3. Human Resource Planning and Job Analysis – Human Resource Management: Text and Cases



Chapter Objectives

  • To understand the importance of Human Resource Planning (HRP) for the organization.
  • To understand the process of doing HRP and the various tools required for the same.
  • To explain the purpose and the use of job analysis.
  • To understand the various methods of collecting information on job analysis.
  • To write job descriptions and job specifications.

Opening Case

To Plan or Not to Plan

Zee Bay Inc. is a medical transcription firm in India and its tagline is ‘Confidential and Accurate Transcription that Meets Your Deadlines.’ It caters to the medical outsourcing requirement of the American medical world.

Medical transcription services ought to have five distinct value propositions for their clients: competitive price, fast turnaround time, 100 per cent accuracy, quality output and security and confidentiality. Until now Zee Bay had been a ‘boutique BPO’ (few high-paying customers with very high-quality requirements) but with passing time the sales team in the US had been facing a lot of difficulty with selling Zee Bay services at their current price levels. Bigger players had come into the market and they were selling their services at a loss to win customers with the hope that the customers would become sticky and then they would inch their prices up. Nobody knew whether their strategy would work or not but currently it was causing a lot of grief to Zee Bay. To tide over this crisis, the management team had come to only one conclusion that there was no way that the ‘boutique’ model could sustain and that they needed to expand.

Zee Bay Inc.'s Strategy

Raikar, the promoter, decided to set in motion his plans to expand from the coming financial year. Based on his strategy team inputs, he was looking at a near-shore acquisition which could help him get an advantage over his other Indian competitors. There was no company that he could think of acquiring at the moment, but Kumar (who doubled up as his Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Strategic Head) had not given up and was having a series of meetings with many in South India which seemed to be especially endowed with small transcription shops.

Zee Bay at the moment has 550 people across three locations in India: Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Of these, 500 were part of operations and were involved in transcription, proofreading or supervision. The qualification break-up of the transcriptionists looked like this: undergraduates—20 per cent; graduates—60 per cent; others—20 per cent. The average age of the operations team was 27 years. There were a few retired people from the medical world, of whom most had served as nurses at local hospitals.

To Hire or Not to Hire

In the face of all this, Manish Tandon, the Head of Human Resources, had a tough job at hand. It was December—the Human Resource Planning (HRP) process had started and he needed to firm up his numbers. Raikar would be having the first round of discussions with the first draft of the budget next week.

Manish knew that the business slow down had hit the US markets too. However, current customers had promised an increase in business in terms of volume to the tune of 15–20 per cent. There was a general reduction of business, but what the sales team was very upbeat about was the fact that more medical firms would like to optimize on costs and hence would be more than willing to outsource the work to good quality players in India. With this background they had projected a 45 per cent rise in orders. What Manish feared was that if he hired manpower and the orders did not follow the projection then he would be left with no option but to have people go. This was not the usual software business where you could utilize your bench in domestic projects.

The additional business from current clients was not a worry—the ‘Resourcing’ team got enough lead time to be ready with trained people. The tricky cases are going to be the additions to the client list. New clients invariably wanted a pilot run before they signed on the dotted line. Before they gave assured business it was fair that they tested waters! A pilot team would mean hiring people not knowing whether they could keep them or not—same old chicken and egg story! This would mean Zee Bay had to be people ready. ‘We could probably increase the number of transcribers on the current processes and use the supervisory force to double up as transcribers till we get the job,’ Manish sat and wondered.

For the projected increase in revenue, Zee Bay would have to quickly build a team. They would need transcriptionists, proofreaders, team leaders, shift supervisors and programme managers. The ratio of transcriptionist to team leader is 12:1. The ratio of TL to AM is 1:4. Attrition was very high, going up to 50 per cent the previous year when the going was great in terms of business. Now with the slow down, they are expecting that the perennially north bound attrition rate would buckle its trend.

As Manish took his scratch pad out to start making his notes, he wondered ‘Planning on the face of it should be about numbers, but how to go about the whole activity’. He tried to scratch his memory and recall every management book that he had read, if an ‘idea’ could suddenly appear from somewhere. There is nothing which is fixed—we don't know whether we would get business. If we get business we do not know the areas that we would need the expertise in. We do not know the rates that we would get—in all probability, rates would be such that you cannot be sure you would get the best of guys for the kind of money you could pay. We do not know whether there will be an acquisition for sure or not. Every time you ask Raikar, he will have a new list of candidates. Doesn't help our case! Manish could take it no more—he pushed his chair back and thought he would go and do a little management by walking around—‘at least I can be sure there will be people out there’—he was tired of racking his grey cells for solutions.


  1. What is Manish's problem?

  2. How do you suggest he plan for his human resource requirement?

Source: Adapted from Pande and Basak (2010).

I expect to spend the rest of my life in the future, so I want to be reasonably sure of what kind of future it is going to be.


—Charles Kettering

Jaiprakash Singh sat staring into his coffee cup, long after he had taken the last sip. He shook his head as if in total disbelief of something and remarked to his wife, ‘I was thinking of growing the company—and here I am running to stay at the same place’. Just then he saw Anand walking towards him. Anand had been in a large consulting house for many years now and was to be seen rarely at the tennis courts due to his hectic travelling. ‘Why don't you ask for his advice?!’ piped in his wife, ‘he has been helping organizations out of their mess for a living!’ Anand made it easy for him saying, ‘So how's the new job going, Mr President’, as he slumped into the chair next to him. Here's their conversation reported verbatim.



Not so good! Could be better if you helped!


Happy to be of help—tell me!


I have been in this job for over a month now and all I seem to be doing is interviewing people or listening to their personal problems.


Why is it that you have been interviewing people? Shouldn't that be the job of the HR department? Don't you have one in your organization?


Yes we have! But the HR department does not hire top management people. As soon as I took over I found that two of my vice-presidents are about to retire and there is nobody to replace them.


Have you hired someone?


Yes, I have and that is part of the problem! I hired a candidate from outside. As soon as an announcement to this effect was made, one of my department heads resigned. He said he had been looking forward to gaining that position for the last seven years and hiring somebody from outside has angered him a lot. Now you tell me how was I to know that he wanted the job?


