Job Analysis: Definition, Importance, Components, Methods, Purpose, Process

Job AnalysisJob analysis is the process of studying and collecting information relating to the operations and responsibilities of a specific job.

The information thus collected is analyzed and the facts about the nature of job working condition and qualities in an employee can be easily known. Job analysis defines the jobs within the organization and the behaviors necessary to perform these jobs.

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.

Definition of Job Analysis

Mathis and Jackson (1999) view job analysis as a systematic way to gather and analyze information about the content and human requirements of jobs, and the context in which jobs are performed.

Dessier (2005) defines job analysis as the procedure through which job analyst determines the duties of different positions of an’ organization and the characteristics of the people to hire them.

Dale Yoder (1983) defines job analysis as ” a process in which jobs are studied to determine what tasks and responsibilities they include their relationships to other jobs, the conditions under which work is performed, and the personnel capabilities required for satisfactory performance”.

In the opinion of Strauss and Sayles (1977), job analysis consists of two parts, a statement of work to be done (Job description), and the skills and knowledge which must be possessed by anyone filling the job (Job Specification)”.

According to Gary Dessler, “Job analysis is the procedure for determining the duties and skills requirements of a job and the kind of person who should be hired for it.”

According to Edwin B. Flippo, “Job Analysis is the process of studying and collecting information relating to the operation and responsibilities of a specific job.”

“Job analysis is a systematic way to gather and analyze information about the content and the human requirements of jobs and the context in which jobs are performed.” – Decenzo and Robbins

Job analysis involves collecting data about the performance of the job in an organization.

However, this definition is probably too simplistic when all of the different types of information that must be collected are considered.

For example, the data collected should clearly describe exactly what is required to perform a specific job.

This should include the:

  • Knowledge: Knowledge is defined as the degree to which a job holder is required to know specific technical material.
  • Skill: Skill is defined as adequate performance on tasks requiring the use of tools, equipment, and machinery.
  • Abilities: Abilities refers to the physical and material capabilities needed to perform tasks not requiring the use of tools, equipment, and machinery. Further, where the job is completed must be considered.

So the types of information to be collected by a job analysis are shown below:

  • Work activities.
  • Work-oriented activities.
  • Machines, tools equipment, and work aids used.
  • Job-related tangible and intangible.
  • Work performance.
  • Job context.
  • Personal requirement.

So. job analysis is the process of determining and reporting pertinent information relating to the nature of a specific job. It is the determination of the tasks which comprise the job and of the skills, knowledge abilities and responsibilities required of the holder for successful job performance.

The end product of a job analysis is a written description of the actual requirements of the job.

Features of Job Analysis

From the definitions in the preceding section, we can list out the features of job analysis as follows:

  1. Job analysis is a process of gathering relevant information about various aspects of a job and is concerned with the identification of tasks required to be performed as part of it.
  2. It approaches the task of defining the role, context, conditions, human behavior, performance standards, and responsibilities of a job systematically.
  3. It helps in establishing the job’s worth to an organization. In other words, it measures the value and contribution of a job to the growth of the organization.
  4. It establishes job relatedness, which is a crucial input for HR decisions involving recruitment, selection, compensations, training, health, and safety.

Uses or Objectives of job analysis

A sound human resource management practice dictates that a thorough job analysis should be done, as it may provide a deeper understanding of the behavioral requirements of jobs.

This, in turn, creates a solid basis on which to make job-related employment decisions. Job analysis information is used for many purposes:

Organizational structure and design

By clarifying job requirements and interrelationships among jobs, responsibilities at all levels can be specified, promoting efficiency and minimizing overlap or duplication.

Human resource planning

Job analysis is the foundation of forecasting the needs for human resources as well as for plans for such activities as training, transfer, or promotion.

Job analysis information is incorporated into a human resource information system.

Work simplification

Job analysis provides the information related to the job and this data can be used to make the process or job simple.

Work simplification means dividing the job into small parts, i.e. different operations in a product line or process which can improve the production or job performance.

