For Job Descriptions and HR Professionals, What’s Complicated Is Simplified

The latest offering from HRIZONS® on SAP App Center is called “Job Descriptions Made Simple,” or JDMS®. When I talked to HRIZONS President and CEO Jim Newman to learn more, my first question was, “What’s so complicated about job descriptions that they need to be made simple?”

Jim answered in a single word: compliance.

Compliance-Focused Job Postings: Complicated

Most organizations are required by law to define job postings based on compliance, he explained – for example, with HR regulations from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and industry-specific regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

But because of this focus on compliance, there is often a disconnect between the job posting and the work people are actually doing. “And even if there is a more accurate job description on file, it’s probably very loosely defined,” Jim explained. “Most organizations can’t get down to the specifics of a job description in a Word document. And they don’t keep them up to date. They’re stored in a shared drive folder and likely never to be used again until the compensation structure is redesigned.”

Ironically, this situation leaves the organizations wide open to fines, despite the focus on compliance. They must be able to prove that employees are certified or licensed to perform a certain function, for example, and that management practices are in place to prevent accidents and negligence. For this reason, there’s a serious risk of workers compensation claims.

Meanwhile, Jim said, there’s a growing trend toward using job descriptions as a strategic way to set hiring requirements and performance expectations as they relate to key work processes, and to tie that to talent management. But how is it possible to keep those better-crafted job descriptions current and integrated with other HCM systems and information?

Aha! Now we know why job descriptions need to be made simple.

JDMS – quite simply – enables HR practitioners to develop a library of standardized job descriptions that are synchronized and integrated with their core HCM solutions. The app releases the HR staff from the administrative responsibilities of keeping the descriptions updated and helps minimize the risks of noncompliance. And HRIZONS has developed a “for SAP SuccessFactors” offering that fully integrates with core SAP SuccessFactors HCM solutions, and thus supports the entire talent management landscape: recruiting, performance reviews, succession planning, career planning, workforce development, and so on. In this competitive environment where talent is at a premium, that’s essential.

Transparency and Employee Engagement: Simple

I asked Jim about what I’ve observed with the millennial generation and their desire for frequent feedback. Jim responded that JDMS not only helps employers define and communicate those expectations, but also supports employee engagement by giving them access to their own job descriptions and letting them self-evaluate. “In so many situations, employees are not recognized for their true contributions, because what they’re doing is not in their job description. That is not going to fly with today’s workforce.”

I was curious about how Jim came up with the idea for JDMS. With his background in organizational development and HR, he told me, he became aware years ago of the gap between IT and the functional side of the business. In 2003, he established HRIZONS, and went on to build a company that develops products and offers consulting services for HR practitioners in the large-enterprise space.

From that perspective, he recognized that compliance was one area where his customers were struggling – in short, relying on weak job-description content to embed into performance reviews. It became clear that the best answer was to create software to solve the problem. “We put a lot of thought into designing it properly to make it intuitive. JDMS became one of our top sellers overnight because of the pent-up demand. People would say to me, ‘Thank goodness someone came up with this.’”

And, as a solution built on SAP Cloud Platform, Jim added, “You’re instantly leapfrogging over all that archaic, Stone-Age stuff” – legacy infrastructure – “to take advantage of the current capacity of the cloud.”

SAP App Center gives SAP customers quick and easy access to the latest and greatest applications that can extend and complement SAP products like SAP SuccessFactors.  It’s easy to search and find apps and as a customer, you know the apps are designed to work with SAP products, which makes it simpler and easier for SAP customers to find the solutions they need to make their businesses run better.  We’ve had numerous customers tell us that the found out about HRIZONS products because of the SAP App Center, which is good for us, good for SAP and most importantly, good for our joint customers.


Bill Rojas is senior director of Digital Transformation and Partner Engagement for SAP Digital. Contact him on Twitter | LinkedIn. He kicked off this series on partner apps on the SAP App Center in December 2017. Read more here.