Essential job functions are defined as those fundamental job duties and responsibilities an employee performs in order to be considered qualified for the position. Essential functions are usually those that are primary, crucial, integral, or indispensable. To fulfill qualification requirements, an employee must possess and implement skills that are deemed essential to support the operation. The following are 3 reasons why employees should possess a complete “picture” of their responsibilities:

  1. The most effective instrument to determine the skill level of an employee is evaluation/testing. Employees must demonstrate that they are trained on and familiar with the operation and hazards of the equipment they use or work on daily. Through evaluation/testing, personal hazards, risk to equipment, and lack of productivity are reduced.
  2. Through evaluation, any lack of understanding job functions is revealed. Moreover, evaluations can be indicative of underutilization of employees. For example, if a line operator tests exceptionally well in the maintenance area of an evaluation, then he or she might serve the company better in that capacity.
  3. It is no secret that fulfilled employees are better employees. Those who understand their job functions completely and clearly are assets, increase productivity, and contribute positively to the overall climate of the work environment.

Evaluation/testing is not the only process used to assess if employees are aware of their job functions. Job task analysis, occupational analysis, and/or profiling are also processes that may prove beneficial in employees’ understanding, and the culture and environment of a specific industry determines which process would be the most valuable.