Updating and Maintaining Job Descriptions

May 18, 2023
What is a Job Description?

A Job Description is an important communication tool between managers and employees that define what is expected in their work performance. In addition, establishing a cadence for updating our job descriptions is critical to our individual and organizational success.

The procedure of creating and updating job descriptions is critical for a number of processes, including performance management, promotions, supplemental pay reviews, recruiting & onboarding, internal equity, employee training & development, dispute resolution, department reorganizations, and compliance with federal and state regulation.

Job Profiles vs Job Descriptions

At Baylor, we utilize both Job Profiles and Job Descriptions to define an employee’s responsibilities. They both serve important and distinct functions, so it is important to understand the differences between these two terms:

  • Job Profiles are job classifications that broadly define core job function and the minimum and preferred requirements for a position. Job profiles consist of groupings of positions that perform work of the same nature and that have the same minimum requirements. Each position is assigned a job profile, and this information is stored and updated in Ignite. Job profiles are maintained by Human Resources.
  • Job Descriptions are unique to each individual position and can be customized to fit the needs of each department. Job descriptions define the major responsibilities, significant tasks, and expectations for the individual in their position. Each department is responsible for updating and housing their employee job descriptions. Managers can utilize the job description template as a resource for drafting and maintaining internal job descriptions.
Vision for Success:

We want to create win-win scenarios where employees are supported in their career goals and each department meets their organizational needs. Think of the job description process as an interactive and ongoing discussion between managers and employees that defines and inspires success. An effective process for updating job descriptions should lead to these results:

Better understanding of "what good looks like" for each responsibility they undertake.
Understand their comparative advantages and how they create value for Baylor.
Better understand how they can develop and improve their skills
Better understand how they fit into Baylor's goals and connect with the larger Baylor family.


Better understanding of employee's comparative advantages and training needs.
Aligns your expectations and employee's expectations for good performance.
Creates a more effective starting point for setting and tracking employee performance.
Proactive process in preparation for departmental changes and/or responding to issues.


HR can provide better strategic assistance if a department's job descriptions are up-to-date.
Equity issues can be addressed more effectively.
HR may better communicate what the department is looking for in candidates.
To assist in compliance with labor laws.
Best Practices for Creating and Updating Job Descriptions:

To meet this vision, we recommend the following process for creating and maintaining your individualized job descriptions:

  1. Internalize and Communicate the Process: Mangers need to understand and communicate the importance of updating the job descriptions with their direct reports.
  • Managers should be transparent about how this process aligns employee goals with departmental goals.
  • Ideally, this is a very positive conversation where managers and employees align on “what success looks like” for the employee’s performance and career advancement.
  1. Timing/Establishing a Cadence: Managers and employees should meet at least once per year to review and update job descriptions.
  • This discussion should occur alongside the goal-setting phase of our performance review process each summer.
  • Once a finalized document is completed, the department will be responsible for storing the job description. We recommend utilizing Box (link) or any other secure, Baylor IT-approved, file sharing site.
  1. Update the job description as needed throughout the year:
  • Gone are the days where each set of tasks an employee performs remains the same for their entire career. Changes in technology, the increase in remote work options, and the changing needs and expectations in the workforce enhances the need for defining good performance in the workplace.
  • Some positions only need a description review discussion once-a-year. Others may need a review several times a year. Remember, it is an ongoing process; not a check-the-box exercise.
  • This review may be initiated by the employee or manager.
  1.  Partner with your HR Consultant if needed:
  • Your department’s HR Consultant (HRC) is available to answer questions and provide guidance on this process.
  • If a department manager is recommending a base pay change, supplemental pay, or other compensation-related inquiry, your HRC will always ask for an updated job description along with a list of changes to the role.