Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Writing Job Specifiactions (Gary Dessler)

The job specification takes the job description and answers the question, “What human traits and experience are required to do this job effectively?” It shows the hiring criteria for the job, in terms of what kind of person to recruit and for what qualities you should test that person. It may be one section of the job description, or a separate document. Often the
employer makes it part of the job description.

Specifications for Trained versus Untrained Personnel
Writing job specifications for trained employees is straightforward. Here your job specifications might focus mostly on traits like length of previous service, quality of relevant training, and previous job performance. The problems are more complex when you’re filling jobs with untrained people (with the intention of training them on the job). Here you must specify qualities such as physical traits, personality, interests, or sensory skills that imply some potential for performing or for being trained to do the job.

For example, suppose the job requires detailed manipulation in a circuit board assembly line. Here you might want to ensure that the person scores high on a test of finger dexterity. Employers identify such human requirements either through a subjective, judgmental approach or through statistical analysis (or both). Let’s examine both approaches.

Specifications Based on Judgment
Most job specifications come from the educated guesses of people like supervisors and human resource managers. The basic procedure here is to ask, “What does it take in terms of education, intelligence, training, and the like to do this job well?”

There are several ways to get these “educated guesses.” You could review the job’s duties, and deduce from those what human traits and skills the job requires. You can also choose them from the competencies listed in Web-based job descriptions like those at www .jobdescription.com. (For example, a typical job description there lists competencies like “Generates creative solutions” and “Manages difficult or emotional customer situations.”) O*NET online is another source. Job listings there include lists of required education and other experience and skills.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Writing Job Descriptions (Gary Dessler)

The most important product of job analysis is the job description. A job description is a written statement of what the worker actually does, how he or she does it, and what the job’s working conditions are. You use this information to write a job specification; this lists the knowledge, abilities, and skills required to perform the job satisfactorily.

There is no standard format for writing a job description. However, most descriptions  contain sections that cover the following:
  1. Job identification
  2. Job summary
  3. Responsibilities and duties
  4. Authority of incumbent
  5. Standards of performance
  6. Working conditions
  7. Job specification

Job Identification
The job identification section contains several types of information. 
The job title specifies the name of the job, such as telesales representative, or inventory control clerk. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) status section identifies the job as exempt or non exempt. (Under the FLSA, certain positions, primarily administrative and professional, are exempt from the act’s overtime and minimum wage provisions.) Date is the date the job description was approved.

There may also be a space to indicate who approved the description and perhaps a space showing the location of the job in terms of its facility/division and department. This section might also include the immediate supervisor’s title and information regarding salary and/or pay scale. There might also be space for the grade/level of the job, if there is such a category. For example, a firm may classify programmers as programmer II, programmer III, and so on.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Realigning HR to Deliver Business Results (Bradley W Hall,PHD)

Two things will help us implement the new Human Capital Strategy by realigning HR to deliver business results: 
(1) splitting the HR administrator, fixer, and strategic partner roles, and 
(2) aligning the human capital organization to deliver the four strategic objectives.

Split the HR Administrator, Fixer, and Strategic Partner Roles. 
In 1964, Chaney and Owens conducted an academic study that makes a persuasive case that individuals with different personalities tend to migrate to jobs that fit. From a sample of 900, they looked back to high school and found that engineers disliked verbal activities and courses where discussion was involved, were slow in dating and preferred to spend time reading or in problem-solving activities. Those who became sales reps were only average in math and science capabilities, dated earlier, enjoyed meeting new people and had more friends and were leaders in different activities.

Sure, there are some good “sales scientists,” but not many, and trying to make a scientist into a sales rep may result in frustration by both parties. (As the saying goes, “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it frustrates the pig.”) The study provides an important lesson for HR. The all-in-one HR business partner model has not and will not deliver value because it is based on an assumption that people can perform well in very different roles that require very different talents. It is time to admit defeat and completely separate the administrative, fixer, and strategic roles.

A more radical solution is to follow the Innovator’s Dilemma model of creating a stand-alone unit for the discontinuous work of strategic HR. The head of HR administration should report to the corporation’s top operations executive or CFO. This reporting relationship was very common in the days before the promise of strategic HR. It was common because it made sense. If the core capability of administrative HR is operational excellence, then operations is the right place to report. (See Figure 3-5.)

