IMPERATIVES OF JOB ANALYSIS- (Performance Excellence)
By Aurangzeb Soharwardi
Enormous organizations exist in the world, with millions of workers performing jobs by producing products and services to fulfill customer needs , there by endeavoring to meet organizational objectives.There are many issues related to jobs , their designs,their specifications,processes,tools and the context which lead to under productivity, lack of motivation, supervisory issues, wastage of resources, disruptions and so many other complications. Some times companies hire employees with unmatched skills,knowledge and attitude not compatible with the job requirements.Some times the job context and the over all work environment is not conducive for the job performance and the job processes are also not designed properly. The human-process fit and Human-environment fit is very very important in this regards. Companies suffer due the this because this is the foundation of the whole system of work.Whether Large,medium or small organizations , this impacts all and can be ameliorated through a more precise,comprehensive and integrated process of analyzing and designing jobs in the organizations.There is a state of the art process which can be adopted. It all started from 1909 when a mechanical engineer Fredric Taylor published his book The Principles of Scientific Management and suggested that productivity would increase if jobs were optimized and simplified. He also proposed matching a worker to a particular job that suited the person’s skill level and then training the worker to do that job in a specific way. Scientific management has at its heart four core principles that also apply to organizations today. They include , (1)Looking at each job or task scientifically to determine the “one best way” to perform the job. This is a change from the previous “rule of thumb” method where workers devised their own ways to do the job (2)Hire the right workers for each job, and train them to work at maximum efficiency(3)Monitor worker performance, and provide instruction and training when needed(4)Divide the work between management and labor so that management can plan and train, and workers can execute the task efficiently. These principles laid the foundations of Job analysis which is a systematic process of collecting the information on nature of a job, qualities and qualifications required to a job, physical and mental capabilities required to a job, duties and responsibilities, physical and mental effort required to perform a job, necessary skills required to perform a job, working conditions and environment for a job, in order to describe job description and job specification.Also known as work analysis it is also explained as family of procedures to identify the content of a job in terms of the activities it involves in addition to the attributes or requirements necessary to perform those activities. Job analysis provides information to organizations that helps them determine which employees are best fit for specific jobs. Job description also lays down the quality standards for the job to be performed. It also determines the job family of particular job.This is the most important aspect and the foundation of employee productivity,performance ,motivation and product or service quality.On the basis of this ,in each company the jobs have to be determined and organized according to the nature of tasks,objectives, technology available and the context. For this the chain can be followed.
(JOB ANALYSIS = TASK ANALYSIS —WORKFLOW-WORK SAMPLING-JOB DESIGNàJOB DESCRIPTIONàJOB SPECIFICATION)
The process should start with Job analysis aiming to answer questions such as: Why does the job exist?What physical and mental activities does the worker undertake?When is the job to be performed?Where is the job to be performed and Under What conditions it is to be performed? Job analysis is also a detailed examination of (1) tasks that make up a job (employee role), (2) conditions under which an employee performing his/her job, and (3) what exactly a job requires in terms of aptitudes (potential for achievement), attitudes (behavior characteristics), knowledge, skills, educational qualifications and the physical working condition of the employee. The process of job analysis has to be carefully undertaken and to start the jobs have to be contemplated to be performed in any particular company. In the words of Dale Yoder. “A Job is a collection of duties, tasks and responsibilities which are assigned to an individual and which is different from other assignment”.Then various tasks analysis has to be done which jointly form a job. Element
In job analysis is the smallest unit of work activity. Task is a work activity that is performed to achieve a specific objective . A position is an individual’s place in the organization defined by the tasks performed. KSAOs The knowledge, skills/abilities ,attitude and other characteristics that are required for successful job performance.we should be careful to avoid confusing the job and the position with the individuals who occupy them (Harvey, 1991). In other words, job analysis should be focused not on the
person who holds the job or occupies the position but, rather, on the job or position itself.For this a process of task analysis has to be carried out which is the analysis of how a task is accomplished, including a detailed description of both manual and mental activities, task and element duration, task frequency, task allocation, task complexity, environmental conditions, necessary clothing and equipment, and any other unique factors involved in or required for one or more people to perform a given task. Information from a task analysis can then be used for many purposes, such as personnel selection and training, tool or equipment design, procedure design (e.g., design of checklists, or decision support systems) and automation. The term “task” is often used interchangeably with activity or process. Task analysis often results in a hierarchical representation of what steps it takes to perform a task for which there is a goal and for which there is some lowest-level “action” or interaction among humans and/or machines: this is known as hierarchical task analysis. Tasks may be identified and defined at multiple levels of abstraction as required to support the purpose of the analysis. A critical task analysis, for example, is an analysis of human performance requirements which, if not accomplished in accordance with system requirements, will likely have adverse effects on cost, system reliability, efficiency, effectiveness, or safety. Task analysis is often performed by human factors and ergonomics professionals. Task analysis may be of manual tasks, such as bricklaying, and be analyzed as time and motion studies using concepts from industrial engineering. Cognitive task analysis is applied to modern work environments such as supervisory control where little physical work occurs, but the tasks are more related to situation assessment, decision making, and response planning and execution. If task analysis is likened to a set of instructions on how to navigate from Point A to Point B, then Work domain analysis (WDA) is like having a map of the terrain that includes Point A and Point B. WDA is broader and focuses on the environmental constraints and opportunities for behavior, as in Gibsonian ecological psychology and ecological interface design (Vicente, 1999; Bennett & Flach, 2011). Besides this work flow analysis is also undertaken which consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of activity, enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information. It can be depicted as a sequence of operations, the work of a person or group, the work of an organization of staff, or one or more simple or complex mechanisms. Task-Oriented Techniques (Task Inventory Approach-The Occupational Information Network (O*NET).Functional Job Analysis (FJA) A highly structured task-oriented approach developed by Sidney Fine in which data are obtained about what tasks a worker does and how those tasks are performed.In the 1930s, the Department of Labor used FJA to develop the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), a tool that matches people with jobs. Worker-Oriented Techniques(Job Element Method (JEM) /Position analysis questionnaire/Common-Metric Questionnaire (CMQ).
