Job Analysis as an Important HRM Function
Job analysis can be explained as “a process of studying and collecting information relating to operations and responsibilities of a specific job” (Giri, 2008, p.69). To put it simply, as the name implies job analysis is establishing requirements associated with a job.
Considered to be a foundation of HRM, specific aspects of employment covered by job analysis includes training and development needs, compensation and benefits, health and safety aspects of the position, as well as, legal considerations.
The importance of job analysis is closely associated with the possibility of filling a position with the most suitable candidate. In other words, jobs analysis needs to be conducted so that a set of skills and competencies needed to perform duties of a position can be established and the same set of skills and competencies can be used as criteria for the search of appropriate candidates.
A high level of importance of job analysis in practical levels can be explained by referring to the real life case study of internet company Yahoo! Specifically, Carol Bartz has been named Yahoo! CEO on January 2009, despite lacking experience of leading an internet-based company, only to be removed two years later due to systematic failures.
This situation could have been avoided by appropriately conducting a job analysis for Yahoo! CEO position, as such analysis would have identified previous experience of leading an internet company as a compulsory requirement for candidates.
Job Analysis Process, Job Description and Job Specification
The process of job analysis can be divided into the following five stages:
- Planning the job analysis. This initial stage commences with the identification of objectives and seeking co-operations from stakeholders involved.
- Preparing for and introducing job analysis. This stage is marked with the selection of jobs to be analysed and the formulation of a relevant methodology
- Conducting the job analysis. During this stage relevant data is collected and examined
- Developing job descriptions and job specifications. Initially proposed as a draft, job descriptions and specifications are reviewed with the participation of management, and this is followed by finalising of job descriptions and formulations of relevant recommendations.
- Maintaining and updating job descriptions and job specifications. Findings obtained towards the end of the previous stage are subjected to periodic review in order to reflect the impact of internal and external changes affecting the organisation.
Job Analysis Information Collection Methods, their Advantages and Disadvantages
The most popular data collection methods for job analysis include conducting observations, questionnaires and interviews.
Observation data collection method for job analysis involves an individual conducting the job analysis observing employees performing their job duties, and recording necessary details such as the type of tasks performed, and the ways in which they are performed, difficulties met during performance etc.
Observation data collection method for job analysis has the advantages of being simple to conduct and being highly effective for manual tasks. Accordingly, observation method is popular with global car manufacturers such as General Motors, Toyota, or Chrysler when conducting job analysis in relation to manufacturing processes.
However, observation method has certain disadvantages as well such as being of no use for intellectual works, and being subjected to negative impact of bias.
The methods of administering questionnaires consist of formulating questions to be answered by employees and their managers. Advantages of questionnaires include lower costs than other methods and the possibility of collecting data from greater sample, whereas disadvantages of questionnaires are possibility of attracting low response rates, and difficulties associated with formulating questions in an appropriate manner.
Interview method for collecting information in order to conduct a job analysis involves asking relevant questions from employees in a tête-à-tête meeting. Interview method is associated with a range of advantages such as the possibility to capture non-verbal messages and asking additional questions to clarify issues. Disadvantages of interviews, on the other hand, include possible biases on behalf of interviewee, and difficulties associated with appropriate interpretation of responses.
Recent tendency in job analysis involves an integration of multiple information collection methods so that the analysis can be conducted with an increased level of efficiency. The benefit of this approach involves the disadvantages of one particular information collection method to be covered by an additional method.
Giri, Y.L. (2008) “Human Resource Management: Managing People at Work” Nirali Prakashan