Setting up of standards

Standard means minimum acceptable qualities or results or performance or rewards regarding a particular job.

Job analysis provides information about the job and standard of each can be established using this information.

Support for personnel activities

Job analysis provides support for various personnel activities like recruitment, selection, placement, training and development, wage administration, performance appraisal, etc.

Job description

Job description is a job profile which describes the contents, environment, and condition of jobs. It is prepared on the basis of data collected through job analysis. It provides information relating to the activities and duties to be performed in a job.

Job description differentiates one job from another by introducing unique characteristics of each job.

Job specification

Job specification is another notable objective of job analysis. It includes information relating to the requirements of skills and abilities to perform a specific task.

It states the minimum acceptable qualifications that an incumbent must possess to perform the assigned duty successfully. The job specification statement identifies the knowledge, skills, abilities needed to perform that task effectively.

Job classification system

Selection, training, and pay systems often key to job classification systems.

Without job analysis information, it is impossible to determine reliably the structure of the relationships among jobs in an organization.

Job evaluation and compensation

Job analysis also provides required information which is necessary for evaluating the worthiness of jobs.

After the preparation of job description and job specification statements, it assists in the evaluation of actual performance against the predetermined standard. Then the deviation (if any) is found out that has taken place during the course of action.

Moreover, it helps to establish the value of different jobs in a hierarchical order which allows comparing jobs one from another.

These, in turn, are valuable in helping managers identify the kinds of employees they should recruit, select, and develop, as well as provide guidance for decisions about training and career development, performance appraisal and compensation administration.

Strategic Choice of Job Analysis

The following strategic guidelines should be examined when deciding whether to conduct a job analysis;

  1. The primary purpose for conducting a job analysis should be clearly specified (such as establishing wage rates or recruiting) to help ensure that all relevant information is examined.
  2. The primary purpose for conducting a job analysis should serve as input for the types of information collected (for example, work activities, machines & tools used, or job context).
  3. The purpose for the job analysis, the types of information required, the time & cost constraints, the level of employee involvement & the level of detail desired should be specified before choosing one or more of the available methods of data collection.
  4. The strategy of an organization can influence which human resource activities will be emphasized. In turn, certain human resource activities (such as selection or performance appraisal) may require different job analysis methods.
    1. Managers should follow or include the following steps when conducting a job analysis.
    2. Determine the purpose of the job analysis.
    3. Identify the jobs to be analyzed.
    4. Determine the data collection method.
    5. Explain the process to employees & involve them.
    6. Collect job analysis information.
    7. Process the job analysis information.
    8. Review & update frequently.
  5. The jobs analysis should be designed so that job descriptions & job specifications can be derived easily.
  6. Managers should communicate all relevant information to employees concerning the job analysis to prevent unnecessary uncertainty & anxiety.
  7. If major organizational changes have taken place, managers should consider conducting a job analysis.
  8. If major organizations are anticipated, managers should consider conducting a more future-oriented job analysis.

Purposes of Job Analysis

The data collected from the job analysis can be used for a variety of purposes.

These are:

  1. Job description.
  2. Job specification.
  3. Job evaluation.

Job Description

Job descriptions describe the duties, responsibilities, working conditions and activities of a particular job.

Job descriptions vary in terms of the level of details provided.

However, several components are present in virtually every job description.

For example- the title of the job, type of summary, the worker requirements.

One valuable source for locating standardized job description is the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), published by the US Department of labor providing information on more than 12,000 occupations. Managers can adapt the standardized job descriptions from the DOT to the specific jobs within their firm.

Job Specification

Job specification detail the Knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to a job, including the education, experience, specialized training, personal traits and manual dexterity required. The job specification is important for a number of reasons.

First, certain jobs have the qualifications required by law.

For example, airline pilots, attorneys, and medical doctors all need to be licensed. Another type of job specification is based on professional tradition.