A worker-oriented job analysis instrument that attempts to improve the generalization
of worker-oriented approaches through the use of items focused on slightly less
general work behaviors.
A workflow management system (WfMS) is a software system for setting up, performing, and monitoring of a defined sequence of processes and tasks, with the broad goals of increasing productivity, reducing costs, becoming more agile, and improving information exchange within an organization. These systems may be process eccentric or data eccentric, and they may represent the workflow as graphical maps. The workflow management system may also include an extensible interface so that external software applications can be integrated and provide support for wide area workflows that provide faster response times and improved productivity.
Then is another related process which is work sampling which is the statistical technique used for determining the proportion of time spent by workers in various defined categories of activity (e.g. setting up a machine, assembling two parts, idle…etc.). It is as important as all other statistical techniques because it permits quick analysis, recognition, and enhancement of job responsibilities, tasks, performance competencies, and organizational work flows. Other names used for it are ‘activity sampling’, ‘occurrence sampling’, and ‘ratio delay study’. After this the interdependence of job has to be taken into account for formulating inter dependency rules and procedures to be adopted.All this process provides a strong foundation to further elaborate the two important components of job analysis which are job description and job specification.A third component of job analysis which is Job design and is the sum of tasks,workflow,processes and ergonomics. Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance.” (International Ergonomics Association). The terms ‘ergonomics’ and ‘human factors’ can be used interchangeably, although ‘ergonomics’ is often used in relation to the physical aspects of the environment, such as workstations and control panels, while ‘human factors’ is often used in relation to wider system in which people work. According to Michael Armstrong, “Job Design is the process of deciding on the contents of a job in terms of its duties and responsibilities, on the methods to be used in carrying out the job, in terms of techniques, systems and procedures, and on the relationships that should exist between the job holder and his superior subordinates and colleagues.” Job design is the process of a) Deciding the contents of the job. b) Deciding methods & processes to carry out the job. c) Making optimize use of job/work-time so that job/work-time should not be wasted as time is money and time cannot be earned, but can be saved by making efficient use of it. d) Avoiding manual task if can be handled by machines or automated. e) Synchronization of work, and no conflict with other jobs f) Deciding the relationship which exists in the organization. Job design gives framework to job analysis as it tries to figure out what qualities, skills and other requirements are needed to perform the given job by a job holder.if workers perform tasks as efficiently as possible, not only does the organization benefit from lower costs and greater output per worker, but workers should be less fatigued. This point of view has for years formed the basis of classical industrial engineering, which looks for the simplest way to structure work in order to maximize efficiency. Typically, applying industrial engineering to a job reduces the complexity of the work, making it so simple that almost anyone can be trained quickly and easily to perform the job. Such jobs tend to be highly specialized and repetitive. In practice, the scientific method traditionally seeks the “one best way” to perform a job by performing time-and-motion studies to identify the most efficient movements for workers to make. Once the engineers have identified the most efficient sequence of motions, the organization should select workers based on their ability to do the job, then train them in the details of the “one best way” to perform that job. The company also should offer pay structured to motivate workers to do their best. Despite the logical benefits of industrial engineering, a focus on efficiency alone can create jobs that are so simple and repetitive that workers get bored. Workers performing these jobs may feel their work is meaningless. Hence, most organizations combine industrial engineering with other approaches to job design. The job design and further redesigning has three main techniques also which are Job Rotation( is a technique in which employees are moved between two or more jobs(mostly reated jobs) in a planned manner. The objective is to expose the employees to different experiences and wider variety of skills to enhance job satisfaction and to cross-train them, Job Enrichment(is the addition to a job of tasks that increase the amount of employee control or responsibility. It is a vertical expansion of the job as opposed to the horizontal expansion of a job, which is called job enlargement by Fredrik Herzberg) and Job Enlargement (is the horizontal expansion of a job. It involves the addition of tasks at the same level of skill and responsibility). On the basis of the job design , job description is prepared which explicitly determines the job specification too(Job Spec is the skills/abilities , knowledge and attitude of an employee, required to perform a particular job . It consists of information about requirements such as experience, education ,personality traits and attributes which will help the employee to reach the set goals of the job. After this focused,detailed and very calculated process, there are all the chances that jobs are carefully and more analytically formulated which can not only ensure optimal utilization of resources, smooth flow and more productivity but also can enhance employee motivation.Such meticulously designed jobs can also help in maintaining standards of quality and accountability in a much quantifiable manner , leading to achieve not only organizational objectives but also designing employee reward systems.Companies must also cater for strategic job analysis which is an intentional , systematic process of collecting current and future work-related aspects of a job within the organization’s strategic context (Singh, 2008). Although not much has been written about this approach yet, it still represents a potential trend in the discipline. For more information on the concept of strategic job analysis. Immaculately done J A can lead to high performance and success.