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In this paper, I will analyze the elements of a job analysis and discuss its significance to the hiring and employee development aspects of human resource management. I will describe the importance of a PAQ, proposing two ways the results can be used to redesign a customer service job for efficiency. I will develop two strategies that HR professionals can in the selection for a customer service position using a Fleishman Job Analysis System. I will examine the challenges for designing this job for efficiency and suggest two ways to redesign it. Finally, I will propose three ways a HR manager can use the information from a job analysis to measure the performance of customer service representatives.
One of the most important aspects of human resources is recruiting. In order to recruit the best applicants, job recruiters have to be knowledgeable in all aspects of the position. The best source of information about a position comes from a job analysis. A job analysis is the process of getting detailed information about jobs. A job analysis helps recruiters to match job requirements with the best applicants. It is also essential in employee development, performance appraisals and compensation. A job analysis includes many steps but only three elements. Those elements are the sources of job information, the job specification and the job description.
The first element of the job analysis is the source of information used. In doing the analysis, human resource professionals gather information about jobs through interviewing employees, observing performance of certain tasks, asking employees to fill out questionnaires and worksheets, and collecting information about a job from secondary sources. Other sources within the company include existing job descriptions and supervisors. Some of those secondary sources include existing job analysis information from a competitor and O*NET.
Next, the job specification includes the tasks that make up the job, the conditions under which the job is performed and what the job requires in terms of aptitude, knowledge, skills and abilities (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2014). This will provide a lot of data. It measures the amount of time the employee spends on major duties. It provides a description of the major duties in order of importance. It determines whether any licensures, certificates or security clearances are needed to perform the job, as well as the physical, environmental and mental demands of a position. This information is essential in creating a job description.
The last element is the job description. “A job description is a list the tasks, duties, and responsibilities that a job entails (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2014).” A well-written job description can sell jobs to perspective employees and develop training programs as a job position evolves. Sometimes the needs of business changes and therefore some duties may change within a position. “For the employer, the job description is often used as a recruiting tool and by supervisors to outline position expectations. The job description may be used to indicate salary or reporting structure and as a reference during performance evaluations (Richards, 2014).”
Once all the information has been assembled for a job analysis, it can be further analyzed by using a position analysis questionnaire (PAQ). “A PAQ is a standardized job analysis questionnaire containing 194 questions about work behaviors, work conditions, and job characteristics that apply to a wide variety of jobs (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2014).” The purpose of the questionnaire is to measure the job characteristics and its relation to the human characteristics. The PAQ can be used for a few different things. Common uses include developing a compensation model, selection criteria for a specific job and to study the nature of work (PAQ.com, 2014).
A PAQ can be used to redesign a customer service job to be more efficient and improve quality. “Using the PAQ provides an organization with information that helps in comparing jobs, even when they are dissimilar (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2014).” In making those comparisons, analyzers might find ways to be more efficient. The collected data from this approach helps in developing or revising a job description. In the customer service business the needs of each customer can vary. Therefore, responsibilities of a customer service representative can vary to meet those needs. Those things might not be listed in the job description but will need to be added in order to keep the job description updated. Furthermore, information learned from the PAQ helps in evaluating the position for appropriate classification.
A good source to use for worker requirements is the Fleishman Job Analysis system. The Fleishman Job Analysis system (F-JAS) is a job analysis technique that asks subject-matter experts to evaluate a job in terms of the abilities required to perform the job (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2014).” Because the results of a F-JAS, provides a picture of the ability requirements of a job, than recruiters know what abilities to scan for when reviewing resumes. Typing skills might be a skill that is important in a customer service position. The F-JAS can give us an idea of just how important typing is to a job so that we would be able to make reasonable accommodations for an applicant with disabilities. Human resource professionals can also use F-JAS to update job descriptions. As processes change the need for some abilities change as things may become automated, therefore job responsibilities change. “Kannisto adds, “With the compliance environment and legal implications, the stakes are a lot higher for job descriptions to be crystal clear with essential responsibilities. If you have a measure of performance that doesn’t appear on the job description and you have a case brought against you, depending on the agency [involved], there could be punishment,” he explains (Tyler, 2013).”
When considering the job of a customer service representative (CSR) who handles consumer inquiries for a company that sells items online and by catalog, a few challenges of designing this job for efficiency, come to mind. The first challenge that comes to mind is monotony. Over time, employees will be bored of doing the same job over and over. Even more so if the job is divided into departments, such as sales, returns and customer service, employees will lose interest. A suggestion for redesigning the customer service representative position is job enlargement. Employees might find the job more engaging if all the calls came through on department. We could cross-train employees to be able to handle all the calls that come through the queue. Another suggestion is job rotation. Maybe every week, we could rotate the tasks. We could also make some customer services responses automated for customers. So if a customer wanted to check status on an order, we could generate a system automated response so that those calls don’t come into the call center.
Another challenge for designing a customer service representative job is defining authority. Sometimes, customer service requires problem solving and quick decisions. Waiting to speak to a manager can be frustrating for the customer and it makes the employee look incompetent, because it increases hold time. The employee probably feels impotent having to get permission to make a decision, especially when they know what to do. A suggestion for redesigning the CSR’s position is job enrichment. CSR’s need a certain amount of authority when it comes to resolving customer service issues. This is a way to raise productivity levels and employee satisfaction from a sense of personal achievement in taking ownership of problems and meeting the challenge of increased responsibility.
A human resource manager (HRM) can use the information obtained from job analysis to measure the performance of a customer service representative. Job analysis is a set of procedures or methods for determining what workers actually do on the job and for describing which aspects of worker knowledge, skill, ability, and other characteristics are needed for job performance. This process defines a productive employee and gives human resource managers a place to start for measuring performance. One way HRM can use this information is in making personnel decisions. This tool can help determine whether an employee should receive a promotion, transfer, pay increase or be fired. It can also be used for employee development. A performance appraisal will determine the strengths and weaknesses of employees. This is key to helping our CSR’s grow, because we can create training programs to increase their skills levels. Taking the time to strengthen their weaknesses will make them perform better, which is great for the company. Finally, the performance appraisal can be used as documentation to protect a company from lawsuits, because it is used as the basis for personnel decisions.
In conclusion, the job analysis is the foundation of most human resource functions. With its use, job descriptions are created and updated which standardizes recruiting. It is a perfect outline for measuring performance of new and existing employees. Job analysis provides training and employee growth opportunities. Personnel decisions are also validated by job analysis, because it creates a system of checks and balances for hiring, performance appraisals, promotion and demotion and/or firing.
Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, (2014). Fundamentals of Human Resource Management. (5th ed., p. 103). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, (2014). Fundamentals of Human Resource Management. (5th ed., p. 107). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, (2014). Fundamentals of Human Resource Management. (5th ed., p. 108). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
PAQ.com. (2014). The paq program. Retrieved from http://www.paq.com/?FuseAction=Main.PAQProgram
Richards, F. (2014). Key parts to job descriptions. The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from http://work.chron.com/key-parts-job-descriptions-12366.html
Tyler, K. (2013, Jan. 01). Job worth doing: Update descriptions. Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/publications/hrmagazine/editorialcontent/2013/0113/pages/0113-job-descriptions.aspx