What have you done about the other vice-president's job?


Nothing till now as I am afraid someone else might quit because they were not considered for the job. There's much more to my problems than just this. I just found out that among our youngest professional employees, engineers and accountants, there has been an 80 per cent turnover over the last three years. These are the people we promote around here. In fact that's how I started out in this company. I was a chemical engineer.


Has anyone tried to find out why they are leaving?


Yes and more or less they all have the same answer which is that they don't feel they have a future here. May be I should call them all together and explain how I progressed in the company.

A :

Have you ever considered implementing an HRP system?

JS :

HRP?! Now what is that?!!!


‘I didn't realize at the time (1970)’, Reginald Jones, GE's former chairman indicated, ‘but we were a company with 30,000 electromechanical engineers becoming a company that needed electronics engineers. We did not plan for this change in 1970, and it caused us big problems by the mid-1970.’ GE had been doing business planning for a long time but started taking a long-term view on HR after facing this crisis.


Source: Adapted from Mills (1985a).

If you imagine the situation the Jaiprakash Singh is in, you can be sure that not much planning has gone into his human resource operations at all. Had it been factored in, he would not have been in the mess that he seems to be in.


Simply put, HRP determines the human resources requirement by the organization to achieve its strategic goal. It is the process by which the organization ensures that it has the right number and right kind of people, at the right place at the right time, capable of effectively completing those tasks that will help the organization achieve its objectives.

It addresses the need for human resources in both the quantitative as well as the qualitative manner. This would translate into two questions—How many people? What kind of people? Apart from this, HRP also looks at broader issues such as capability building of the people resources and the introduction of processes to meet the future requirement (both ‘how many’ and ‘what kind’) for people.


Human Resource Planning determines the human resources requirement of the organization to achieve its strategic goal.

HRP is an integral part of the business planning exercise. The business planning defines what kind of business the organization would be in, in the future. It also defines the competencies that the organization needs to build to face the challenges in the future. It involves forecasting the organizations future human resource needs and how those needs could be met. It would include establishing objectives and developing and implementing programmes to ensure that people are available with the appropriate qualification, experience and skills during the phase that organizations would be needing them. It could involve developing and implementing programmes to improve employees’ performance or to increase employees’ satisfaction and involvement in order to boost organizational productivity, quality or innovation (Mills 1985a).


Most organizations follow planning because they believe that it makes their company plan for the future in order to eliminate surprises and it makes them flexible and entrepreneurial. But there are other organizations that resist planning and feel it is bureaucratic, costly and ineffective.

A survey on ‘HRP’ was done by D. Quinin Mills (1985a) for more than 200 companies in the United States that had sales of more than $50 million and conducted business from 10 or more locations and had a controlling interest in one or more subsidiaries. About 72 per cent of survey respondents who practised HRP were certain that it improved the profitability and 39 per cent or more than half of the human resource planners insisted that they could measure the difference to the bottom line. The survey data analysed the profitability of the companies that included human resource goals in their business plans compared with those that did not. It turned out that the companies that had their business goals charted out were the more profitable ones. In July 2007, The Economic Times reported ‘HR department in the IT industry has miserably failed in manpower planning—right from recruitment to training and development, after the exodus of more than 10,000 employees from top four IT firms in India in the first quarter of the year.’

Consider what would happen if HRP was not done? There could be two fall outs. Either the company would be overstaffed or understaffed. An understaffed company would lose business and customers for its inability to deliver. There will be stress within the organization as people would be overworked. It might become a reason for attrition and conflicts within the organization. Being overstaffed is equally harmful. It is wasteful and expensive. Retrenchment, layoff and no replacement to natural attrition are all expensive ways of correcting the situation. It reduces the competitive efficiency of the organization and also affects motivation adversely, which can become a reason for attrition of the precious few who would want to earn a hard day's work. It is no surprise that more and more organizations are adopting the HRP process. Table 3.1 classifies HRP into three stages of evolution and describes how the process works at each stage of its evolution.


Table 3.1 Which stage of HRP is the organization in?

Stage   Characteristics Activities


Stage 1

■ No long-term business plan. Could be family-run businesses. Employee Engagement is interpreted as hosting parties and organizing picnics


Stage 2

■ Organizations tend to be sceptical of HRP, though some of them have short-term headcount forecasting. They believe that HRP is important and think that there is a need to do more


Stage 3

■ Long-term headcount forecasting that are for at least five years. This activity is, however, not integrated with the long-term business plan


Stage 4

■ HRP is a part of the business planning process, and the senior managers are enthusiastic about it. Skills inventories and succession planning are a part of the long-term business plan


Stage 5

■ Long-term detailed plans in place. They use advanced methods of planning. All HR processes such as succession planning, career planning, high-potential development and retention are tied in with the HRP process

Source: Adapted from Mills (1985b).


W. S. Wikstrom (1971) pointed out in the conference board report ‘manpower planning evolving systems’ that manpower planning consists of a series of activities as follows:

  • Forecasting manpower requirements, either in terms of mathematical projections or trends in the economic environment and the development in the industry or in terms of judgemental estimates based upon the specific future plans of a company.
  • Making an inventory of present manpower resources and assessing the extent to which these resources are optimally employed.
  • Anticipating manpower problems by projecting present resources into the future and comparing them with the forecast of requirements to determine their adequacy, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
  • Planning other HR functions such as sourcing, recruitment, selection, training and development and compensation to ensure that future manpower requirements are properly met.

Thus, HRP aims to get the right number of professionals at the right time to meet the organization's demands (Figure 3.1).


Figure 3.1 Human Resource Planning


Source: Adapted from Mondy (2009).


The various steps for effective HRP are as follows:

  1. Environment scan: In order to plan for human resource requirements in the future, the first step is environmental scanning. Environmental scanning is a systematic monitoring of the major forces influencing the organization and these forces are external as well as internal to the organization.

