Too often in organizations job analysis is an area that is overlooked; however it is critical to understanding the nature of the job the organization needs to achieve its goals. Most commonly management will forego an analysis simply because they wish to expedite the hiring process and avoid a total loss of productivity. It should be noted though that a poorly designed job could have similar ramifications and may end up affecting motivation, productivity and the bottom line negatively as well.
In this article I will provide an overview of the 7 stages of job analysis.
Understand the jobs and the organization
Like most functions in human resources you want to begin with a clear understanding of the strategic plan of the organization. This foundation provides the basis of what the organization wants to achieve and thus should illustrate what end result the job should contribute to. If a job does not contribute directly or indirectly to the advancement of the organization’s goals it would be wise to consider if it is still needed. Perhaps it is, but if not, then continuing to allocate resources to it just doesn’t make sense.
It is also necessary to understand the nature of the work environment. For instance if a job is being analyzed in a unionize shop then there may be required stipulations within the collective agreement that should be adhered to. Pay attention to any legislative requirements that may affect the job being analyzed as well. In some cases special licensing or certification may be required by law and in an organization that spans various geographic locations these legislative requirements might vary.
What is the purpose?
There are other reasons to perform a job analysis than job design and it’s important to consider what the purpose of analyzing the job is. This important consideration will aid in determining what data needs to be collected and how to collect it. If the intention is to use the job analysis for multiple reasons more data may be required.
What is the priority?
Determine which jobs are going to be analyzed. Often due to the time and cost required to perform a job analysis not all jobs are analyzed at once. Prioritizing an analysis based on which jobs play a key role in achieving the goals of the organization is one example of how to determine which jobs get analyzed first. There could be other reasons however for why an analysis is taking place. Perhaps the working environment or technology has changed. Or perhaps increasing diversity is a driver for performing an analysis to assist in determining how to make jobs more appealing to other groups of people not traditionally within them.
Where is the data?
There are a variety of sources that can be used to find information about particular jobs. The most common are the employees currently in the job being analyzed or the manager the job would report to. In some cases however the job may not exist yet and so other sources may need to be considered. Some examples might include:
- National Occupational Classification (NOC)
- Existing job descriptions
- Performance evaluations
- The internet
What data should be collected?
In order to assure the viability and reliability of the results of the analysis its imperative to consider what data will be collected. Once the questioning has begun any deviation from the questions posed between sources would result in skewed results. Some common areas of interest include but are not limited to the following:
- Job Identification
- Job duties and responsibilities
- Required knowledge, skills and abilities
- Physical and social working conditions
- Performance evaluation standards
How is the data going to be collected?
There are a variety of tools that are used to collect data regarding jobs. The most common amongst them are of a cross sectional design. These tools are used to record data at the specific point in time they are used. For this reason often not every employee is questioned regarding the job being analyzed and instead a sample is chosen, preferably by random to gather data from. This method reduces the required time to collect the data and analyze it.
Questionnaires can be completed in a variety of ways as well which include:
- Structured interviews
- Self completed questionnaires
How can the data be used?
There are a variety of ways to use the data that is collected in a job analysis. The most common is in the design of a job description. This is a document that uses the data to determine what job is needed and then encapsulate the specific duties, environmental conditions and a general summary of the job. The job description can also be used to formulate what qualifications would be required of applicant wishing to perform the job. In other instances a job analysis may also be used to determine what training requirements are needed for those who would perform the job. Or it could also be used in determining what performance measures should be used to determine if the job is being performed in a satisfactory manner. By gaining a better understanding of the job it can also be determined what compensation level would be equitable both internally and externally.
I hope this assists in understanding job analysis and the important role it plays in formulating various HR functions.