Job descriptions are an important part of a well-organized company and are an integral part of the organization design and performance management and evaluation systems. They offer the basis for clear employer/employee communication and sound HR practices.
Job descriptions improve an organisation’s ability to manage people and roles in the following ways:
• they clarify employer expectations for employees in specific roles
• they provide the basis for measuring job performance
• they provide clear descriptions of roles for job incumbents and candidates
• they provide a structure and discipline for the organization to understand
• and structure all jobs and ensure that deliverables, responsibilities and
• activities necessary for the achievement of organizational strategy, are covered
• within the organizational structure
• they provide continuity of role parameters irrespective of individual manager interpretation
• they enable remuneration and job grading systems to be structured fairly and logically
• they prevent arbitrary interpretation of role content and limit by employee, employer and manager
• they are an essential reference tool in issues of employee/employer dispute
• they are an essential reference tool for discipline issues
• they provide important reference points for training and development
• they provide neutral and objective (as opposed to subjective or arbitrary) reference points for appraisals, performance reviews and counselling
• they form the basis for competency profiles for each role and competency
• management for the organization
• they enable the organization to structure and manage roles in a uniform way,
• increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of talent management processes
• they enable a factual view (as opposed to instinctual or personal) to be taken by employees and managers in career progression and succession planning.
In IT, the workplace is becoming more and more role and competency based, and less and less ‘job’ based. There are a number of well-understood ‘roles’ that need to be in place in a well-structured IT department. But, depending on the size of the organisation, the level of outsourcing, and the level of IT facilitated business processes, how these ‘roles’ are structured into ‘jobs’ can differ widely.
Furthermore, the field of IT seems to be in a continual state of flux. Each year about 7 new jobs are included in IT that weren’t there before. Sometimes these new jobs are just variations of other jobs. For instance, at one time Java Programmer was considered a new job – because Java was new and there were very few capable Java Developers. The reality is, a Developer is a Developer and Java is a language, so it really was not a new job, just a variation on the existing Developer jobs.
Digitalization is the new “flavour of the month” in IT. Some of the new digital jobs will be new to organisations, such as the social media jobs that really didn’t exist before. But some jobs will be variations of existing jobs. And it is going to be important for HR to be able to differentiate between these two.