Whether you’ve been in the HR or people management space for 2 years or 20 years, you’ve probably seen a lot of changes in terms of technology and processes.
You post jobs online, track and analyze candidates with AI, measure the pulse of your organization, provide real-time feedback to employees — all in a bid to be more productive, strategic and stay ahead of the huge demands on your shoulders.
But whether your role is more strategic or tactical, there’s one key item that you’re probably contributing to regularly which hasn’t changed with the times: job descriptions.
What’s the Matter with Traditional Job Descriptions?
First, let’s be clear what we’re talking about with “job descriptions.” A lot of people use job description and job post interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different.
After all, if you hear “job post”, you probably think of a one-off document you post to a job board that doesn’t have much connection to the interview process … let alone the rest of an employee’s lifespan at the company.
A properly built and well-utilized job description, on the other hand, can be a dynamic, central record that enables other HR programs: your hiring process, assessment and development programs, and employee engagement and retention programs.
Job Descriptions + Competencies = Smart Job Descriptions
So how do you turn your job descriptions into tools that integrate throughout the employee lifecycle?
It comes down to mapping the demonstrable, measurable skills and behaviors needed for success to the job description.
These skills and behaviors actually have a name, and you’ve probably heard of them before: competencies.
Competencies unify all HR processes across the entire employee lifecycle according to one common, measurable framework.
They’re built through extensive job analysis, research and a structured development process. They consist of leveled indicators to differentiate between basic, intermediate and advanced performance.
By mapping the competencies to jobs, your job descriptions are transformed into talent management tools that can be used throughout the employee lifecycle.
Your Job Descriptions as Talent Management Tools
Let’s unpack that a bit. Here’s how job descriptions with mapped competencies can be used across the employee lifecycle.
- Hiring & Selection: This comes down to being able to carry out structured, behavioral interviews, with questions based directly on the required skills and behaviors. That way, interviews are carried out in a structured, consistent manner … and your company’s hiring decisions are made based on consistent criteria.
- Assessment & Development: Again, the competencies on the “smart” job descriptions allow the actual job description to play a central role in your assessment programs. This may take the form of self-assessment, supervisor assessment, or the ever-popular 360 assessment, often used in leadership roles. If gaps are identified, the organization can provide employees with learning resources pre-mapped to competencies to develop and strengthen those gaps.
- Engagement & Retention: One of the most powerful motivators to keep top employees engaged is opportunities for growth. With your competencies mapped to every job, there’s total transparency on exactly what skills and behaviors, at what levels, your people need to demonstrate in order to take their next step (or even reach their dream job).
The Smarter Way to do Job Descriptions
This approach to job descriptions has significant benefits to your company’s employees. An employee within this system has a sense of purpose and alignment. They know exactly what they need to do to reach that next level in their role (and increasingly-popular career pathing programs can provide a huge incentive for the best talent to stick around). There’s a system that they can wrap their head around, and once again, it all revolves around that initial job description they were hired to do.
For you, the busy HR professional, using the right job description software can make implementing these systems easy and greatly improve the job description creation, editing and revision process.
You’re already using technology for almost everything you do. You want to spend your time strategically, so you have the freedom to work on projects that make a lasting impact. You’re looking to build better processes for your company and get the recognition that you deserve for doing so.
The world of work has changed so much. Isn’t it time that your job descriptions did, too?
About the author
Cynthia Trivella is the Managing Partner at TalentCulture . She has over 20 years' experience within the field of HR Communications, Talent Sourcing Strategies and Employment Branding using industry's best practices for attracting and retaining A-Level Talent candidates. She seeks to leverage her technical and marketing expertise to successfully develop and implement short- and long-term employee communication plans and processes that increase engagement and employee performance, all tied into the employer/employment brand within organizations of all sizes.