Job descriptions are used for a variety of reasons. They are a tool for recruiting, determining salary ranges and levels or grades, establishing job titles, creating employee’s job goals and objectives, and conducting performance reviews. They can also be used for career planning, creating reasonable accommodations and meeting legal requirements for compliance purposes. Because of this, it is very important to have written job descriptions that accurately reflect the employees’ current job duties and responsibilities.
Employers should audit their job descriptions every few years, usually in conjunction with a compensation study and whenever the organization’s purpose, mission or structure changes. One way to audit or create job descriptions is to conduct a job analysis. Job analysis is the process of gathering, examining and interpreting data about the job’s tasks and responsibilities. It generally includes tracking an employee’s duties and the duration of each task, observing the employee performing his or her job, interviewing the employee, managers and others who interact with the employee, and comparing the job to other jobs in the same department and job grade or job family. An important concept in job analysis is that it is an evaluation of the job, not the person doing the job. The final product from a job analysis includes a thorough understanding of the essential functions of the job, a list of all duties and responsibilities, a percentage of time spent for each group of tasks, the job’s relative importance in comparison with other jobs, the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) needed to perform the job, and the conditions under which the work is completed.
There are many ways to perform a job analysis, but all require the cooperation of the employee in the position, his or her manager(s) and others the employee must work closely with while performing his or her job duties.
The following steps will help provide the best analysis of a particular job:
1. Involve employees by having them complete job analysis forms.
2. Interview employees, asking them specific questions about their job duties and responsibilities.
3. Obtain log sheets from employees with information about each of their tasks and the time spent on each task for at least one full work week.
4. Complete desk audits where you observe employees doing their jobs at different times of the day and days of the week and track what they do and for how long.
5. Interview supervisors and managers, and other employees, clients and customers the employee may interact with while performing the job.
6. Compare the job to other jobs in the department as well as the job grade or job family to show where it falls on the pay scale.
If there is more than one person doing the same job, make sure to observe and obtain feedback and information from more than one person. You will want to review your findings with the employees who do the job as well as their supervisors and managers to tweak your findings until you have an accurate reflection of the job duties and responsibilities.
Sample job analysis forms may be found at:
SHRM HR Knowledge Center
As a professional member of SHRM, you can receive free, exclusive access to the SHRM HR Knowledge Center. HR knowledge advisors have a variety of resources to assist you with your HR questions on new regulations, policies and general questions on topics ranging from FLSA and HIPAA updates to cost-per-hire and monthly turnover calculations. You may reach the SHRM HR Knowledge Center by calling (800) 283-7476 and choosing option #5 or by using the SHRM HR Knowledge Center’s Request Form.
Express RequestThe SHRM HR Knowledge Center has gathered resources on a current hot topic in HR management. Click here to view the current Express Request and to receive additional information on this week’s Express Request topic.