The Case for Work Analyses

A Need for Work Analysis

I had a talk with an old friend the other day. We talked about work and what makes a “good” job. I love the guy, but he was a bit cynical. He said “work should never be [thought of as] a source of accomplishment or fulfillment. You are trading a service for money, that’s it… it’s about funding your life.”

While that may be the reality for some people, I think there’s a better way. One step in the right direction is work analysis.

What is Work Analysis?

So what is a work analysis? This is a topic that is often overlooked by managers and leaders. Many people believe that it means “to evaluate the quality or efficiency of an employee’s work”. That, however, is incorrect. That more accurately describes a performance review.

A work analysis attempts to answer the following:

  • Does the work align with the organization’s mission statement?
  • Is the employee find satisfaction with the work?

Whereas a performance review focuses on the employee a work analysis focuses on the work itself. This includes the content of the work and the relationships that the work facilitates.

Work Analysis Outcomes

If a work analysis reveals that an employee’s work is not supporting the company mission, or that the employee is not satisfied with the work they are performing, you can plan adjustments.

Work That’s Out of Alignment

If the work is out of alignment with the company’s mission statement, then you have some strategic decisions to make. You probably need to alter the work, or eliminate it altogether and assign the employee to a different set responsibilities.

Unsatisfied Employees

If the work supports the company mission, but the employee doesn’t find it satisfying, there are a few things you can do:

  • Engage in Job Enrichment
  • Cross-Train the employee in other areas
  • Use job rotation to mix up the employee’s responsibilities

Additional Tips

When considering and planning a work analysis, keep this in mind:

  • Employees are likely to appreciate changes in their job content and their work relationships
  • Job satisfaction is positively related to productivity
  • Changing job content is generally very inexpensive
  • The more experience you gain in work analysis, the more successful your efforts will be
  • Work Analysis is a long-term investment – substantial payoffs may take one to three years to materialize, but…
  • The benefits of work analysis will compensate for the lower efficiencies related to less employee specialization

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