A 7-Step Guide to Job Analysis Complete With Benefits and Real-World Applications
If you want your employees to hit their performance targets, they need to know what you expect of them.
But all too often, employees aren't crystal clear on what they're doing or why they're doing it. Worse, their managers aren't sure either.
Everyone can gain clarity when companies commit to the job analysis. This process defines each role's specific tasks and responsibilities in your organization.
This guide examines the steps involved in job analysis and its benefits and applications in the workplace.
🔬 What is a job analysis?
A job analysis is a systematic process used to identify and determine in detail the particular job duties and requirements and the relative importance of these duties for a given job.
The analysis typically includes assessing the tasks that comprise the job, the skills, knowledge, abilities, and responsibilities required to perform those tasks, and the conditions under which the work will be performed.
By studying the tasks, responsibilities, skills, knowledge, and abilities required for a particular job role, we can:
- Determine the most suitable candidates for a job position.
- Design relevant training programs.
- Evaluate employee performance.
- Make decisions related to compensation and benefits.
Job analysis vs. job description vs. job specification
You may hear the terms job analysis, job description, and job specification used interchangeably to describe the process of defining a job role.
While they are related, it's essential to understand the differences between these terms.
- Job analysis focuses on gathering data about a specific job role to understand its intricacies and requirements. From here, you can create accurate job descriptions and specifications.
- Job descriptions are written summaries of the information gathered through job analysis. A meaningful role description includes a detailed overview of the job, its key responsibilities, requirements, and reporting relationships.
- Job specifications guide the recruitment and selection process by providing candidate evaluation criteria. Understanding the minimum qualifications and skills required for a particular job position ensures the individuals hired for the job possess the necessary qualifications and attributes to perform effectively.
🧩 5 Key components of job analysis
A thorough job analysis will include the following areas:
Job families refer to broad groups of jobs, typically within the same department or function, that have similar characteristics and require similar skills and knowledge. Assigning jobs to families enables organizations to create career paths for their employees and develop training programs for multiple job roles.
This component of job analysis involves identifying the specific tasks and duties that make up a particular job role. This can include day-to-day responsibilities and periodic or occasional tasks and projects.
A thorough job analysis will identify the skills, knowledge, and abilities that an employee needs to perform the role. This will include technical or soft skills and certifications or educational requirements.
The physical work environment can significantly impact a role, so it must be considered part of your analysis. This can include physical exertion, exposure to specific hazards or tools, and the stress or emotional demands involved in the work.
Your job analysis should include a definition of the performance standards for a particular job role. This involves creating the core competencies required for success in the role and setting clear goals or metrics to measure employee performance over time.
➡️ For further reading, check out these functional competency examples and technical competency examples. If this is a new area for you, you'll enjoy our guide to designing a competency model.
🕵️♀️ Why is job analysis important? 6 Applications of job analysis in your organization
Job analysis can be an intensive task, so naturally, you'll want to understand its value to your organization.
Here are 6 ways your business will benefit:
Recruitment and selection
By conducting a job analysis before recruiting, you'll better understand the role and its requirements. This will allow you to create more effective job postings, screen resumes more accurately, and make better hiring decisions.
"All applications at Ling include what we refer to as a case study. It's a professional assignment related to the skills required for the position. A CV can only tell you on paper how suitable a candidate is, but a case study will reveal the reality. Our case studies have saved countless hours and resources in the hiring and job analysis process."
Similarly, Phil McParlane, Founder and CEO of recruitment platform 4dayweek.io, explains why the company's job analysis methodology allows them to match the right candidates with the right companies. Phil shares a recent collaboration with a tech company seeking software developers:
"We initiated an in-depth partnership, meticulously understanding their specific needs through intensive discussions and surveys. This process unveiled the technical skills, qualifications, and essential soft traits required. With this data in hand, we harnessed advanced analytics to navigate our extensive talent pool. Leveraging our platform's intelligent algorithms, we identified candidates that perfectly aligned with the job description, and the outcome was remarkable."
Performance appraisal and management
An in-depth job analysis delivers criteria for the role and your expectations for employees who work in it. These criteria serve as a foundation for performance evaluations, helping you to make objective decisions about an individual's contribution and potential.
- Example 1: If a customer service representative must respond to 50 tickets per day, use this as a benchmark when evaluating their performance.
- Example 2: If a business development manager must generate $100,000 in new sales each quarter, measure their progress towards reaching that goal during performance reviews.