    External scan would mean doing a quick scan of the market to keep the ‘larger canvas’ in mind. This scan would be done using a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats). This enables HR with the information as to what it could leverage to its advantage and where it needs to plug in the gaps. A very important part of this external scanning is that of the employment market and the environment. This can be in terms of changing employment laws (e.g., changed levels of minimum wages), hiring environment (political pressure to hire locals), compensation trends (compensation break-up ratio of fixed to variable), employment practices (hiring of temp workers, flexi time), technology (how much of the process of recruitment and selection can be automated) etc. The employment market varies from industry to industry and is often created by the competitors. Hence, a tab on what competition is doing can be an edge over them in the market. All this is crucial as this has an effect not only on the type and number of people to be hired but also on how and where they are hired. Let us take an example of the IT industry. In 2009, Nasscom asked the top colleges to postpone their placement season to the final semester. Earlier the software firms would hire from select engineers in the third year of engineering at campuses. This was done to ensure that software firms would go in for just-in-time hiring and to ensure that they do not over hire in an environment where project pipelines were under pressure. Such a directive by a governing body may affect the campus hiring plans for an organization.

    Internal scanning would mean collecting and analysing the information about overall organizational objectives in terms of sales, markets and growth in the future. This is necessary to make a calculation of the numbers and forecasting of the kind of competence required from people. HR also needs to have accurate information about the level of present manpower resources, namely, the number of people, the types of skills and current capabilities of the organization, the development potential of untrained employees and the expenses that would be incurred in the development of skills.

    All the information collected from the scanning phase becomes a major input for the HRP process.

  2. Forecasting demand of manpower: Demand refers to the quantity (number) and quality (skills and behaviour) of manpower needed for particular jobs at a given point in time and at a particular place. The demand of manpower is based on an interpretation of the organization's business plans. The HRP team must learn how to forecast the demand of labour by studying various established reports specific to the relevant sectors they belong to. HR can do the forecasting of this demand with the help of many tools and methods. These methods could be classified into two—quantitative methods and qualitative methods. The outputs of the demand forecast will need to be in terms of the numbers and the skills. Numbers without the skills may do more disservice than service to the organization. Skills and behaviour without numbers will not mean much in terms of planning for the scale of resources.
  3. Forecasting supply of manpower: Manpower supply refers to the quantity (number) and quality (skills and behaviour) of manpower available for particular jobs. It could refer to internal as well as external supply. It is the process by which supply of manpower is analysed and integrated into the overall strategy and layout of the organization. Internal supply of labour refers to the employees already occupying positions in the organization. The automated HR system normally stores such records. Employees update their experience skills and related happenings on a periodic basis and the same is also verified by the HR team/manager. This data is then used to make future projections on skills/competencies the current resources possess and this helps in making future projections. This also helps in the current recruitment process. For example, if the business strategy is to open a new call centre at Hyderabad—the relevant supply elements need to be analysed. Since we are talking of forecast which take into account the future, while forecasting supply it is important to take into account future supply of manpower generated through high potential programmes, promotions, transfers, career planning and succession planning too.
  4. RAG analysis (required, available and gap): The organization needs to recognize the difference between the current and desired future states. The difference is known as the ‘gap’. This analysis of the gap identifies the potential surplus and the shortage of the employees’ competencies and skills. This process concentrates on the surplus—what the company will do with them in the short-/long-term and search for and evaluate alternative solutions. Thus, gap analysis is the comparison of the organization's objectives, strategy and resources against the opportunities and threats in its environment to determine the extent of change required in the current strategy. It is the final part of the human resource forecast; it is a means of contrasting the current numerical size of the manpower against the size predicted in the business plan. Let us take the example of an organization which decides to increase its customer service standards. The gap analysis would mean asking questions, some of which could be: Are there sufficient trained employees? If not, how will the extra training happen and who will fund it?

    Gap analysis needs to cover both long- and short-term initiatives. In the short term, the gap will be filled by objective-based reward and training. In the long term, a strategic perspective is important, requiring both organizational and manpower development.

  5. Plan of action: The plan should put in place processes and provide technical expertise that ensures that the strategic objectives are fulfilled. The plan is not a standalone entity, it should be an integral part of the overall business plan. The plan should provide a set of specific measureable implementation plans and ‘road maps’ of how the business strategy can be achieved through manpower. This stage helps in laying out the sequence of events that need to be executed to realize the plan.

    Dealing with surplus and shortage of manpower: As a result of the RAG analysis, organizations may diagnose either a surplus or a shortage of manpower for their future requirements. This step is about planning to manage the outcome of gap analysis. For dealing with shortages, organizations can use innovative sources of manpower or start training current employees in the short term. In the long term, they could work on becoming a more attractive employer through employer branding, redesigning the compensation and a host of other methods. Many organizations have also tried to manage this situation by slightly lowering the selection criteria and being more flexible on other employment conditions. Hiring part-time workers, temporary staff, students and outsourcing are some of the ways in which organizations respond to shortage of manpower.

    The obvious way to deal with surplus manpower is by downsizing and separating people. However, especially in India, this is looked upon as the last alternative. Alternative ways to handle this could be by restricting hiring, by not filling in the gaps created by resigned employees and introducing voluntary retirement schemes. Outplacement, is also practised by many companies, wherein the laid off employees are given some kind of assistance in finding employment elsewhere.

    In many countries, including India, there are wide variations between the availability of technically trained manpower and the actual demand for such personnel. On the one hand, there may be severe shortage of skilled, technical manpower and, on the other hand, there may be a surplus of non-technical professionals. These are the problems both developing and developed countries face. Therefore, the qualitative aspect is as important as the quantitative aspect.

  6. Control and assessment: This stage helps in monitoring the plan over a period of time. Any digression from the plan is identified and necessary actions are taken. Feedback mechanism plays an important role in this. A cost-benefit analysis could also be done and the actual recruitment plans vis-à-vis projected could be verified once again.

    There are many factors that account for the increased attention to HRP, but environmental forces—globalization, new technology, economic conditions and even a changing workforce—seem of great importance (Dumaine 1989; Dyer and Heyer 1984). Uncertainty can interfere with efficient operations and, therefore, the organization typically attempts to reduce its impact (Thompson 1967).


