Effectively developed job descriptions are communication tools that greatly contribute to your organization's success. Poorly written employee job descriptions, on the other hand, add to workplace confusion, hurt communication, and may leave employees unsure of what is expected from them. Further, having a written description of duties accomplishes many important things that protect your business and positions you for success:

1)     Legal Protections. If a dispute arises over job duties, the job description will be used to settle the matter. An accurately written job description may avoid potential lawsuits and defend a termination decision for an employee who did not satisfactorily meet the requirements of the job.

2)     Reward & Recognition. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities provide the basis for employee reviews, salary increases, setting goals, and growth paths. Employers also use job descriptions during evaluations for raises, promotions and recognizing employees that go above and beyond.

3)     Employee Compensation. A job description serves as a reference guide when determining comparable industry salaries and helps maximize dollars spent on compensation for the position by ensuring experience and skills needed for the job are detailed.

4)     Recruiting the Right Talent. Job descriptions provide the foundation for effective job advertisements and developing interview questions that ensure you are screening and selecting candidates with the skills and experience necessary for the position.

“Other Duties as Assigned” is the most important element of a job description.

Make certain employee job descriptions have enough flexibility so individuals can "work outside of the box." Ideally, employers are hiring highly motivated and skilled employees who are eager to do more than just their assigned tasks. But not all workers are as dedicated to their jobs or the companies. Employees who refuse to do more than their job description specifically states can create avoidable headaches for their employers.

By including “other duties as assigned” to a job description, the employer has flexibility to add new tasks to the position as needed. You want people who are comfortable taking reasonable chances and stretching their limits. You don't want to encourage people to think "that's not my job."

Finally, job descriptions should always include an “Employee Signature” at the bottom. All employees should sign to demonstrate acknowledgement of their job description. Signed copies should be retained in the employee file.