For example, university professors must usually hold a Ph. D or equivalent degree if they are going to be in a tenure track position.

Finally, job specifications might involve establishing certain standards or criteria that are deemed necessary for successful performance.

Job Evaluation

The information gathered during a job analysis can be used as input for the organization’s job evaluation system.

The job evaluation determines the worth of a particular job to the organization. This information is primarily used to determine the pay for the job.

Thus, employees should be paid more for working on more difficult jobs.

Components of Job Analysis

A job can be broken into several components and arranged into a hierarchy of the work activities.

This hierarchy is depicted in the following figure;

Components of Job Analysis

  • Element
  • Task.
  • Duty.
  • Position.
  • Job.
  • Occupation.
  • Job Family.

Element

The smallest practical unit into which any work activity can be subdivided.

Task

An identifiable unit of work activity that is produced through the application of a Composite of methods, procedures, and techniques.

Duty

Several distinct tasks that are performed by an individual to complete a work activity for which he or she is responsible.

Position

The combination of all the duties required of one person performed a job.

Job

A group of positions that are the same enough or their job elements tasks and others to be covered by the same job analysis.

Occupation

Jobs that are combined across organizations based upon the skills, effete, and responsibilities required by the jobs.

Job Family

A category in which similar cocoons are grouped together.

Steps in Job Analysis Process

There are six steps in doing a job analysis process. Let’s look at each of them.

The steps are shown in the following figure:

  1. Decide how we will use the information.
  2. Review relevant background information.
  3. Select representative positions.
  4. Actually, analyze the job.
  5. Verify the job analysis information.
  6. Develop a job description and job specification.

Steps in Job Analysis Process

Step 1: Decide how we will use the information

Decide how we will use the information since this will determine the data we collect and how we collect them. Some data collection techniques – like interviewing the employee and asking what the job entails – are good for writing job descriptions and selecting an employee for the job.

Other techniques, like the position analysis questionnaire, do not provide qualitative information for a job description.

Instead, they provide numerical ratings for each job: these can be used to compare jobs for compensation purposes.

Step 2: Review relevant background information

Review relevant background information such as organization charts, process charts, and job descriptions. Organization charts show the organization-wide division of work, with titles of each position and interconnecting lines that show that reports to and communicates with whom.

A process chart provides a more detailed picture of the workflow. In its simplest form, a process chart shows the flow of inputs to and outputs from the job we are analyzing.

Finally, the existing job description usually provides a starting point for building the revised job description.

Step 3: Select representative positions

Select representative positions. There may be too many similar jobs to analyze them all. For example, it is usually unnecessary to analyze the jobs of 200 assembly workers when a sample of 10 jobs will do.

Step 4: Actually analyze the job

Actually analyze the job by collecting data on job activities, required employee behaviors, working conditions and human traits and abilities needed to perform the job. For this step, use one or more of the job analysis methods.

Step 5: Verify the job analysis information

Verify the job analysis information with the worker performing the job and with his immediate supervisor. This will help confirm that the information is factually correct and complete.

This review can also help gain the employee’s acceptance of the job analysis data and conclusions, by giving that person a chance to review and modify our description of the job activities.

Step 6: Develop a job description and job specification

Develop a job description and job specification. The job description is a written statement that describes the activities and responsibilities of the job as well as its important features such as working conditions and safety hazards.

Job specification summarizes the personal qualities, traits, skills, and background required for getting the job done. It may be in a separate document or in the same document as the job description.

Job Analysis Methods

There are different methods used by an organization to collect information and conduct job analysis.

These methods are;

  1. Observation method.
  2. Job performance.
  3. Work sampling.
  4. Individual interview.
  5. Structured questionnaire.
  6. Critical incident method.
  7. Diary method.

Job Analysis Methods

Observation method

In this method, the observer actually observes a worker or a group of workers doing a job. He makes a list of all the duties performed by the worker and the qualities required to perform those duties.

It is a direct method. Direct exposure to jobs can provide a richer and deeper understanding of jobs requirements than works’ description of what they do.

