What Is Job Analysis?
Job analysis is sometimes called the cornerstone of HRM because the information it collects serves so many HRM functions. The job analysis provides a basic input for human resource planning (HRP), which, in turn is used to deal with the problems of recruitment and selection, placement and orientation, training and development, promotion and compensation, etc.
Job analysis involves the systematic process of collecting information about all of the parameters of a job—its basic responsibilities, the behaviors, skills, and the physical and mental requirements of the people who do it. The following definitions are aptly constructed.
- Job analysis is the process of obtaining information about jobs by determining the duties, tasks, or activities of those jobs.
The procedure involves systematically investigating jobs by following a number of predetermined steps specified in advance of the study. When completed, job analysis results in a written report summarizing the information obtained from the analysis of twenty or thirty individual job tasks or activities.
- job analysis is the process of discovering and identifying the relevant information relating to the operations and responsibilities of a specific job.
A job analysis should also outline the tools needed to do the job, the environment and times at which it needs to be done, with whom it needs to be done, and the outcome or performance level it should produce.
Studies have positively linked the job analysis process with improved performance on the part of employees and their organizations. Normally, a manager or an HR manager such as a job analyst is responsible for collecting the information for a job analysis. These people rely on the cooperation of employees and their supervisors to gather the information needed for the analysis of jobs.
A job analysis generates information required to develop job descriptions and job specifications which are vital to the human resources management process.
A job descriptionOpens in new window is a written statement about the overall tasks, duties, and responsibilities of a job. Similarly, a job specificationOpens in new window outlines in detail the specific knowledge, skills, abilities, and other attributes (often referred to as KSAOs) required of the person performing the job.
These documents, in turn, are used to perform and enhance the different HR functions such as the development of performance appraisal criteria or the content of training classes. The ultimate purpose of job analysis is to improve organizational performance and productivity.
As contrasted with job design, which reflects subjective opinions about the ideal requirements of a job, job analysis is concerned with objective and verifiable information about the actual requirements of a job.
It is clear from the description that the process of job analysis studies and identifies information about the nature of a job (job description) and the qualities and qualifications of the likely job holder (job speicification). As such, job description and job specification are the immediate products of job analysis.
The job descriptions and job specifications developed through job analysis should be as accurate as possible if they are to be of value to those who make HRM decisions. These decisions may involve any of the HR functions — from recruitment to termination of employees.
Features of Job Analysis
The following may be cited as the salient features of job analysis:
- Job analysis involves gathering and evaluating necessary and relevant information about the job
The information collected and documented, through job analysis, relates to the purpose of a job; its major duties; the conditions under which it is performed; relation to other jobs; and the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the job efficiently.
- Job analysis provides information both for the job and job holder
The information about the nature and requirements of the job is called job description, and information about the knowledge, experience, and qualities demanded from a job holder is known as job specification. In this way, job description and job specification are the immediate by-products of job analysis. The contents of job description and job specification are shown in Table X below.
(Process of Obtaining Pertinent Job Facts)
A statement containing items such as:
A statement of qualities and qualities necessary to the job such as:
- Conducting job analysis is usually the responsibility of the HR department
The members of the HR department who specialize in job analysis have the titile of job analyst or personnel analyst.
Job analysts can also enlist cooperation of the employees and managers in the departments where jobs are being analyzed. It is these managers and employees who are the source of much of the information about the jobs, and they may be asked to prepare rough drafts of the job descriptions and job specification. These draft documents are then used by the job analysts for final job analysis purposes.
Job Analysis and Essential Job Functions
It should be emphasized that a major goal of modern job analysis is to help the organization establish the job-relatedness of its selection and performance requirements.
Job analysis helps both large and small employers meet their legal duty under EEO law. Section 14.C.2 of the Uniform Guidelines state:
“There shall be a job analysis which—includes an analysis of the important work behaviors required for successful performance. … Any job analysis should focus on work behavior(s) and the tasks associated with them.”
The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)Opens in new window also had a marked impact on the process of job analysis. Specifically, when preparing job descriptions and job specifications, managers and supervisors must adhere to the legal mandates of the ADA.
The act requires that job duties and responsibilities be essential functions for job success.
The purpose of essential functions is to help match and accommodate human capabilities to job requirements. For example, if the job requires the jobholder to read extremely fine print, to climb ladders, or to memorize stock codes, these physical and mental requirements should be stated within the job description. Section 1630.2(n) of the act gives three guidelines for rendering a job function essential:
- the reason that the position exists is to perform the function,
- a limited number of employees are available among whom the performance of the function may be distributed, and
- the function may be highly specialized, requiring needed expertise or abilities to complete the job.
