The Importance of Job Analysis

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Periodic job analysis enables your human resources department and the organization's leadership team to understand essential components of individual jobs, which can inform decisions about the relationship of each job, or job group, and its relationship to the company's mission and goals. Information such as job duties and tasks, work environment and required equipment is essential to comprehensive analysis, as is a description of the reporting relationships and the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the job functions. Because job analysis provides an extensive and complete picture of each position, they're critical for workforce planning and strategic workforce development.

Job Analysis Components

Workforce planning is an easy task for HR when each job in the organization is analyzed. There are five main elements in job analysis: job duties and tasks; work environment; required or necessary equipment for performing the job functions; reporting relationships or hierarchical description of where the job fits in the organizational structure; and the qualifications or knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to perform the job functions. All of these elements are necessary for a complete analysis and if any of them are missing, it could render an insufficient analysis which could make workforce planning and development more difficult than it needs to be.

Workforce Planning and Development

Workforce planning essentially consists of creating a framework for the human resources which are the number, qualifications, classification and distribution of employees required to achieve the company's goals. For example, if you are a healthcare provider in an area where the senior population is projected to grow significantly, your workforce planning and development strategy should include current personnel needs and projections for future staff necessary to meet the changing demographics in the area you serve. Job analyses support your workforce planning and development strategy and are important for long-range human resources management.

Employee Training and Development

Job analysis supports the practice of promoting from within that many organization's embraces. Promotion-from-within policies and practices rely on succession planning, which typically involves providing employees with training and development opportunities to help them maximize their career potential. For example, the structure that a job analysis offers can help in the professional development process. It effectively compares the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs), job duties and tasks for two different jobs to determine whether the transition from one position is a promotion or a lateral move.

Employee and Labor Relations

A significant part of employee and labor relations involves HR compliance with employment laws and regulations, not just federal law, but state and local jurisdiction rules as well. Job analyses are practically required to construct standardized job descriptions for each position in the organization. In the event that your company is required to defend claims about qualifications, performance expectations and details about working conditions, comprehensive job analyses are useful in demonstrating that your HR management practices are consistent and equitable.

Company Reorganization

Many companies consider whether reorganization would result in greater productivity, growth or sustainability. In this case, job analysis can be useful in forming the business case for reorganization and the eventual restructuring. Job analyses can reveal whether certain jobs are closely aligned enough to be grouped together in a department, or even split into separate teams. For example, say the shipping and transportation departments currently operate separately, but upon reviewing the jobs for each department, you believe they could be combined to streamline the process of shipping goods to your customers. The job analyses for each department will help your leadership team determine whether it's a wise move or justify maintaining separate shipping and transportation functions.

References

About the Author

Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.