If the work in question is primarily mental, observations alone may reveal little useful information.

Job performance

With this approach, an analyst actually does the job under study to get firsthand exposure to what it demands.

With this method, there is an exposure to actual job tasks, as well as to the physical, environmental, and social demands of the jobs. It is suitable for jobs that can be learned in a relatively short period of time.

Its main limitation is that when the work of the employee is being observed, the employee becomes conscious. This method is inappropriate for jobs that require extensive training or are hazardous to perform.

Work sampling

Under this method, a manager can determine the content and pace of a typical workday through a statistical sampling of certain actions rather than through continuous observation and timing of all actions.

Individual interview

Here a manager or job analyst visit each job site and talks with employees performing each job. A standardized interview form is used most often to record the information.

Frequently, both the employee and the employee’s supervisor must be interviewed to obtain a complete understanding of the job. In some cases, a group of experts conducts the interview. They ask questions about the job, skill levels, and difficulty levels.

They ask questions and collect information and based on this information job analysis is prepared.

This method can provide information about standard as well as non-standard activities and about physical as well as mental work.

In short, the worker can provide the analyst with information that might not be available from any other sources. Its main limitation is that workers may be suspicious of interviewers and their motives.; interviewers may ask ambiguous questions, thus distortion of information is a real possibility.

Structured questionnaire

A survey instrument is developed and given to employees and managers to complete.

The main advantage of this method is that information on a large number of jobs can be collected inexpensively in a relatively short period of time. This method is usually cheaper and quicker to administer than other methods.

Questionnaires can be completed off the job, thus avoiding lost productive time. Its main limitation is that it is time-consuming and expensive to develop. The rapport between analyst and respondent is not possible unless the analyst is present to explain and clarify misunderstandings.

Such an impersonal approach may have adverse effects oh respondent cooperation and motivation.

Critical incident method

In this method, the employee is asked to write one or more critical incident that has taken place on the job. The incident will give an idea about the problem, how it is handled, qualities required and difficulty levels, etc. The critical incident method gives an idea about the job and its importance.

A critical means important and incident means anything which takes place on the job. This method focuses directly on what people do in their jobs and thus it provides insight into job dynamics.

But this method takes much time to gather, abstract and categorize the incidents. It may be difficult to develop a profile of average job behavior as this method describes particularly effective or ineffective behavior.

Diary method

Under this method, companies can ask employees to maintain log records or daily diary and job analysis can be done on the basis of information collected from the record.

A log record is a book in which employee records /writes all the activities performed by him on the job.

The records are extensive as well as exhausted in nature and provide a fair idea about the duties and responsibilities in any job. In this method worker actually does the work himself and the idea of the skill required, the difficulty level of the job and the efforts required can be known easily.

Job Analysis Tools

Job Analysis supports all other management activities including recruitment and selection, training and development need analysis, performance analysis and appraisal, job evaluation, job rotation, job enrichment and enlargement, a right job-individual, creation and regulation of entry and exit of talent in an organization.

There are various tools and techniques such as 0*Net model. PAQ model. FJA model.

F-JAS model and competency model that help HR managers to develop genuine job description and job specification data. Though not very new these specialized tools and techniques are used by only a few very high profile organizations.

Not very common in use but once understood, these systematic approaches prove to be extremely useful for measuring the worth of any job in an organization.

  1. O*Net Model.
  2. FJA Model.
  3. PAQ Model.
  4. F-JAS Model.
  5. Competency Model.
  6. Job Scan.

O*Net Model

The beauty of this model is that it helps managers or job analysts in listing job-related data for a very large number of jobs simultaneously. It helps in collecting and recording basic and initial data including educational requirements, physical requirements and mental and emotional requirements to some extent.

It also links the level of compensation and benefits, perks and advantages to be offered to a prospective candidate for a specific job.

FJA Model

FJA stands for Functional Job Analysis and helps in collecting and recording job-related data to a deeper extent. It is used to develop task-related statements.

