Job Analysis and Job Design
Job Analysis is a systematic exploration, study and recording the responsibilities, duties, skills, accountabilities, work environment and ability requirements of a specific job. It also involves determining the relative importance of the duties, responsibilities and physical and emotional skills for a given job. All these factors identify what a job demands and what an employee must possess to perform a job productively.
The process of job analysis involves in-depth investigation in order to control the output, i.e., get the job performed successfully. The process helps in finding out what a particular department requires and what a prospective worker needs to deliver. It also helps in determining particulars about a job including job title, job location, job summary, duties involved, working conditions, possible hazards and machines, tools, equipments and materials to be used by the existing or potential employee.
However, the process is not limited to determination of these factors only. It also extends to finding out the necessary human qualifications to perform the job. These include establishing the levels of education, experience, judgment, training, initiative, leadership skills, physical skills, communication skills, responsibility, accountability, emotional characteristics and unusual sensory demands. These factors change according to the type, seniority level, industry and risk involved in a particular job.
Importance of Job Analysis
The details collected by conducting job analysis play an important role in controlling the output of the particular job. Determining the success of job depends on the unbiased, proper and thorough job analysis. It also helps in recruiting the right people for a particular job. The main purpose of conducting this whole process is to create and establish a perfect fit between the job and the employee.
Job analysis also helps HR managers in deciding the compensation package and additional perks and incentives for a particular job position. It effectively contributes in assessing the training needs and performance of the existing employees. The process forms the basis to design and establish the strategies and policies to fulfill organizational goals and objectives.
However, analysis of a particular job does not guarantee that the managers or organization would get the desired output. Actually collecting and recording information for a specific job involves several complications. If the job information is not accurate and checked from time to time, an employee will not be able to perform his duty well. Until and unless he is not aware of what he is supposed to do or what is expected of him, chances are that the time and energy spent on a particular job analysis is a sheer wastage of human resources. Therefore, proper care should be taken while conducting job analysis.
A thorough and unbiased investigation or study of a specific job is good for both the managers and the employees. The managers get to know whom to hire and why. They can fill a place with the right person. On the other hand, existing or potential employee gets to know what and how he is supposed to perform the job and what is the desired output. Job analysis creates a right fit between the job and the employee.
The main purposes of conducting a job analysis process is to use this particular information to create a right fit between job and employee, to assess the performance of an employee, to determine the worth of a particular task and to analyze training and development needs of an employee delivering that specific job.
Let’s understand the concept with the help of an example. If the job of an executive sales manager is to be analyzed, the first and foremost thing would be to determine the worth of this job. The next step is to analyze whether the person is able to deliver what is expected of him. It also helps in knowing if he or she is perfect for this job. The process doesn’t finish here. It also involves collection of other important facts and figures such as job location, department or division, compensation grade, job duties, routine tasks, computer, educational, communicational and physical skills, MIS activities, reporting structure, ability to adapt in a given environment, leadership skills, licenses and certifications, ability to grow and close sales, ability to handle clients, superiors and subordinates and of course, the presentation of an individual.
Purpose of Job Analysis
Job Analysis plays an important role in recruitment and selection, job evaluation, job designing, deciding compensation and benefits packages, performance appraisal, analyzing training and development needs, assessing the worth of a job and increasing personnel as well as organizational productivity.
- Recruitment and Selection: Job Analysis helps in determining what kind of person is required to perform a particular job. It points out the educational qualifications, level of experience and technical, physical, emotional and personal skills required to carry out a job in desired fashion. The objective is to fit a right person at a right place.
- Performance Analysis: Job analysis is done to check if goals and objectives of a particular job are met or not. It helps in deciding the performance standards, evaluation criteria and individual’s output. On this basis, the overall performance of an employee is measured and he or she is appraised accordingly.
- Training and Development: Job Analysis can be used to assess the training and development needs of employees. The difference between the expected and actual output determines the level of training that need to be imparted to employees. It also helps in deciding the training content, tools and equipments to be used to conduct training and methods of training.
- Compensation Management: Of course, job analysis plays a vital role in deciding the pay packages and extra perks and benefits and fixed and variable incentives of employees. After all, the pay package depends on the position, job title and duties and responsibilities involved in a job. The process guides HR managers in deciding the worth of an employee for a particular job opening.
- Job Designing and Redesigning: The main purpose of job analysis is to streamline the human efforts and get the best possible output. It helps in designing, redesigning, enriching, evaluating and also cutting back and adding the extra responsibilities in a particular job. This is done to enhance the employee satisfaction while increasing the human output.
