Sunday, May 15, 2011

What is Job analysis?

What is Job analysis? Explain the competency approach to Job analysis and the methods involved in it. Discuss this with reference to an organisation where is this approach is followed. Briefly describe the organisation you are referring to.

Answer. Job analysis involves developing a detailed description of the tasks involved in a job, determining the relationship of a given job to the other jobs, and ascertaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for an employee to successfully perform his job. It is essentially a process of collecting and analyzing data relating to job.

The scope and process of Job Analysis includes the following:
1. Collection and recording job information
2. Checking the job information for accuracy
3. Writing job descriptions based on the information
4. Using the information to determine the skills, abilities and knowledge that are required on the job
5. Updating the information from time to time.

The process of Job analysis is depicted in the following figure:

Of late, what is coming to the forefront for many employer organizations is the increased use of competencies as an outgrowth of job analysis. Job and work analysis, once considered the backbone of recruiting and selecting employees, describe the job and then locate people for that job. Where traditional job analysis will focus on the evaluation of job tasks, duties, and particular responsibilities of a particular job, this focus is upon the workers and their relationship to their productivity or outputs. As such, two or more workers may share the same or similar abilities based on their skills and related knowledge. They may differ on what they are able to produce as a result of their abilities.

Competencies refer to individuals, how they differ, and how some may be more productive or successful with a particular employer than others with the same or similar job. Workplace competencies give the employer an added bonus in that they tend to tie the worker with the goals of the organization more efficiently than a restatement of skills and abilities. Competencies are a human capital initiative and are defined within a behavioral context. An individual's ability, or competency, may indeed come from a variety of directions, not the least of which is prior work experiences or educational accomplishments. Competencies relate to how the worker can perform the job successfully regardless of where the ability was gained or acquired.

Methods of performing Job Analysis
To determine what competencies are applicable to specific jobs, it is necessary to carry out some form of job analysis. The methods currently in use include:
• diaries: self-reporting of tasks over a specific time period (simple and non-disruptive, but selective reporting may not accurately reflect what is happening).
• interviews: employees are asked how they spend their time (recollection may be inaccurate and not reflect the true situation or interviewees may genuinely not be aware of the significance of what they have done).
• observation: an observer shadows someone over a specified period and notes their activities (time-consuming and the person being watched may act differently, but the observer actually sees what is happening, not just what they have been told would happen).
• critical incident technique: self-reporting of specific incidents where particular decisions were taken (this is supposed to isolate the essence of a particular behaviour but because it is self-selecting it may not truly reflect the competencies required in a particular role).
• repertory grid: employees report on their perception of colleagues by awarding them marks over a range of behaviours and skills (this has the advantage of being self-generating but it produces a large amount of data which requires skilful analysis).
• checklists and inventories: several types of questionnaire have been developed, many available as software programs (which aids analysis), asking about specific aspects of different jobs - these include PAQ (Position Analysis Questionnaire), JCI (Job Components Inventory) and WPS (Work Profiling System).

How work was described - before and after competencies

Before Competencies After Competencies
Analysis of Work
Called: "Job Analysis" "Competency Modeling"
Called: "Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other Characteristics"
( KSAO's) "Competencies"
Methods: Questionnaires/Interviews Questionnaires/Interviews
Carried out by: Industrial/Organizational
Psychologists Everyone
Assessment Tools
Called: Tests, Interviews
(BBI, Situational, etc.)
Reference Checks, etc, "Competency-Based
Assessment Techniques"

Differences Between Job Analysis & Competency Modeling

Job Analysis Competency Modeling
Rigor - use of multiple
input content Medium/High Low
Rigor- Reliability Medium/High Low
Rigor- Methods Medium/High Low/Medium
Rigor-Links to
business goals Low/Medium High
Focus on technical
skills High Low/Medium
Focus on core comps.
values & personality Low/Medium Medium/High

Developing a competency framework
Competency frameworks can be developed in a number of ways. It is possible to draw on the competency lists produced in support of occupational standards and the framework of National and Scottish Vocational Qualifications. Many organizations develop their competency frameworks through an internal research programme, sometimes aided by advisers from an external consultancy. Methods of developing a framework range from importing an existing off-the-shelf package through to developing the entire thing from scratch. The best solution usually lies between these two extremes, namely internally generating a framework that builds in business relevance, but do this by adapting existing models that have already been widely used and have proved successful.

