What is a job analysis?
A job analysis is often known as the process used to identify the tasks, responsibilities, skills, objectives, and work environment for a specific job. Typically it’s used for crafting the perfect job description - yet it encompasses so much more than that. What starts with recruiting - when done well - also improves your employee’s transition into their new role and supports their long term growth.
Today’s workplace culture requires us to expand the definition of a job analysis. Now it includes the expectations, goals, skills and competencies, onboarding expectations, performance review information, and anything else for educating an employee to achieve mastery of role. When done well, this level of detail in a job post can heighten the number of applications you get through its sheer transparency. From there, managers, peers, and leadership can lean on the same great work for other purposes. So, let’s begin by redefining it from being utilized for a job description to establishing how a role adds value for a team and organization.
Compare the following two job analyses:
The first image represents the traditional approach that ends with a job description and is rarely ever used further. While, the second image reflects the modern approach to creating a job analysis. Every viewer of the description has a crystal clear view of the role, it’s value to the organization, as well as short and long term expectations.
There’s a variety of ways you can use the information from a [modern] job analysis. For example, a job analysis provides the foundation for a smooth employee onboarding process by helping you establish and outline clear expectations for the first 30-days and beyond. By defining clear goals and objectives upfront, you avoid any miscommunication and provide your new employee with a sense of direction.
Think of it this way. Let’s say a map has been given to you that leads to a buried treasure (mastery of role). Which type of map would be simpler to follow and discover the treasure? A map that has a red swivelling line sketched down the page leading to an “X” that marks the spot? Or a detailed map that includes landmarks that help to describe and illustrate how to maneuver yourself at each turn until you reached the “X.” A well structured job analysis will help you create a detailed map towards the mastery of a role for your new employee, their managers, and the rest of the organization.
Why is conducting a job analysis essential?
When a job analysis contains details on the role, expectations, competencies, onboarding plans, day-to-day tasks, and other such details (and is not just a job description) your organization can leverage the information for initiatives, such as:
- Career development
- Health and safety
- And more!
One advantage of designing a job analysis with this level of detail is how it improves your candidate knowledge on how to add value to the organization and whether or not they are equipped to do so. This will help qualify candidates and then bleed directly into their onboarding experience where managers can review expectations and responsibilities and set accurate 30-60-90 day goals. This also forms the bedrock for their performance reviews and how they can fulfill the needs of the role.
Doing a good job of expectation setting during the onboarding process also adds value to the offboarding process. If managers do a good job setting up crystal clear expectations of the role, and the candidate doesn’t fulfill those expectations, then it should be a surprise that it didn’t work out. By having these details embedded in a thorough job analysis, reviewing it upfront, and then checking-in against the same expectations, both parties will have a concrete understanding of where the needs were not met, leading to a more civil departure.
Aside from the termination and offboarding process, a job analysis that contains rich details on the role can also fosters continuous employee growth. Skills, competencies, and other details help form the foundation of your coaching and development process. Managers and employees can use these details from the job analysis to learn how to develop and progress towards mastery of role. This knowledge and continuous reviewal helps nurture them towards a clear path or in other words, directions them precisely to the “X.”
How to conduct a job analysis
1. Review the job requirements
A job analysis requires you to gain a deeper understanding of the day to day operations of your employees. It can be tough at times to get a comprehensive view of the expectations, responsibilities, and potential competencies required in a single role. It’s worth the effort to capture this information from both management and employees on the day-to-day expectations, requirements and skills of the candidate to become successful in the role. By asking a current or previous employee (e.g. someone who has been promoted from that position) to describe their day to day operations, you’ll uncover the details needed to start an excellent job analysis.
TIP: Make sure to obtain clear and detailed answers from a current or previous employee for the job analysis. The more detailed your explanation, the better your new employee will be able to follow directions and expectations.
- Book a meeting with a current or previous employee to review the job
- Book a meeting with the manager to establish expectations in the role
- Consider booking a meeting with the organization's leadership to highlight any expectations missed
- Email a survey to a current employee inquiring about the job.