Developed by Sidney Fine and his colleagues, the technique helps in determining the complexity of duties and responsibilities involved in a specific job.

This work-oriented technique works on the basis of relatedness of job-data where the complexity of work is determined on a scale of various scores given to a particular job. The lower scores represent greater difficulty.

PAQ Model

PAQ represents Position Analysis Questionnaire. This well-known and commonly used technique is used to analyze a job by getting the questionnaires filled by job incumbents and their superiors.

Designed by a trained and experienced job analyst, the process involves interviewing the subject matter experts and employees and evaluating the questionnaires on those bases.

F-JAS Model

Representing Fleishman Job Analysis System, it is a basic and generic approach to discover common elements in different jobs including;

  • verbal abilities,
  • reasoning abilities,
  • idea generation,
  • quantitative abilities,
  • attentiveness,
  • spatial abilities,
  • visual and other sensory abilities,
  • manipulative abilities,
  • reaction time,
  • speed analysis,
  • flexibility,
  • emotional characteristics,
  • physical strength,
  • perceptual abilities,
  • communication skills,
  • memory,
  • endurance,
  • balance,
  • coordination, and
  • movement control abilities.

Competency Model

This model talks about the competencies of employees in terms of knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, expertise, and performance.

It also helps in understanding what a prospective candidate requires at the time of entry in an organization at a particular designation in a given work environment and schedule.

The model also includes some basic elements such as qualifications, experience, education, training, certifications, licenses, legal requirements and willingness of a candidate.

Job Scan

This technique defines the personality dynamics and suggests an ideal job model.

However, it does not discuss the individual competencies such as intellect, experience or physical and emotional characteristics of an individual required to perform a specific job.

Different tools can be used in a different situation. Selection of an ideal job analysis tool depends upon job analysis needs and objectives and amount of time and resources.

Key Factors in Job Analysis

There are a few key factors in job analysis. These are as follows:

Task identity

Employees receive more satisfaction from doing a ‘whole’ piece of work. This is likely to happen when the job has a distinct beginning and end, which is clearly visible to the employee and others.

It is important that employees see the end results of the work they have produced either on their own or as a part of a team.

Variety

Employees, who perform repetitive tasks, which offer no challenge, may lose interest and become bored and dissatisfied. Greater variety can improve interest, challenge, and commitment to the task. Variety means more than simply adding an extra but similar task.

For example, processing different forms would not make the work more meaningful as there would be no extra challenge.

Too much variety can also be frustrating and a source of conflict and dissatisfaction. The optimum amount of variety will differ from person to person and could depend on the level of the position.

Responsibility

Employees need to feel responsible for a significant part of the work they perform, either individually or as part of a team.

Work should be clearly identified enabling employees to see that they are personally responsible for the successes and failures that occur as a result of their own actions.

Autonomy

This goes hand in hand with responsibility. Employees should have some areas of decision making within the framework of their job.

Autonomy means giving more scope to employees to regulate and control their own work.

Working environment

A job should provide a safe and healthy working environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. It is also important to consider the types of work aids and equipment required to perform the role.

Interaction with others

Employees need to understand their reporting relationships.

For example, employees must know to whom they report. It is important to identify the level of interaction that is required with key internal and external customers

Recognition and support

Employees need jobs that contribute to self-respect, particularly through acceptance and recognition by fellow workers and supervisors.

Jobs should permit relationships between individuals and encourage teamwork; otherwise, the employee can feel isolated which may result in negative feelings about their work and their work environment.

Outcomes and performance measures

Employees need to know what their particular targets are and how they relate to the overall operation of the organization. This will involve identifying the outcomes required of the position.

The standard of performance also needs to be identified along with performance measures. This feedback will provide employees with an equitable capacity for ongoing learning and advancement.

Guidelines for Job Analysis

Before actually analyzing the job, using one or more of the tools we turn to in the following section, keep four practical guidelines in mind.

