Why Handbooks and Job Descriptions are Essential

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why-job-descriptions-and-employee-handbooks-are-essentialJob descriptions and employee handbooks are two simple but essential tools for any successful business.  Both are used to communicate, clarify and document expectations for employers and employees.

Writing and maintaining current job descriptions for positions at your workplace is not required by federal law, yet it’s one of the smartest things an employer can do to provide themselves a layer of protection. These seemingly bland, innocuous documents are used in investigations, lawsuits and audits every day.

Job descriptions clarify expectations

A well-written job description should:

  • Clearly communicate job expectations for employees in plain language, not “legalese”
  • Provide guidelines for managers to hire, promote, and supervise workers
  • Support decisions regarding hiring, disciplinary actions, terminations, or promotions

Using standardized job descriptions provides a consistent baseline; employees know what to expect from the job, and what their employer expects of them.

Handbooks provide essential protection

Employee handbooks may not make for fascinating reading, but they are an excellent communication tool and an invaluable reference for both employers and employees. A proper handbook relays important information about the company and its history, mission and vision, policies, and benefits.  It also can be a vital tool in helping protect employees against inconsistent treatment and employers from discrimination or other legal claims.

Handbooks should be reviewed at least once yearly, due to frequent changes in employment laws. While there are certain things every handbook should contain, there are other items and types of wording that do not belong in this document and should be avoided.

Working with a Professional Employer Organization, or PEO, gives you access to a team of experts who can help evaluate and update your existing handbook or create a customized one specifically for your business. Credentialed HR Managers also can review existing job descriptions or write new ones, making sure they protect you as an employer in the event of a dispute and dialing in the description so it “speaks” to the candidates you’re seeking.

This is the fourth post in our 30 Days of HR Outsourcing series. Visit us each day in November for information on HR, payroll, benefits, workers’ comp and risk management topics, or subscribe to be notified instantly when a new post is published.