The role of job analysis, job descriptions and job evaluations
To succeed in today’s competitive global economy, organisations need to take a strong interest in how jobs are defined, described, graded and remunerated. The numerous activities of an organisation would be impossible to manage without well-defined jobs. Jobs provide the means for organising activities into manageable units and departments within the organisation.
Once the organisation’s scope and purpose has been determined, all the different tasks that need to be performed to achieve that purpose need to be defined and written up into different job descriptions. The job descriptions may include the most elementary of tasks to the most complex tasks needing to be performed within the highest levels of the organisation.
Jobs provide the means for organising activities into manageable units. Jobs performing similar tasks or working with the same systems would typically be clustered together into major divisions and departments within the organisation.
Throughout the years, various methods have been developed for the studying of jobs. The methodology of Job Analysis provides the correct content for the development of a very usable job description and job specification.
Job analysis is the systematic approach used for analysing and then describing job content (tasks and functions), job context (environmental demands), and job requirements (knowledge, experience, skills, and abilities of incumbent) in a job description format.
Job analysis provides the foundation for making decisions as to the number and type of posts required and the related qualifications and skills needed for each post.
Job descriptions, written in accordance with the guidelines of the Paterson system, provide an organisation with a document in which individual duties and responsibilities, authority, span of control and reporting relationships are clearly and logically defined and set out, while eliminating potential overlap with other positions in terms of job content.
They also provide a detailed specification of the qualifications, experience, skills and abilities (competencies) required of an incumbent in order to perform the specific task in the job (job specification).
Such well-designed and populated job descriptions provide accurate and detailed information about jobs in a form that directly facilitates the design and management of numerous human resources systems.
Job evaluation is a grading process of determining, without regard for personalities or personal competencies, the value or worth of a job relative to other jobs and placing them in a job hierarchy of grades within an organisation by utilising the information contained in the job descriptions.
A wide range of different approaches and systems have been developed and employed over the years with varying degrees of popularity. The most popular systems are obviously those that are most versatile and find most universal application across organisations of different sizes and types, and in different industry sectors.
The different systems and system types may be categories as follows:
- The Job Ranking system,
- The Points or Factor system,
- The Decision band system such as the Paterson System, which is the best known and most widely used system in South Africa.
RISMA and the Paterson System
RISMA strongly advocates the use of Paterson System of Job Evaluation, not only because of their in-depth knowledge of the system, but also because the system enjoys international recognition, has a strong research base and is the most widely used system in South Africa.
Why the Paterson system?
- It was developed from research conducted by Professor T.T.Paterson of the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, and is highly regarded both locally and internationally,
- it is a single factor job evaluation system which uses one principal factor (decision-making) to determine the value of a job,
- it assumes that all jobs in an organisation can be compared on the basis of the complexity of the decision-making required to perform organisational tasks,
- the extent and types of decisions to be made are indicative of a job’s hierarchical level in an organisation,
- the level of decision-making for each job is reflected by the functions and tasks outlined in that job’s particular job description.
The greatest strength of the Paterson system therefore, is its versatility and relative simplicity. Using the Paterson system, jobs can be graded accurately and in less time than is required when using point or job ranking systems.
The outputs of the job evaluation process form a valuable foundation for other HR systems and processes.
RISMA consults to a wide range of businesses across all sectors with regard to the writing and grading of job descriptions. Both partners have extensive experience in this very specialist area, gained while working in large corporates and also through subsequent HR consulting to both big and small business.
Our services extend from the writing and grading of job descriptions, placing the positions into an organisational hierarchy of grades, assisting with salary surveys and providing systems training. RISMA works alongside the HR management of corporate businesses, but also provides an entirely outsourced HR function to small and medium enterprises.
With regard to the compilation of detailed and accurate job descriptions, Risma is able to assist businesses in two ways:
- as the Job Analyst; working with the current incumbent to examine the content of the job, breaking it down into its tasks, processes, operations and elements to establish the structure of the job and then writing up a job description and job specification as soon as possible after the interview,
- as a Facilitator; training employees in the job description writing procedure and assisting them to compile and write the job descriptions, and then assisting the line manager finalise all the departmental job descriptions before submitting them to senior management.
RISMA is able to assist businesses to set up and train the company grading committee. The RISMA partners can also serve on the committee or act as the company grading committee tasked with grading all the positions in the company into a hierarchy of positions and ensuring internal equity and objectivity in all evaluations and re-evaluations of positions.
The RISMA Grading Committee Process
- The grading committee would normally comprise between 2-5 people,
- The chairperson of the Grading Committee within the company will be a neutral party and must ensure that the grading and discussions surrounding grading, is based on job content and not what the person in the job may or may not do,
- Department managers or employees may be co-opted to assist the committee when grading jobs from those departments,
- If the contents of the job description is not sufficiently clear, the grading committee may request the line manager and the job incumbent to attend a grading session to answer clarifying questions from the committee,
- The chairman of the grading committee will ensure that all positions are graded according to the Paterson grading rules,
- RISMA can act as the chairman of the grading committee.
The RISMA Grading Process
The Paterson system requires that the structure of job grades in a company is built from the bottom up. The Grading Committee will grade positions from the lowest and working through to the highest position in the organisation.
Through this methodology, job content is compared against grading rules and positions are placed into bands and then placed into the upper or lower levels of the band. Thereafter the sub-grading rules are applied and sub-grades awarded.
Finally, the jobs and their grades are compared against one another, company-wide, and adjustments made to ensure internal equity in the grading of jobs is achieved across the organisation. This ensures positions are not over or under graded and that any functional gaps in the structure are identified for addressing by the organisation.
RISMA will also take minutes of the grading meetings, providing detailed records of the reasons for the particular grades being awarded to each position as per the job description and in terms of the grading rules.
RISMA can arrange for a general or specialist salary survey to be conducted on a national or regional basis by a recognised salary survey company. RISMA can assist the company to interpret the information for remuneration purposes.
- Company documents: RISMA can develop the Job Evaluation Policy, the Paterson Job Evaluation System document (containing detailed grading rules), Job Description Writing Procedure and Job Description Template for the company,
- Information sessions: RISMA can hold information sessions with management, employees and union/worker representatives to explain the benefits and structure of the Paterson Job Evaluation System and their respective roles in the writing of the Job Descriptions,
- Systems Training: RISMA can train employees in the Job Description Writing procedure and assist them to compile and write the Job Descriptions. We can also train the company representatives on the grading committee in the Paterson Jog Evaluation System and Grading Rules.
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