Don’t worry, it’s not a dirty word. . . but it is something you should know about if you work with people or must build a team. Job analysis is a systematic study of the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of a job and the qualities (knowledge, skills, abilities, personal characteristics, competencies) needed to perform it. The results of a job analysis study are used to build evidence-based job descriptions.
Who must do a Job Analysis and Why?
Legally, every organization over 15 employees needs a job analysis in order to show their selection, promotion, compensation, training and development practices are fair and job-related. Practically speaking, all organizations need a job analysis study to build the accurate job descriptions that enable efficient recruiting, hiring, training, business operations, and continuity planning. For example, a good job description defines the tasks that are minimally required for anyone to be successful in that job with your organization.
Job analyses are also useful for:
- clarifying team roles
- promoting safe work behaviors
- maximizing disaster preparedness
- finding opportunities to streamline and improve product and service delivery
- forecasting recruitment needs
- succession planning and organizational development
- specifying certification and educational standards
- identifying solutions to training gaps
- differentiating your business in a competitive market, and
- facilitating change management.
In addition to the legal, ethical, and practical/ financial benefits of doing job analyses, we also frequently see businesses gain socio-emotional returns with their employees, customers, and communities (who are impressed that your business takes the time to understand and craft jobs within your organization).
How is Job Analysis done?
There are many acceptable study methods for conducting a job analysis, but the “multi-method” approach is the most ideal because it provides richer information to support an organization’s business decisions.
The multi-method approach uses more than one of the following methodologies to collect information about the job:
- Interviews with managers, supervisors, job incumbents, previous job-holders, and/ or customers
- Focus groups
- Observations or Ride-Alongs
- Analytical Reviews of public information about the job (e.g. trade magazines, the Department of Labor’s job descriptions and salary definitions for that job, job postings listed by competing organizations)
How long does it take and how much does it cost?
The time that it takes to complete a job analysis (which determines how much it costs) depends on the number of people in your business who are working that job. As a general rule of thumb, it takes an analyst two to seven days to complete job analysis for a job with up to 30 employees, one to three weeks for a job with 30 to 50 employees, and four to six weeks for a job with more than 50 employees. More than one job analysis may be conducted simultaneously (saving time and money), or a team of two or more analysts may also be used to reduce time and labor costs.
To build a consistently successful employee recruiting process, selection/ promotion system, performance appraisal, training program, or compensation system, you must know exactly what is required to perform your jobs successfully.
In fact, job analysis forms the basis for solving just about every Human Resources problem and challenge. Detailed job descriptions and job specifications help you legally, efficiently, and ethically decide what is truly fair and equal pay, what is a reasonable accommodation, what is a minimum qualification, what is a strategic performance benchmark, and what succession and knowledge management plans are most critical to your organization. Job analysis also illuminates the motivators and demotivators inherent in your location, organization, and operating context – allowing job incumbents to more fully master their own professional development and achieve their career dreams.