Nicky Buckley
March 13, 2022
3 minute read

Let's be clear - you need job descriptions in place

More than ever your business should have job descriptions in place for the roles in your organisation. But they should not be pulled out of the 'filing' drawer just before yearly appraisal time.

A well-written job description should bring clarity of responsibilities and outputs required of the role. It should be reviewed and agreed with the employee to ensure the employee understands what is expected of them and how they will be measured. It will be the foundation of performance and talent management.

When should you use a Job Description?
  • Restructure or Redundancy
  • Recruitment
  • Job Evaluation
  • Induction & Probation
  • Performance Management
  • Talent Management

Restructure or Redundancy

Before you are thinking about putting employees at risk of redundancy, you need to demonstrate how you have tried to avoid redundancies. This may involve implementing a recruitment freeze, not replacing leavers, and letting agency or temporary workers go. As your workforce shrinks, remaining employees take on additional duties and may need to learn new skills.

You may decide your business needs to operate in a new way, such as e:commerce from a retail provider or you continue to operate remote working or you need to implement a shift pattern.


Before you start any recruitment, ask yourself why am I recruiting? Is it just because someone has put their notice in or the existing workforce doesn't have the skills required. A job description is usually combined with a person specification and provides potential candidates a clear overview of the role.

Job Evaluation

Either at recruitment or pay review, the job description enables 'benchmarking' of roles to determine how your salaries are compared with others. This can be drilled down to geographical area, sector, size of the business, and job types. The job description helps the evaluator understand the role and not just the job title, to make sure the role is evaluated correctly and understand where the organisation wants to position itself in comparison to market rate and competitor organisations.

Induction & Probation

Combined with a great onboarding programme the manager and new candidate should have a clear understanding of the role and responsibility and how their performance is going to be assessed during probation reviews. It can support the training of the new employee and speed up the time to get your new starter fully up to speed, therefore making sure the work is completed efficiently and when needed.

Performance Management

Employees need to understand what is expected of them, and to achieve these goals they must be managed so they are motivated, have the necessary skills, resources, and support, and are accountable. It is not just about a job description, but it is a start or a yearly tick box here, it needs to encourage a culture of continuous improvement, good management, regular feedback, learning, and development opportunities linked to organisational performance.

Talent Management

Organisations build high-performance workplaces when managing talent strategically. Not only in recruitment, but it has evolved to include workforce and succession planning to individual performance and development. Identifying skills gaps from arising automation, labour market conditions and increasing productivity are all factors. Understanding what outputs are required from the current role to a linear move to a different role or progressing to the next role is supportive of clear job descriptions and individual learning & development plans.


Job descriptions are used throughout the employee life-cycle and should be reviewed on a regular basis. Understanding the role brings clarity and accountability which leads to high performance in the workplace. It supports organisation design (or re-design) and successful talent management programmes. If your employees do not have clear roles and responsibilities then this will lead to underperformance.

If you are looking for support with job description formulation, then please give me a call to see how I will help you.

A great HR Information System (HRIS) is essential to record your job description and can provide data for performance and talent management. If you would like to have a FREE 14-day trial then please contact me.

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