The Importance of Work Analysis & Job Design

Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images

As your small business grows, hiring new employees becomes paramount to avoiding overworking your existing team. You might even need to create a brand-new department based on your needs. Having more hands on deck is an exciting sign of a blossoming business, but it can also be daunting – how can you best hire and manage additional team members?

The success of a new position and new employee often begins with the job description. You'll post the job description on hiring websites to attract applicants, so it needs to be comprehensive. However, it also needs to be realistic. And when the position is new, that can be difficult. Performing a work analysis comes in handy at this point.

What Is a Work Analysis?

A work analysis, also called a job analysis, is a comprehensive description of all the duties performed by the employee. It also includes the policies and procedures to be followed by the employee and a list of the managers to whom the employee directly reports, as well as any other employees that the position supervises.

How Is a Work Analysis Performed?

It's easiest to perform a work analysis for a position that already exists and is already filled. The current employee can give an accurate description of their day-to-day tasks and procedures.

  • What meetings do they regularly or periodically attend?
  • What types of phone calls do they have to make?
  • Which departments do they collaborate with on a regular basis? 
  • What types of reports do they write? 
  • What kind of research do they perform?
  • What software, apps and other tools do they use? 
  • Describe a typical work day. 
  • Do they often experience overtime or have trouble meeting deadlines? Why?

Conducting a survey like this with the current employee allows you to create a comprehensive description of the position. Once the picture has been painted, it's important to analyze what procedures could be improved or what kind of tasks could be delegated to another employee to free up time. It's common for employees in small businesses to wear multiple hats, but delegating is important, and a work analysis offers a great way to determine what needs to be taken off an employee's plate and passed on to another team member.

Designing a Brand New Job in Your Company

There are many different approaches to job design, but one method for putting together a brand-new job description involves performing a work analysis of current positions. Specifically, you want to know what kind of tasks overwhelm current employees. What do they simply not have time for? What constantly gets put on low-priority and shoved to the back burner?

Assembling these tasks into a new position (or two) can help you create an accurate job description for potential candidates to consider. In addition, consider the types of reports that you might need the new employee to create, or the meetings they might need to attend so that their supervisor can keep tabs on their work.

Another tactic could be to start by outsourcing the position to an experienced freelancer or contractor and letting them develop policies and procedures from scratch. If all goes well, you could hire this person full-time. Or, consider hiring a consulting firm to develop a new position and department with you.

The Importance of Job Design

The importance of job design cannot be understated, so take the time to regularly perform a work analysis to make sure your employees are not overworked. A great job design ensures that everyone can work efficiently without being burdened and stressed beyond belief. Remember, creating new positions means your company is growing, and that's a good thing.