Job Analysis Detail

Why Should I Conduct a Job Analysis? What metrics do you use to identify your top performers?

Suppose that some customer service managers in one area of your organization are complaining about the computer-based training program. The managers complain that the training process does not address new systems and that their employees are not prepared once they return to the job. The employees complain that the practice modules and simulations aren't relevant to their jobs. Clearly, a new training curriculum is needed for these people, but how can you be sure that a new program is going to be any better than the old program? By conducting a job analysis study before tackling the problem of the new training curriculum, you can obtain valuable information about the job content, systems, standards, and demands. This information can be used to choose or develop a new customer service training program.

AIMM's JOBCalculator can be used as a starting point for developing a variety of human performance management and development programs, including employment tests, hiring interviews, performance evaluations, and determining training needs. A job analysis is an efficient, cost-effective way to gather useful information about a job. Once this information has been collected, it can be used over and over again (with appropriate updates) for many different purposes.

Many organizations decide to use generic products (for example, employment tests, hiring interview questions, training programs, and performance evaluation forms) that apply to a variety of jobs in different organizations. However, if you conduct a job analysis, you will have specific information that will allow you to create programs that are tailored to the unique demands of the jobs in your organization. Research shows that programs based on job analysis results are more effective and more readily accepted by employees than comparable generic programs. Even if you decide to use generic human performance management programs, job analysis information will help you select the most appropriate products.

There are some important legal reasons to conduct job analyses. In 1964, Congress passed landmark legislation intended to reduce discrimination in the workplace. This law covers nearly all companies that have 15 or more employees. The Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (1978) addresses the legality of human resource programs in organizations (including an organization's recruiting, hiring, and promotion procedures). The guidelines emphasize that an organization's human resource programs should be job-related, in other words, based on the actual content and requirements of the jobs. A properly performed job analysis can (1) define the actual content of jobs, and (2) help to ensure that human resource programs based on the job analysis are legally defensible.

More recently, Congress passed the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), aimed at reducing workplace discrimination against people with disabilities. This law also covers nearly all companies that have 15 or more employees. A job analysis can be used to define the essential elements of the job, including the physical demands that the work requires. Job analysis, along with a review of the selection and promotion systems that you use, will help ensure that your hiring and promotion practices are fair and legally defensible. While a job analysis alone does not provide insurance against legal challenges, it is a key element in designing human performance management and development systems that can stand up to legal challenges.

What Types of Information Can be Generated?

Below is a list of some information that can be generated from a job analysis:

  • Major job functions or duties
  • Work tasks
  • Future impact
  • Skills or competencies
  • Critical situations faced by job holders
  • Work related knowledge
  • Performance standards and rating scales
  • Work environment factors
  • Decision making authority
  • Typical-day descriptions
  • Training requirements
  • Certification requirements
  • Competency models
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