How to conduct a job needs analysis (and why you need to)

Rowan Dent, Content Writer · 19 Oct

A job analysis sorts the must-dos from the not-my-problems by gathering data on a job’s duties and skills at every level. 

Firstly, what is a job analysis?

A job-needs-analysis is a process used to collect information about the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills and work environment of a job. It’s important to have as much data as possible to put together an accurate and useful job description. This is one of the main reasons to perform a job analysis. 

What happens if you don’t do a job analysis?

Without a job analysis, you might miss critical information integral to employing someone correctly. You might end up paying an employee the wrong amount, leading to employee discontent, or hiring someone who lacks an essential skill needed for the job. The purpose of the job analysis is to simplify the responsibilities of a job. 

By outlining the key elements of the post, the new employee can successfully carry out their responsibilities.

A job analysis is also useful for making recruitment plans, advertising jobs and performance development planning. It’s a handy tool that you can use across your human resources department to ensure employment success.  

However, it can be a tricky thing to get right. To help you on your way, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to a successful job analysis.

Step 1: Review the job responsibilities of current employees

One of the key methods of job analysis is to ask the actual employees what they do every day for their job. It’s impossible for HR and management to understand exactly what encompasses the day-to-day functions of a particular job. You may see the output but still have no idea what actions and behaviours are needed to produce it.

If you're an employee:

Have you been asked to list your current responsibilities for a job analysis? Make your information as accurate and thorough as possible.

In one job analysis example, an employee might say: “I produce monthly reports.” Instead, explain that you “gather the data from four different departments, check the data for accuracy using a custom designed Access tool.” If you leave off the details, they may think that your report is automatically generated!

HR managers can use a job analysis questionnaire, interviews and online forms to get information on what their current employees actually do in their roles.

However it’s done, by describing the daily duties in sufficient detail, an employer will be able to hire a qualified new employee who has the capacity to do the job correctly.

Step 2: Research job descriptions

Sometimes it’s good to get a little inspiration. Looking at sample job descriptions online can help shape the structure of the job analysis you’re doing and help remind you of the tasks and responsibilities that you may have forgotten.

You can find sample job descriptions by searching for “[Job Title] Sample Description” or by viewing job postings for positions companies are currently hiring. You can also look at LinkedIn to see how people describe their job responsibilities.

Step 3: Analyse the employee’s duties and tasks

Every employee has specific responsibilities and activities but not every job within a company is optimised. During a job analysis, you may discover misplaced duties or projects that would be better suited to another department. You may discover tasks that another job would accomplish more successfully and easily.

When you're doing a job analysis, make sure you look at the needs of the company and at any unassigned or illogical responsibilities. You can then work with management to add the proper tasks to the job analysis.

Step 4: Share job descriptions with other companies

Sometimes, companies will happily share information about their job descriptions. One key purpose of a job analysis is to check that you’re offering a competitive salary. Financial planning, job analysis and job descriptions often go hand in hand, so make sure you’re connecting with finance managers as well.

You might consider using a salary survey company where you can match your jobs to their descriptions and share salary information. These companies can also help you figure out what to include in your own job descriptions.

Step 5: Complete the job analysis report

Sometimes, you get so caught up in the tasks that you forget to think about what the final result of the job analysis needs to be. For instance, if you’re writing a job analysis report, the gathering and auditing of data is just the preamble. You also need to figure out the format and content of the final analysis and report. Do you need to put everything in? What’s the most important information?

Step 6: Write the job description

Using your job analysis report, you can now write the job description. You have completed the data analysis of a job description and now you have a very clear picture of the responsibilities and tasks of this particular role.

Don't worry too much about making it sound pretty. Make sure the job description is clear and concise, containing all the necessary information and nothing extra. Ask yourself, “If somebody else read this, would they know what the person in this position actually does?” 

This job description will be invaluable when you come to look at salary and compensation when hiring and promoting, and communicating with employees so your expectations are clear.

A final note to make...

Performing a job analysis can seem like a daunting task. But, by gathering data on the day-to-day activities of employees, you may discover gaps and overlaps in employee tasks and responsibilities which might have caused difficulties later on. In job analysis, there really aren’t any shortcuts, so make sure your research is thorough and your final report is as user-friendly as possible.

You might also like...

Hop on our mailing list...

And have our very best HR insights and company news sent straight to your inbox. You won't regret it.