Carnegie Mellon University

Two people comparing notes over a desk

October 08, 2020

Job Description Cleanup: A Way to Build a More Equitable Campus

As part of the Office of Human Resources’ (OHR) strategic plan and in conjunction with President Jahanian's campus climate initiative, OHR has been working in close coordination with divisions and departments across campus to update job profiles and descriptions in Workday. This work on job descriptions will allow the university to undergo a staff equity study. In a November 2019 message to campus, President Jahanian tasked OHR with “undertaking a review of staff position descriptions and job classifications to ensure consistency and promote transparency. Once this process is complete, we will undertake a staff equity study.” This was further encouraged in President Jahanian’s July 2020 message on confronting racism by tasking campus “to provide all of our employees with an environment that fosters their collective success.”

To successfully accomplish these goals, the campus community will undergo a review and validation process of all staff job descriptions to ensure:

  • Job descriptions are up to date, accurate and meet minimum standards
  • Components are appropriately added to the correct sections of the job descriptions in Workday
  • Classification/grading is correct

Job descriptions are vital because they outline the duties, requirements and responsibilities of the job. They are used to define the position and to create a standard by which an incumbent’s performance is evaluated and rewarded. Additionally, accurate job descriptions help to recruit candidates to fill a position and to establish a hiring salary. Finally, an accurate job description establishes the market value of the position, compares the position to others on campus to classify appropriately, and determines the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) status.

OHR is working collaboratively with departments and divisions to accomplish this task. HR generalists have been pulling job descriptions from Workday for each organization across campus and storing them in Box. Following unit kickoff, each management team will be granted access to a secure Box folder containing the job descriptions of their direct reports. Departmental management will review, validate and edit (as needed) job descriptions and save them back into Box. Once received, OHR will review the descriptions, ensure appropriate classification, recommend updates (as needed) and then update descriptions in Workday. If a job profile/grade is changing, a new position will need to be requested; otherwise the HR generalist will make updates directly in Workday.

The process of reviewing job descriptions can be time consuming and tedious at times, but the ultimate end goal of helping to create a more equitable and fair workplace is crucial for the campus community.