JOB evaluation is a systematic process to assess the relative value of jobs in an organisation.
The ultimate goal is to price jobs by developing a pay structure. Therefore, the job evaluation process must be done transparently and objectively.
Most organisations rely on an internal job evaluation committee to do the grading, while others rely on independent external committees.
Before, looking at the merits of each of these options, let us first discuss one of the mandatory requirements, regardless of the approach you choose.
Before you start grading jobs, you need to have accurate and detailed job descriptions. This is not an easy task.
When you ask job incumbents to prepare job descriptions for the grading, they inflate the job duties, qualifications, experience required and the decisions made by the role.
This is compounded by the manager and supervisors who fail to check the job descriptions for accuracy.
Managers do a shoddy job no matter how much we emphasise the importance of this process.
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The HR department does not help the situation either because they fail to flag anomalies early for the manager's attention.
I often observe the rush to go into grading the jobs without ensuring this process is done thoroughly.
If you can get accurate job descriptions, the job grading often reflects the true relative value of jobs in your organisation.
In practice, in the same organisation, you may find that some managers check properly and get accurate job descriptions. Others do a bad job.
Given this situation, some jobs will be correctly graded, while those submitted by managers, who do not check will not reflect the true relative value of the job.
The distortions from such a process will discredit the results from the beginning. The consequence is that you get frequent requests for regrading because people compare their jobs to similar-level jobs, and if they find that they are not in the same grade, they have every right to query that.
Once you get your job description right, you can grade the jobs.
The grading can be done through an internal job evaluation committee or an external consultancy firm.
Once you decide to use an internal job grading committee, you must select the right individuals for the committee.
Not an easy task, as most people selected to sit on such committees end up serving narrow personal interests.
A discredited job evaluation committee cannot produce credible job grading results.
Even if the committee is made up of credible people, most who sit on such committees fail the litmus test: grade the job, not the individual.
Because grading committee members live among the members whose jobs are being graded, they always make the incumbents the reference point instead of grading the job.
Can this be corrected? To address this challenge, do not use the consensus approach when grading jobs. Instead, use the mechanical approach.
In the consensus approach, the chairperson has to get people to agree on a grade-based on the guidelines in the job evaluation manual.
If the committee has dominant members, these end up arguing their way to a grade of their choice.
The consequences are distorted grading results and complaints from employees.
In the mechanical approach, each member reads the job description, and within the guidelines given in the job evaluation manual, they grade the job independently. The chairperson will then ask each member to read out their scores.
The person recording the results will record the scores for each member against their name.
The committee will then average the scores. All outliers are taken out. Alternatively, you can use the median instead of the average score, and this approach takes care of outliers. This way, you can arrive at a credible score.
This approach requires the committee to be trained thoroughly in the job evaluation system and how to use the mechanical approach as an individual.
With the advent of artificial intelligence, we have seen AI-driven grading systems. At IPC, we have developed an AI-driven Patterson system, and we use that to validate grades done by the committees.
Other organisations prefer AI-driven results without the hassle of setting the job evaluation committee.
Regardless of your approach from the three options above, you will never get credible results if the job descriptions are inaccurate.
You cannot afford a false start to a job grading project. Do it properly by following the procedures outlined above.
- Nguwi is an occupational psychologist, data scientist, speaker and managing consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and HR consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone +263 24 248 1 946-48/ 2290 0276, cell number +263 772 356 361 or e-mail: [email protected] or visit ipcconsultants.com.