for the employer. To have a fighting chance you need to have a well written detailed job description, documented corrective feedback, and clear and concise policies in place for each position within your organization. Note: The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an extremely high level of unemployment, you need to be prepared with every tool possible to keep your business expenses to a minimum.
Need assistance preparing or auditing job descriptions or any other HR compliance area? Schedule a free no-obligation 30 minute meeting below to discuss how we can assist you and your organization as you close 2020 and prepare for 2021.