- Example 3: If a software developer must write clean, efficient code with minimal bugs, assess their technical skills, and consider areas for improvement during evaluations.
➡️ Learn more about performance appraisals and performance management, including which is the best fit for your organization.
Training and development
Your analysis benchmarks the skills and competencies required for every job in your org chart.
Use the results of your analysis to cross-check against your employees' existing skills. If you discover a skills gap, launch relevant upskilling or reskilling initiatives as required.
Example: Imagine you're developing a new training program for your sales team. You can refer to the job analysis to identify the skills and competencies vital for success in their role. This ensures that your training is tailored to their needs, making it more effective and likely to improve performance.
➡️ Learn more about how your organization can commit to career growth and the various employee development methods available.
HR and organizational leaders rely on hard data to create effective career progression frameworks. Armed with this data, they can dig into the specifics of each job, chart potential career paths, identify common progression routes, and map out the skills and experience required to reach each milestone. Organizations that share this information transparently with their employees will help them:
- Visualize potential career trajectories.
- Plan their development goals accordingly.
- Remain loyal to the organization as they can imagine a future there.
➡️ Learn more about how to equip your people with effective career development tools and watch them soar in your internal roles.
Compensation and benefits
Job analysis connects the dots between individual roles and their related compensation to ensure all employees receive fair and competitive salaries and benefits packages. Your analysis lets you categorize roles into grades or bands that guide the pay scale. This helps to justify any pay discrepancies between roles without making it feel arbitrary or unfair.
"We pull competitive salary data from similar companies and geographic labor costs, then regularly review compensation to ensure it stays competitive. We also get our employees' feedback to ensure that the expectations and duties they face aren't exceeding or below market standards. So, every candidate enjoys full salary transparency before they accept the offer, and regular job analytics reviews help us keep up throughout every employee's lifetime with us."
➡️ Learn how and why you should conduct compensation reviews in your organization.
Role redesign and resource realignment
As your company evolves due to market changes or the advancement of disruptive technologies, it's only natural that your strategic goals change. People leaders can partner with managers to redefine and realign job roles to better support those goals. Sometimes, you may hire new talent or conduct training to bridge any gaps in your organizational structure.
"We evaluated the skills, experiences, and competencies required for each role within the project. The result was eye-opening. We discovered that while we had ample software-development expertise; we were lacking in specialized firmware-programming skills. This realization led us to make strategic hires and also to invest in training for our existing team. I believe this preemptive action was crucial. It not only filled a skills gap but also boosted team morale, as they felt more prepared and capable.
The project was a success, completed on time and within budget. To me, this experience reinforced the importance of job analysis as a tool for aligning resources effectively."
🔍 6 Job analysis methods
Job analysis involves large volumes of data you need to collect, analyze, and interpret to understand your job roles.
Let's explore 6 standard techniques used by HR professionals:
Start with supervisors or current employees to capture detailed information about their roles. An interview will deliver in-depth insights into their duties, responsibilities, and the competencies required for success.
For example, you might ask questions like:
- What are the main tasks that make up the role?
- What skills are essential to complete those tasks effectively?
- Are there any physical or environmental demands associated with the role?
- How does this role fit into the larger organizational structure?
Position analysis questionnaires
Similar to conducting interviews, people leaders can also distribute questionnaires to employees or their managers to understand the specifics of each job. These can be paper-based or online; in either case, you'll analyze the responses to capture key information about the role.
Sometimes, observing employees as they do their jobs is helpful to fully understand how they carry out their tasks and the attributes required for success. This shadowing method is beneficial when roles involve manual labor or hands-on work.
Task inventories are lists of the numerous activities that make up a job. This method requires experts to review the list and rank each task based on its relevance to the role.
Work log or diary
When two days in a role are always different, it's worth keeping a work log to understand the activities an employee completes in the role and the skills and competencies required to achieve them. To complete an inventory, employees record:
- their daily activities;
- the time spent on each;
- the urgency of each activity.
Research similar industry positions
Compare and contrast job descriptions, duties, and responsibilities to understand how you stack up against your competitors and whether there are any areas for improvement.
🪜What are the steps of a job analysis process?
Follow the below steps to complete your job analysis successfully:
1. Define the goals of the process
Why do you want to conduct a job analysis? Have a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve through the analysis by selecting SMART goals, which should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Example: By ensuring that roles are adequately aligned with employee expectations and resources, you might require your job analysis to improve employee retention figures by X% this year.
