Employee engagement and retention conversations often revolve around such topics as company culture, strong leadership, recognition, training and development, and perks. However, it is important to realize that first impressions are everything. Employee engagement and retention start before you hire an employee with the job description and the job posting and then move over into the application, interview, and onboarding processes. These steps are often overlooked; however, they are part of the foundation for employee engagement and retention. In this part one of a two-part series, we’ll discuss the importance well-crafted job descriptions and job postings.

Job Description/Job Posting

A job description serves many purposes from outlining essential functions (to clarify expectations) to providing information on physical demands when someone is injured. Many managers utilize it after the hire as a compliance tool, when it can be used to increase the employees’ experience of meaning and engagement in their work. This approach answers the question, “What’s in it for me?” When written well, outcome-based job descriptions can help employees see greater meaning in their work, help them understand how they contribute value, help them feel empowered, and will highlight opportunities for career advancement. 

A job description is typically the basis for a job posting. Externally posted job postings are important for attracting top talent. The first rule of thumb is to keep the job posting to a reasonable length. You do not want anything too long as many applicants are viewing and applying to the job posting on a mobile device. Make your posting engaging, easy to read, and share your organization’s culture and values to stand out from the crowd.  One way to make the role more descriptive is to speak to those who are in the role and have them describe what it is like to actually be in the role. Do not list only the technical specifications of the position; list what a day-in-the-life looks like so the candidate can imagine working for you. 

In part two, we’ll discuss best practices for the application, interview, and onboarding processes.

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