HRM1283 Job Analysis, Employee Involvement and Flexible Work SDonna Verity and Chris Carella
LESSON 4: JOB ANALYSIS, EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT AND FLEXIBLE WORK
Job descriptions and specifications, and job design provide the basis for effective
HRM in an organization. In this lesson, we will look at how HR decisions are based
on the requirements of the job and how the process of job analysis provides this
information to companies. We will also look at how jobs are designed and how
design can impact on employee contributions to organizations.
Topics will include:
• the relationship of job requirements to HRM functions
• key terms in job analysis
• linkages to human resource management
• gathering job information
• approaches to job analysis
• the job description
• job design
• behavioural concerns of staff
• designing work for groups
• flexible work schedules
At the end of this module, you will be able to:
1. identify how job analysis influences various HRM functions
2. compare the various methods of gathering job information
3. describe the content of job descriptions
4. outline the role of specifications in relation to jobs
5. explain the importance of job design
1 HRM1283 Job Analysis, Employee Involvement and Flexible Donna Verity and Chris Carella
6. describe the various job characteristics that motivate employees
7. describe the impact of ergonomics on job
8. describe the different types of work schedules and their advantages and
TEXT READING: Job Analysis, Employee Involvement and Flexible Work
Pages 145 - 183
1. RELATIONSHIP OF JOB REQUIREMENTS AND HRM FUNCTIONS
In order to be successful, management must decide how to divide the work in an
organization in order to produce its goods and/or services. Through the various
HRM functions such as recruitment, selection, training and development,
performance appraisal, and compensation management, this division of work is
designed, implemented, managed and evaluated. The entire process begins with
Prior to discussing job analysis, it is important to know some key terms:
Source: Text. Pp. 146 - 146
A Job is a group of related activities and duties that is clear and distinct from
other jobs in the organization. One job may have more than one position e.g. in
a call centre, there are a number of staff performing the same job.
What the single person is doing is called their Position. It recognizes that even
though a number of employees may do the same job, it is possible for each
person to be assigned different duties within that job. So a position is made up
of the different duties and responsibilities performed by only one employee.
Job families are jobs that are grouped together because they have similar
duties and responsibilities.
Job specification - a statement of the needed knowledge, skills, and abilities
of the person who is to perform the job.
Job description - a statement of the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of a job
to be performed.
Linkages to Human Resource Management include:
Recruitment - When selecting new employees for the organization, recruiters rely
on job specifications that state the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of the
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person to perform the job successfully.
Selection - Job descriptions are useful in selecting new employees and orienting
them to their jobs.
Training and Development - Job specifications and job descriptions indicate what
training is needed for the job.
Performance Appraisal - Job descriptions provide the basis and criteria against
which employees have their performance appraised.
Compensation Management - Job requirements are used to determine how
valuable a job is to the organization, which is then used as a basis for paying a
particular wage or salary.
2. JOB ANALYSIS
Job analysis is the study of jobs for the purpose of understanding their duties,
responsibilities, relationship to other jobs, workflow characteristics, and the human
requirements to successfully perform the work.
Source: Text, P. 149
Gathering Job Information
Job analysis is usually performed by someone from the HR department. This
individual works closely with managers and employees to collect information about
the job using a number of methods including:
Interviews - Individual employees and managers are questioned about the job
that is under review. You will generally find that the information from these two
sources will vary considerably, so you will need to confirm and combine the data
that you collect. For example, employees may exaggerate the functions of their
jobs in order to have their jobs rated higher than deserved, or managers downplay
the work of staff.
Questionnaires - Job Analysts use questionnaires when they want to collect a lot
of information from many employees in a short period of time. There is no set
format for a job analysis questionnaire; however, most forms collect information in
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the areas of job duties, purpose of the job, physical surroundings, and job
specifications needed to successfully perform the job. In order to increase the
reliability of this information, you might consider facilitating the completion of the
questionnaires (in groups), ensuring that everyone understands the intent of the
question that is being asked.
Observation - Observation represents one of the more accurate methods of job
analysis, since the trained Job Analyst directly collects the information. The
information is recorded on a standardized form developed by the organization. The
problem with this method is that staff do not like being observed and may not
perform in a normal fashion, which means that the information that you are
collecting may not be exact. Preparation of staff is important to correct this
problem. You will most commonly see this method used in manufacturing
environments where the entire cycle of the job can be observed at the same time.
Videotaping is another form of observation.
Diaries - The diary approach is used when employees are instructed to maintain a
work record of their daily work activities. This method is used when the job cycle
might extend over several days or weeks. Again, preparing staff for this method is
essential so that the information collected is accurate. If staff do not trust why the
information is being collected you will find that the data may be inflated.
The NOC and Job Analysis
An important tool for the job analyst is the National Occupational Classification
compiled by the Federal Government. This document contains comprehensive
descriptions of about 25,000 different jobs and is composite of the Canadian labour
market. It has brought about a uniformity of job titles and descriptions used by
employers across the country and is useful for workers moving from region to
region, and to employers in establishing salary levels. The NOC can serve as a
means of checking information collected by the job analyst. It also services
employees and employers in vocational counselling and career development. The
NOC is available online and through local Service Canada offices.
