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The Importance of Job Specifications, Job Descriptions, and Position Descriptions

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  • 0:01 Overview
  • 0:33 Job Descriptions
  • 1:38 Position Descriptions
  • 2:10 Job Specifications
  • 2:58 Why Is It Important?
  • 3:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Job design is one of the key responsibilities of human resource management professionals. In this lesson, you'll learn about job specifications, job descriptions, and position descriptions, and why they are important to human resource management.

Overview

Tiffany is a human resource specialist who works at a manufacturing company. She's been asked to prepare some job descriptions, position descriptions and job specifications for the company. This will require her to perform a job analysis, which is a process used to determine knowledge, skills and abilities, as well as the duties necessary to successfully perform a job. Tiffany can use the results of her job analysis to create job descriptions, position descriptions and job specifications. Let's take a look at each.

Job Descriptions

Tiffany needs to determine what jobs her company needs. A job consists of a group of activities and tasks that an organization must perform in order for it to accomplish its goals. Tiffany's company designs, manufactures and sells toys. Some examples of jobs that her company needs to perform are designing, producing and marketing toys so it can make a profit for its owners. It's important to note that a job may take just one person or thousands of people to get it done.

A job description is a written statement that describes a job that may involve a group of separate organizational roles. The description includes such things as purpose, duties, responsibilities, scope of work and working conditions. For example, all organizations require some degree of administration, and Tiffany may create a job description for administration. Again, this job description doesn't relate to just one administrative role in the company, but a group of roles, often referred to as positions.

Position Descriptions

Unlike job descriptions, a position description provides a summary of what a particular employee does in the organization. For example, Tiffany holds the position of an HR specialist. Her position description outlines the specific tasks, duties and responsibilities of the position. Of course, Tiffany's position does not comprise the entire scope of the company's HR job. There are positions for HR managers, HR generalists, payroll specialists, benefit administrators and administrative support staff.

Job Specifications

Not everyone is qualified to undertake every position within an organization. Each job position will have a written job specification. A job specification is a written statement of the minimum qualifications and traits that a person needs in order to perform the duties and undertake the responsibilities of a particular position. Specifications are developed as part of the job analysis process. Let's look at an example.

Let's say there's an opening in the HR department for a payroll specialist. The job specification establishes the minimum qualifications for the position and may require either a bachelor's degree in accounting or human resources with at least two years of experience in HR and experience with the company's specific payroll software.

Why Is It Important?

So, why is all of this important? Well, an organization exists to accomplish goals. It does this through goal-directed activity. Through job analysis, HR professionals can develop job and position descriptions that ensure that the organization is engaged in activities that help achieve organizational goals.

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