The Importance of Job Descriptions & Standard Operating Procedures

Every employer in Texas should understand the importance of job descriptions and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in running a business. Attempting to run a business and to hire employees without these guiding documents can create a variety of problems for your company. You should think of job descriptions and SOPs as roadmaps that provide a working structure for your company. These documents make clear how you are planning for the business to operate and how employees will work in varying positions to ensure that the business functions as you have designed it. Without job descriptions and SOPs, you could end up in situations in which job duties are unclear and employees are unsure about their roles within the business.

In short, to be a successful business owner and employer, you need job descriptions and standard operating procedures to ensure that there is regularity in the way your business is run, and to set your company up for success.

Why Do You Need Job Descriptions?

When you write job descriptions to hire new employees for your business, it is critical to keep in mind that those job descriptions ultimately will be used for purposes beyond the initial hiring stage. Job descriptions are also used to train new employees, to provide those new employees with a roadmap for their duties and responsibilities, and to ensure that those employees are held accountable (particularly with respect to performance reviews).

Beyond these very practical reasons for having job descriptions, job descriptions assist in legal issues.  When determining whether or not to provide a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must look to the essential functions of the job.  These essential functions are outlined in job descriptions.  Furthermore, when determining whether or not an employee is exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must satisfy a duties test.  The examination of those duties begins with job descriptions.  These are just a few legal areas in which job descriptions are critical.

What should your job descriptions contain? While the content of a job description will vary depending upon the employer, the industry, and the specific type of position, there are some key elements that all job descriptions should contain:

  • Specific job duties and tasks that the employee will fulfill in the position (i.e., the position’s’ essential job duties);
  • Aims and goals of the position in both day-to-day terms and in the long term;
  • Role of the position in relation to the larger business structure, and the ways in which the employee will play a role in fulfilling aims or goals of the company;
  • Ways the employee will know that she or he has been successful in the position; and
  • Qualifications that the employee will need to fulfill the role, and qualifications that would be desirable (but may not be necessary) in fulfilling the role.

Given their importance, consider asking a Dallas employment law attorney to review your company’s job descriptions before they are finalized.

Why Do You Need Standard Operating Procedures?

Standard operating procedures allow business owners to ensure consistency across the company among employees performing different yet interrelated tasks. SOPs also allow business owners to create safety guidelines, equipment and supply policies, and procedures for other matters that arise in the everyday course of business that employees will need to understand and follow.

SOPs typically are written with descriptions, but they may also include materials like flowcharts, diagrams, and checklists. Your company’s SOPs will function as a roadmap for workplace safety and success.

Contact a Dallas Employment Law Attorney

If you have questions about or need assistance creating job descriptions or standard operating procedures for your company, one of our experienced Texas employment lawyers can assist you. Contact Simon Paschal PLLC today for more information.

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