Updated: Oct 21, 2019
Have you ever wondered what goes into the “next step” of growing your business or hiring employees? From Industrial and Organizational (I-O) Psychology experts, we learn the entire process of analyzing and hiring employees. I-O Psychology is a relatively new field, but it's a lot like human resources (HR). In this blog, we'll look at how to analysis a job position to fill at a company just in case this can ever help you or others that you know. And then, we'll give a specific example of a "Child Safety File (CSF) Agent" position and performance management to bring it all together.
First, we fully develop what's called a “job analysis.” Many companies today conduct a job analysis for each particular job. The more an I-O Psychologist or an HR employee develops these analyses, then the more benefit they'll experience from them.
Job analysis is used for:
-Recruiting (i.e strategies)
-Job Design and redesign
Landy and Conte (2013) wrote the book on I-O Psychology. A job analysis, according to them, attempts to develop a theory of behavior about the job in question. This includes performance expectations as well as the experience and skills necessary to meet those expectations. For example, if I’m a food vendor and I'm planning an advertisement to hire help, then I might think about what specific duties my future employee needs to have like writing down orders and communicating those orders. And what skills are necessary for that position like a high school diploma, writing, and communication experience.
Two methods help with the approach to job analysis: a task-oriented approach and a worker-oriented approach. A task-oriented approach begins with a statement of the tasks that the worker performs, the equipment or software used, and the work context or environment. The second work-oriented method for a job analysis begins by focusing on attributes of the future necessary to complete those tasks defining a job.
A task-oriented statement might be: Listens to orders, writes down orders, shares orders with a cook, and delivers these orders to the customers.
Whereas a worker-oriented method might be: Greats, offers customers the special of the day, treat everyone how they’d like to be treated and encourages customers to please come again.
Whichever method is initially selected, the next step in job analysis is to identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that an incumbent would need for performing the tasks or executing the human behavior described in the job analysis. Tests and other assessments could be researched and used to chose between candidates.
Landy and Conte (2013) say that a cognitive task analysis can provide us with valuable additional information for our job analysis. Most concentrate on observable behavior like programming, but special data collection techniques must be used for cognitive behavior because it is not directly observable. For example, importing files, exporting files, and converting formats. Because cognitive task analysis concentrates on how behavior occurs rather than on what is accomplished, it is a useful addition to the job analysis tool bag.
A recently developed job analysis instrument identifies personality predictors of job performance. It’s the PRPRF (Personality-Related Position Requirements Form). Google Bowling Green State University for a free online public work-related personality PRPRF scale. Where experts determine whether effective performance for a specific job requires various behaviors. Which might be good for all of us who have little or no experience in HR.
Pay is a big deal. Especially to new start-ups. In determining how to pay individuals within an organization, many employers must consider two perspectives according to Landy and Conte (2013). The first is the external perspective: How does the pay rate compare to the going market rate? The second perspective is internal, one that can be addressed by job evaluation or by comparing job titles to one another and determining their relative merit by way of these comparisons. An external perspective would be to call around and ask how much is a job that we’re hiring for is being in other organizations. An internal perspective is like having two programmers who are each making $20 hour, then we have a gauge to help determine the pay of a new programmer. (Unless, of course, you’re like most of us and make zero but feel like a new hire at least deserves something. Lol.)
A good job analysis identifies compensable factors like skill, education, responsibility, effort, and working conditions. And with behaviors of work in the 21st Century, decision-makers are increasingly thinking of more the intellectual factors like work roles, competencies, human attributes, resiliency, and team responsibilities rather than tasks or traditional compensable factors.
Finally, the federal government wants to help us with job analysis. The Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) was developed by the national government for a database of jobs and job analysis information. The DOT is pretty handy because it standardizes Occupational titles, those industries, a leading statement for each title, and task elements for each title. Even though is a bit outdated.
In 1995 the federal government supplanted the DOT with the Occupational Information Network, or O*NET, which is a collection of many databases that contain information on experience requirements, work content, typical tasks and duties, wage expectations, requisite abilities, and basic skills. Google O*NET for a handy tool in your tool bag of growing your start-up. You can browse various occupations by groups and industry. Focus an advanced search on a specific tool or software. Or even compare positions from one organization to another organization. Like comparing an engineer in the military to an engineer in the corporate arena. It’s a very good platform for a more advanced job analysis.
During the hiring process, various queues are required. Or, a certain order to the process. Advertising for applicants, for example, may well be a specific time-framed window. The publications with the best odds of realizing those applicants will be considered. And the applications and responses to those applications will be considered. And the review of applications, then deciding which response to send to which applications will be required. Followed by interviews, assessments, tests, etc. before a formal offer is made.