Job design follows job analysis i.e. it is the next step after job analysis. It aims at outlining and organising tasks, duties and responsibilities into a single unit of work for the achievement of certain objectives. It also outlines the methods and relationships that are essential for the success of a certain job. In simpler terms it refers to the what, how much, how many and the order of the tasks for a job/s.
Job design essentially involves integrating job responsibilities or content and certain qualifications that are required to perform the same. It outlines the job responsibilities very clearly and also helps in attracting the right candidates to the right job. Further it also makes the job look interesting and specialised.
There are various steps involved in job design that follow a logical sequence, those that were mentioned earlier on. The sequence is as follows:
- What tasks are required to e done or what tasks is part of the job?
- How are the tasks performed?
- What amount are tasks are required to be done?
- What is the sequence of performing these tasks?
All these questions are aimed at arriving upon a clear definition of a specific job and thereby make it less risky for the one performing the same. A well defined job encourages feeling of achievement among the employees and a sense of high self esteem.
The whole process of job design is aimed to address various problems within the organisational setup, those that pertain to ones description of a job and the associated relationships. More specifically the following areas are fine tuned:
- Checking the work overload.
- Checking upon the work under load.
- Ensuring tasks are not repetitive in nature.
- Ensuring that employees don not remain isolated.
- Defining working hours clearly.
- Defining the work processes clearly.
The above mentioned are factors that if not taken care of result into building stress within the employees.
Benefits of Job Design
- Employee Input: A good job design enables a good job feedback. Employees have the option to vary tasks as per their personal and social needs, habits and circumstances in the workplace.
- Employee Training: Training is an integral part of job design. Contrary to the philosophy of “leave them alone’ job design lays due emphasis on training people so that are well aware of what their job demands and how it is to be done.
- Work/Rest Schedules: Job design offers good work and rest schedule by clearly defining the number of hours an individual has to spend in his/her job.
- Adjustments: A good job designs allows for adjustments for physically demanding jobs by minimising the energy spent doing the job and by aligning the manpower requirements for the same.
Job design is a continuous and ever evolving process that is aimed at helping employees make adjustments with the changes in the workplace. The end goal is reducing dissatisfaction, enhancing motivation and employee engagement at the workplace.
Job design is the next step after job analysis that aims at outlining, and organizing tasks and responsibilities associated with a certain job. It integrates job responsibilities and qualifications or skills that are required to perform the same. There are various methods or approaches to do this. The important ones are discussed below
The human approach of job design laid emphasis on designing a job around the people or employees and not around the organizational processes. In other words it recognizes the need of designing jobs that are rewarding (financially and otherwise) and interesting at the same time.
According to this approach jobs should gratify an individual’s need for recognition, respect, growth and responsibility. Job enrichment as popularized by Herzberg’s research is one the ways in human approach of job design. Herzberg classified these factors into two categories – the hygiene factors and the motivators.
Motivators include factors like achievement, work nature, responsibility, learning and growth etc that can motivate an individual to perform better at the work place.
Hygiene factor on the other hand include things like working conditions, organizational policies, salary etc that may not motivate directly but the absence of which can lead to dissatisfaction at the work place.
The engineering approach was devised by FW Taylors et al. They introduced the idea of the task that gained prominence in due course of time. According to this approach the work or task of each employee is planned by the management a day in advance. The instructions for the same are sent to each employee describing the tasks to e undertaken in detail. The details include things like what, how and when of the task along with the time deadlines.
The approach is based on the application of scientific principles to job design. Work, according to this approach should be scientifically analyzed and fragmented into logical tasks. Due emphasis is then laid on organizing the tasks so that a certain logical sequence is followed for efficient execution of the same. The approach also lays due emphasis on compensating employees appropriately and training them continuously for work efficiency.
The Job Characteristics Approach
The job characteristics approach was popularized by Hackman and Oldham. According to this approach there is a direct relationship between job satisfaction and rewards. They said that employees will be their productive best and committed when they are rewarded appropriately for their work. They laid down five core dimensions that can be used to describe any job – skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback.
- Skill Variety: The employees must be able to utilize all their skills and develop new skills while dealing with a job.
- Task Identity: The extent to which an identifiable task or piece or work is required to be done for completion of the job.
- Task Significance: How important is the job to the other people, what impact does it create on their lives?
- Autonomy: Does the job offer freedom and independence to the individual performing the same.
- Feedback: Is feedback necessary for improving performance.
These are different approaches but all of them point to more or less the same factors that need to be taken into consideration like interest, efficiency, productivity, motivation etc. All these are crucial to effective job design.