A clear understanding of each job within an organization is required to do just about everything that we do in HR and Compensation. From recruiting, evaluating employee performance, learning and career pathing to benchmarking jobs, succession planning and developing an equitable salary structure, these tasks all require reliable job information. When you look at job descriptions in this context, it’s obvious how critical this information is to an organization. But unfortunately, job descriptions are not living up to their potential and could contain a wealth of untapped information.
So why is this? It’s not that we undervalue this information, nor is it due to a lack of trying. The problem lies in the current narrow definition of a job description and how we interface with them. Job descriptions are still seen as documents and it takes an enormous amount of effort to keep them from turning into static, outdated documents. No one person can complete them and often, lines of communication are filled with unanswered emails and unaccomplished to-dos. It requires collaboration that people aren’t used to doing effectively. Also, people don’t know where to start in the writing process. They often find themselves staring a blank document hoping for the words to magically appear before them. But now, due to new technologies and recent software developments, there IS something you can do about maintaining a comprehensive and up-to-date job description portfolio.
In the past, Word or homegrown systems were the only choice when it came to managing job descriptions. But with the advent of Job Description Management (JDM) Software, organizations can create, edit and store their job descriptions in a more systematic way. This approach allows HR to not only maintain accurate job descriptions but also leverage this information across other HR processes.
“It’s a collaborative and structured approach,” says Mitch Stephens, Founder and Chief Software Architect of JDXpert by HRTMS. “Job Description Management software allows organizations to migrate their existing unstructured content, Word Documents typically, to a formal, database-driven model that promotes fluid collaboration among stakeholders, application of approved content and integration with other systems. Only with structure, collaboration and content can one maintain information that is accurate and consistent.
Job Description Management systems range from very simple job description writers to more robust Job Information & Description Management (JIDM) tools. Many JDM solutions enable users to track and store current and past versions, organize job descriptions into job families, pull content from a multitude of resources, and verify that every job description follows standard templates or structures. JIDM solutions go beyond this by taking a top-down approach to Job Description Management. Instead of starting with a job description document, JIDM systems allow you to collect all relevant job information (for example compliance, compensation, scope and grade data), analyze that data in a singular system and generate job description documents and create data-feeds to and from external systems.
“Managing job descriptions is a big problem for HR departments across all organization,” says Stephens. "People have been moved to tears after showing them what a system like ours can do. It is a huge relief for people knowing that there is something out there that can make these job description nightmares go away.”
No matter your company’s size or your bandwidth, getting your job descriptions in order is a critical task for strategic HR. With the help of Job Description Management Software, job descriptions can finally blossom into the dynamic powerhouses they’ve always meant to be.