  Step 1:

Environment scan

  Step 2:

Forecasting demand of manpower

  Step 3:

Forecasting supply of manpower

  Step 4:

RAG analysis (required, available and gap) analysis

  Step 5:

Plan of action

  Step 6:

Control and assessment

HRM in Action

United Bank of India (UBI)

In February 2008, the government-owned United Bank of India (UBI) was one of the few public sector banks with business less than 1 lakh crore. It gave itself the tall task of doubling its business to around 1.5 lakh crore by 2011 from the then 70,000 crore.

To begin with, the bank thrashed out a three-year business plan with the guidance of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kolkata. Besides setting the business target and planning the revamp, UBI identified two major deterrents that need to be addressed at the earliest. The first was related to manpower planning and development and the second related to the use of technology.

The bank's manpower was depleting and the top-line staff was aging. Some of the startling facts were that 1,950 of its 5,000 odd officers were slated to retire by 2011. And in 2009, the bank was likely to face a vacuum at the top-deck as 10 of its dozen general managers were to retire. The average age of the staff was 53.

The bank wanted to have a set of people with the right attitude and behaviours suited for the changing banking world. The company did its manpower planning in a detailed way and factored in campus recruitment and lateral movement of bankers to fill up vacancies, besides promoting its own existing employees to senior positions.

As on 31 March 2011, the bank's business stood at 1.32 lakh crore. HRP seems to have worked!


Source: Adapted from Ray (2011).

3.3.1 Critical Success Factors for Human Resource Planning

  • HRP must always be seen within the strategy making context. A planning process removed from the realities of the business will be a waste of time.
  • HRP involves the creation of formal and explicit sets of proposals intended to achieve actions that will achieve long-term organizational performance.
  • HR planners should propose actions that contribute to the long-term corporate success by being prepared for the worst-case scenario and by introducing innovative ways of thinking.
  • During the thought processes, flexibility is a must. Opportunities must be available for senior employees to think and play a role in the planning process, thus enhancing employee ownership too.
  • It must be process-driven from the very beginning. There should be room for experimentation and scope for improvement too. Various HR scenarios could also be created.

The accountability for HRP lies with the HR department. HR brings in value to the business planning and from there on to the HRP process in the form of expertise and knowledge of the state of the labour market, legal or government frameworks, global or international people considerations, best practice on governance matters, best practices on people strategies and competitive intelligence regarding manpower.

3.4.1 Best Practices for Human Resource Planning Practitioners

The HR planner focuses on the human side of the enterprise. Stainer (1979) recommends the following nine best practices for human resource practitioners to follow:

  1. HR planners should collect, maintain and interpret relevant information regarding human resources. This information could be about the state of the labour market, legal or government frameworks, global or international people considerations, best practice on governance matters, best practice on people strategies and competitive intelligence regarding manpower.
  2. They should regularly report the manpower objectives, requirements and update on the existing employees.
  3. They should develop procedures and techniques to determine the requirements of different types of resources over a period of time keeping in mind the organizational goals. A healthy working relationship with the business leaders is the best way to keep a tab on the future.
  4. They should develop the measures of human resource utilization as the components of forecasts of human resource requirements along with independent validations. Utilization going forward is going to become increasingly important in people-driven industries such as retail, telecom and banking.
  5. They should employ suitable techniques leading to the allocation of work with a view to improving human resource utilization.
  6. They should conduct research to determine the factors hampering the view to modifying or removing these handicaps.
  7. They should develop and employ the methods of economic assessment of human resources to reflect its features as income generator cost and accordingly improve the quality of decision affecting the human resource.
  8. They should evaluate the procurement, promotions and retention of effective human resources.
  9. They should analyse the dynamic process of recruitment, promotions loss to the organization and control these processes with a view to maximizing the individual and group performance without involving high cost.

It is important to note that every organization does not have an HR planner—only organizations that are large can afford a specialized position for an HR Planner. This position might be called workforce analyst, HR forecaster, HRP evaluator, work analyst or HRP manager. In smaller organizations, HR practitioners wear multiple hats. In such a case, the HR manager has to take care of the HRP function too.


The quality of the HRP depends on the quality of the forecasting. Demand forecasting is done based on a number of long- and short-term factors such as change of economy, technological trends, market trends, global trends, strategic plans of the organization, ongoing and immediate future projects/operations. There are many techniques to ascertain this demand. The methods to forecast manpower demand can be categorized into two: those which use quantitative models and those which rely on the judgement of the participants. Let us take a look at each of these methods in brief (Table 3.2).


Demand forecasting can be done using quantitative and judgemental methods.

3.5.1 Quantitative Methods of Demand Forecasting


In ratio analysis, it is assumed that two variables bear a direct relationship with each other. For example, if it takes 30 employees to sell 300 units, then the ratio of number of units sold to employee is 1:10. Based on this, it could be calculated that if one needs to sell 600 units, at 1:10 ratio, 20 sales people would be required. This is a simple method to use, but it has the disadvantages of over simplification. It ignores the fact that with rising volumes (of sales) economies of scale would set in making the system more efficient and this ratio might actually change. However, for doing rough back of the envelope calculations it is a very user-friendly method.


  • Ratios
  • Benchmarking/thumb rule
  • Scatter plot
  • Trend analysis
  • Computerized forecasts
  • Simulation


Ratios assume that two variables bear a direct relationship with each other.


Table 3.2 Quantitative and judgemental methods

Quantitative Method Judgemental Method

■ Ratios

■ Managerial judgement

■ Benchmarking/thumb rule

– Bottom-up approach

■ Scatter plot

– Top-Down approach

■ Trend analysis

■ Delphi technique

■ Computerized forecasts

■ Zero-based forecasting

■ Simulation


■ Work study


Benchmarking/Thumb Rule

Many years of experience gives rise to many thumb rules or benchmarks. For example, the international benchmark for HR is 1:100 in an automated environment, which indicates one HR employee can support and service 100 employees. Therefore, if the employee strength is 5,000, 50 HR employees will be needed. These benchmarks are useful when forecasting has to be done in large volumes for a new business.


