Sticks and Stones…Words CAN Hurt You: How Poor Job Descriptions Increase Turnover

sticks and stone - poor job descriptions increasing turnover

 

What if you could reduce turnover and increase productivity by using one simple trick, regardless of your industry? (One that costs practically nothing and can be implemented almost overnight.) Too good to be true? Not really. Because as surprising as it may sound, research has consistently shown that just by improving your job descriptions, you can dramatically reduce turnover.

According to the US Department of Labor, US companies lose as much as$160 billion each year due to turnover-related costs.

Hay Group, a worldwide management consulting firm, surveyed top HR managers around the world about what drives employee turnover. Across the board, 58% of the respondents reported that poor job descriptions caused employees to leave in droves. Moreover, 59% said that incorrect or misleading job descriptions resulted in poor hires because candidates had the wrong skill sets for the job.

Per the Society for Human Resource management, on average, a given company loses as much as six to nine months of the exiting employees salary. A $60,000 employee therefore, is likely to cost as much as $30-45,000 just to find and train a replacement.

What does it take to craft an effective job description?

The first step in creating a better job description is understanding what the job really entails. This may seem simple; however, it actually takes both effort and thought. Besides routine duties and expectations, you also need to consider core competencies and bedrock skillsets. Be sure to think about your company values, mission, and culture too. And you present it concisely, because most job seekers are scanning posted vacancies rather than reading them at a leisurely pace.

Think of a job posting as a form of marketing. You need to gear your message directly towards ideal candidates. You should explain what you are looking for, and why they should be looking for you. Then add a call to action.
For instance, what is it that sets your company apart? Understanding your company culture can help you target candidates who are more likely to fit in, be happy. Happy employees after all, not only stay longer, they are more productive too. Whether you make widgets or sell high end sports cars, your people need to find value within your culture and company.

Moreover, understanding a specific vacancy may seem simple, but in larger companies especially, the right hand may not really know exactly what the left hand is doing. (Or why it does it that way.) Rather than throwing in everything except the kitchen sink, job duties, core responsibilities, skillsets and aptitudes should be broken down according to real-world relevancy.

Some skills, expertise, and experience may be nice to have, others are critical. Make sure you understand (and clearly post) the ones that matter most. Other components of an effective job posting might include:

  • Be upfront with salary and benefits: If you post this up front, you avoid spending additional time and resources on candidates that will turn down your offer at the last minute over money.
  • Add a built-in screening process: By adding a simple action such as a specific email header or other instructions, you can easily determine who pays attention and follows instructions, and who does not.
  • Use clear, concise descriptions: Be sure to add clear descriptions free of insider jargon.
  • Use bullet points to highlight important sections.
  • Showcase the company culture: The best candidates will have goals and values that dovetail with those of the company itself.

At a time when turnover rates are at an all time low, you can’t afford to get it wrong. For more about hiring the best and upgrading the rest, please call us at 214-720-9922 or email jcrosbie@proactivate.net. At ProActivate, we know how to link top talent with hungry companies. We have worked with Fortune 500 companies as well as small startup business to help improve their top line.

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