The Nature of Job Analysis
Job analysis is the procedure of identifying a job’s activities, duties, responsibilities and the required characteristics of people needed to carry out the job interns of knowledge, experience and personal attributes; Information produced via job analysis is useful in writing job descriptions and job specifications.
Job Description: a written statement indicating all job entailed activities, duties and responsibilities.
Job Specification: indicates the type of people to be hired for a job interms of job related knowledge & personal attributes.
Job analysis enables the HR analyst to gather different types of information:
- Work Activities: this includes information about all the job related activities such as teaching, painting or cleaning. It also includes information about when, why and how the employee performs those activities.
- Human Behaviors: includes information about the actual actions done by the employee while performing his/her job activities, such as, communicating, sensing, reporting or writing. It also includes information about the job’s demands such as walking long distances or lifting heavy weights.
- Machines, tools, equipments and aids: includes information about all used tools to carry out a job, processed materials, knowledge applied or used such as law or finance as well as the rendered services such as counseling or repairing.
- Performance Standards: employers need information about each job duties and performance standards interms of quality and quantity levels to be used in appraising employees.
- Job Context: information about working physical conditions, work schedule, organizational & social context and incentive programs.
- Human Requirements: information about the kind of people required to carry out the job interms of related job knowledge (education, training, experience) and personal attributes (interests, talents, physical characteristics).
Uses of Job Analysis
Information produced via Job analysis can be useful in several HR related activities:
- Recruitment and Selection: Job analysis specifies the details of a job related activities and duties as well as the required human behaviors so this helps determining the type of people should be hired.
- Compensation: compensation is based on the required job skills, knowledge, educational level, responsibilities and safety hazards; the job analysis identifies all jobs’ duty and the weight of its activities and so it gives relevant worth to each job by determining its value.
- Performance appraisal: the job analysis identifies a job duties and its performance standards interms of quality & quantity and so managers are able to appraise and evaluate their employees by comparing their actual performance with the preset job performance standards.
- Training: Job analysis specifies the job activities and required skills which help choosing the appropriate relevant training programs.
- Discovering unassigned duties: getting into job details & duties through job analysis helps sometimes discovering unassigned essential duties.
- EEO Compliance: managers must be able to show how their selection criteria is related to job performance, and this is clearly shown with the help of job analysis, by getting into the job’s details and its human requirements.
Steps in Job Analysis
There are six steps that must be followed to conduct an effective job analysis:
- Determine how the collected data will be used because this will determine the kind of information to be collected & how it’ll be collected. Not all collection techniques work for the same purposes, example, interviewing a worker and asking about job details helps writing a job description. Other techniques as position analysis questionnaire don’t give qualitative information for a job description but can help in compensation purpose by providing numerical ratings for a job.
- Review Relevant Background Information such as organizational chart, process chart or existing job description.
Organizational chart: Provides an organization wide division of work, how the analyzed job relates to other jobs and where it fits in the overall organization.
It also shows the title of each position, who reports to who and who the job holders communicate with.
- Select Representative Positions by taking samples of similar jobs and qualified workers to get the needed data, it unnecessary to analyze the job of 200workers while 10 jobs will do.
- Actually Analyze the Job by collecting the needed data about job activities, duties, human behavior as well as required skills, knowledge and personal attributes required. In this step several collection methods can be used.
- Revise Job Analysis Information with the worker who performs the job and his/her direct supervisor to ensure that the data collected is complete and correct. This also helps to gain employees acceptance to job data collection & conclusion by giving the employee the chance to review & modify your job activities description.
- Develop a Job Description and a Job Specification: a Job Description is a written statement indicating all job entailed activities, duties and responsibilities while a Job Specification indicates the type of people to be hired for a job interns of job related knowledge & personal attributes.
Methods of collecting information for a Job Analysis
There are several methods than can be used to collect information on a job’s activities, duties and required skills, education and experience.
However, not all methods work for the same purposes; for example, interviews are useful to write a job description & a job specification while position analysis is useful to quantify worth of each job for compensation purposes.
In all cases, job analysis is a partnership between the HR Analyst, the worker and his/her direct supervisor. The HR Analyst observes and analysis a job & then develop a job description & a job specification, the worker & the supervisor fill in questionnaires that lists all the activities involved in a job and then review & verify the HR analyst description and conclusion of the job duties and activities.
We might have several employees having the same title but working in different departments and so they are exposed to different pressures, example a Team Leader in a call center and a Team Leader in the activation dept. thus the HR specialist must understand the job’s departmental context.
Interview, Questionnaire, Observation and Diary/Log are the most famous methods used for collecting job analysis information and each method of them has its pros and cons.
- Interview: Managers use several types of interviews o collect needed data, Individual Interviews with each employee, Group interviews with a number of employees doing the same job and Supervisors Interviews with one or more supervisor who know the job.
Whatever the type of interview used is, the HR Analyst must make sure that the interviewee understands the reason of the interview; this is because employees usually view the interview as “efficiency evaluation” and so they tend to describe their jobs inaccurately.
Pros: – a quick and easy way to collect detailed information about a job activities specially those that don’t show in a written form.
– Gives an opportunity to explain the reason and function of the job analysis.
Cons: – Distortion of information is the main problem in this method; interviews are usually the introduction for changing a job’s pay rate, employees view the interview as “efficiency evaluation” that will affect their pay and so they exaggerate in describing some responsibilities while minimize others.