2. Decide on data collection methods
Choose the method that's best suited to your organization and goals. Consider conducting a mix of interviews, questionnaires, direct observations, or task inventories depending on the type of roles involved and the number of separate functions in your organization.
3. Gather data
Information forms the core of your analysis, so you might include the following data sets:
- Details about the position itself (including its job family, responsibilities, and industry standards)
- Competencies required for the role, such as technical and soft skills
- Key tasks and activities
- Qualifications and education necessary for the role
- Expected performance standards for the role
- Salary bands and promotion criteria
4. Process and analyze data
Once you have the data, analyze it to understand how each role fits into the larger picture of your organization.
These insights will also identify gaps you must address through training or hiring initiatives.
5. Identify the outcomes needed for each position
Define the outcomes needed for each job role to ensure they align with your organization's goals. Next, communicate the results to relevant stakeholders and put them into action by redefining roles, expectations, or talent needs.
6. Assess the final results
Circle back to the SMART goals you created and assess your progress towards them by choosing relevant metrics. For example, if your goal is to improve employee retention, track your employee turnover rate before and after the job analysis process.
7. Document your process and findings
Keep a record of your process and the data to use as a reference point for future job analyses or make any necessary adjustments to roles and responsibilities.
📝 3 Job analysis examples
Wondering what a completed job analysis looks like?
Here are three examples of different roles and varying levels of seniority:
Job title: Accounting clerk
Classification: Full-time or part-time employee
Summary of position: The Accounting Clerk plays a crucial role in supporting the day-to-day financial operations within the Accounts department. This position involves various tasks related to financial record-keeping, data entry, and assisting with financial reporting.
- Process and record financial transactions in the company's accounting software.
- Prepare and verify invoices, receipts, and other financial documents.
- Reconcile discrepancies in financial reports and escalate issues as needed.
- Assist in the preparation of financial statements and reports.
- Maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records.
- Collaborate with other departments to obtain necessary financial information.
Reporting structure: The Accounting Clerk reports directly to the Accounting Manager. The Accounting Manager provides guidance, assigns tasks, and oversees the overall performance and professional development of the Accounting Clerk.
- Proficient in Microsoft Excel and other accounting software.
- Attention to detail and accuracy in data entry.
- Basic understanding of accounting principles.
- Strong organizational and multitasking abilities.
- Effective communication skills for collaboration with team members.
Employee education: A minimum of an Associate's degree in Accounting or a related field is required.
Environment: The Accounting Clerk works in a high-volume office environment. This role involves prolonged periods of sitting and working on a computer. It requires focusing on detailed tasks and collaborating with team members.
Certification and licenses: A diploma in bookkeeping or a related field is a plus but not mandatory.
Key performance indicators (KPIs):
- Accuracy of financial records.
- Timeliness in completing assigned tasks.
- Ability to work collaboratively within the team.
Growth opportunities: Successful performance as an Accounting Clerk could lead to advancement within the Accounts department or related areas, such as becoming a Senior Accounting Clerk or Accountant.
Job title: Marketing Manager
Classification: Full-time employee
Summary of position: The Marketing Manager heads up the marketing team and is responsible for planning, implementing, and managing marketing strategies to enhance the company's brand presence and achieve business objectives.
- Develop and execute comprehensive marketing plans to support the overall business goals.
- Oversee the creation of marketing collateral, advertising, and promotional materials.
- Conduct market research to identify trends, opportunities, and competitor activities.
- Manage digital marketing campaigns, including social media, email, and online advertising.
- Collaborate with cross-functional teams to ensure alignment of marketing strategies with overall business objectives.
- Analyze and report on the performance of marketing campaigns, using data to drive decision-making.
- Budget management for marketing initiatives.
Reporting structure: The Marketing Manager reports directly to the Director of Marketing. This position involves providing regular updates on marketing activities, discussing strategy, and collaborating on larger marketing initiatives.
- Strategic thinking and planning skills.
- Strong leadership and team management abilities.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Proficiency in digital marketing tools and platforms.
- Analytical skills for interpreting marketing data and making informed decisions.
Employee education: A Bachelor's degree in Marketing, Business, or a related field is required. A Master's degree is a plus.
Environment: The Marketing Manager will work in the Seattle head office with a scope for flexible working hours. This role may require occasional travel for industry events or meetings.
Certification and licenses: Certifications in digital marketing (e.g., Google Analytics, HubSpot) are advantageous.
