Standard D5 Explained

Why is it important for all employees to have written job descriptions? A formal job description lists all the activities and competencies required for a position and creates a structure with which to assess individual performance.1 A comprehensive and thoughtfully written job description is an essential communication tool that can help your organization recruit the best person for the job by clearly outlining the opportunities the role has to offer as well as what is required to succeed in the job.2 In addition to assisting with recruitment and selection, job descriptions play an important role in employee orientation, training, supervision, compensation, and performance management.3 They can also act as a legal defense if an employee is terminated for performing inadequately in his or her role. 3

Job descriptions usually include:1

  • A list of the position’s duties, tasks, and responsibilities
  • A description of how the position advances the organization’s goals
  • A list of required experience and competencies
  • Any special requirements (for instance, a police check)
  • A list of key relationships to the organization’s stakeholders


From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

  1. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
  2. Nonprofit Job Description Toolkit,” The Bridgespan Group, 2012.
  3. Job Descriptions,” Getting the Right People, in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.


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