Accordingly the process of collecting valid information will be slow and the HR analyst gets multiple inputs.
To avoid this structured guide or a checklist format may be used including detailed questions about the job activities and responsibilities and the educational level and skills required.
Several points must be in mind when conducting a job analysis
- HR Analyst must work with the Supervisor to choose the correct interviewee who knows the work best and who would be most objective in describing activities and responsibilities of his/her job.
- Quickly establish a rapport with the interviewee to break the ice and overcome the uncertainty of the interview; this can be done by knowing the person’s name, explain the reason of the interview and how the person was chosen for it.
- Follow a structured guide that provides questions and spaces for answers to identify crucial questions and to make sure employees answered all the required questions, open-end questions can be useful.
- In case the employee has some duties or activities that he/she do not perform several times a day, ask him/her to list his/her duties in order of importance and frequent occurrence. This ensures that you don’t overlook any important but infrequent activity.
- Review and verify the information collected with the worker who performs the job and his direct supervisor to make sure it is correct and complete.
- Questionnaires: Some questionnaires maybe in the form of structured checklists while others may include open-end questions; yet a typical job analysis questionnaire includes both.
Pros: it is an easy and inexpensive way to get information from a large number of employees instead of interviewing them.
Cons: Developing and testing a job analysis questionnaire and making sure employees understand it can be expensive and time consuming.
- Observation: position analysis or on job analysis
Pros: – Direct observation is useful in analyzing jobs that entail several physical activities.
Cons: – not useful for jobs that entail mental activities such as Lawyer or design engineer, also it is not useful for employees who engage only occasionally in important activities, such as a nurse who handles emergency cases.
– Reactivity is a problem that HR Analyst faces when using this method as the employee tends to change what he/she usually does because someone is watching them.
Some managers use direct observation only, others use direct observation and interviews through observing the employee work cycle, taking important notes and after that conducting interviews with the worker and the direct supervisor to clarify points that were not understood or identify other activities that were not done during the observation period.
Other managers may observe and interview the worker at the same time while he’s doing the job.
- Participant Diary/ Log: Some firms ask their employees to write down all the activities they perform during the day.
Pros: – Gives a clear complete picture of the job.
Cons: – Employees may sometimes exaggerate some duties while underplay others, however the logical order of the log overcomes this issue.
Some companies take an advanced technology approach in the log/diary method they provide their workers with dictators and pagers, and at random times of the day they page them to dictate the activities they are doing instead of the traditional relaying on the human memory.
- Writing a Job Description
Job Description is a written statement indicating all job entailed activities, duties and responsibilities, there’s no standard format for job descriptions; however most of them cover the following areas:
- Job Identification
- Job Summary
- Responsibilities & Duties
- Authority of job holder
- Standards of Performance
- Working Conditions
- Job Specification.
- Job Identification includes information about the Job Title which specifies the name of the job such as HR manager, Call Center Representative; it also includes Date in which the job description was actually written.
Moreover, it may include space to indicate who approved the job description, information about salary, direct supervisor title and job’s grade/level.
- Job Summary describes the nature of the job including only the major activities and duties of the job. It may also include generic statement about related job assignments that the worker may perform as requested which gives supervisors more flexibility in assigning duties.
- Relationships it is occasionally found in job descriptions and it indicates the jobholder’s relationship with others inside & outside the organization. This is important in recruitment to identify the personal traits that should be there in the job holder.
- Responsibilities and Duties list each of the job’s activities and duties in order of importance and frequency of occurrence and describe them in few sentences. It also identifies the jobholder’s authority limits, decision-making and budgetary limitations.
For example, a jobholder may have authority to approve purchase requests up to a certain amount of money, grant leave-off, recommend salary increase and select and hire employees.
- Standards of Performance indicate the standards that an employee is expected to achieve in carrying out each of the job’s duties and responsibilities and that he/she should be competent at.
- Working Conditions section identifies all work conditions involved in a job such as hazardous conditions, noise level and heat.
- Writing Job Specifications
Job Specifications indicates the type of people to be hired for a job interns of job related knowledge & personal attributes. In this aspect we maybe addressing two segments of personnel, Trained versus Untrained personnel.
Writing job specifications for trained personnel is relatively straight forward; it focuses on previous performance, experience, achievements and length of previous service.
However, problems become more complex when writing job specifications for untrained personnel, such as fresh graduates. Here the main focus would be on personal traits such as physical characteristics, sensory, educational level and skills.
There are two ways to choose the required human requirements; Subjective Judgmental approach & Statistical Analysis approach.
- Job Specifications based on Subjective Judgment
Most specifications are based on educated guesses from people like supervisors or HR managers; using common sense is very important when compiling human requirements however the fact the most work behaviors apply for almost any job, such as, attendance punctuality, drug misuse, theft and schedule flexibility.
The most important thing here is that the HR analyst must well understand the reason for the job and the skills required to get the job done to be able to develop effective job specifications.
- Job Specifications based on Statistical Analysis
This is a more defensible approach than Job Specifications based on Subjective Judgment but it is more difficult; the aim here is to statistically identify the relation between human traits and effectiveness of job performance, this can be done in 5 steps:
- Analyze the job & decide how to measure job performance.
- Select the personal traits that predicts successful performance
- Test candidates for these traits
- Measure candidates job performance
- Statistically analyze the relationship between the selected human trait and the employee actual performance.
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