Key performance indicators (KPIs):
- Return on investment (ROI) for marketing campaigns.
- Brand awareness and perception.
- Lead generation and conversion rates.
- Customer engagement and retention.
Growth opportunities: Successful performance as a Marketing Manager could lead to advancement within the marketing department, such as becoming a Director of Marketing or taking on a more specialized role in areas like product marketing or market research.
Job title: Software Engineer
Classification: Full-time employee
Summary of position: Our Software Engineers are critical members of the engineering team, responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining high-quality software solutions to meet the company's technical requirements.
- Collaborate with cross-functional teams to understand project requirements and objectives.
- Design and implement software solutions, ensuring scalability, security, and performance.
- Write clean, efficient, and maintainable code following company coding standards.
- Conduct thorough testing of software applications to identify and address any issues.
- Participate in code reviews to ensure code quality and knowledge sharing.
- Stay up-to-date with industry trends and emerging technologies.
- Provide technical support and troubleshooting for developed applications.
- Strong problem-solving and analytical skills.
- Experience with software development methodologies, such as Agile.
- Familiarity with version control systems (e.g., Git).
- Knowledge of database management systems (e.g., MySQL, MongoDB).
Reporting structure: The Software Engineer typically reports to the Engineering Manager or Director of Engineering.
Employee education: A Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or a related field is required.
Environment: The Software Engineer works in an office environment and may also participate in remote collaboration depending on the nature of the projects.
Certification and licenses: Relevant certifications, such as those from Microsoft, Oracle, or others, are beneficial but not mandatory.
Key performance indicators (KPIs):
- On-time delivery of software projects.
- Code quality and maintainability.
- Fast resolution time for identified issues in software applications.
- Contribution to the improvement of development processes.
Growth opportunities: Successful performance as a Software Engineer could lead to advancement within the engineering team, such as becoming a Senior Software Engineer or taking on a more specialized role in areas like software architecture or project management.
➡️ Want to be inspired by more career frameworks? Check out these 14+ career progression examples.
🤖 How can technology be used to streamline and enhance job analysis processes?
While you could approach job analysis using manual techniques, technology will optimize the process and make it much smoother in the following ways:
- Data collection tools such as surveys and questionnaires enable efficient feedback gathering from employees.
- Data analytics platforms deliver in-depth analysis of large datasets, identifying patterns and trends that may not be easily identifiable through manual analysis.
- AI and machine learning assist in identifying job requirements and competencies by analyzing job performance data, reducing bias and subjectivity.
- HR automation systems store employee performance, training, or recruitment data, providing valuable insights for job analysis.
➡️ Ensure role transparency and enable performance with Zavvy
Zavvy provides an assortment of intuitive tools essential to the job analysis process:
- 🧭 Career pathing: Create meaningful career frameworks at speed and document the descriptions and expectations for each role.
- 📊 Performance review: Get a comprehensive look into what excellent performance looks like in each role.
- 💬 1:1 meeting software: Conduct job analysis interviews by holding structured meetings across your organization.
- 🤫 Anonymous feedback tool: Gain honest input from your employees by distributing questionnaires and surveys with the option for anonymous feedback.
- 🎯 Goal management software: Set,track, and manage goals at individual, team, departmental, and organizational levels.
📅 Ready to gain granular insights into your job roles? Book a Zavvy demo today.
How often should organizations conduct a job analysis?
Due to the dynamic nature of business, marked by rapidly changing job roles and high turnover rates, organizations should commit to regular job analysis, at least annually, or following major business events such as mergers and acquisitions.
Who should conduct a job analysis?
An effective role analysis is a collaborative effort between HR professionals, managers or supervisors, and employees. For specialist roles, it's worth including the input of subject matter experts with technical knowledge related to the job role you're analyzing. This diverse perspective ensures that the job analysis accurately reflects the needs and expectations of all stakeholders. Additionally, involving employees in the process can increase their engagement and buy-in with any proposed changes resulting from the job analysis.
What are the benefits of job analysis?
A thorough and frequent job analysis provides several benefits to organizations, including:
- Keeping accurate job descriptions ensures organizations stay competitive and adapt to emerging industry trends.
- Increasing engagement by asking employees for input about their roles.
- Identifying skills gaps and then addressing them through training or talent acquisition strategies.
- Offering career development opportunities based on mapping clear pathways from one role to the next.
- Enhancing efficiency and productivity by aligning job roles with organizational needs.