Survey Data Underscores the Importance of Job Description Management

By JDXpert - December 07, 2023

Recent findings from a JDXpert survey highlight a pressing issue in the HR landscape: inefficient job description management. Though employee retention, talent shortfalls, and regulatory compliance are critical to all companies in today’s challenging HR landscape, most organizations are failing to address the shortcomings in their foundational job data by not managing it as an ongoing, critical asset. Doing so creates unnecessarily long timelines, unsatisfying outcomes, missed opportunities, and unnecessary risk.

This concern is echoed by Deloitte’s 2023 Global Job Architecture Practices Survey. The survey reveals that a striking 88% of respondents review job descriptions (JDs) only on an ad hoc basis, rather than at regular intervals. Furthermore, 21% of organizations store their JDs in their Human Capital Management (HCM) systems, while 44% still rely on a shared folder on company servers. Alarmingly, 44% of organizations store their job descriptions in a shared folder on a company server, and 20% lack a centralized repository for these descriptions altogether, highlighting a widespread issue in job description management.

Of the 184 companies surveyed:

  • Only seven are “very satisfied” with their job descriptions.
  • 48% have no idea how long it takes to review their job descriptions, and 10% take 5-6 hours to edit and approve one job description.
  • Only five respondents use dedicated job description management software.
  • 74% are using Microsoft Word to write job descriptions.
  • 59% state they are dissatisfied with their organization’s current job description control and governance process.
  • 45% state that employee retention is their department’s main priority this year.
  • 88% plan to review their job descriptions as part of their next upcoming initiative.

Let's dive deeper into specific survey insights, focusing particularly on the prevalent issues, and explore practical solutions to address these challenges.

“What software program do you use to write your job descriptions?”

Most respondents (50) utilize MS Word for their job descriptions, with only a small fraction employing specialized software or platforms for this task.

This trend indicates that the majority of organizations still rely on a tool not specifically designed for comprehensive job information management.

The widespread use of MS Word for job description creation is notable. While the software is ubiquitous and user-friendly, its nature necessitates storage either in the cloud, on shared drives, or locally on an employee's computer. This approach complicates version control, revision management, approvals, and raises security concerns. The process of reviewing and versioning is prone to errors, as managers can freely download, alter, and retain any version without systematic oversight.

If we consider the above issues to be problematic, they will almost certainly be magnified with the growing use of AI tools like ChatGPT and Bard. With artificial intelligence (AI) becoming mainstream, there are growing concerns that organizations may not give job descriptions the attention they require. Relying on AI for their creation and using inefficient tools like Word for management could lead companies to produce generic job descriptions that fail to accurately represent the intended roles. This can result in several negative outcomes. Exceptional candidates might withdraw if the job description lacks appeal. Current employees may struggle to understand the full scope of the job or the career potential it offers, and anyone concerned with compliance could face difficulties due to ambiguities in job responsibilities, competencies, and necessary accommodations. And if version control is a concern now, consider the potential challenges when managers gain access to AI tools that enable them to alter job descriptions at will, without proper oversight. In such a scenario, maintaining a library of job descriptions that are both compliant and accurate could become an exceedingly difficult task.

“How satisfied are you with your job descriptions?”

Not surprisingly, most people were either neutral or dissatisfied with their job descriptions. These results indicate that considerable work is needed to improve both the process of managing job descriptions and the quality of the descriptions themselves.

The reality is that there are not many software providers specializing in job description management. As a result, unless one is actively seeking such a solution, it might be overlooked. Plus, most companies have plugged along, willing to accept the inefficiencies because it's the way things have always been done.

Job description management software like JDXpert integrates with popular HR software and HRM platforms, enabling seamless connectivity to all employee-related data. It also combines the world’s most comprehensive library of curated job description content with workflow management that helps HR administrators keep the review process under control.

“On average, how long does it take your team to edit & approve a job description (in hours)?”

Most respondents (47) reported that editing and approving a job description takes one to two hours, which seems fairly reasonable. However, a significant number stated that they either 'have no idea' or feel it 'takes forever' to complete this task. This indicates potential inefficiency or a lack of transparency in the process.

In truth, most people hate managing job descriptions simply because the process is so labor-intensive and inefficient. Keeping job descriptions current is essential to recruitment, compensation, compliance and virtually all other aspects of human resources. But with changing work environments, a strong movement towards remote and hybrid work, and an increasingly stringent regulatory landscape, just keeping up is a full-time job.

Fifteen respondents said it takes them as long as five to six hours to update their JDs, which is entirely too time-consuming. Imagine an enterprise company with tens of thousands of employees and thousands of job descriptions, managing this process is not only time consuming, but inefficient if you’re using tools not adept to job description management. Because of this, companies either discount the need for continuous job description management or, get so bogged down by the process that they struggle to keep up with the demands of their other projects.

Many JDXpert clients say that our software reduces the time it takes to manage their job descriptions by 50% or more. Given the challenges faced by HR teams today, this time-saving can be significant, allowing them to focus on their most pressing needs, such as employee retention—a topic we will explore next.

“What’s your department’s main priority this year?”

“Employee Retention” is the number one priority for most survey respondents, indicating a focus on keeping top talent. However, effective employee retention requires a clear articulation of the connection between an individual's goals and job responsibilities, KPIs, and career progression. These elements are detailed and managed through job descriptions and a structured job architecture.

Respondents also identified other top priorities, including Pay Transparency and Other at 16% each, DEI&B (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) at 14%, and Job Architecture at 9%.

If job descriptions are not adequately managed, HR may be challenged to attract candidates and may lose new hires should the JD not accurately reflect working conditions, responsibilities, competencies and so on. Also, poorly managed job descriptions can hinder efforts to keep up with Diversity and Inclusion initiatives and comply with the evolving Pay Transparency laws sweeping th country.

“Will you be reviewing job descriptions as part of that initiative?”

On the bright side, most survey respondents (113 pros vs. 16 not) indicated they would incorporate job description reviews into their department’s recruitment and retention initiatives. This suggests that the majority of respondents recognize the significant impact of job descriptions in achieving departmental goals.

However, if a clear majority of respondents understand the importance of job information in their broader talent and HR initiatives, yet remain dissatisfied with their current job descriptions, one might wonder why the persisting reliance on a flawed process continues.

Considering all factors, it’s evident that improved job description management is vital for companies to meet their talent acquisition and growth targets in the coming years. As organizations grapple with attracting and retaining top talent and adapting to evolving social issues and legal regulations, implementing solutions that streamline the process is crucial. This will enable HR professionals to focus on high-value activities rather than just maintaining the status quo.

To discover more about JDXpert and how it can benefit your organization, browse our website. Also, consider participating in Deloitte’s 2024 Global Job Architecture Survey to contribute insights that could shape future strategies.

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