I am frequently asked about my opinion regarding effective job analysis – gathering, reviewing, and analyzing job tasks and responsibilities. There is a school of thought that one must witness the job duties being performed in order to validate job description content. Many of you may have been involved in what HR professionals refer to as “desk audits” where employees are observed doing their jobs at different times of the day and days of the week and track what they do and for how long. In addition, managers are interviewed regarding their view of the job responsibilities.
This is a time-consuming task for one job – imagine doing this for several hundred or thousand! However, this approach is effective when there is a dispute over the job duties and/or the FLSA classification. In those instances, it is time well spent to do a thorough review of what the job entails. I recently had a client’s outside council conduct desk audits on all jobs that the client deemed “grey” regarding FLSA classification. Taking the time to conduct that due diligence proved to be a valuable exercise in understanding the level of responsibility and tasks performed when providing their FLSA recommendation.
With job description software readily available in 2019 (JDXpert by HRTMS is my product of choice), I prefer a more automated approach to job analysis. I always like to provide a draft description for job reviewers. I have found that if you give an employee/manager a blank document and ask them to write a job description, you are likely to never hear back from them again! Ever! If you sit down with an employee/manager and ask them what they do, you don’t get much more. However, if you provide a starting point (draft), you will receive a much better product. I have received edits back on drafts where almost everything was changed – almost a complete re-write. Yet when I provided that same manager an initial blank job content questionnaire, I received nothing! Human nature is that editing is preferential to writing.
I “distribute” these drafts through the job description software. This allows all edits to be provided online and can be attached to a workflow if additional reviewers need to review/edit and final review is conducted by HR – typically Compensation. JDXpert allows all reviewers to see each other’s edits and higher-level reviewers can make changes to previously provided content. This can be done at the reviewer’s “leisure” – the product is cloud-based and available 24/7.
A more personalized approach is to conduct workshops where all reviewers attend job editing sessions. A facilitator is available to go over job editing basics and provide training on the job description software. The facilitator remains in the room while reviewers edit content on their laptops and provides support, answer questions or assist with software navigation.
This latter approach is becoming the norm. It is a hybrid between the old-school desk audit and the complete online methodology. It provides face-to-face interaction and allows reviewers to receive some training and the ability to ask questions and get assistance real-time.
Whatever approach you take, job analysis is critical to ensuring that your job descriptions are accurate, compliant, and useful.
Meet The Comp Chick
The Comp Chick, aka, Jennifer Peacock has more than 25 years of diverse experience in human resources ranging from consulting to corporate HR leadership. She started The Comp Chick blog as a way to show her peers that Compensation doesn't have to be boring or difficult.
The Comp Chick, aka, Jennifer Peacock has more than 25 years of diverse experience in human resources ranging from consulting to corporate HR leadership. She started The Comp Chick blog as a way to show her peers that Compensation doesn't have to be boring or difficult. All information included in this blog is opinion.