The Importance of Work Analysis & Job Design

by Diane Chinn ; Updated September 26, 2017
Work analysis leads to accurate and realistic job design.

Work analysis and job design were introduced in 1911 by Frederick W. Taylor in his book "Scientific Management," and have become integral parts of human resources management. With the constantly changing nature of work, many researchers have argued that work analysis and job design are no longer relevant. But even with continuous changes, they are still essential for recruiting and hiring, employee performance, productivity management and employment law compliance.

Work Analysis

Work analysis drives many aspects of business operations. It identifies the various elements of the work and the knowledge, skills and abilities employees must have to successfully do the required tasks. Work analysis also identifies the end result of the work process and how a specific work function fits with other functions and operations in the organization.

Job Design

Job design is driven by work analysis. Based on the information collected in the work analysis, jobs can be structured to consolidate related tasks and skills and to identify and avoid redundancies. Jobs may be designed based on work functions, techniques, materials, products, services, subject matter, worker requirements and physical demands of the job. Job design also groups related functions, leading to increased productivity. It helps establish performance criteria and can be used to develop efficient and effective work flow processes.

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Employee Management

Work analysis and job design play important roles in employee management, beginning with selection and recruitment. Work analysis and job design identify the education, skills and experience a worker must have to be successful in a job. They also determine the appropriate pay level. Once a worker is hired, work analysis and job design provide the basis for performance management and evaluation. They help managers and workers set performance objectives, training goals and evaluation standards.

Employment Law Compliance

Work analysis and job design help organizations comply with the requirements of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection. The guidelines require that employers use work analysis and job design to show that their hiring, pay and management activities are directly related to the requirements of the work and not the personal characteristics of the worker. In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that organizations make reasonable accommodations for qualified workers with disabilities. Work analysis and job design identify the essential functions of the job and areas where accommodations may be made to comply with ADA.


About the Author

Diane Chinn is a freelance writer with more than 15 years experience in many areas, including business and technical communications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from California State University and a Master of Arts in human resources and industrial relations from the University of Minnesota. She is a Six Sigma Green Belt .

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