Historically, most employers have conducted formal performance reviews on an annual basis. However, more frequent reviews give both parties a better opportunity to address concerns, answer questions and discuss ideas. Such meetings provide many benefits as they help to better engage employees and keep everyone on the same page.

Job descriptions should be an integral part of all performance reviews. Without them, the review may not reflect an accurate appraisal of the employee’s performance. When job descriptions are incorporated, they can be used as a checklist to determine whether the employee has fulfilled the requirements of the job. If they haven’t, the performance review provides an opportunity to address concerns and look for solutions.

The Importance of Job Descriptions

Solid job descriptions that are both comprehensive and detailed are helpful to a business for a variety of reasons. Not only do they provide a clear understanding of the job duties that an employee is expected to perform, but they also provide legal protection. 

For instance, job descriptions can be used to justify why one employee was chosen over another or why one position is classified as exempt while another position is classified as non-exempt.

Job descriptions also help to provide consistency of work duties across departments, which makes it easier for a business to grow. 

They also provide a roadmap for employees seeking a promotion, justify an employee’s pay and set boundaries in regard to employees’ responsibilities. Additionally, they are useful in helping newly-promoted managers learn how to structure a performance review. Here are some tips for writing good job descriptions:

  • The job title should accurately reflect the work to be performed, including its ranking.
  • Duties and responsibilities should be shown as a percentage of the work to be performed.
  • Skills and competencies should be listed separately where skills are activities that can be learned and competencies are traits that are expected for that particular job.
  • A salary range should be included that is in line with the market.
  • The job description should be written for the job itself and not for the employee in that position.

As previously mentioned, there are several reasons why job descriptions should be used in performance reviews. Here are five of them:

1. It’s Good for Business

Linking job descriptions with performance reviews is good for business because it puts everyone on the same page. Employees have a better understanding of what is expected of them and how the employer views their performance. Employers can receive feedback from employees and make any necessary changes. 

Productivity is also increased because employees understand their role better, and employers have a chance to tweak the system. Additionally, customer experience is improved when employees understand the importance of the tasks identified in the job descriptions.

2. It Benefits the Employees

Detailed job descriptions benefit employees because there will be no surprises when it comes time to conduct a performance review. Unqualified individuals are not likely to remain in a position that is evaluated by using a detailed job description. 

A good job description will also help employees to understand what tasks are the most important and prevent them from placing undue emphasis on less important jobs. Additionally, receiving feedback on a regular basis will boost an employee’s confidence and improve morale. In return, this will serve to engage employees and improve retention rates.

3. It’s Transparent

Workplace transparency involves the sharing of information in such a way that it benefits employees as well as the company. Transparency begins with the recruiting and hiring of new employees and continues with career development and performance management. 

Creating transparency is one of the keys to long-term success because it builds trust between employers and employees. This increases morale, lowers stress, engages employees and boosts performance. It is also one of the keys in showing a newly-appointed manager how to appreciate employees.

4. It Offers Protection

As previously stated, frequent performance reviews based on job descriptions offer legal protection for the company. When an employee believes that he or she has received an unfair performance review, the job description serves as the standard. 

This is also true when an employee tries to file a false claim or a wrongful termination lawsuit. Reviewing the performance of an individual based on that position’s job description is more objective than trying to determine if the employee has met some vague goal such as “performs work on time.”

5. It Increases Morale and Retention

Good job descriptions improve morale because they remove most of the uncertainty and confusion. An employee knows exactly what is expected of them, which gives the employee a chance to improve their skills and increase productivity. 

This makes them more engaged because they feel like they are contributing to a team effort. This also leads to higher retention rates. Whenever possible, it is good to begin a performance review with a proud moment. Not only does this start an appraisal off on a good note, but it also discourages excessive self-criticism.


Job descriptions should be linked to performance reviews for a number of reasons. In addition to providing an accurate appraisal of the employee’s work, job descriptions also protect the company from false claims and wrongful termination lawsuits. 

Additionally, basing performance reviews on job descriptions increases the level of transparency and makes employees feel more engaged, which leads to an increase in productivity and better employee retention.