  1. Make the job analysis a joint effort by a human resources specialist, the worker, and the worker’s supervisor. The human resource manager might observe the worker doing the job and have both the supervisor and worker fill out job questionnaires. Based on all that, the specialist lists the job duties and required human traits. The supervisor and worker then review and verify the HR manager’s list of the job’s activities and duties.
  2. If there are several employees doing the same job in different departments, collect job analysis information from employees in different departments, not just one. The way someone with a particular job title spends his time is not necessarily the same from department to department.
  3. Make sure the questions and process are clear to the employees. (For example, some might not know what we mean when we ask about the job’s “mental demands”.) Catch problems early.
  4. Use several different tools for job analysis. Generally, try not to rely just on a questionnaire but perhaps supplement the survey results with a short follow-up interview. The problem is that each tool has potential drawbacks.

Importance of Job Analysis

Job analysis is a process. The importance of job analysis are;

  1. Planning and organizing of program.
  2. Obtaining current information.
  3. Conducting needs research.
  4. Establishing priorities.
  5. Collecting job data.
  6. Preparing job description.
  7. Developing job specification.
  8. Maintaining and updating the job description and job specification.

Planning and organizing of program

The first step is to plan and organize the job analysis program. Planning is made before gathering data from the employees. It is important to identify the objectives of the job analysis.

Top management support is needed to make job analysis a success. A person is designated as in-charge of the program and required authority and responsibility is assigned to him. Schedule of the program and budget estimation is prepared.

Obtaining current information

Current job design information is collected and study of job description, job specification, processes used, manuals and organization flow charts are done by the analyst.

Conducting needs research

The analyst determines which manager, the department requires the job analysis. Research is conducted to determine the purpose of the job analysis and method used to gather relevant information.

Establishing priorities

An HR manager with the help of various managers of the related department will identify and prioritize the jobs to be analyzed.

Collecting job data

The next step is to collect the data related to the job selected for the analysis as they are being performed in the organization at present.

Preparing job description

Using job information obtained from job analysis, a job description is being prepared. It states the full information about the job, including the working conditions, nature of the job, processes, machines, and materials used.

Developing job specification

Job specifications are developed using the information given in the job description.

A job specification is a statement regarding human qualities that are required to perform a particular job. Such information is used to select the person matching the requirements of the job.

Maintaining and updating the job description and job specification

Once a job description and job specification have been completed and reviewed, a system must be developed for keeping them current.

Job requirements and employee requirements may be changed over time and accordingly job description and specification need to be adapted.

Conclusion

Employee turnover is a very serious problem in most of the industries.

Turnover is harmful because it causes serious inconveniences, high costs, wastage of trained manpower, reduces morale and motivation. It occurs mainly due to frustration for the following reasons:

  • A mismatch between expectation and reality in the nature of work,
  • A mismatch between requirements of the job and capabilities,
  • A mismatch between responsibility and compensation.

This mismatch has arisen because the actual work has not been properly defined, designed and disclosed.

This leads to the concept of job analysis. F.W. Taylor, the father of Scientific Management, also gave emphasis on conducting and studying each part of job scientifically to develop one best way of doing a task.

Let us now define a job.

Organizations consist of positions that have to be staffed by the right person.

A job is defined as a collection of duties and responsibilities which are given together to an individual employee. Jobs are important to individuals.

They help determine standards of living, places of residence, status and even one’s sense of self- worth. Jobs are important because they are the vehicles through which works are accomplished.

Job analysis is an essential prerequisite for the effective management of the human resources of an organization. It is the process of gathering relevant information about a job. It actually specifies the tasks involved in a job and the factors that influence the performance of that job.

As a process, it is capable of producing results with great practical relevance for human resource management.

Job analysis has applications in almost all the HR activities of an organization.

It acts as the basis for decisions involving human resource planning, recruitment and selection, training and development, compensation fixation, job evaluation, performance evaluation, career management, and health and safety of employees.