Good Job Descriptions: Foundation Blocks for Great Culture

By Carolyn Dorsey | Coordinator | People Factor LLC


Job description. Even the term is inherently boring. How many companies have put real effort into creating coherent, inspiring job descriptions? It can be done – and better yet, SHOULD be done.


What are your organization’s job descriptions like? Chances are that even if you’ve created accurate descriptions, they trend more toward functional than inspirational. Think about this – job descriptions are a job prospect’s first introduction to the inner workings of your organization. They provide the detail that builds job postings; and the full description is presented to candidates to tell them what their place in the organization will be. It’s the perfect time to set their expectations for what your company culture is like and how they’ll contribute to everyone’s success. It’s one of your first opportunities to build meaning into their work and loyalty into their mindset.


Start by adding your company’s mission and values at the top of the description. If they’re not aware of your “Why” yet, that will let them know it’s of primary importance to the company and their role in it. The job summary paragraph gives you the chance to expound on your company’s purpose and how they’ll contribute. “Our values are important to us. Our company is committed to [our mission] and employees are expected to uphold our values…”


Continuing on with the summary, the expectations for how the role contributes to the mission is important as well – “Our [customer service representatives] act as ambassadors for our company and our mission. Interactions with customers should always be guided by our values, enabling the customer to experience the commitment we have to…” Connect the job function to how your organization achieves its mission, and you have an employee who knows exactly how their actions help the company succeed.


That’s the visible part of the job description foundation. A more subtle aspect is ensuring the organization’s jobs don’t overlap in unproductive ways and everyone has a good understanding of who is responsible for what. Roles are clear, responsibilities are assigned and understood by all (most importantly, by the person with that responsibility), job functions can be performed more smoothly, and many misunderstandings and missteps can be avoided through the clarity that comes with good descriptions.


Though at first glance, “job description” can sound like a big yawn, it’s definitely worth your time to make it a vibrant introduction to your culture. Helping team members see how important they are in achieving the company’s mission is the difference between commitment and apathy. The result is an employee who can find meaning in their work and becomes invested in and loyal to your company and its goals.