Dr. Voyles (2019) reports that an interview is the most popular selection device used across all jobs - used by 80 percent of U.S organizations. Companies use standardized interviews with the same questions asked to all applicants and unstandardized interviews with no consistency of questioning across applicants. Evidence suggests, however, that interviews have a very low validity rate in predicting actual job performance.
There are more probable ways of predicting actual job performance than interviewing candidates according to Dr. Voyles (2019). these include the infamous "g," or general cognitive ability assessments similar to IQ tests, specific cognitive ability assessments like personal and physical abilities, and integrity tests like determining the odds that a candidate might help someone in need out or try to find the owner of a lost item. Various assessments have various rates of reliability. But overall. and especially when used together, assessments like these are much better predictors of actual job performances than interviewing candidates.
Let's look at the Clean Law company, for example, and the job of the safety file agent. The goal of this company is family sustainability. Therefore, it's important for the performance of filers to know the difference between a basic-level of family law and a basic-level family law 2.0. A general cognitive ability test, or "g," is simply inviting candidates to volunteer and learn a new safety practice. This is different than a task ability test in that there's no work done. It's just the cognitive, or mental will to learn such work.
A specific ability test looks at understanding the differences between classical family law and family law 2.0. For example, safety file agents are asked a series of questions such as:
1. In a Bears versus Vikings football game, is that like a fighting file
or like a safety file?
2. In teaching a child to read, is that like a fighting file or like a safety file?
A fitting assessment "Speaks for itself." Once a job analysis is fully developed and executed, then the real work begins. Companies assess and hire the best possible candidates. And then comes the process of on-boarding and measuring performance. This is known as performance management.
Performance management systems, like scientific life processes, emphasize the links between individual behaviors and organizational strategies and goals by defining performance in the context of those goals (Landy & Conte, 2013). The heart of performance management is what's known as 360-degree feedback. 360-degree feedback assesses each participant from every other participant's perspective. For example, with safety file agents, they formally document evidence from the child's perspective and along with every other perspective. Edleson (2012) reports for the American Psychological Association that 360-degree feedback works well if implemented correctly.
Performance systems transcend disconnected pieces. In the case of a family law 2.0 safety file agent, we call this performance family sustainability. For example, "exofiles" like those in family law 2.0 are commonly thought of as being like exoskeletons which help soldiers carry the heavy, often over-burdening weight of supplies, through their battles. Family law 2.0 exofiles help children carry the often over-burdening weights of divorce and other trials. It speaks for itself, but these tools can be thought of as performance management systems. They speak for themselves.
Keate (2017) reports that exoskeletons give one person the power of 27 people. Likewise, safety filers give children the power of many people. Performance management systems, or life processes, speak for themselves. When we pull the fruit off a tree, then there's more to know for replenishing the tree than what fills our belly. Performance management gives companies the power of many more people. These humanistic and reciprocal feedback loops can be thought of as win-all strategies in most cases. Take the soldier with an exoskeleton for example. He's filling a need for survival. Take the child safety exofiler for example. How broad and how wide are these obstacles of divorce for children that we just magically expect them to just jump across without any assistance?
A job analysis may not be in our hand to play just yet. But, it’s a good hand of cards to know how is played. A good job analysis seeks to define jobs and work in terms of the best match between required tasks and human attributes. Hopefully, we’ll need of job analyses in the not so near future.
After a job analysis comes the job placement. Making this move can be thought of as where the real additional work begins as far as the company is concerned. Of course, this and the prior job analysis process required an already existing I-O psychologist or HR professional. They're usually already part of the new position or part of consulting. Careful job placements are a sign of life in business and our economy.
After a job placement is performance management for most 21st Century companies. Classical management may say that, "I'm the boss and you're the incumbent." Whereas modern management companies say, "How else can we get everyone involved the loop of performance?" In this blog, we looked safety filers through the lens an I-O Psychologist to analyze jobs, job positions and performance management to bringing them all together. Cheers!
Edleson, H. (2012, November). Do 360 evaluations work? Retrieved July 25, 2019, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/11/360-evaluations
Landy, F. J., & Conte, J. M. (2013). Work in the 21st century: An introduction to
industrial and organizational psychology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Keate, G. (2017, November 29). Exoskeleton soldier has the power of 27 men. Retrieved July 25, 2019, from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/lockheed- martin-exoskeleton-gives-soldiers-have-the-power-of-27-men-q03r0g0fx
Raytheon XOS 2 Exoskeleton, Second-Generation Robotics Suit. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2019, from https://www.army-technology.com/projects/raytheon- xos-2-exoskeleton-us/
Voyles, E., Ph.D. (n.d.). An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology[Scholarly project]. In Blackboard SIU-E. Retrieved July 25, 2019, from https://bb.siue.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/ listContent.jsp?course_id=_47592_1&content_id=_1649228_1