To discuss why job analysis is sometimes said to be the ‘cornerstone’ of all the human resource management practices and activities, six Human Resource functions or practices are listed and then showing how job analysis data is utilised in each of these activities. Job analysis is aptly called so because success or failure of the human resource function in an organisation can directly be attributed to the consequences of job analysis (Siddharth, 2009 October).
Siddharth (2009) further contends that Job analysis encompasses understanding and closely evaluating the knowledge, skills and attitudes required by an individual in performing a particular role. It’s like performing a Personal Profile Analysis of an invisible person. Once performed, job analysis would throw open a plethora of answers to how Recruitment, Performance Management, Training, Compensation benchmarking and several other processes should follow for the incumbent on the said job. Job analysis refers to procedures for systematically understanding the work that gets done in an organisation and the basic goal is to understand what people do, how they do it and what skills they need to do the work well (Jackson & Schuler, 2003).
According to Jackson & Schuler, the results of the job analysis are used to write job descriptions. A job description spells out essential job functions, describes the conditions in which the job is performed and states special training or certification requirements for the job. For employees, job description produced through job analysis serves as a guide to work behaviour while for supervisors and managers; a job description serves as a guide to performance evaluation and feedback. This essay therefore focuses on trying to show that job analysis provides the foundation upon which to build virtually all components of HR system identified as follows.
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Recruitment involves searching for and obtaining qualified applicants for the organization to consider when filling job openings (Jackson & Schuler, 2003). In the function of recruitment the job analysis would determine recruitment sources and methods. To find the most suitable employees for jobs and thus for the organisation as a whole, those involved in employee recruitment need to be fully aware of the relevant job description and person specification which can only be derived from comprehensive job analysis (Baired etal, 2008). Effective programs for recruitment should attract suitably qualified applicants and discourage those who are unsuitable.
One would therefore say that knowing a defined set of competencies allows one to more efficiently target, within a candidates population those competencies for recruitment.
Selection is the process of obtaining and using information about job applicants in order to determine who should be hired for long or short-term position. Jackson & Schuler (2003) contend that it begins with an assessment of the requirements to be met by the new hire, including technical aspects of a job and the more difficult to quantify organizational need (Jackson & Schuler, 2003). Applicants are then assessed to determine their competencies, preference, interests and personality.
For productivity and retention, companies such as Southwest, Lincoln Electric, Honda GE, and Toyota hire on the basis of whether an individual matches the job requirements and the corporate culture (Jackson & Schuler, 2003) To do a proper selection of the candidate to be employed it is vital to establish the essential features of the job descriptions and person specifications to allow for objective and easier assessment of applicants (Baired etal, 2008). Selection criteria must be demonstrably job relevant and equitably applied, to facilitate comparison between candidates and the matching of candidates with jobs. They are invaluable in the initial short listing of large numbers of applicants, employment testing, interviewing and subsequent referee checking (Baired etal, 2008) Done very well selection practice ensures that employees are capable of high productivity and motivated to stay with the organization for as long as the organization wants to employ them.
Training and Development
In general, an organisation’s training and development practices are its intentional efforts to improve current and future performance by helping employees acquire the skills, knowledge, and attitude required of competitive work force (Jackson & Schuler, 2003). Rapidly changing technology, foreign competition, and changes in organisational strategy and strategic business objectives are putting pressure on organizations to train and develop employees for competitive advantage.
This requires careful attention to needs assessment, program development and implementation, and evaluation. Four types of types of needs analysis-organisational, job, person, and demographic-are designed to diagnose systematically the short and long term human resource needs of an organisation (Jackson & Schuler, 2003). Any discrepancies between the experience, knowledge, skills and abilities demonstrated by a job holder and the requirement contained in the job description and specification or list of competencies for that job provide clues to development needs (Baired etal, 2008). Training & development is merely the development and assessment of said competencies for both the employee and the employer. However, without job analysis the organisation would have no way to know what to teach; train and develop and when to do it.
A performance management system is a formal, structured process used to measure, evaluate, and influence an employee’s job related attributes, behaviours, performance results (Arvey & Murphy, 1998). Two components of performance management system are performance measurement and feedback for individuals and team, and the rewards component of total compensation (Jackson & Schuler, 2003). A well designed performance measurement and feedback process directs employees’ attention toward the most important tasks and behaviours.
