Methods of Job Analysis (With Definition, Benefits and Uses)

Updated October 13, 2023

As companies develop, reviewing the roles and responsibilities they've defined for employees can ensure each team member has the tools, skills and abilities to meet changing business needs. Businesses often rely on analysis to learn what each person does in their role and identify any potential gaps. Learning about the ways companies do this can help you understand why this practice can optimize a business' efficiency.

In this article, we discuss what a job analysis is and discuss different job analysis methods, along with their importance and their uses.

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What is job analysis?

Job analysis is the process of understanding the details of a specific job. This means gathering information through various methods to understand the functions employees perform, the tools and skills employees need and the results they achieve. Management teams often perform job analyses to ensure the roles they have and the people performing them can help them achieve their goals.

Why is a job analysis important?

A job analysis is important for several reasons:

  • Realistic viewpoints: A job analysis provides a realistic view of what employees in a particular role do. As employees often perform duties that differ from their original job descriptions, this creates insights into the tasks people actually perform.

  • Process improvements: By learning what people do in a particular role, management can identify areas where they might improve processes. This can include time adjusting the time spent on certain tasks or suggesting employees focus on more important responsibilities.

  • Self-reflection: Job analysis often involves employees themselves discussing what they do in their daily roles. This provides an opportunity for them to reflect on their own methods of working, which can lead to innovative ideas or changes in behavior.

Related: The Importance of a Job Analysis (With Examples)

What are the methods of job analysis?

There are several common methods when performing a job analysis:

Observation method

The observation method is when an outside analyst observes an employee and the tasks they perform. They'll often shadow the employee for several days as they perform their duties, attend meetings and evaluate their workload to understand the role's essential functions. While observing, the analyst takes detailed notes about the role, including what tools they use, how long they spend on tasks and who they interact with to complete their jobs.

Related: How To Conduct a Job Analysis

Interview method

The interview method is when the analyst questions an employee about their role. They hope to learn the same aspects of the job they might see in the observation method, like what systems they use, what processes they follow and how they apply their skills to achieve results. With this method, the interviewee can formulate their own working styles to perform a particular role. Analysts may interview several people in the same role to get a more holistic view of the responsibilities.

Related: The Importance of a Job Analysis (And How To Perform One)

Questionnaire method

The questionnaire method is when analysts create a series of questions for employees to answer about their jobs. They often ask the employee's managers and others on the team about their perceptions of the role to identify any gaps between expectations. These questions can include asking employees about how they spend each day, what their priorities are and how they effectively perform their duties.

Daily method

The daily method is when an employee creates a record daily of the tasks they perform. This can be over a set period of time, like a week, where they detail their activities and the length they spend on each. This can be an objective way to understand how employees spend their time and can identify areas where an employee might shift their attention to more important responsibilities.

Functional job analysis method

Functional job analysis is a formal method to evaluate a job and capture quantitative results. This means they might combine several other methods to understand everything about the role itself and the person performing them. Analysts can identify what the individual and technical limitations are within a role to suggest areas for change. Companies often use the functional job analysis method to create new job descriptions or postings based on what's needed to perform the roles.

Related: Job Analysis Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Job inventories method

Job inventories involve a structured checklist that employees can check off to verify that they're completing certain tasks. This usually comes from a role's job description or management expectation to ensure they're performing certain duties or using certain tools. These checklists can focus on the tasks themselves, the team members or the qualifications for each role.

Job performance method

The job performance method is when an analyst actually performs the role of the employee to understand more about it. This might mean they answer emails, perform physical tasks and interact with colleagues or systems to learn what an employee experiences. With this first-hand experience, they can determine what some of the issues and requirements are and how companies might properly detail these in a job description.

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Uses for a job analysis

Here are several common uses for a job analysis:

  • Workforce planning: These methods can help a company plan for the skills and expertise they need to perform the duties of the role. With detailed results, it can create more accurate job descriptions and recruit talent that better matches its needs.

  • Performance management: As management teams frequently hold regular performance evaluations, these analyses can help with the process. You can identify if employees have the skills and abilities to meet the demands of the role and measure if they meet your expectations.

  • Development: By understanding what the skills, limitations and responsibilities are for a role, you can understand what development or training needs you might implement. This can help employees develop in their roles and prepare for more responsibilities as they grow with a company.

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