Basic Human Resource Management Tool
ChaPter 4 • StrategiC Planning, human reSourCe Planning, and Job analySiS 93
Compensation In the area of compensation, it is helpful to know the relative value of a particular job to the company before a dollar value is placed on it. Jobs that require greater knowledge, skills, and abilities should be worth more to the firm. For example, the relative value of a job calling for a master’s degree normally would be higher than that of a job that requires a high school diploma. This might not be the case if the market value of the job requiring only a high school diploma was higher, however. Such a situation occurred in a major West Coast city a number of years ago. It came to light that city sanitation engineers (garbage collectors) were paid more than better- educated public schoolteachers.
Safety and Health Information derived from job analysis is also valuable in identifying safety and health consid- erations. For example, employers are required to inform workers when a job is hazardous. The job description/specification should reflect this condition. In addition, in certain hazardous jobs, workers may need specific information about the hazards to perform their jobs safely.
Employee and Labor Relations Job analysis information is also important in employee and labor relations. When employees are considered for promotion, transfer, or demotion, the job description provides a standard for evaluation and comparison of talent. Information obtained through job analysis can often lead to more objective human resource decisions.
Legal Considerations A properly prepared job analysis is particularly important for supporting the legality of employment practices. Before the equal employment opportunity movement in the early 1960s and 1970s, few firms had effective job analysis systems.25 But the need to validate basic job requirements hastened the growth in the use of job analysis to prepare job descriptions/specifications. The importance of job analysis is well documented in the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.26 Job analysis data are needed to defend decisions involving termination, promotion, transfers, and demotions. Job analysis provides the basis for tying the HR functions together and the foundation for developing a sound HR program.
types of job analysis information Considerable information is needed for the successful accomplishment of job analysis. The job analyst identifies the job’s actual duties and responsibilities and gathers the other types of data such as work activities; worker-oriented activities; machines, tools, equipment, and work aids used; and personal requirements. This information is used to help determine the job skills needed. In addition, the job analyst looks at job-related tangibles and intangibles, such as the knowledge needed, the materials processed, and the goods made or services performed. Essential functions of the job are determined in this process.
Some job analysis systems identify job standards. Work measurement studies may be needed to determine how long it takes to perform a task. With regard to job content, the analyst stud- ies the work schedule, financial and nonfinancial incentives, and physical working conditions. Specific education, training, and work experience pertinent to the job are identified. Because many jobs are often performed in conjunction with others, organizational and social contexts are also noted. Subjective skills required, such as strong interpersonal skills, should be identified if the job requires the jobholder to be personable.
job analysis Methods Job analysis has traditionally been conducted in a number of different ways because organizational needs and resources for conducting job analysis differ. Selection of a specific method should be based on the purposes for which the information is to be used (job evaluation, pay increases, development, and so on) and the approach that is most feasible for a particular organization. The historically most common methods of job analysis are discussed in the following sections.
Summarize the types of job analysis information.
Explain the various job analysis methods.
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Questionnaires Questionnaires are typically quick and economical to use. The job analyst may administer a structured questionnaire to employees, who identify the tasks they perform. However, in some cases, employees may lack verbal skills, a condition that makes this method less useful. Also, some employees may tend to exaggerate the significance of their tasks, suggesting more respon- sibility than actually exists.
Observation When using the observation method, the job analyst watches the worker perform job tasks and records his or her observations. This method is used primarily to gather information on jobs empha- sizing manual skills, such as those of a machine operator. It can also help the analyst identify interrelationships between physical and mental tasks. Observation alone is usually an insufficient means of conducting job analysis, however, particularly when mental skills are dominant in a job. Observing a financial analyst at work would not reveal much about the requirements of the job.
Interviews An understanding of the job may also be gained through interviewing both the employee and the supervisor. Usually, the analyst interviews the employee first, helping him or her describe the duties performed. Then, the analyst normally contacts the supervisor for additional information, to check the accuracy of the information obtained from the employee, and to clarify certain points.
Employee Recording In some instances, job analysis information is gathered by having employees describe their daily work activities in a diary or log. With this method, the problem of employees exaggerating job importance may have to be overcome. Even so, valuable understanding of highly specialized jobs, such as recreational therapist, may be obtained in this way.
Combination of Methods Usually an analyst does not use one job analysis method exclusively. A combination of meth- ods is often more appropriate. In analyzing clerical and administrative jobs, the analyst might use questionnaires supported by interviews and limited observation. In studying production jobs, interviews supplemented by extensive work observations may provide the necessary data. Basically, the analyst should use the combination of techniques needed for accurate job descriptions/specifications.
Over the years, attempts have been made to provide more systematic methods of conducting job analysis. Several of these approaches are discussed in Table 4-1.
The person who conducts job analysis is interested in gathering data on what is involved in performing a particular job. The people who participate in job analysis should include, at a minimum, the employee and the employee’s immediate supervisor. Large organizations may have one or more job analysts, but in small organizations line supervisors may be responsible for the task. Organizations that lack the technical expertise may use outside consultants to perform job analysis.
