Don't Overlook the Obvious: The Importance of Job Descriptions

While many firms use job descriptions only when they have an open position they need to fill, we believe the job description is the most important tool in not only attracting new talent but also retaining and managing your current talent. Investing the time into creating accurate and complete job descriptions for your organization will payoff in a big way as these documents will become the key to not only attracting new talent but retaining your top talent. Once completed for each role the job description will help get the word out about opportunities in your firm and will be a critical mechanism in the interviewing process to screen and select the right hire. It will also be the primary device to creating goals and objectives, reviewing performance, benchmarking compensation pay, developing incentive plans, and crafting career paths.

When properly developed and utilized, the job description can set the framework for a more effective salary and incentive plan. From the employees’ point of view, job descriptions help them understand their role and responsibilities, and what each job requires in terms of experience and skill base. All compensation — even base salary — should come with a specific set of expectations, often set out in a formal job description. By documenting the firm’s expectations, employees know what specific tasks and results are expected as a baseline, versus what additional performance and stretch goals will result in a higher compensation. Having clear metrics for success will help guide them in aligning their efforts with firm goals, and building their skills for higher achievement.

Creating job descriptions for each position in your firm may seem like a daunting task, but your time investment will pay off. By taking the time to establish comprehensive and precise job descriptions your firm establishes the most important tool in attracting and managing your human capital, which is key to any firm’s success.