Job Descriptions and the Goldilocks Dilemma

BaliPostCardYour procurement manager just won the MegaMillions lottery. She handed you her resignation this morning, with a forwarding address for her new beach house in Bali. You need to start recruiting for a new procurement director immediately. Do you know where to go to find the job description?

It’s likely that your HR department has a catalog of job descriptions. There is probably a standard format that is designed to capture all of the detailed responsibilities and job requirements. But do you know where to go to find it? When you do find it, is it going to be updated to match your real needs in the procurement department? Will you end up writing a new job description before you can start the recruiting process?

Why might you want to capture job descriptions in an application like policyIQ?

Central access to current and complete job descriptions has become a hot topic over the past couple of months. Even on our own policyIQ team, we recognized a need earlier this year to better manage our job descriptions not because of recruiting, but because we needed a simpler way to look up what applications, licenses, hardware and systems access are required by each position on the team.

Here are some other popular reasons for using policyIQ to manage job descriptions:

  • Ensure consistent use of updated job descriptions throughout the organization by housing in a centrally available application.
  • Save time by providing easy search ability across existing job descriptions.
  • Version control and audit trail for any changes to job descriptions.
  • Simple reporting to find all positions that meet certain criteria, such as all positions that require a Master’s Degree or all positions in our IT department that are non-exempt.
  • Alerts and workflow to ensure that job descriptions are updated regularly, so that they are current when they are needed.
  • Advanced process intelligence by linking job descriptions to procedures (or controls) performed and applications used, allowing a new employee to easily look up documentation related to his/her job functions.


porridgeThe Goldilocks Dilemma – Which way is right for you?

For documentation like job descriptions, there are several different approaches in policyIQ. Which one is right for you?

The Baby Bear approach: Attach your Job Description as a Word (or PDF) file attachment

For the simplest solution, you can simply create a folder structure to organized your job descriptions and upload each job description as a file.

The pros: You can still assign security in policyIQ to limit who can read or update specific job descriptions, you will be able to retain a version history, and you can send out alerts to keep job descriptions current. When searching in policyIQ, users will find those job descriptions where their search term appears in the attached file.

The cons: You are not able to take advantage of advanced reporting or filtering. While you can keep various versions of job descriptions, policyIQ will not inherently track changes in specific fields.

For many clients, this approach is too narrow.

The Papa Bear Approach: Complete Job Description Written in policyIQ

If you want to maximize your use of policyIQ, we would recommend that you choose to write the entire job description in a policyIQ page, taking any file attachments out of the picture. This means creating a Job Description page template, with fields for all of those standard elements of a job description. Your template might include fields for:

  • Position Title
  • To whom does this position report?
  • Exempt / Non-Exempt?
  • Summary
  • Detailed Responsibilities
  • Education Required
  • Required Skills / Attributes
  • Preferred Skills / Attributes

The pros: This allows you to do advanced reporting on any aspect of your job descriptions, track detailed changes in every part of your job descriptions, and allows you to easily create and print a single PDF file of all (or selected) job descriptions on demand.

The cons: For many organizations, this represents the biggest shift in the way things are managed today, and can require more training. It may also require that more users have Advanced User licenses to policyIQ, as any changes to job descriptions are made directly within the application.

For a lot of clients, this approach is too far reaching.

The Mama Bear Approach: Minimal Job Description Details Captured, with Attachment uploaded

For many, the right solution will be right in the middle. Job descriptions may still be created (and even approved) in Word documents, however those finalized job descriptions are uploaded as an attachment to a corresponding policyIQ page. This page includes some key pieces of data that can be reported on, such as:

  • Position Title
  • To whom does this position report?
  • Exempt / Non-Exempt?
  • Summary

The pros: Advanced reporting can be done based on those fields that are captured on the template, while the full job description can remain in the more familiar format. This is typically the easiest method of implementation, as it allows the majority of your job descriptions to remain in their current state. This method also makes it simple to transition to either a straight file attachment approach, or the more complete policyIQ page approach.

The cons: You are managing some details both in the policyIQ page and on the file attachment, and may need to ensure that those stay in sync with each other.


Regardless of your primary reason for managing job descriptions or the approach that you think works best, better management of your job descriptions will improve your overall efficiency. Contact us today to help you to get started!