How does an employee know how to perform his or her job without a job description? How can a job description be formulated without job analysis and a list of competencies? How can an organization know the competencies it needs unless it conducts strategic planning? As a tool, job analysis is not new. In fact, job analysis may go all the way back to Genesis, ancient China and Greece follow. However, modern, more systematic job analysis began around 1900. Using job analysis as a strategic tool, may be a more recent idea as job analysis does not always enjoy a warm welcome.
For example, it is a task to collect data, write a job analysis and subsequent job description, ensure that the incumbent understands the job to which he or she has been hired, and follow-up to determine that the manager is conducting performance reviews based on the job description and competencies. Further, in some circles, the task of creating a job analysis is thought of as a clerical job. Line managers often rebuff the idea of job analysis as unnecessary and that it just creates more paperwork for them. Employees view a job analysis as a sneaky way to perform a job review in order to terminate employment. Further, many view job analysis as useless due to the rapid changes occurring in the workplace today. A point can be made for this school of thought.
Traditional job analysis assumes that jobs remain static. Today, nothing could be further from the truth. There are changes that affect virtually every job and the changes each goes through, regardless of the level of that job within the organization. Some of the changes affecting job analysis are:
- Team-based work
- Changing demographics
- Quickly changing KSAs
- Less structure
- Jobs are being created that never existed previously
- Increased competition due to free-trade
- Increasing global competition
The increasing participation in conducting business in a global market brings productivity to the forefront for both domestic and foreign countries. Further, HRM professionals from around the globe concentrate on efficiency and overall performance. While this list may seem daunting, there are solutions.
- Don’t spend time collecting too much data
- Ensure your organization is nimble and that it can adapt to rapidly changing environments
- Review alternative work arrangements
- Take a proactive approach
- Use a competency based approach as opposed to a functional approach to job analysis
- Allow and encourage work outside an employee’s job within the organization
- Rotate employees between positions – this increases organizational flexibility
- Hire multi-skilled team members
- Leverage employee relationships between teams, departments, and clients
Job analysis is a strategic tool that can aid in fulfilling targets for recruitment, selection, training and development, performance appraisals, compensation, and meeting health and safety requirements. Moreover, the increasing participation in conducting business in a global market brings productivity to the forefront for both domestic and foreign countries. Today, HRM professionals from around the globe concentrate on efficiency and overall performance. All of these activities point to strategic HR practices that lead to competitive advantage.