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How To Perform A Job Analysis

        posted by , May 12, 2013

Jobs change.

Most organizations have experienced an explosion of job descriptions as professions have become more specialized. Organizations that had 20 types of jobs a decade ago now have 500+.

Job analysis is the process of documenting the requirements for jobs across your organization. It's an essential human resource planning activity.

Definition: Job Analysis

A job analysis is the process of documenting the requirements for positions in an organization, department or team.

Why Is A Job Analysis Important?

It's common for job requirements to become outdated and out of touch with business realities.

Job analysis provides a refresh of job requirements.

Job requirements are critical human resource information that's used to support several key processes:

  • Recruiting
    An accurate job description improves recruiting results.

  • Internal Recruiting
    Employee skill profiles can be matched to job requirements to staff programs, projects and initiatives.

  • Promotions
    Job requirements are used to evaluate employees for promotion. Is the employee exceeding expectations at the current level? Do they have the abilities required for a step up?

  • Performance Management
    Give your employees an accurate description of expectations for their role.

  • Rewards & Incentives
    Job requirements are used to design rewards and incentives programs.

  • Organization Design
    It's difficult to optimize your organization chart if you don't understand exactly what everyone does.

  • Mergers & Acquisitions
    Mergers & acquisitions are often amongst the most challenging and failure-prone changes an organization plans. Job requirements are essential to integrating two organizations.

  • Restructuring
    Any organizational restructuring depends on an accurate map of your existing organization. Job requirements are an essential piece of the puzzle.

    It's common for employees to associate job analysis with restructuring. This can lead to resistance to the process.

  • Corporate Culture
    Corporate culture is your organization's habits, norms, symbols, mission and behaviors. Job requirements may offer insight into initiatives to improve your corporate culture.

  • Career Planning
    Helps everyone in your organization to understand the requirements for advancement and career change.

  • Training & Development
    Supports training and development planning at the organizational, team and individual level.

Job Analysis Techniques

Job analysis is an industrial and organizational psychology discipline. It's primarily an information gathering process that may include:

  • Interviews With Workers And Supervisors
    Conduct interviews with a sampling of employees in each role and their managers. Questions may cover skills, abilities and personality factors required for the role. The interview may also dive into processes, tasks, methods, interactions, technology and the challenges of the role.

    "Interview" is the common term for these meetings. This is an unfortunate term that can leave the impression that the employee's job is at risk. It's a good idea to refer to these meetings by a less threatening term such as "job survey".

  • Observation
    Observe the worker doing the job. This is most common for jobs that have a physical element.

  • Work Diaries
    Workers detail their daily tasks in a work diary for a period of time.

  • Critical Incidents
    Managers detail critical incidents that have occurred in the role. This is used to identify skills, abilities and personality factors that might avoid such incidents. For example, if a customer service representative losses control of their emotions and mistreats a customer — conflict management skills might be added to the job requirements.

  • Questionnaires and Surveys
    Questionnaires and surveys designed to profile the position. These are often based on formal methodologies.

  • Checklists
    Workers are presented with large checklists of tasks. They check the tasks that apply to the position.

What are Job Requirements?

Job requirements specify the functional and behavioral success factors for a role. This may include:

  • Job Description
    Why does the position exist? What does the position deliver?

  • Functional Requirements
    Why the job exists. What the job entails. How the job fits into the organization.

  • Knowledge & Experience
    The knowledge and experience required for the role.

  • Skills
    A list of skills and skill levels. These may be ranked according to their importance to the role (e.g. critical vs. nice-to-have skills).

  • Abilities
    A list of abilities required for the role.

  • Other Characteristics
    A list of personality factors for the job.

  • Physical Requirements
    The physical requirements of the job (e.g. sitting for long periods of time).

  • Task List
    A high level list of tasks required to achieve position objectives.

Resistance To Job Analysis

A job analysis tends to invoke images of restructuring and dramatic organizational change. People and teams have a tendency to resist job analysis.

It's important to expect and plan for resistance. The key to breaking down resistance is to carefully communicate the value of the analysis. Ask for input into the process so that teams feel consulted. Make it clear that your analysis isn't tied to a restructuring effort (unless it is).

Job Analysis in Film

Job analysis was portrayed in the 1999 comedy Office Space.

Bob: You see, what we're trying to do is get a feeling for how people spend their time at work so if you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?

Peter: Yeah.

Bob: Great.

Peter: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door - that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh - after that I sorta space out for an hour.

Bob: Space out?

Peter: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.

~ Office Space

Who Performs A Job Analysis

A job analysis is often performed by a trained industrial and organizational psychologist. In other cases, it's performed by HR employees.

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