Job Analysis

    Paula Fulghum

    Managers are commonly faced with issues caused by not having the right person in a job. This lack of fit is frustrating to both the employer and the employee. Job analysis is one of the most fundamental organizational practices that can help prevent these frustrations.  Completing accurate, in-depth job analyses can get at the root of a variety of organizational problems.

    A job analysis is a systematic and in-depth study of what it takes to successfully occupy a given job. This goes beyond the basic job description, where many employers seem to stop. Job analysis involves both information about the job itself, and information about what a person should possess to be successful in that job. Important components of a job analysis include identifying information about required job tasks and necessary equipment or resources to carry out tasks. A job analysis should also address what environment an individual must be able to work in and what relationships are necessary to maintain. Lastly, the job analysis needs to address what an individual needs to bring to a job. You need to know what knowledge, skills, and abilities, commonly called KSAs, a person needs to perform the job and associated duties.

    Multiple methods have been shown to be successful in conducting a job analysis. What is important is making sure to get sufficient information to truly understand what it takes to get a job done. There are a few options for how to get that information. You can have someone from within or outside of the organization observe and study the job of interest. You can also simply get information from people who are already performing the job successfully. Ask employees in the job, either by interviews, surveys, or other methods, what exactly they do. Get information on daily tasks, including even the smallest of maintenance tasks. Also, go beyond just the task work. The actual task of a job may sound pretty easy at face value, but there could be a whole lot more to it than that. Environmental conditions, co-worker relationships, available resources, or critical thinking skills are just some of the less obvious factors that could be extremely pertinent to job performance.

    Conducting job analysis can be hugely valuable for many organizational practices or outcomes. Job analysis can obviously be an important tool in selection and hiring. Using a job analysis can make sure you are selecting an employee that fits the job. Managers will know what to look for, and new hires will know what exactly is expected of them. Job analysis can also have implications for training. For example, a job may require use of complex equipment that would be difficult to select for. This is where companies can design trainings to address those job needs. Lastly, a job analysis can help you to make sure your employees are staying on track. The job analysis is a great place to start in reviewing employee performance. You have to know what you’re expecting of them to be able to evaluate their work.

    Job analysis can be the answer, or at least the start of the answer, to many of your company’s problems. Analyzing jobs is an invaluable concept that can easily be overlooked. Many employers may just assume that they know what their employees should be doing and what it takes. But ambiguity and miscommunications can be really detrimental to the company when those assumptions turn out to be false. While job analysis may take some time, it is worth the effort because of its broad applicability. Using your job analyses as a tool in making important decisions will provide clarity that will be appreciated by employees and managers. Lastly, remember that as your organization may change, the job analysis should change with it. Organizations are dynamic, always interacting with changing industry demands, so the job and the employees that should be occupying them should reflect those changes.

     

    **Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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