Updating Managers’ Job Descriptions After the Pandemic and Beyond

May 17, 2021 - minute read

It’s important for employers to always set the correct expectations for their employees, especially when it comes to the pandemic and transitioning beyond it. For those overseeing an hourly workforce, that includes assessing the roles of managers and updating outdated job descriptions.

Recent studies have found that managers are shouldering many of the “illegitimate tasks” and extra burdens brought on by the pandemic. Put another way, many unofficial duties that were intended to be temporary have now become permanent aspects of your managers’ roles. Yet, they remain absent from established job descriptions.

Failing to regulate the workload of your managers can be detrimental to your operation in more ways than one. In light of evolving conditions of the pandemic and your operation, now is the time to make necessary adjustments.

Why Updating Managers’ Job Descriptions Matters

Like most employers, you likely update job descriptions as part of annual performance reviews or during recruitment periods… but that doesn’t mean you should wait. Updating job descriptions regularly is vital for helping managers navigate fluid work situations and balance their widening range of responsibilities.

That said, the process of updating job descriptions properly is more than just adding a few extra bullet points to a pre-existing list. It requires conducting job analyses and crafting effective descriptions that benefit both you and your employees. But how do you know what needs to be added? How can you have a more focused approach?

Job Descriptions for Managers

The pandemic has had a detrimental effect on many managers’ mental health, so you will want to prioritize thoughtful workforce planning and safeguards against burnout when making adjustments. Job descriptions must also focus on compliance because they are different from job postings. They should summarize essential functions, dictate qualifications (especially physical requirements), and illustrate any performance or management standards you have for them.

At the end of the day, you need to make sure you’ve defined the title, job grade, compensation details, and minimum qualifications needed to fulfill the position or justify exempt status. Experts also suggest including the scope and limits of managers’ authority, hours, job location, and travel requirements as it applies. Check out how to SHRM’s guide “6 Steps to Conducting a Job Analysis” for more insight.

Best Practices for Updating Job Descriptions

You will craft better job descriptions and benefit far more from them if you know how your organization will be using them. Setting intentions for your process can focus your job descriptions and re-establish the most essential areas successfully.

In order to update and leverage job descriptions effectively, we recommend the following:

  • Reestablish the skills needed within your workforce. You can use the process of updating managers’ job descriptions to review the skills needed within your organization, redistribute responsibilities, and fill in the gaps appropriately. There could be skills that you realize you need based on changing business needs, as well as some that are no longer necessary and can be removed from your managers’ plates.

  • Keep recruiting and onboarding in mind. Without up-to-date job descriptions, you could undermine a successful hiring process. Your job postings, interview questions, hiring criteria, and screening process are all likely based on items outlined in your job descriptions. Spell out exactly what managers will do, keeping in mind that you are setting the tone for candidates and new hires, as well.

  • Provide tangible measures of success for performance. As the primary reference for performance reviews and career development, job descriptions hold managers accountable for the tasks they are expected to do. Updating yours will help with determining managers’ individual success, appropriate levels of compensation, and the possibilities of changing roles or achieving promotions.

  • Secure compliance. Updating job descriptions is also a matter compliance. You must be clear on the physical requirements of certain essential duties in order to establish whether or not you can provide reasonable accommodations for individuals protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you need to be mindful of wage & hour laws protecting overtime and salary changes. Finally, changes to state-level equal pay or pay transparency protections may require you need to include compensation as part of your job descriptions.

  • Protect against post-employment claims. Unemployment claims can undermine your organization if you don’t have tangible evidence to justify letting someone go. Therefore, you need to make sure your job descriptions are explicit about what is expected of your managers. That way, you can prove terminations based on poor performance are justified because the individual had knowledge that their actions (or lack thereof) failed to meet the established needs of the role.

HR Consulting

The task of updating job descriptions and crafting new ones can be a significant undertaking depending on the size of your operation. EPAY Systems offers an HR Compliance Portal, as well as HR consulting, as part of our Human Capital Management solution to assist with the process.

Our certified HR specialists are available to answer your questions and help safeguard your business against compliance pitfalls as you update job descriptions and other vital pieces of your operation. Let the experts ease your administrative burden and advance your HR efforts. Take a tour of our workforce management solution and register for a personalized demo today!

Filed Under: Human Resources