Every entrepreneur or Director of a small business should ensure that every single member of your staff has a Job Description (“JD”) for many reasons:
1. A JD clearly states the job Title, who the actual Employer is, the nature and legal responsibility for the duties, employee pay, amount, frequency, who or which entity (e.g. Limited Company) is liable for any accrued Employee benefits (sick pay, pension, maternity pay, health & safety, disability rights etc.), so that both Parties know exactly who the counterparty is, should a legal query arise about Employee or Employer’s Performance and Obligations.
2. A JD clarifies, in detail, what services the Employee is contractually bound to do for the Employer, sets standards of work for which they are (and are not) responsible and should describe all the relevant activities, descriptions, deadlines and expectations for that job.
3. An Employers’ insurance, or other legal obligations, may require specific named persons to undertake certain activities (such as closing & locking up the premises each evening) and this reallocates some of those potential risks / liabilities to specific individuals.
4. A JD will describe the purpose, duties, responsibilities of the job, as well as where this Job fits the structure of the company, the status of the job inside the company, including who the Employee reports to and who reports to her / him, probably referencing company Policies.
5. A JD provides a reference process for any dispute between an Employer and Employee, the basis of measuring job performance, timely performance reviews and describes the process for underperformance for not fulfilling duties, for both Employers and Employees. Each individual Job Description should also reference additional Company policies e.g. Health & Safety, disciplinary procedures, and training requirements.
6. A JD usually describes the qualifications required to do the job, location(s) to perform the work and what and who they are accountable / responsible for and to.
7. One of the biggest reasons for every individual to have their own JD is that it can be easily modified, by mutual agreement, to include new activities as the business grows, develops and evolves as the Employee acquires new skills and becomes more Productive and capable.
8. A JD should include all the training and new capabilities / skills the Employee has acquired through their training and has developed over time in this role.
9. Collectively, all the staff JDs should incorporate all the commercial activities and valid checks etc. the staff are delegated / authorised to do by the Employer.
10. A JD cannot override any employment law and is always subordinate to law. UK law also states that jobs should be “reasonable and made with Good Faith”.
11. A JD is particularly useful in eradicating staff Duplication, Overlap or Waste and clarifies which individual(s) are responsible for each job /activity / deliverable, or may share responsibility for performance, on particular days or months. External parties such as Accountants, Regulators or Insurers will seek confirmation of this in any Regulatory Investigation of your company.
12. Each JD should also identify who validates the quality of the job performed and set standards for what is an acceptable job and specify what actions are taken if it is not acceptable.
13. Collectively, all the JDs in the company should allocate all the work, activities and responsibilities the company undertakes or is obliged to undertake, which new owners will be seeking in the company Due Diligence in particular; In order to manage and mitigate all the company’s obligations, risks and responsibilities prospective owners will be seeking reassurance that there are no Contingent Liabilities lurking inside the company that are not being actively managed, collectively and individually by the staff and JDs will be the Proof of that.