29/06/2015

By Ron Stewart, CEO of Jobs4Medical

High staff turnover can be detrimental to any business, with the cost of replacing an employee averaging around £30,000. A third of UK businesses have turnover rates of above 21%. Staff turnover needs to be kept low in order for businesses to maximise productivity and profits, but that means getting to the root of employee turnover.

New research from Hay Group suggests that job descriptions which don’t adequately outline the job role on offer is a significant reason behind staff leaving an organisation in the UK. Misleading job descriptions often result in expectations that are not met and employees who are a poor cultural fit. As a result of poor job satisfaction new staff will be inclined leave their role.

As many as 51% of HR managers feel that poor job descriptions are a factor behind employee turnover, and 59% believe that those job descriptions fail to attract relevant candidates to the role. In particular, staff turnover related to inadequate job descriptions has been identified as affecting retail, engineering and legal jobs.

On the other hand, as many as 86% of HR managers were of the opinion that well-written job descriptions resulted in higher quality applicants, but many admitted that writing good quality descriptions was time consuming and that their organisations generally produced poor quality job descriptions.

Adam Burden, a consultant at Hay Group, commented on the importance of job descriptions which accurately reflect the role. He said: “Get job descriptions wrong and there’s a risk you’ll recruit the wrong people. Get them right, however, and you can attract the best candidates, who know what to expect from the role and how to make an impact.”

How should employers go about writing job descriptions? The best way is to start by focusing on the target audience, and tailoring the advert for them. The content of the description should highlight the main responsibilities of the job, but also include how the job will be satisfying for the individual and the benefits that are included.

Once the job description is written, it’s essential to reach that target audience. Advertising too broadly or too narrowly are both common pitfalls. Consider key channels for promotion such as jobs boards, niche job listings, careers fairs, social media and so on.

You can measure the effectiveness of your job advert by tracking the number of advert clicks (known as they ‘impact number’) compared to the number of applications made.

While polishing up job descriptions might seem time consuming, it’s more likely to produce strong results and find organisations the candidates that they need. In the long run, it will save time and money spent replacing employees.