A BASE(ic) Course on Job Analysis

Article excerpt

If you've ever attempted a job analysis, you've probably discovered what a cumbersome process it can be. Typically, job analysis involves numerous steps and several data bases. Lists of job tasks, duties, responsibilities, knowledge, skills, and abilities are often the outcome.

But in the end, what you're really interested in is employee behavior. Recruitment, selection, orientation, training, and performance or competency assessment - are all parts of managing employee behavior. Job analysis involves creating several data bases from which you can create working documents that will be used for different human resource practices. For instance, job descriptions are used for recruitment and selection, training objectives are used for orientation, and training and performance criteria are used for performance or competency assessments.

Wouldn't it be nice to use a single job data base for all of your firm's behavior-management practices? Behavioral Analysis & Standards for Employees (BASE) makes it possible.

BASE focuses on employees behavior rather than tasks, duties, and responsibilities. It is an economical and practical alternative to traditional methods. More important, it helps line managers focus on employee behavior, which is observable and measurable, rather than on the human resource jargon of job analysis. This helps employees to better identify with, participate in, commit to, and focus on performance management. The behavioral focus makes the process easy for employees to understand and accept.

Behavior, standards, and

conditions

Behavioral objectives include three important dimensions: the behavior (for example, running the 100-meter dash), standard (for example, within 10 seconds), and condition (on a grass track). Each gives a specific picture of requirements or goals.

Standards are often qualified by quantity, quality, or time parameters. When specifically applied to a work situation, they may provide all the information you need for recruitment selection, orientation, training, and performance and competency assessment.

The conditions that you place on the project provide the parameters within which the behavior is constrained or related.

Behavior, standards, and conditions can be used when developing HR practices. The key to understanding how rests on the idea that organizations determine such practices in order to shape employee behavior. When work is analyzed using the BASE process, the behavior and the standard against which the behavior can be assessed are provided in a concise statement. A typical BASE statement might look like this:

* Behavior - prepare detailed engineering designs...

* Standard - that conform to all Australian standards and codes...

* Condition - within the hydraulic engineering discipline.

Technical versus nontechnical

work

In identifying BASE position statements, it is important to distinguish between technical and nontechnical kinds of work.

Technical work often relates to key job output. For example, mechanics diagnose faults and dismantle and repair vehicle components. And engineers develop plans, specifications, and designs. It is usually quite easy to apply standards to the technical behavioral aspects of work. Professional and company standards are frequently available for technical work, in such forms as work manuals, company specifications, and national and industry standards.

Nontechnical aspects of work, such as communicating, coordinating, and supervising, are often less objective. But nontechnical work can also be associated with behavior standards.

For example, consider the work behavior, "Coordinate the work of eight engineering staff members." That behavior can be assessed against the standard, "to achieve agreed-upon group output and quality goals," and the condition, "across all engineering disciplines. …