Thumb rules and benchmarks are established with many years of experience.

Scatter Plot

This refers to the graphical representation which depicts how two variables are related to each other. For example, if the sales and the organizations recruitment levels are related, then with the scatter plot the organizations can forecast the projected demand of manpower requirements depending on the forecast of sales.


Scatter plot refers to the graphical representation which depicts how two variables are related to each other.

Trend Analysis

The term trend analysis refers to the concept of collecting information and attempting to spot a pattern, or trend, in the information. When the requirement of human resources by an organization is studied to identify a trend and then forecast future requirement based on the trend, then such a method of forecasting is known as trend analysis. For example, organizations may calculate the numbers at the end of each year for the last three or five years, of various functions such as human resources, marketing, finance, operations etc. and then extrapolate this to forecast the future. The shortcoming with this method is that it assumes that the trend will continue without any change which is not always true.


Trend analysis refers to the concept of collecting information and attempting to spot a pattern, or trend, in the information.

Computerized Forecasts

Trend analysis, ratio analysis and scatter programmes forecast the manpower based on the relationship between two variables. However, the requirement for manpower is dependant on a host of variables and not just two. For example, the requirement for sales officers would depend on the trend of sales in different markets, the number of products introduced, the difference in the products (can one salesman sell both?) and customers for the products. The computer program enables the manager to enter all these variables to generate the resource requirement that is required to meet the business objectives. Thus, a computerized forecasting method can forecast in a complex environment better than other methods.


Computerized forecasts enable the manager to enter variables to generate the resource requirement that is required to meet the business objectives.


This is one of the most sophisticated methods of forecasting human resource needs. A computer simulation models a real-life or hypothetical situation on the computer to see how a system works. By changing variables, predictions may be made about the requirement of people at different levels and locations of the organization. Simulations are a mathematical representation of major organizational processes, policies and human resource movement through the organization. They use algorithms for simulating the requirement of people depending on various business variables, either actual or hypothetical. They are, therefore, useful in forecasting for human resources by pinpointing any combination of organizational and environmental variables.


Simulation models a real-life or hypothetical situation on the computer to see how a system works.

Work Study Technique

It can be used when it is possible to apply work measurement to calculate how long operations should take and the number of people required. Work study techniques for direct workers can be combined with ratio trend analysis to calculate the number of indirect workers needed.


Work study can be used when it is possible to apply work measurement to calculate how long operations should take and the number of people required for the same.

3.5.2 Judgemental Methods

Managerial Forecast

This is the most often used method of forecasting. In this, the opinions of manager, functional and departmental heads, subject matter experts or senior-level management who are aware of the manpower needs of the organization are sought to arrive at an estimate. The method depends entirely on the judgement of the managers of the organization. Based on the method by which the opinions of managers are pooled together, there are two ways to do managerial forecasting.


  • Managerial forecast

    Bottom-up approach

    Top-down approach

  • Delphi technique
  • Work study technique
  • Zero-based forecasting


Bottom-up approach.  This method works out like this—each manager who is in charge will create his own requirement. It starts right from the lowest level and moves to the middle level and then to the senior, and finally the entire forecast for the employees for the entire organization is ready. Each level of managers discuss and negotiate their requirement with the next level. Here the onus is on the manager, as they have to justify their anticipated staffing needs. For example, at Mariott Hotels HRP is carried out by successive layer of management, with the process starting from the bottom and moving upward. Each manager personally reviews two layers of employees below his own rank. This allows an overlap in the evaluation procedure, because everyone is evaluated by his immediate supervisor as well as by the person two ranks above.


Managerial forecast seeks opinions of manager, functional and departmental heads, subject matter experts or senior level management who are aware of the manpower needs of the organization to arrive at an estimate.

Top-down approach.   The purpose of this approach is to have the minimum involvement of the line managers in the forecasting process. Most of the responsibility for forecasting is taken by the top management who based on their experience, their view of the future business and resource constraints estimate resource requirement for the future. This method is more time efficient and business driven than the bottom approach. However, the downside is that this kind of forecasting does not have the buy in of the line managers and might be therefore difficult to implement in the budgeting process.

Delphi Technique

Delphi is a group-based systematic forecasting method. At a Delphi meeting, experts take turns at presenting their forecast and assumptions to the others, who then make revisions in their own forecasts. This combination process continues until a viable composite forecast emerges. The composite may represent specific projections or a range of projections depending on the experts’ position. This technique is useful for generating solutions to unstructured and complex questions, such as those that arise during HRP.


In the Delphi technique, experts take turns at presenting their forecast and assumptions to the others, who then make revisions in their own forecasts.


Zero-based Budgeting

In zero-based budgeting, managers need to build a budget from the ground up, building a case for their manpower requirement as if no baseline existed. Resources are not necessarily allocated in accordance with previous patterns and consequently each existing headcount has to be annually re-justified. The main emphasis here is on the analysis of human resource needs. The systematic nature of such a fundamental review imposes a discipline in the organization which has obvious advantages. It produces more and better management information in a readily accessible form. This in turn improves the quality of management's decision. Another advantage that stems from this improved management information is that its production involves the participation of lower-level management in the budgetary process. Unexpected events that occur during the financial year can be more readily adjusted for. If implemented well, zero-based budgeting can eliminate a sense of ‘entitlement’ to resources. The downside of zero-based budgeting is that it vastly overestimates man's ability to calculate. Also because of its nature it can be a very time-consuming and an expensive affair.


In zero-based budgeting managers need to build a budget from the ground up, building a case for their manpower requirement as if no baseline existed.


Once demand forecasting is done—it usually forecasts the requirement on a certain future date. To decide next steps it is important to gauge the availability of manpower inside the organization too. This is called supply forecasting. Some of the methods used to forecast this are discussed in the following subsections.