Next, build a fully separate organization reporting to the CEO that provides change leadership and organizational consulting to top leaders. Calling this organization something other than “human resources” might be wise as an HR title brings with it a set of internal customer service expectations that will no longer apply. This new “human capital” organization will comprise a set of full-time consultants who are educated and trained to improve the performance of people and organizations. Human capital business consultants should spend 100 percent of their time identifying opportunities to improve customer and shareholder satisfaction and should be evaluated by their impact to both. Their customer is external, their investment model is ROI-based, and they are business performance advocates.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Aligning the HR Structure (Bradley W Hall,PHD) - Part 2

HR Is Structured to Produce Programs and Policies Rather than Business Results

Let’s say, as a general manager, you see a leadership deficit in your business unit. Who in your HR function is accountable for improving leadership performance? The organizational development department is not; it creates competency models and assessment tools. The talent management department is not; it runs the succession planning cycle. The performance management department is responsible for appraisals, the compensation department makes pay decisions, and the training department develops and delivers courses. So which department manager will stand up and say, “My department is accountable for growing leaders”?

Today, the answer is “nobody.” 

The reason is that today’s HR is aligned by subprofession (e.g., training, staffing, compensation), the same as it was thirty years ago. Let’s call these subprofessions by their new name, Centers of Excellence (COEs). COEs are factories that produce state-of-the-art HR tools. They are not designed to produce business results and often operate as uncoordinated product development units, as indicated by Figure 3-4, which shows the COEs of one institution.

Many companies refer to both first-level (e.g., organizational development) and second-level (e.g., HR metrics) organizations as COEs. If this was an automobile engine, each COE unit  would be producing a different engine part. The problem is that there is no blueprint of what
the completed engine will look like or do. Just as it is unreasonable to build parts to an engine without a blueprint of the finished engine, it is unreasonable to build HR tools and processes without a Human Capital Strategy.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Aligning the HR Structure (Bradley W Hall,PHD) - Part 1

Today’s HR organizational structure is misaligned with a Human Capital Strategy of sustained competitive advantage through people. There are two critical areas of misalignment:
  1. Strategic and administrative work remains tangled.
  2. HR is structured to produce HR products and processes rather than business results.

Strategic and Administrative Work Remains Tangled

Several decades ago, sales and marketing organizations were commonplace. Over the years, marketing was split off into its own organization. Although the purpose of both functions is business development, each requires a different approach and skill set. The same is true with accounting and finance. Accounting is an old profession, and finance recently emerged from accounting with the rise of capital markets. The purpose of both functions is to leverage financial capital, but each uses different methods to accomplish the task. Like sales and marketing and accounting and finance, administrative and strategic HR are both about people, but each requires a different approach and skill set.

Over the past decades, the HR profession has aspired to create fundamentally different outcomes, but it has attempted to do so inside the walls of traditional HR. As the model presented in Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma (Harvard Business School Press, 1997) would predict, it is difficult to create a business that represents a discontinuous change inside an old organization: The old will strangle the new. When an organization needs new capabilities, it may need a new organizational space where those capabilities can be developed. Christensen suggests that a successful approach is to spin off an organization so that the new capabilities can be managed in a very different way than in the mainstream business. This has not happened in HR; the old is strangling the new.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Today’s Human Resources Function (Bradley W Hall,PHD)

Throughout history, virtually all breakthroughs required replacing a current model with a fundamentally different paradigm. Scientific examples include germ theory and the theory of relativity. Federal Express and Amazon.com are business examples of a paradigm shift, and W. Edwards Deming’s statistical process control is an example of a professional shift. In each case, these new paradigms emerged and completely challenged existing “truths.” The HR profession has yet to go through its paradigm change.

Think of today’s HR model as an engine with four elements:

(1) structure (i.e., who reports to whom, roles, and accountabilities),
(2) systems (i.e., performance measures, business reviews), 
(3) shared values (i.e., beliefs, values, culture), and 
(4) skills (i.e., talents, knowledge).