Is Your Job Analysis Process on Auto-Pilot?

A funny thing happened on the way to school last week.  My son, a high school senior, was getting ready for an awards event.  Before leaving he asked me to tie his tie for him.  Putting a tie on is something I’ve done almost every morning for more than twenty years.  You think I could do it in my sleep by now.  But I couldn’t!   First I tried to do tie it standing in front of him while it was around his neck.  That was strange; I’d never done it before from that perspective.  Then I tried to tie one around my neck, over my own tie, while standing in front of his mirror.  For some reason that was even stranger.  It took me almost fifteen minutes before I could get it tied.  For years I put on my tie in the same room, at the same time, in the same mirror, the same way for so long.  Now I was out of my element, in a new environment, and I couldn’t do it.  The entire process was on auto-pilot and when something new came along the process broke down.

The same thing can happen if your job analysis process is on auto-pilot.  When a job evaluation has been done the same way for so long it becomes ineffective.  Companies that want to attract top talent must transcend the tradition of writing job descriptions.  Today’s talent will not come to your company when the human resources process for job evaluation is a cut and paste operation.  The HR job description from four years ago is not the same as a true performance based job analysis.

The process of job analysis consists of several steps (see my related post The Pros  & Cons of Job Analysis).   If you think your job analysis process is on auto-pilot, take a fresh approach.   Start with your HR job description.   This will have all of elements of what a person needs to have to do the job.  But the job analysis process goes well beyond writing job descriptions.   The next step is to understand what a person must do to be successful.  This can be different from the HR job description.  Would you rather have a person who has done the job successfully in the past or someone who has all the job description requirements?  Most Strategic Employers would take the former, even if person didn’t have all the requirements in the HR job description.

Take your job analysis process off of auto-pilot.  Begin the process of job analysis with what someone does to be successful, not what they need to have.

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Step 4 or 4: High Performance Teams

Give employees a career instead of a job

“That’s just not fair!”

Whether it is true or not, this is not something you want employees to say.  Often is beyond a company’s power to control how employees feel.  However, company’s can avoid creating situations that might cause an employee to think or say this.  Companies DO have a great deal of control in which they hire and promote.

In my executive search business we often hear from executives who feel this way.  Either they have been passed over for a promotion or they have seen others passed over multiple times.  Sometimes their company never considered an insider for an open position. Whatever the reason, these people feel like a commodity instead of a valued contributor.  If this kind of perception starts to permeate the workforce the company is doomed – especially now that top talent is harder to find.

There are many reasons why a company would go outside to hire top talent; they don’t have a qualified person internally, they want fresh perspectives, they want competitor intelligence, etc…  Hiring outside is expensive, time intensive, and dangerous (see steps 1 & 2)! Often it can be avoided if companies have a career development culture instead of an open seat culture.

Hiring from your current employees only works if you diligently practice Step 3.  It also means a huge ROI on your labor expense.  When employees believe they have the opportunity to grow and advance they don’t spend time looking elsewhere.  When they enjoy a company development program they have greater confidence to take on more responsibility.  Employees will take their performance more seriously and pursue self-development agendas.  Giving an employee a career is a long-term investment strategy, one that every company must follow.

This is the final installment of the four steps to building a high performance team.  Putting these steps into practice will have tremendous impact on company profitability and competitive edge.  Don’t wait until your competition has all the top talent, beat them to the best people now!