  • Markov analysis
  • Replacement charts
  • Skill inventories
  • Staffing tables
  • Wastage analysis
  • Succession planning

3.6.1 Markov Analysis

No workforce is stable or stationary. People are hired, they grow within the system and then some of them leave for a variety of reasons. The focus of Markov analysis is to attempt to project into the future what the current workforce would look like if the current mobility flow continues with no changes. It is used to study the flow of people entering and exiting the system. Let us understand this with the hypothetical flow of people in a call centre (Figure 3.2). In 2011, the number of people in different jobs is given in the first column. There are 12 programme managers, 36 assistant managers, 96 supervisors, 288 team leaders and 1,440 customer service representatives (CSRs). How these people make a transition in the next year is given in the subsequent columns. The figures in percentage represent the transition, i.e., the percentage of people who will make a transition into that job in the coming year. For example, 74 per cent of the total number of CSRs (1,440) will stay in their current job, i.e., 1,066 CSRs will continue. About 6 per cent (of 1,440), i.e., 86 would get promoted to team leaders and 20 per cent would exit the system, i.e., 288 will be separated.


The focus of Markov analysis is to attempt to project into the future what the current workforce would look like if the current mobility flow continues with no changes.

Figure 3.2 Markov analysis


Thus, Markov analysis shows the percentage of employees who remain in each job from one year to the next as well as the numbers that get promoted, demoted, transferred or exit from the organization. It helps in tracking patterns of employee movements through various jobs and aids in developing a transition matrix of the forecast of manpower supply. External supply refers to labour from the outside market that could be hired in the organization, accordingly the organizational sourcing and recruitment plans will have to be modified. The internal supply of manpower would cause the redeployment of current employees into new areas.

3.6.2 Replacement Charts

They help in listing current job holders and identifying possible replacement if any opening occurs. It aids in information on the current job performance and promotion potential of possible replacements.


Replacement chart identifies possible replacement for positions which maybe rendered vacant or open.

3.6.3 Skill Inventories

Skill inventory is a compilation of skills, education and experience of employees. It is normally obtained as a report from the HRIS. Organizations use these inventories to assess their ability to meet certain company goals. Understanding the company's pool of current skills/talents and its future skill requirements can aid an organization in its strategic human resource planning efforts.

Similar to the skill inventory is the management inventory. Management inventory is a comprehensive catalogue of the capabilities found in an organization's management team. The inventory is populated with the help of data from the manager's employment records, formal and informal education and training obtained, immediate supervisor's report and the results of performance evaluations.


Skill inventory is a compilation of the skills, education and experiences of current employees.


Field Guide

Skill Inventory Template


3.6.4 Staffing Tables

Staffing tables are graphic representations of all organizational jobs, along with the number of employees currently occupying those jobs. Staffing tables could also be prepared for the future and thus can be used to forecast the supply of manpower.


Staffing tables are graphic representations of all organizational jobs, along with the number of employees currently occupying those jobs.

3.6.5 Wastage Analysis

Wastage analysis is the analysis of the employee turnover in an organization. Wastage analysis attempts to forecast the rate and trend of turnover in an organization. It, therefore, helps in making an estimate of resources that might be leaving the organization; thus in another way forecasting the supply of manpower inside the organization.


Wastage analysis is the analysis of employee turnover in an organization.

HRM in Action

Overstaffing by Design

Aravind Eye Care System (AECS), Madurai, represents the largest and most comprehensive eye care system, leading in the number of surgeries and number of patients much more than any other eye care facility in the world. What is special about Aravind is that nearly 70 per cent of surgeries are at free of cost for the poorest of India's blind population.

Lately, eye care services have become competitive and the industry making significant progress has led to voluntary attrition of manpower across different categories and centres. At Aravind, apart from assessing reasons for attrition, preventive steps are also taken so that effective functioning of the services is not disrupted. It makes detailed assessments of manpower needs scientifically. This helps in its recruitments, training and transfers across departments.

It is a conscious decision which the organization has made to staff people in excess numbers in critical services to take care of contingencies and offering training programmes to build harmony and commitment among employees. Having employee strength of approximately 350 medical officers and consultants, more than a thousand mid-level ophthalmic personnel (MLOPs) and approximately 500 administrative staff, Aravind fulfils all its manpower needs without any advertisement. Despite this policy, there always exists a large pool of applicants for recruitment. MLOPs, representing about 70 per cent of its workforce, are young women in the age group of 17–19 hailing from humble rural backgrounds.


Source: Adapted from ‘Aravind Eye Care HR Policy Covers All Facets of Employee Life: Study ET Bureau’, 4 January 2010, accessed on 25 August 2011.

Figure 3.3 Succession planning chart

3.6.6 Succession Planning

Succession planning is a process for the identification of critical key positions of the organization and then developing internal people with the potential to fill these positions in the case of there getting rendered vacant. The process of identification of potential candidates for key positions helps in forecasting the supply of people for these key positions and hence it qualifies as a method for supply forecasting of manpower. A typical succession planning chart may look like the one shown in Figure 3.3.


Succession planning is a process for identification of critical key positions of the organization and then developing internal people with the potential to fill these positions.


One of the basic changes in the business environment has been the pace at which it changes. What was applicable yesterday is not true today and it would be foolish to assume that what is today will be tomorrow too. Traditional forecasting is unable to handle such fast and frequent changes in environment. When using the traditional methods to forecast one has to either extrapolate the past or making some assumptions about the future, which may or may not be true. This obviously, makes planning a futile exercise. Scenario planning is a tool developed to tackle such changes.

Pioneered by Pierre Wack (1985) of Royal Dutch Shell Group, this is not yet another method to forecast and predict. Instead, scenario planning requires the articulation of multiple scenarios which may unfold in the future and being ready for the same. It does not extrapolate from the past to predict what will happen in the future, but, instead offers different stories of how the future might look. It thus helps to prepare for discontinuation and sudden change, helps to create a common culture or language through which the future can be imagined and discussed and challenges the mental maps we all hold.

3.7.1 Process for Doing Scenario Planning

Scenario planning is best done in a workshop setting of senior business executives and HR executives. The idea is to bring together a wide range of perspectives in order to consider scenarios other than the widely accepted forecasts. The scenario development exercise should include all those who will design and implement solutions based on the scenario analysis.