Regardless of the approach taken, before conducting job analysis, the analyst should learn as much as possible about the job by reviewing organizational charts and talking with individu- als acquainted with the jobs to be studied. Before beginning, the supervisor should introduce the analyst to the employees and explain the purpose of the job analysis. Upon completion of the job analysis, two basic HR documents—job descriptions and job specifications—can be prepared. As previously mentioned, in practice, both the job description and job specification are combined into one document with the job specification presented after the job description.
job Descriptions Information obtained through job analysis is crucial to the development of job descriptions. It is vitally important that job descriptions are both relevant and accurate.27 They should provide concise statements of what employees are expected to do on the job, how they do it, and the
Describe the components of a job description.
ChaPter 4 • StrategiC Planning, human reSourCe Planning, and Job analySiS 95
conditions under which the duties are performed. Concise job descriptions put an end to the possibility of hearing “that’s not my job.” Among the items frequently included in a job descrip- tion are these:
- Major duties performed • Percentage of time devoted to each duty • Performance standards to be achieved • Working conditions and possible hazards • Number of employees performing the job, and to whom they report • The machines and equipment used on the job
Having accurate job descriptions is the starting point for most HR tasks. Table 4-2 provides some suggestions for the proper language to be used in job descriptions.
Other methods available for conducting Job analysis
Department of Labor Job Analysis Schedule
The U.S. Department of Labor established a method of systematically studying jobs and occupations called the job analysis schedule (JAS). When the JAS method is used, a trained analyst gathers infor- mation. A major component of the JAS is the Work Performed Ratings section. Here, what workers do in performing a job with regard to data (D), people (P), and things (T) is evaluated. Each is viewed as a hierarchy of functions, with the items higher in the category being more difficult. The codes in the worker functions section represent the highest level of involvement in each of the three categories.
The JAS component “Worker Traits Ratings” relates primarily to job requirement data. The topics general education designation (GED), specific vocational preparation (SVP), aptitudes, temperaments, interests, physical demands, and environmental conditions are included. The Description of Tasks section provides a specific description of the work performed. Both routine tasks and occasionally performed tasks are included.
Functional Job Analysis
Functional job analysis (FJA) is a comprehensive job analysis approach that concentrates on the inter- actions among the work, the worker, and the organization. This approach is a modification of the job analysis schedule. It assesses specific job outputs and identifies job tasks in terms of task statements.
Position Analysis Questionnaire
The position analysis questionnaire (PAQ) is a structured job analysis questionnaire that uses a checklist approach to identify job elements. It focuses on general worker behaviors instead of tasks. Some 194 job descriptors relate to job-oriented elements. Advocates of the PAQ believe that its ability to identify job elements, behaviors required of job incumbents, and other job characteristics makes this procedure applicable to the analysis of virtually any type of job. Each job descriptor is evaluated on a specified scale such as extent of use, amount of time, importance of job, possibility of occurrence, and applicability.
Each job being studied is scored relative to the 32 job dimensions. The score derived represents a profile of the job; this can be compared with standard profiles to group jobs into known job families, that is, job of a similar nature. In essence, the PAQ identifies significant job behaviors and classifies jobs. Using the PAQ, job descriptions can be based on the relative importance and emphasis placed on various job elements. The PAQ has been called one of the most useful job analysis methods.
Management Position Description Questionnaire
The management position description questionnaire (MPDQ) is a method of job analysis designed for management positions; it uses a checklist to analyze jobs. The MPDQ has been used to determine the training needs of individuals who are slated to move into managerial positions. It has also been used to evaluate and set compensation rates for managerial jobs and to assign the jobs to job families.
Guidelines-Oriented Job Analysis
The guidelines-oriented job analysis (GOJA) responds to the legislation affecting staffing and involves a step-by-step procedure to define the work of a particular job classification. It is also used for developing selection tools, such as application forms, and for documenting compliance with various legal requirements. The GOJA obtains the following types of information: (1) machines, tools, and equipment; (2) supervision; (3) contacts; (4) duties; (5) knowledge, skills, and abilities; (6) physical and other requirements; and (7) differentiating requirements.
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The contents of the job description vary somewhat with the purpose for which it will be used. The next sections address the parts of a job description.
Job Identification The job identification section includes the job title, the department, the reporting relationship, and a job number or code. A good title will closely approximate the nature of the work content and will distinguish that job from others. Unfortunately, job titles are often misleading. An executive assis- tant in one organization may be little more than a highly paid clerk, whereas a person with the same title in another firm may practically run the company. For instance, one former student’s first job after graduation was with a major tire and rubber company as an assistant district service manager. Because the primary duties of the job were to unload tires from trucks, check tread wear, and stack tires in boxcars, a more appropriate title would probably have been tire checker and stacker.
Date of the Job Analysis The job analysis date is placed on the job description to aid in identifying job changes that would make the description obsolete. Some firms have found it useful to place an expiration date on the document. This practice ensures periodic review of job content and minimizes the number of obsolete job descriptions.
Job Summary The job summary provides a concise overview of the job. It is generally a short paragraph that states job content