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How to ensure job descriptions are kept up-to-date?

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One of the most difficult tasks in human resources is keeping job descriptions up to date. Managers tend to modify these critical documents verbally on-the-fly and although they may intend to put the change in writing it seldom happens. At other times the daily routine may change based on organizational process changes or new technology.

For legal reasons it is important to make sure every description is accurate in order to check against potential lawsuits should an employee become disgruntled. Should the EEOC or state government be brought in to settle a wrongful firing or discrimination case the will review the job description of the position held by the person leveling the charges and also look at other descriptions within the job classification.

One way to ensure the continual accuracy of job descriptions is to have employees validate their job descriptions on a regular basis, perhaps at their annual review. Ask them to list all the tasks they do during the course of a normal day or week. Initially include all details regardless of how minor they may seem to be as items can be consolidated later.

The supervisor needs to sign off and HR needs to review it to ensure it meets legal and corporate standards before it becomes part of the company library. When a position opens that must be filled the supervisor needs to take a quick review of the description. Chances are it will be very close to department’s needs but some modification based on current needs may be required. Even if revision is necessary it will be from a more accurate starting point.

Although this method is not foolproof, it will increase the accuracy of the important task of maintaining up-to-date job descriptions.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

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