6 Barriers to Writing Great Job Descriptions and How to Overcome Them

Steven Lowenthal

Job descriptions have been around for a long, long time, yet a shockingly high number of organizations struggle to produce consistent, well-written, skills-based job descriptions.  Why is this?

  1. Time and Resource Constraints: HR departments and hiring managers are often stretched thin with multiple responsibilities. As a result, they may prioritize other tasks over updating or refining job descriptions, leading to outdated, inconsistent job descriptions or suffer from an absence of them all together. 
  2. Resistance to Change: Organizations may be resistant to updating job descriptions due to concerns about disrupting existing processes or resistance from stakeholders who prefer the status quo. However, failing to adapt job descriptions to reflect changing skill requirements can hinder talent acquisition and retention efforts.
  3. Silos and Communication Barriers: In larger organizations or those with decentralized HR functions, communication barriers between departments or teams can impede efforts to standardize job descriptions. Different departments may have their own approaches to creating job descriptions, leading to inconsistencies across the organization.
  4. Lack of Standards and Benchmarks: Many organizations lack standardized processes, templates and skills definitions for creating job descriptions. This can result in inconsistencies in format, content, and terminology across different roles and departments.
  5. Limited Understanding of Roles: In some cases, there may be a lack of clarity or consensus regarding the specific skills and competencies needed for successful performance in a particular job. This can be especially true for new or evolving roles within the organization or industries where skill requirements are rapidly changing.
  6. Lack of Feedback Loop: Organizations may fail to solicit feedback from hiring managers, employees, or candidates on the effectiveness of job descriptions. Without input from those directly involved in the hiring process, it is challenging to identify areas for improvement and refine job descriptions over time.

Ready to get fix your job descriptions? Register below for our upcoming webinar: Creating Skills-based Job Descriptions: Why They Are Important and How to Get Them Right

Addressing these challenges requires a concerted effort from HR leaders, hiring managers, and other stakeholders to prioritize the development of consistent, well-written, skills-based job descriptions. This may involve implementing standardized processes, providing training and resources, fostering collaboration between departments, and actively seeking feedback to continuously improve job descriptions in aid of Talent Management initiatives. Software, like Lexonis Essentials, and well-written skills frameworks can help an organization scale their efforts and achieve standardized, skills-based job descriptions quickly and effectively.

How to Improve Your Job Descriptions to Support Your Business

  1. Start with an Off-the-Shelf Job Profiles: Off-the-shelf job profiles move the starting point from starting from scratch to having an initial draft describing a job description with skills that model successful performance. Most importantly this changes the role of stakeholders from reluctant creators to willing participants!
  2. Treat the Initiative Like the Change Process It Is: Achieving effective change goes beyond just bringing in technology or content. It requires:
    • Executive Sponsorship
    • A Structured Change Management Approach
    • Frequent and Open Communication
  3. Leverage a Skills Framework: Save time and money by editing these off-the-shelf AI-researched skills definitions – technical and non-technical – to suit your requirements.
  4. Use Job Role Surveys to Close the Gather Input and Close the Loop: At Lexonis, we have had success over a long period of time with using our online tools to capture feedback from job role holders, managers and business leaders from across the organization. The data that we capture using our online tools helps us to answer the following questions:
    • Which skills did most people select for the specified job?
    • What proficiency levels did they choose and what was the average proficiency level?
    • What was the priority ranking for each skills chosen i.e. how important did people rate the competency for the job?

Learn more in this article: Building Job Competency Profiles – Using Online Job Role Surveys

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