Job descriptions have several functions within an organization and an essential such function involves performance reviews. Indeed, organizations that do not base their performance practices directly on the specifications documented in the job description engage potentially unfair employment practices which can lead not only to personnel problems but to legal entanglements. Employee evaluations involve both day-to-day, or ongoing, supervisory observations as well as a formal appraisal, sometimes called a performance review, usually once or twice per year. Both types have their basis on the formal job description.
A job description documents the functions, general tasks or units of work, performed on a particular job. A group of defined tasks necessary to fulfill a particular job requirement constitutes the job or the position description for employees who hold a job with a common title. Human resources personnel or a hiring manager, or both together, arrive at a job description by determining the necessary tasks to complete the overall job function for a specific job, according to the Managementhelp website. While the performance appraisal application does not constitute the sole use for a job description, that purpose has considerable importance in the organizational scheme of things.
Competency in any specific job or position involves the ability to complete the necessary tasks of such a position, according to the Managementhelp website. For example, a secretary must have the typing or word processing competency to produce an error-free final draft of customer and business-to-business correspondence. In a legal setting, a secretary also will need familiarity with legal terminologies and have the ability to produce such complex documents as legal contracts in an error-free final form. Job descriptions specify for each job the competencies required for fulfilling the position.
No employee can perform a job when the employee does not understand the requirements of that job. Organizational experience has demonstrated that the most effective tool for communicating to an employee the requirements necessary to attain a level of competency in the position is an accurate job description, according to PayScale.com
The job description forms the basis of performance evaluations of employees as described at the Performance-appraisals website. Further, in the context of inadequate performance, the evaluation in turn forms the basis of any performance improvement recommendations or performance improvement plans. In devising such an improvement protocol, the organization must restrict itself to the requirements and duties of the formal job description: doing otherwise runs the risk of legal problems in terms of disciplinary actions, promotions or terminations.
An essential relationship between job descriptions and performance reviews involves equitable treatment of employees and, potentially, legal issues based upon such equitable treatment or more likely, the lack thereof. Organizations must ensure that managers evaluate all employees all employees holding jobs with the same title must get evaluated on the same job requirements as the job description documents, according to the Employer-employee website.