A job analysis is a process used to collect information about the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills, outcomes, and work environment of a particular job. You need as much data as possible to put together a job description, which is the frequent output result of the job analysis.
If you miss critical information, you could end up paying an employee incorrectly, and thus foster employee discontent and unhappiness. Or you could inadvertently hire an employee who lacks an essential skill needed for performing the job.
The job analysis pares the responsibilities of a job down to the core functions necessary to successfully perform the job. The job analysis is useful in providing an overview of the fundamental requirements of any position.
Additional outcomes of a job analysis include:
- making employee recruiting and hiring plans,
- position postings and advertisements, and
- performance development planning within your performance management system.
The job analysis is a handy tool that you can use to populate any of these processes for employment success.
How to Perform a Job Analysis
Certain activities will help you create a successful job analysis. The job analysis may include the following activities:
1. Reviewing the job responsibilities of current employees.
It is critical that you ask the actual employees who are doing the job what they do every day on the job. Frequently, HR and management (especially senior management) have no idea what encompasses the day to day functions of any particular job. They may see the output but they have no idea what work actions and behaviors go into the employee producing it.
If you're asked to list your current responsibilities for job analysis, be thorough with the information you provide. Don't just say you “produce monthly reports.” Say, that you “gather the data from six different departments, check the data for accuracy using a custom-designed Access tool that I created and maintain, and etc, etc, etc.” If you leave off the details, they may think that your report is generated by a button that you push once a month to produce.
Make certain that you have described your daily duties in sufficient detail so that your organization is able to hire a qualified new employee who has the capacity to do the job correctly.
2. Doing internet research and viewing sample job descriptions online or offline highlighting similar jobs.
While you never want to copy another company's job description, looking at several is helpful in writing your own job descriptions.
You can find sample job descriptions by searching for “[Job Title] Sample Description” or you can look at job postings for positions companies are currently hiring. You can also look at LinkedIn to see how people describe their accomplishments in a job.
You can also see the job descriptions that are listed on such sites as Salary.com or Payscale.com. All of this searching can help you figure out how to word the job analysis and help remind you of the tasks and responsibilities that you may have forgotten.
3. Analyzing the work duties, tasks, and responsibilities that the employee filling the position needs to accomplish.
Not every job within a company is optimized. You may find duties that are undone or important projects that you should move from one department to another. You may discover tasks that another job would more successfully and easily accomplish.
When you're doing a job analysis, make sure you look at the needs of the company and at any unassigned or illogical responsibility. Then, work with management to add the proper tasks to the proper job analysis.
4. Researching and sharing with other companies that have similar jobs.
Sometimes companies will happily share information about their job descriptions. There are also salary survey companies, where you can match up your jobs to their descriptions and share salary information. But, they can also help you figure out what to include in your own job descriptions.
5. Articulate the most important outcomes or contributions needed from the position.
Sometimes you get so caught up in the tasks that you forgot to look at the needed outcomes. For instance, if it's the report that is needed, all the gathering and auditing of data is worthless without the final analysis and report.
Sometimes, you can identify holes in your organization and figure out a way to fill them by doing job analyses. Tasks are not assigned to any employee that needs to be done, for example. Or, one job has more tasks than any one person could accomplish.
The more information you can gather, the easier you will find the actual writing of the job description. You don't need to worry about pretty language. You want a functional job description more than anything else. Make sure it is clear and concise. Ask yourself, “If somebody else read this, would they know what the person in this position actually does?”
The Bottom Line
Don't put off writing job descriptions. You will find them invaluable when you look at salary and compensation when hiring and promoting, and when evaluating whether or not a job meets the qualifications for exemption from overtime. They are an effective communication tool to use with employees so your expectations are clear.