The design programme is usually led by personnel or training specialists who together with a small project team of line managers, conduct research among employers and managers. Research among employees, managers and directors focuses on gaining their input and knowledge to produce definitions of performance and the names of competency headings. The specific techniques and methods used to gain this feedback vary, but include interviews, repertory grid, critical incident technique, behaviour event interviews, group roundtable meetings and focus groups. The main aim of all these techniques is to participant's views on important competencies for the organization and the ways that these should be defined.

It is important that the competency framework is a good fit with the rest of the organization’s HR practices and reflects its mission statement and values. Experience has shown that employee involvement is the single most important factor in the introduction of competency frameworks.

Types of framework
There are several models of competency framework, and deciding which one will be most suitable for your organization will depend on the profile of staff jobs, size of the organization and who the framework is aimed at.

Some organizations opt for one framework for all employees across the organization, which is often known as a 'core framework'. This has the advantage of being simple and easy to communicate, but has several drawbacks in terms of how relevant it ends up being to different types of employees. As a core framework tends to be very general, some organizations have problems getting employees to accept it as something that is relevant to them. Because of this, core frameworks must be carefully prepared and designed so as to be accessible and relevant to all levels of worker.

Some organizations prefer instead to produce a core framework, but then supplement it with role specific competencies to acknowledge the special responsibilities and needs of managers and other important groups. Examples of role specific competencies are people management, financial decision making and project management. This approach offers a relatively simple way of improving the acceptability of a core framework to a diverse workforce.

Another option to consider is a 'menu' style approach. This involves producing a framework, from which employees with their manager selected a few competencies, which are seen as relevant to the role an individual performs. This approach enables an organization to provide a much broader range of behavioural competencies which apply to many different types of employee, thus improving the likelihood that the competencies are seen as realistic and relevant.

The final option is to create different framework for different groups within the organization in order to take account of diverse needs. Identifying suitable groups should be done to reflect each organization’s situation and priorities, but they are often based on either major functions (e.g., HR, IT, sales) or on responsibilities (e.g., managers, senior managers). These types of frameworks can be more relevant and can be more easily customized or revised to take account of changing priorities and needs. However, there are disadvantages. It can be difficult to control the development and maintenance of numerous separate sets of competencies, in terms of ensuring consistency and fairness. But also, in terms of ensuring they are linked to the organization’s objectives and values.

I am familiar with Zenith computers. Zenith Computers has its headquarts in Mumbai, India. It is 25 years old with a turnover of Rs. 3 Billion. Zenith Computers has 1000 employees spread all over India in its 15 offices and manufacturing plant in Goa.Zenith's 40,000 sq ft, ISO 9001 + 14001 state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Goa is one of the most comprehensive in the PC industry. Zenith has 800 Authorized Dealers and 350 Exclusive Retail Showrooms called "Zenith PC World" across India. Zenith is the 2nd largest Indian PC Manufacturer after HCL Infosystems. Zenith Computers has shown a higher market share than Wipro, Dell, and Acer. The market share of Zenith is shown to be at par with IBM/Lenovo, just after HP.

Zenith computers believe that traditional job analysis approaches need to be supplemented by additional methodologies that help us to look forward rather than concentrate on the present.

In our company any job analysis incorporates the perspective of the senior management team so that the company’s long-term strategy can be incorporated into the competency framework. If this is done effectively, individuals can be recruited and developed to reflect the kind of managers and leaders that the company will need in the future. Without this, a company could simply be recruiting people with similar competencies, year after year, with no acknowledgement that the company has moved on.

Competencies are designed to identify what is good job performance today, and what will be good job performance in the future. Start-State Competencies tell us what behaviours are necessary for an individual to possess right at the beginning of their tenure. However, as an individual grows within the job these Start-State competencies become less important. End-State competencies are the competencies that an individual should have developed over a period of time. If a manager has successfully developed his/her skills, you should not keep comparing him/her to the same old benchmark.

A Competency Tree
These competencies are designed to reflect differences in level. A management group may have a number of levels of seniority whereby each level needs the same competencies, but the way that these competencies are demonstrated may be different.

A Competency Tree outlines the competencies common to all levels of seniority, yet the behaviours associated with these competencies are different for each level and are also described in full. This approach to competency design is particularly useful for giving employees an illustration of the sorts of characteristics expected of them as they progress within the organization.

A thorough and considered job analysis is at the heart of all good competency frameworks. Zenith’s approach mixes traditional job analysis techniques, such as Repertory Grid and Critical Incidence analysis, with other structured interview techniques and tools, such as the Position Analysis Questionnaire. The time devoted to job analysis, and the number of job incumbents, superiors and peers interviewed varies with the job under consideration. Zenith computers aims to conduct these interviews in alignment with best practice, mixing diplomacy, discretion and professionalism with a high degree of scientific rigour.

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