Typically, organizations use their human resources or personnel department to create job description templates. In some cases however, a departmental group, a manager, or another individual (usually the direct supervisor of a position) might be responsible for creating one. In any case, make sure the creator of the template is familiar with the company’s or organization’s needs.
Job functions should be qualified whenever possible and the desired outcome of the work should be described, rather than the method for accomplishing that outcome. For example, instead of saying, “she files folders” write that “the clerk files folders alphabetically based on category." Employers should let individuals read their job descriptions, voice any concerns, and sign their descriptions. Job descriptions should be accurate. To ensure accuracy, combine the input of many managers and employees.
Developing job descriptions is an issue that many employers deliberate. Initially, some employers may be daunted by what they perceive to be a lengthy and complicated process. Yet, with constructive tools such as job analysis, sample job descriptions, and on-line resources like Career Onestop from the U.S. Department of Labor, informed employers are able to obtain valuable information about their organizations. This publication addresses relevant background information, which includes the role of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) in developing job descriptions, how to formulate job descriptions, special features of Career Onestop that assist with the development process, and relationship to the accommodation process.
Sometimes it can be overwhelming when trying to get a sense of the overall accommodation picture. A job description can be a constructive tool for exploring task-specific accommodation options. Often, it is beneficial to consider the specific tasks that comprise the job. This can help pinpoint what limitations are affecting an individuals job performance and what functions can be accommodated. Understanding an individual’s functional limitations provides helpful clues when searching for accommodation solutions.
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