It informs employees about what’s valued and provides information about whether the employees’ behaviour and results meet the expectations of managers, colleagues, and customers (Jackson & Schuler, 2003) To emphasise the importance of performance management, it is said that; ‘It is estimated that if companies could get 3. 7% more work out of each employee, the equivalent of 18 more minutes of work in each 8-hour shift, the gross domestic product in the United States would swell by $355 billion, twice the GDP of Greece (Jackson & Schuler, 2003). The job description and person specification, the result of the job analysis, provide the criteria for evaluating the performance of the holder of the job.
Performance Management can therefore be said to be that by knowing the competencies required for each job or job family allows HR (or management) to track employee knowledge, skills and abilities and distribute them accordingly to wherever they may have the most impact within an organization. These competencies may also be tied to other organizational-level criteria for added impact and a validity check. As has been mentioned this is as a result of job analysis.
Compensation or remuneration typically includes a mix of several elements, monetary and non monetary forms of rewards. Monetary compensation includes direct payments such as salary, wages, and bonuses, and indirect payments such payments to cover the cost of private and public insurance plans. Nonmonetary compensation include many forms of social and psychological rewards-recognition and respect from others, enjoyment from doing the job itself, opportunity for self-development (Jackson & Schuler, 2003). Many workplace agreements emphasise the close relationship between job requirements, learning and development programs, career progression and appropriate salary and benefits systems. Baired etal, (2008) further contends that inappropriate remuneration packages may reflect a need for change of job requirements or adjusted pay scales, often in consultation with the relevant unions. It can be said that competencies help guide compensation models to a much more precise degree than more gross measures like "seniority. For example, a highly sought after software developer with very unique skills may be able to demand on the market a much higher salary than a typical MCSE who has been with the company for X number of years. A competency based compensation model would address that. Again, a job analysis done properly will help determine pay scale.
Promotion of Workplace Safety and Health
Another of the Human Resource function is the promotion of safety and health at the workplace. Job analysis procedures can be used to identify aspects of a job that may contribute to workplace injuries, and ergonomic principals can be applied to redesign the work environment (Jackson & Schuler, 2003). Workplace safety and health refers to the physical and psychological conditions of a workforce that result from work environment provided by the organisation.
Physical conditions include occupational diseases and accidents such as actual loss of life or limb; repetitive motion injuries, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, cardiovascular disease, other forms of cancer and other conditions that are known to result from unhealthy work environment include white central nervous system damage. While psychological conditions result from organisational stress and a low quality of working life, these encompass, dissatisfaction, apathy, and withdrawal and so on (Jackson & Schuler, 2003). If an organisation takes effective safety and health measures, fewer employees will have short or long term ill effects as a result of being employed at the organization (Cooper & Neck, 2000). Both the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) of the UK require evidence-based approaches to setting physical and medical employment standards.
Proven fitness related strategies include redesigning the most demanding tasks, selecting and training personnel who possess the necessary physical attributes, and assessing and redeploying personnel to jobs within their capability. An essential precursor to pursuing these strategies is to conduct a job analysis to quantify the physical demands of the job (Rayson, 2000) .
Job Analysis is quite aptly called the "corner stone" of all HR activities because the success or failure of the HR function in an organization can directly be attributed to the consequences of Job Analysis. If not carried out or not conducted accurately and comprehensively the other HR processes will be ineffective and the cost to the organisation high in terms of productivity and the ability to retain valuable staff
Job analysis encompasses understanding and closely evaluating the knowledge, skills and attitudes required by an individual in performing a particular role. It’s like performing a Personal Profile Analysis of an invisible person. Once performed, job analysis would throw open a plethora of answers to how Recruitment, Performance Management, Training, Compensation benchmarking and several other processes should follow for the incumbent on the said job. Get the job analysis wrong and you'll get the wrong person while recruiting, inefficient and sometimes irrelevant performance management measures, increased training expenditure, improper pay with respect to the market and a whole lot of other issues.
- Arvey, R. D, Murphy K. R (1998) Performance Evaluation in Work Settings, Annual Review Psychology 49, 141-168
- Baird, M. , Compton, R & Nankervis, A. (2008) Human Resource Management: Strategies (6th ed. ). Cincinnati: South-Western Publishing Co.
- Cooper, K, Neck C. (May 2000) The Fit Executive; Exercise and Diet Guideline for Enhancing Performance, Academy of Management Executive 14(2), 72-83
- Jackson E. S & Schuler, R (2003) Managing Human Resources Through Strategic Partnerships (8th ed. ).
- Thomson South-Western Publishing Co Rayson, M. P. (2000) Fitness for work: the need for conducting a job analysis, Occup. Med. Vol. 50, No. 6, pp. 434-436, 2000. Retrieved April 12, 2010, from http://occmed. oxfordjournals. org
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