The conduct of a job description process within the company allows clarifying both the employer’s and employees’ expectations, by clearly stating the employee’s required skills, experience and responsibilities. It is generally based on a job analysis and allows for the introduction of a new compensation system. It thus implies the conduct of a strategic reflection in collaboration with the company’s Board (definition of company's dictionary of competencies, as well as of each position’s location within the company's organizational chart, of its success indicators and of the dictionaries used in the evaluation process).
Job description leads to the completion, for each position, of a job description form that presents its key-elements. This document may be used, among others, during the recruitment process (in order to write the job advertisement, integrate new employees, etc.), for yearly appraisals (assessment of the employee's skills, identification of the gaps and setting-up of improvement / development goals) and for the development of a pay structure / job evaluation process (guidelines) that is based on objective criteria – i.e. the employee’s level of skills and responsibility.
It also contributes to providing a global vision of the company’s structure, thus helping to design the organizational chart. The job description process also supports the development of the employees’ competencies.
Finally, please note that the availability of a complete job documentation (analysis and description) is getting more and more of a critical issue, as the lack of such documents can have dire consequences for the employer in terms of legal responsibility.
A job description ought to be based on the position’s mission statement, as well as on the identification of the job's skills requirements. In the case of a recruitment / selection process, the job description allows focusing one’s search on the job's actual requirements rather than on the replacement of Mr. or Mrs. so-and-so, who displayed specific skills which certainly did prove useful, yet wer not absolutely necessarly for the job.
Here is a job description form (sample) that may be completed as follows:
1. The job's identification code and title: This is official data. Let us precise that the "Identification Code" rubric indicates the job’s location within the company's organizational chart. For example, the codes "DFSA1", "DFSA2", etc., could be used to refer to employees located in the Department of Finance – Section Accounting, while "DFSA" would designate the Chief Accountant and "DF" the CFO.
2. The job's mission statement: The mission statement should concisely describe (in max. 3 sentences) the end goals of the considered position - i.e. its role within the organization. A third party should be able to understand what its essential components are - in concrete terms. In order to be formulated in terms of finality, a mission statement should contain:
3. Success indicators: These criteria should allow measuring whether the services delivered meet the customers' expectations. They can also be used in employee performance appraisals. There is a great diversity of indicators. However, most of them belong to one of the following dimensions:
4. Skills requirements: These are the criteria that are critical in order to fulfill the job’s mission. Such competencies may be observed at both professional and personal levels. Here are a few illustrations of these two dimensions:
Please note that personal skills are generic criteria (i.e. they are not linked to a particular type of position or company), while professional skills may be specific to a given company or even workplace.
Attention! When filling in the job description form, it is best to focus on the key skills that any job holder should display!
5. Customers and Suppliers: This phase is dedicated to the identification of the position’s customer-supplier relationships. The term "customer" applies here to all the units / positions that directly receive the goods / services delivered by the job holder. Similarly, the term "supplier" refers to all the units / positons from which the job holder receives goods / services in order to complete their tasks. Please note that both these types of partners may refer to people either within or outside the organization (notion of internal and external customers / suppliers).
In the "Who?" column of the sample job description form, you may list up all the customer and supplier units / positions. In the "What?" column, you may briefly describe the nature of the goods / services delivered and received (for example: advisory, financial statements, raw materials, metal components, etc.).
Please note that managers who are not directly in contact with customers, but who only deal with them through their team, do not have external customers as such.
Here are sample job specifications for a Chief Information Officer position. It is based on the sample job description form introduced above.