Job Descriptions: A Strategic Competitive Advantage?

Posted on March 27, 2014 by Chris Kelley Posted in Job Descriptions, Job Evaluation, KnowledgePay

Let’s be honest.  Job descriptions suck.  Writing and administering job descriptions can feel like a waste of time and they take you away from the ‘real work’ that you have to do.  That is, until you step back to consider how a focused commitment to doing job descriptions well can actually set you apart as a company and become part of your competitive advantage.  If you really are engaged in a “war for talent”, you need to think about how such a mundane task like job descriptions can be such a cornerstone to human resource strategy.

Speed and Accuracy in Hiring Process

Ever schedule job interviews with applicants who turned out to be unqualified? The cost of ambiguity in your job descriptions can cost you both time and money. Clear delineation of qualifications, educational requirements, responsibilities, experience and any other positive attributes required will weed out the unsuitable applicants before they have a chance to waste your time.

Employee Retention and Engagement

What is the cost of employee turnover to your competitive advantage and bottom line? Employees quit for a number of reasons, of course, but check out the recent survey from Career Builder and you should see several ways that high quality job descriptions can help cut down on turnover (or worse….the disengagement that happens among those who just want to leave).  Good quality job descriptions can help avoid many of these things by providing clear expectations of the role, indicating career pathing opportunities, and even ensuring that there is meaningful work being performed by the job.  The job description is an important piece to being able to communicate the role, the expectations and the opportunity.

Market Pricing

Job descriptions don’t need to be overly complex to be able to determine competitive pay levels through market pricing.  That being said, having good quality job descriptions can help you ensure that your market pricing efforts are helping you set competitive pay levels so you not falling behind, or just as bad, overpaying for the skills and responsibilities needed to run your business.


So if you think writing job descriptions is a waste of time, what are your thoughts on defending your company in lawsuits that could have been avoided by simply having high quality job descriptions?

Organizational Effectiveness

At KnowledgePay, our technique for wholistic job analysis which uses the concepts of business process mapping and RACI can help identify process bottlenecks, duplication of effort, lack of accountability and more.  What starts off as an attempt to write a few job descriptions can often times lead to significant process improvements that improve organizational effectiveness.

 Job descriptions, when done well, can serve as the foundation for nearly every aspect of your human resource strategy.  Why would you be willing to let them be the weakest link?

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