2. Research similar job descriptions
In the war for talent, don’t be blind to what your competitors are doing. Learn what job seekers are looking for and how expectations are defined at their organization. Review a variety of different organization’s job description to avoid overlooking critical aspects of the job. You’ll also learn what they perceive to be the most vital aspects of the job.
TIP: Look for detailed job descriptions. Some companies even provide their 30-60-90 goals on the posting! Recognize how other companies have outlined the evolution to grasp the potential of the role further.
- On Google, search for “[job title] [location] description”
- In LinkedIn jobs, search for “[job title],” and set your preferences
- Scan a recruiting website like Indeed for “[job title]” and “[location]”
- On your competitor’s website, review their job board to see if they have any similar descriptions that you can compare to yours
3. Identify the outcomes required for the job
Think of this like your 30-60-90 day goals. How will this role align with your organization's overall goals and objectives? What do we expect in week one, week 10, and how does that evolve with tenure? Identifying this allows you to define expectations as well as determine the level of value we expect the role to provide over time.
TIP: Be clear and concise to avoid confusion. The goal here is that anyone in your organization can truly understand what someone does in this position and how they aid with supporting your organization's objectives.
- Define the skills and competencies for success in this role
- Outline the organization's goals
- Set clear expectations for the new employee
- Describe desired attitudes and behaviours
- Create a scoring legend defining success
- Draft a timeline for the reviewal process
- Create salary bands based on the role’s evolution
4. Examine the job efficiencies
Study the needs of your organization. Are there tasks that you can assign to another department or employee? Is there a solution to optimize your employee’s responsibilities? When crafting a job analysis, scope out the efficiencies of each department and role. There may be tasks that are better suited elsewhere. If so, you may no longer want to include some of the functions of the job.
TIP: Create a job analysis for all your available jobs, not solely for a new job. This way, you can critique the responsibilities and outcomes to recognize if another role would be better suited for specific tasks.
- Review if any projects are incomplete. If so, is there another role that would be more successful at completing this? Consider reassigning this task.
- Take that task out of the job analysis if it’s is no longer be apart of their responsibilities.
5. Determine the skills and training required
When onboarding a new employee, explore what tools and expertise you can train them on to achieve both short and long-term success. The goal here is to identify what you can offer an employee in their first few weeks and throughout the year, to help them along the road towards mastery in their role. In your job analysis, identify those gaps.
TIP: Make the job analysis as accurate as you can! Ask a current or previous employee in that position for recommendation on the tools and training needed for this role. Uncover if there is an optimal way to comprehend what you require of them.
- Define the skills needed to have training for
- Decide the method of the training (small group, computer-based, etc.)
- Assess the effectiveness of the training (modify if needed)
6. Define the compensation
Determining a job’s compensation can be tricky – but your job analysis should help resolve this. A job analysis sheds light on the skills, work environment, responsibilities, education and more needed for deciphering an appropriate compensation.
Pinpointing these key job details allows you to formulate the salary and applicable benefits accurately as well as how that will change with tenure.
TIP: With a tight labour market, consider researching your competitor’s salary and benefits, too. Using the details from the job analysis, compare salary from jobs with similar factors.
- Outline the skill level, work environment, responsibilities and education needed for this position
- Review what salary your competitors are offering for similar jobs
- Review your organization’s current or previous salary brackets
- Adjust salary bands as required for the position
7. Continue to evolve the job
Now, it’s entirely natural that your employee’s wants and needs will grow. So, don’t stop updating your job analysis after creating it. Continuing elevating the job analysis to enhance your employee’s career development. Assess if there are any additional obligations or outcomes to add to the job analysis. As time changes, role expectations change, and you’ll see that through your competitor’s descriptions, your organization’s morale, employee feedback, and more.
For example, as Human Resource professional’s roles evolve, new methods of management should be adjusted into the job analysis. Maybe through a competitor’s analysis, you’ve noticed more companies are applying real-time feedback. Now aware of this, you may consider to incorporate this method into the job analysis requirements.
TIP: Book either bi-weekly or monthly meetings with your employees to review their goals. As their wants and needs change, you can ensure their goals continue to add value to your organization effectively.
- Use performance reviews and feedback to update the job analysis
- Continuously review goals and expectations with management
- Continue to learn from and review other companies job descriptions