Understanding Job Analysis
Most think of the human resources department as mainly concerned with all responsibilities related to employees; however, another important aspect is being concerned with the roles and positions that those employees fill. One of the essential processes within that subject matter is performing job analysis-- studying a job to determine its responsibilities, relative importance, necessary qualifications, and the work conditions for performance. Something to note within this process is that the key to its success is the evaluation of the job itself, not the person performing the job. Once completed, the data gained from the analysis connects back to HR and plays a role in many of its other tasks such as performance management, recruitment, training, etc. The process itself can be modified and adapted to suit the needs of each company based on three classifications: information collected, analysis methods, and use of data.
Job analysis involves information that is mainly related to the characteristics that differentiate jobs from each other. One of the biggest pieces of information under that are the KSAs or knowledge, skills, and abilities that are needed to perform. This is a huge component of this process because it can prove to be infinitely useful when actually using this information to make later decisions in other parts of HR. Other important information that can be gathered concerns the performing of the tasks directly within the workplace such as activities, behaviors, interactions, conditions, supervision, etc. Generally, any part of a job that makes it unique from others is something that can be identified by this process.
When it comes to actually obtaining the information in a job analysis, there are many different means to do so. Each technique presents its own advantages and disadvantages compared to other methods, which is why this process is able to be conducted despite the differences in resources between companies. One of the most common methods to obtain information is via questionnaires, either open-ended or structured. Open-ended questionnaires are more geared towards accepting all types of input from employees on the matter while more structured leads to objective answers that can be easily compared and analyzed. Interviews are also a common practice to that end, structured similarly to open-ended questionnaires but leaving room for additional follow up and clarification. Observation is the most direct and arguably the most effective method for the process, allowing the opportunity to directly see what a job entails instead of relying on feedback. Although it seems as though observation would be the clear option of choice, it works more effectively on a smaller scale due to the fewer resources required to obtain effective results. Use of a work diary or log is the final method, involving the evaluation of employee kept records of operations in the workplace. This method provides a significant amount of data, although that data must be heavily interpreted and kept up to date in order to provide results. As you can see, many methods are advantageous in some fields while lacking in others in regards to their effectiveness; thus, the best way to go about this is to make use of many types combined together to get the best results.
In terms of actually making use of the data gathered from this process, as previously stated, the main concerns for using this information are within other HR tasks. One such use is for job descriptions and specifications. Obviously, one of the most important things when searching for employees is that you get the person that will be the right fit for the role; By using this information to create more accurate job descriptions and specifications you can ensure that you are attracting and hiring the right candidates for your company. This information also has use when making compensation decisions: by establishing the content of each job, the appropriate compensation can be granted in relation to others. Assessments of employees can also be conducted more thoroughly as a result of the information by providing a look into all the aspects of a role. Assessments can be conducted on the skills and tasks that are most relevant and that will provide the best feedback, leading to room for improvement in the future by determining weakness. There are also numerous other applications that this leads into within HR besides just those three, proving how much of an impact this can have on the future of a company.
Overall, conducting a job analysis acts as a window into all things concerning a role within the bigger picture, allowing change to be made in optimizing performance and making adjustments. Without this, a gap could exist between perception and reality within the roles of a company, eating away at the potential for the position. For example, without a job analysis there might be a responsibility or skill that is essential for a job that is unknown to management, leading to a lag in the needed qualifications compared to what candidates are prepared for. However, with job analysis there can be no gaps between how jobs are perceived and actually conducted: operations will exist at the most accurate and efficient level they can be.
“Performing Job Analysis.” SHRM, https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/performingjobanalysis.aspx.