Approaches to Job Analysis
There are several ways to conduct the job analysis process:
a. Functional Job Analysis: This job analysis approach uses an inventory of
different job functions appropriate to any job. Three broad worker functions form
the basis of the system: (1) data, (2) people, and (3) things. Refer to Figure 4-2
on p. 153 for the subcategories of each area. The Job analyst uses the three
categories to arrive at a quantitatively evaluated job.
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b. The Position Analysis Questionnaire System: This worker-oriented job
analysis system uses 194 different tasks as a basis for analyzing jobs. A five-point
scale is employed to determine the degree, if any, to which the different tasks, or
job elements, are involved in performing a particular job. Figure 4-3 on p. 154 is
an actual sample page from the Position Analysis Questionnaire system.
c. The Critical Incident Method: The critical incident method of job analysis
seeks to identify critical job tasks. By definition, critical job tasks are those
performed by employees that lead to job success. The job analyst will gather
information about critical job tasks from interviews with employees or supervisors
or through self-report statements written by employees.
After the job is studied in detail, the final step in the critical incident method is for
the job analyst to write five to ten major task statements for the job under study. A
major advantage of this job analysis procedure is that it requires the user to focus
on employee behaviours that are critical to job success.
d. Task Inventory Analysis: This method involves the use of an organization
specific list of tasks and their descriptions as a basis for identifying components of
jobs. The goal is to develop a comprehensive list of task statements that are
applicable to all jobs. These task statements are added to a task survey form to be
completed by the person doing the analysis of the job in question. The analysis
would then involved determining the importance and frequency of the tests to the
successful completion of the job.
e. HRIS and Job Analysis: Software programs exit to perform job analysis.
Generally these programs contain generalized task statements that can apply to
many different jobs. The job analysis is completed when HR professionals or
managers pick those task statements that define the job under study. Magazines
such as the Canadian HR Reporter contain the names of companies offering job
analysis software programs.
3. JOB DESCRIPTION
There is no standard format for job descriptions, however, as a minimum, most job
descriptions contain three parts: the job title, the job identification section, and job
duties. Job specifications can be included in the job description or as a separate
Highlights in HRM 4.1 on p. 157 will show you an example of a job description (in
this case, for an HR Generalist).
a. Job Title - The job title should accurately reflect the duties of the job and in
addition, provide psychological importance and status to the employee.
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b. Job Identification Section - This section simply provides information to
identify the job. Information might include department location of the job, number
of employees in the job, the person to whom the jobholder reports and payroll
number. This information is often followed by a short summary statement of the
c. Job Duties, or Essential Functions Section - This is the heart of any job
description. Listed here, in their order of importance, are the essential job duties
d. Job Specifications Section - Job specifications state the qualifications a person
needs to perform the job correctly. Job specifications cover two broad areas: (1)
the skills required to perform the job, and (2) the physical demands on the
jobholder. Relevant skills include education or experience, special training, personal
traits or abilities, and manual dexterity. Job specifications might also state
interpersonal skills or specific behavioural attributes needed for successful job
Problems with Job Descriptions
While job descriptions are important tools in organizations, there are often a
number of problems with them. For example:
• if they are poorly written e.g. they use vague rather than specific terms, they
are not a very good tool for the employee or management
• given that organizations change frequently, job descriptions are often difficult
to keep up to date – this means that duties or specifications may not be an
accurate indicator of the work
• if they are not written appropriately, they may cause legal issues for the
organization e.g. they may contain specifications that are not necessary for
job success and may discriminate against potential employees
• if the corporate culture is not open to job enrichment, they can limit the
scope of activities of the job holder and reduce organizational flexibility.
Writing Clear and Specific Job Descriptions
Job descriptions should be written in direct and simple language that is clear to
anyone, even if they are not involved in the job. Normally, the sentences
describing job duties begin with a verb in its present tense e.g. "maintains,"
"supervises," "coordinates," "operates," or "performs."
Some job descriptions end with a statement such as: "The employee shall perform
other duties as may be necessary." This statement is far too broad and may result
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in the supervisor assigning work to the individual that is beyond the requirements
for which the worker is being paid. It is best to develop a culture in the
organization where it is acknowledged that not all duties can possibly be included in
a job description, but at the same time, there is an understanding that the major
work is described.
When additional duties are added to the staff member’s work, there should be a
discussion about whether this work is temporary or permanent, how it fits into the
current description, and how it fits into the current compensation scheme. This is
important is ensuring internal equity where employees feel fairly compensated for
their work, and is essential when methods such as job enrichment (covered later in
these notes) are used.
Written job requirements assist the HR staff and managers during the recruitment
and selection of new employees, identify the content of orientation and training
programs, and assist in appraising the work of staff. In particular, written job