The following outlines the sequence of actions that may constitute the process of scenario planning.


Step 1:

Define the scope of the planning and the time frame.

Step 2:

Identify the certainties of the situation meaning those elements that are certain to occur.

Step 3:

Identify the critical uncertainties in the environment.

Step 4:

Identify those which are the most important.


Method to calculate level of significance of the driver


Then pick up the highest scoring variables to develop a scenario around its different values.


Step 5:

Articulate the extremities of the variable.

Step 6:

Develop a matrix of the variables to develop different scenarios.



Each scenario should also be given a descriptive name representative of the scenario for easy recall.


Step 7:

Analyse each scenario and articulate a recruitment and selection strategy to respond to it.

3.7.2 Advantages of Scenario Planning

  • Managers are forced to contemplate on a diverse set of situations and hence forced to question the obvious.
  • After having gone through the scenario planning exercise managers will be able to recognize a scenario in its early stages and would be responsive to it.
  • Managers are better able to appreciate diverse points of view after the discussion for envisioning different scenarios—this can lead to a more unified response to a scenario which emerges in the future.

Consider this situation. You have joined the human resources department of a chain of hotels. The chain does not have mature human resources processes in place and there is a lot which can be put in order. You have been in the job for a week when the first crisis sets in. The F&B (foods and beverage) manager of one of the prime properties has put in his papers and it seems he is going to take with him quite a few of his team members too. You are given the task of averting this crisis by helping hire replacements quickly so that the new incumbents are in place well in time. What will you do? Chances are you will go to your manager and she might give you a few ways to look for the replacements. You may call one of your recruitment consultants and tell them that you are looking for replacements for certain positions. If they are good recruitment consultants they would make sure that they ask you a few questions. Can you send me the F&B manager's job description? What kind of a person are you looking for? What will be their salary? Who will they report to? What will be the growth path for this position in the organization? What kind of skills and knowledge does they need to have? Considering that there is no help that you can get with the current HR processes what will you do? You will do something to figure out what are the knowledge, skills and abilities required to do the job of an F&B manager. You will also look for all additional information which will help you decide who the ideal occupant of the position will be. All that you did will actually constitute a job analysis.

3.8.1 Defining Job Analysis

Job analysis is a systematic process of determining the knowledge, skills and abilities required for performing jobs in an organization. Knowledge refers to an organized body of information, which applies directly to the performance of the function, for example, a software engineer should have the knowledge of the technology in which they would be required to work. Skill is the proficiency to perform a certain task. For example, a secretary should have the ability to book and cancel tickets online. Abilities are an underlying, enduring trait useful for performing tasks. For example, an analyst should have the ability to comprehend, assimilate and present large amounts of data as information. It also examines a job's mental and physical requirements; the environment where work is carried out and the job's primary and secondary functions.


Job analysis is a systematic process of determining the knowledge, skills and abilities required for performing jobs in an organization.


Figure 3.4 Job analysis information hierarchy


As a result of job analysis, the following basic information about a job is collected:

  • Overall purpose: the reason the job exists and what is the expectation from the job holder.
  • Organization: where the job fits in the organization; who reports to the job and whom does the job report to.
  • Job content: What are the tasks and the duties to be carried out by the job holder. It identifies all responsibilities and the respective tasks done on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis that make up a single job. A thorough job analysis results in a complete picture of the job, including tasks and duties (see Figure 3.4), general knowledge skills and competencies, required to be successful and resources needed to perform the job effectively.
  • Dimensions: what are the measurable quantitative indicators of the size of the job (e.g., number of people reporting to it, sales target).

Job analysis, as explained in Figure 3.5, is performed on three occasions:

  1. Since job analysis generates information, which is used in forming HR processes, it is usually done at the beginning of designing formal HR processes. Therefore, there is always a first time that it is done.
  2. When new roles and jobs are created then an analysis has to be done to capture the changes.
  3. When the job content has undergone a change, i.e., job has been redesigned or reviewed or modified.

  Step 1:

Planning the job analysis

  Step 2:

Preparing and introducing job analysis

  Step 3:

Conducting the job analysis

  Step 4:

Developing job descriptions and job specifications

  Step 5:

Maintaining and updating job descriptions and job specifications

Figure 3.5 Stages in the job analysis process

3.9.1 Step I: Planning the Job Analysis

There are two parts to the planning of the job analysis.

  1. Identify the objectives of job analysis: Before the job analysis starts the objective should be clearly articulated. The objective of job analysis can be as simple as the revision of job description to as complex a review of the compensation system. The job analyst can ask the following questions to seek clarity in the objectives of the exercise—Why do we need the job analysis data? What is its purpose? Is it possible that we would use the data later for a purpose other than the primary one? The analyst select representative positions. There may be many similar jobs, for example, 50 account officer positions to be analysed, one can analyse a sample of around five to seven.
  2. Obtain top management support: The other important bit is that the process should have the support of the top management otherwise it will become yet another futile exercise with only money and time wasted.

3.9.2 Step 2: Preparing and Introducing Job Analysis

The preparation and introduction of job analysis involves three things to be done.

  1. Identifying jobs and methodologies: Based on the objectives identified in step 1, those jobs which have to be analysed have to be identified. After the jobs are identified, the best method to gather the data also has to be decided upon.
  2. Reviewing existing job documentation: All existing documentation regarding these positions should be collated. These could be job descriptions, previous job analysis information and other documents which would have got created as per the need of the hour. This step would also involve listing out all those people (employees, their managers, department heads etc.) who would be involved in the process.
  3. Communication process to managers/employees: Once the positions have been identified and existing documentation collected and people to be a part of the team identified, then comes the part of communication. Those concerned need to be informed about the job analysis process, its purpose and scope, so that they participate in it whole heartedly without any misgiving.

3.9.3 Step 3: Conducting the Job Analysis

Conducting the job analysis has two parts to it and both are very exhaustive and need a lot of detailing and hard work.