Managers who write job descriptions and job specifications in terms of essential functions reduce the risk of discriminating on the basis of a disability. Remember also that once essential functions for a job are defined, the organization is legally required to make a reasonable accommodation to the disability of the individual.
Sources of Job Analysis Data
Job analysis data are obtainable in several ways. The more common methods of colleting the data needed to analyze jobs include interviews, questionnaires, observation, and diaries.
A job analyst or supervisor interviews individual employees and managers about the parameters of the job under review.
The job analyst may circulate carefully prepared questionnaires to be filled out individually by jobholders and managers.
These forms will be used to obtain data in the areas of job duties and tasks performed, purpose of the job, physical setting, requirements for performing the job (skill, education, experience, physical and mental demands), equipment and materials used, and special health and safety concerns.
The job analyst learns about the job by observing and recording the activities associated with it on a standardized form.
Jobholders are asked to keep diaries of their work activities for an entire work cycle. The diaries are normally filled out at specific times of the work shift (such as every half hour or hour) and maintained for a two-to-four-week period.
Figure X shows the job analysis process, including how data to be analyzed is collected and feeds back into the HRM functions, which is addressed next.
Controlling the Accuracy of the Job Data Collected
When interviewing employees or reviewing their questionnaires, a job analyst should look for any responses that do not agree with other facts or impressions he or she has received about the job. Sometimes employees exaggerate the difficulty of their positions in order to inflate their egos and their paychecks.
Inflating a job’s responsibilities can also occur unintentionally. For example, people who have been in their jobs for a long time and are good at them sometimes mistakenly believe that the skills needed for their jobs are higher than they really are.
As one job analyst noted, “When in doubt about the accuracy of employee responses, always double-check the data with others.” In other words, collect information from a representative sample of individuals doing the same job, not just one or two jobholders. Also, once a job analysis is done, it should be checked for accuracy by the job holders and their managers.
Benefits of Job Analysis to HRM Functions
Because the information it collects serves so many HRM functions, job analysis is useful for effective management of HR activities, ranging from HR planning to the maintenance of safe and secure work environment and career planning. These functions are briefly described below.
1. Strategic HR Planning
HR planning determines as to how many and what type of personnel will be need in the organization in the near future.
The number and type of personnel are determined by the jobs which need to be staffed. The job-related information, which is so necessary for HR planning is provided by job analysis.
Recruitment needs to be preceded by job analysis. By indicating the specific requirements of each job, job analysis helps in attracting and motivating job seekers to apply in large numbers for organizational jobs. This is the purpose of recruitment and the same is facilitated through job analysis.
Selecting a qualified person to fill a job requires knowing clearly the work to be done and the qualifications needed to perform the job satisfactorily. The objective of matching right people with the right job is difficult to achieve without having adequate job information, which is provided by job analysis.
4. Training and Development
Training and development programs are administered to help employees gain the skills and knowledge to perform assigned jobs satisfactorily. Training and development programs can be designed depending on the job requirements, and this information is provided by job analysis. Selection of trainees is also facilitated by job analysis.
5. Job Evaluation
Job evaluation involves determination of relative worth of each job for the purpose of establishing wage and salary differentials. The relative worth of jobs is determined mainly on the basis of job description and job specification, which are the by-products of job analysis.
6. Performance Appraisal
The performance appraisal involves assessment of the actual performance of an employee against what is expected of him. Job analysis facilitates performance appraisal by providing clear-cut standards of performance for each job.
7. Wage and Salary Administration
By indicating the qualifications required for doing a specified job and the risks and hazards involved in its performance, job analysis helps in wage and salary administration.
8. Safety and Health
Job analysis provides an opportunity to identify hazardous conditions and unhealthy environmental factors so that corrective measures can be taken to minimize and avoid the possibility of human injury.
9. Career Planning
Job analysis provides a clear idea of opportunities in terms of career paths and jobs available in the organization. With the help of such understanding, employees and the organization both can make efforts for career planning and career development.
When to Conduct Job Analysis?
Job analysis is generally conducted when:
- An organization is newly established and the job analysis is initiated for the first time.
- A new job is created in an established organization.
- A job is changed significantly due to change in technology, methods, procedures, or systems.
- The organization is thinking of introducing a new wage and salary administration plan.
- The employees or managers feel that there exist certain inequities between job demands and the remuneration it carries.