Stages in the Job Analysis Process
The process of job analysis must be conducted in a logical manner, following appropriate management and professional psychometric practices. Therefore, a multistage process usually is followed, regardless of the job analysis methods used. The stages for a typical job analysis are outlined here, but they may vary with the methods used and the number of jobs included. Figure illustrates the basic stages of the process.
1. Planning the Job Analysis
It is crucial that the job analysis process be planned before beginning the gathering of data from managers and employees. Probably the most important consideration is to identify the objectives of the job analysis. Maybe it is just to update job descriptions. Or, it may include as an outcome revising the compensation programs in the organization. Another objective could be to redesign the jobs in a department or division of the organization. Also, it could be to change the structure in parts of the organization to align it better with business strategies.
Whatever the purpose identified, it is vital to obtain top management support. The backing of senior managers is needed as issues arise regarding changes in jobs or the organizational structure. Support from even the highest levels of management helps when managerial and employee anxieties and resistance arise.
2. Preparing and Introducing the Job Analysis
Preparation begins by identifying the jobs under review. For example, are the jobs to be analyzed hourly jobs, clerical jobs, all jobs in one division, or all jobs in the entire organization? In this phase, those who will be involved in conducting the job analysis and the methods to be used are identified.
Also specified is how current incumbents and managers will participate in the process and how many employees’ jobs will be considered.
Another task in the identification phase is to review existing documentation.Existing job descriptions, organization charts, previous job analysis information, and other industry-related resources all may be useful to review. Having details from this review may save time and effort later in the process.
A crucial step is to communicate and explain the process to managers, affected employees, and other concerned people, such as union stewards. Explanations should address the natural concerns and anxieties people have when someone puts their jobs under close scrutiny. Items to be covered often include the purpose of the job analysis, the steps involved, the time schedule, how managers and employees will participate, who is doing the analysis, and whom to contact as questions arise. When employees are represented by a union, it is essential that union representatives be included in reviewing the job descriptions and specifications to lessen the possibility of future conflicts.
3. Conducting the Job Analysis
With the preparation completed, the job analysis can be conducted. The methods selected will determine the time line for the project. Sufficient time should be allotted for obtaining the information from employees and managers. If questionnaires are used, it is often helpful to have employees return them to supervisors or managers for review before giving them back to those conducting the job analysis. The questionnaire should be accompanied by a letter explaining the process and instructions for completing and returning the job analysis questionnaires.
Once data from job analysis has been compiled, it should be sorted by job, the job family, and organizational unit. This step allows for comparison of data from similar jobs throughout the organization. The data also should be reviewed for completeness, and follow-up may be needed in the form of additional interviews or questions to be answered by managers and employees.
4. Developing Job Descriptions and Job Specifications
At this stage the job analysts will prepare draft job descriptions and job specifications. Later in this chapter is a section discussing details on how to write job descriptions and job specifications. Our purpose here is to emphasize that the drafts should be relatively complete and identify areas where additional clarifications are needed.
Generally, organizations have found that having managers and employees write job descriptions is not recommended for several reasons. First, there is no consistency in format and details, both of which are important given the legal consequences of job descriptions. Second, managers and employees vary in their writing skills. Also, they may write the job descriptions and job specifications to reflect what they do and what their personal qualifications are, not what the job requires.
Once the drafts are completed, they should be reviewed by managers. Whether employees review the drafts or wait to receive the final job descriptions is often determined by the managerial style of the supervisors/managers and the culture of the organization regarding employee participation and communication. When finished, job descriptions are distributed by the HR department to managers, supervisors, and employees. It is important that each supervisor or manager review the completed description with individual employees so that there is understanding and agreement on the content that will be linked to performance appraisals, as well as to all other HR activities.
5. Maintaining and Updating Job Descriptions and Job Specifications
Once job descriptions and specifications have been completed and reviewed by all appropriate individuals, a system must be developed for keeping them current. Otherwise, the entire process, beginning with job analysis, may have to be repeated in several years. Because organizations are dynamic and evolving entities, rarely do all jobs stay the same for years.
Someone in the HR department usually has responsibility for ensuring that job descriptions and specifications stay current. Employees performing the jobs and their managers play a crucial role because, as those closest to the jobs, they know when changes occur. One effective way to ensure that appropriate reviews occur is to use job descriptions and job specifications in other HR activities.
For example, each time a vacancy occurs, the job description and specifications should be reviewed and revised as appropriate before recruiting and selection efforts begin. Similarly, in some organizations, managers review the job description during each performance appraisal interview. This review enables the job holder and the supervisor to discuss whether the job description still describes the actual job adequately or whether it needs to be revised. In addition, a comprehensive and systematic review may be done during HR planning efforts. For many organizations, a complete review is made once every three years, or as technology shifts occur, and more frequently when major organizational changes are made.