Discover why a Position Description is your new best friend…

Most kiwi business owners realise that it’s now law to have a Position Description for every employee. But rather than being a pain-in-the-you-know-where, Position Descriptions actually save you time and money. (Yes, really!)

The reason why business owners should learn to love Position Descriptions is because they help you with so many aspects of managing staff. And as you know, managing staff can be a big hassle... so the Position Description really is your new best friend.

What’s so useful about Position Descriptions? 

  • Position Descriptions (also referred to as Job Descriptions) help you with:
  •  Writing job ads
  •  Creating job interview and screening questions
  • Shortlisting candidates via email
  • Phone screening candidates
  • Face-to-face interviews
  • Performance reviews and appraisals
  • Managing poor performance
  • Managing restructures and redundancies
  •  Organising training
  • Succession planning.

Without a good, detailed job description you will struggle with these tasks. They will take you much longer to complete (costing you money as well as time), and the chances of hiring the wrong person increase dramatically.

What’s more, when you do hire a new employee, the Position Description provides them with very clear expectations of what’s required of them.

So what goes into a Position Description?

Here’s an overview of what you should include in a Position Description:

  • Title of job
  • Company name
  • Location (you need to define the physical location under the Employment Relations Act)
  • Who the employee reports to
  • Any staff that report into this position
  • Key relationships: suppliers, customers and external branches
  • Company objective
  • Purpose of position
  • Key accountabilities and responsibilities: including day-to-day tasks, and specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

What if I need to change someone’s Position Description?

From time to time you may find that you need to change an employee’s Position Description. This could be because your business needs to change and evolve due to competitive pressures, customer demands, or the business environment.

You may make some changes to an employee’s responsibilities – within reason – but only if you have a clause in their Individual Employment Agreement that permits you    to do that. So you also need to be very careful when drawing up Employment Agreements.

However, if the role changes significantly, you must consult with the employee and draw up an amended Position Description.

What else do I need to know about Position Descriptions? 

Under New Zealand law, such a Position Description must exist for every employee working for you, be they full-time, part-time, casual or fixed-term employees.

A copy of the Position Description must be kept on the employee file of everyone you employ. Plus the employee must be given a copy, together with their individual Employment Agreement.

Are there any other documents I need to write at the same time as the Position Description?

Yes – at the same time as writing a Position Description, you should also write a Person Specification. Whereas the Position Description covers the role, responsibilities and KPIs, the Person Specification outlines the type of person and experience they need to do the job.


  • It is a legal requirement for your to create a Position Description for every employee.
  • As well as being a legal requirement, Position Descriptions are hugely helpful in recruiting the right person and managing them.
  • Position Descriptions cover the role, responsibilities and KPI's for each employee.
  • You also need to draw up a Person Specification at the same time: this outlines the type of person you need, and the experience they need to do the job.

Next step:

Need some help with writing Position Descriptions?

It’s easy to DIY with the Position Description Template… it’s all set up and ready for you to use.

Buy the Position Description Template in Recruit NZ’s online DocShop.

Or would you prefer us to help you? 

Contact our friendly team today to discuss your recruitment needs.

Contact us to find out how we can help your business.

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Tanya Gray is your strategic HR partner, passionate about driving clients’ productivity with innovative solutions and collaboration.

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