Job Descriptions & Performance Appraisals – Who Needs ‘Em?! (Part 2)

This is part II of our four-part series on job descriptions and performance appraisals. Monday, we discussed the importance of job descriptions and how to craft them.  Our discussion left off after an in-depth look at the essential functions or tasks for the position.  Today, we’ll look at the other requirements.

Work environment is key to conveying the conditions under which the employee will perform the work.  For example, the phrase “demanding and fast-paced environment” gives the employee a good idea of what to expect. Clarifying physical demands is also paramount to preparing the candidate for the position.  If an essential function of the position entails lifting large boxes, specify the weight.

An important aspect to remember is that employers cannot discriminate against disabled individuals.  So the job description must provide information that is useful for even a disabled person to assess whether he or she can do the job. That’s why the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has many guidelines that must be incorporated into a job description.  In a nutshell, the ADA protects an employee or job applicant who has the prerequisite skills and knowledge and is able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without the employer making a “reasonable accommodation for that disability.” For that reason, be sure to summarize the position’s supervisory responsibilities, mental and physical demands as well as the work environment.

The important thing to remember is that a job description needs regular review.  Perhaps once a year, you can assess your overall organization, review the positions and their functions, and plan for changes or expansions.  Then it’s a good idea to revise the job description so it is a current representation of each position.  Remember to review the new job description with the employee and obtain a signed acknowledgment of having done so.

Here is an example of the main elements of a job description.

Next week we will discuss performance appraisals to understand how these two concepts tie together to maximize your organization’s success.

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