JOB DESCRIPTIONS | Don’t let them be your downfall

When someone resigns, it can be a great disappointment.

But it’s even more disappointing when the employee leaves after only a few weeks or months.

In many cases, employees leave because they feel that the job isn’t what they thought it would be. How often do you hear that in an interview?

And it’s more important than ever to retain good quality staff. With the cost of replacing a member of your team now over £30,000 can you afford the shock of a letter of resignation?

One way to prevent this, employers need to take a close look at their job descriptions. Otherwise, they can be your downfall.

In a nutshell, the whole purpose of a job description is to reflect what is required and expected of the employee in their job role. They should be straightforward and concise. Most of all, they should be accurate to prevent disputes in the future.

£ 0
the cost of recruiting a new member of staff

Is it a legal requirement to provide a job description?

Employers are not legally obliged to devise a job description for each role, but it is considered best practice. In the employee’s written statement of particulars you must include the employee’s details – name, job title, job description, start date.

Remember that employers need to provide a written statement of particulars to each employee whose employment is to continue for more than one month. This needs to be done within two months of the employee’s start of employment. If you need more advice on written statements of particulars, contact your Employment Law Specialist for advice.

What should job descriptions include?

When drafting a job description for a particular role, do not take the easy route and copy and paste from others that have been written in the past. The job description should be tailored to the position and written with proper care and attention.

You should include:

  • Job title/position – avoid using confusing or misleading terminology
  • Job purpose - summarise the overall role of the job from the organisation’s point of view
  • Summary of the principal accountabilities - describe end results not duties or activities
  • Key relationships – state who the employee directly reports to and whether there are any insubordinates
  • Knowledge and experience required

Many employers also include ‘other duties as appropriate to the role’ to give them some added flexibility.  

What are the uses of job descriptions?

They are useful during all stages of employment, including recruitment, promotion and performance.

By defining key competencies, duties and responsibilities, the job description provides a great platform by which performance can be measured and monitored. When you are having discussions or conducting formal appraisals with an employee about their performance, you should always link it back to the job description.

What about if you want to make changes to the role?

In most cases, employers will need to consult with the employee before making a change to a Contract of Employment. If you fail to do this, it may be considered a breach of contract.

Seek Employment Law Advice at the earliest opportunity to understand how to keep your organisation compliant with the ever-changing law.

Director of Legal Services

James Tamm

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We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

Call us on 0345 226 8393.

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We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

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We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

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