  1. Gather the job analysis data: Meet with selected employees (manager and incumbents) to explain the process and the method. This is crucial. Many people completing job analysis questionnaires or interviews do not give full information unless they are shown the depth of information required. The job analyst should make sure they understand how detailed they should be in their answers. If a checklist is used (e.g., the Position Analysis Questionnaire or PAQ), it is important to also get narrative information from the incumbents and managers to get full account of how job tasks are done.
  2. Review and compile data: Once the data has been gathered, the information should be sorted out by job, organizational unit, position, duty and task. The sorted out data should then be compiled.

3.9.4 Step 4: Developing Job Descriptions and Job Specifications

  1. Draft job descriptions: Design and develop a template for writing the job description and specification. A job description is a written statement that describes the tasks and the activities that have to be done as a part of the job. It also explains the reason for the job's existence and how and where it should be done. On the other hand, job specification describes the knowledge skills and the abilities required to deliver on the job. Both these documents put together contain all the information unearthed by the job analysis in a readable format.
  2. Review draft with managers and employees: Verify the job analysis information, i.e., the job description and the specification with the actual employee doing the job and ratify it with their immediate supervisor. This will help to confirm that the information is correct and complete; it will also help to gain the acceptance of both the employee and the supervisor.
  3. Finalize job descriptions and recommendations: After review by the job holder and the manager, the job descriptions should be finalized with a sign off of the documents by the manager.

3.9.5 Step 5: Maintaining and Updating Job Descriptions and Job Specifications

The job descriptions and the job specifications have to be updated time to time whenever there are new jobs which come up or the nature of jobs changes. There should be a system laid down to revisit these as and when required. The best way to make this happen is to include these documents as a part of day-to-day HR activities. For example, job descriptions should be used to share the details of a job with potential candidates inside and outside the organization. As they are in use regularly they would be revised as and when required.


In order to make the job analysis exercise a success, the line managers, employees and the human resource managers should participate in strategic planning (Table 3.3).


Table 3.3 Role of line managers, employees and human resource managers in strategic planning

Line Managers HR Managers Employees

■ Work with HR managers to determine whether the jobs need to be analysed or re-analysed

■ Help decide who in the team should conduct the job analysis

■ Help identify employees to participate in job analysis

■ Provide necessary inputs to the job analyst

■ Participate in job analysis through interviews and questionnaires or other job analysis methods

■ Facilitate with the team to participate in the job analysis exercise

■ Understand how job analysis aids other HR processes

■ Communicate with line managers and employees about the importance of the job analysis exercise

■ Work with line managers to determine whether and which job needs to be analysed or re-analysed

■ Serve as the job analysis expert or help in choosing the right external vendor

■ Review job descriptions and job specifications from time to time with employees and line managers to keep it updated

■ Keep oneself informed of current trends in the field

■ Use job analysis results for career planning

■ Understand importance of job analysis

■ Provide accurate information for the job analysis process

■ Participate in job analysis through interviews and questionnaires or other job analysis methods

■ Adapt to the changing nature of the job and be flexible in performing new assignments

■ Help line managers and HR know when there is a change in the job content

■ Use the job analysis information to make a career choice and plan career


Source: Adapted from Jackson et al. (2001).

3.10.1 Characteristics of a Good Job Analyst

Effective analysts should:

  • be properly trained in job analysis techniques: Inability to understand the analysis techniques will result in incomplete and also capturing of wrong data. Since job analysis is the foundation of many HR processes, this is very risky.
  • have a working knowledge of the organization and the job in question: For the analyst to understand the meaning of what people are saying, it is important that they know the organization sufficiently to quickly put two and two together.
  • have good interpersonal skills: Often collection of data for job analysis requires extended interaction with employees, their managers and subject matter experts. The analyst needs to know how to balance all these relationships together in an effective manner to collect objective information.
  • be comfortable working as a group facilitator: Often job analysis needs to conduct focus group discussions as well as interview panels. At this time the analyst needs to know how to wade through egos to get to the information required.

3.11.1 Classification of Job Analysis Methods

There are two ways to classify the methods of doing job analysis:

  1. Classification based on property: This means classifying on the basis of the property of the analysis—whether it is qualitative or quantitative.
    1. Quantitative
    2. Qualitative
  2. Classification based on orientation: This means classifying on the basis of the focus of the job analysis—whether it is the job or the worker.
    1. Job-oriented: In job orientation, the focus is on what the job involves, in terms of activities and outcomes, for example, time and motion studies.
    2. Worker-oriented: Worker-oriented job analysis focuses on the characteristics of the worker that does the job. It provides a description of skills, abilities and personality characteristics that leads to successful performance on the job.
  • Observation


    Employee diary/log

    Critical incident technique

  • Interviewing
  • Questionnaire

    Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ)

    Management Position Description Questionnaire (MPDQ)

    Work Profiling Systems (WPS)

    Multipurpose Occupational Systems Analysis Inventory-closed Ended (MOSAIC)

    Fleishman Job Analysis Survey (FJAS)

    Functional Job Analysis Scales

    O* Net Content Model


Qualitative Job Analysis Techniques

Quantitative Job Analysis Techniques

■ Interview

■ Functional job analysis

■ Observation

■ Position analysis questionnaire



■ Task analysis

■ Position analysis questionnaire

■ Functional job analysis

■ Critical incident technique

3.11.2 Methods of Collecting Job Analysis Information


In this method, the job analyst observes the individual performing the job and takes notes to describe the tasks and duties performed. This method of collecting information lets the job analyst see the work environment, tools and equipment used, interrelationships with other workers and complexity of the job.


In the observation method the job analyst observes the individual performing the job and takes notes to describe the tasks and duties performed.

This method is suited for jobs which:

  • involve some amount of movement by the worker which is observable
  • involve tasks which are short in duration allowing observations to be made in a short period of time
  • have scope for the job analyst to gain information about the job through observation

The advantage of this method is that the job analyst can get firsthand knowledge and information about the job. It overcomes the bias which might come in if information is collected from a person (either employee or manager). The down side is that the presence of an observer, i.e., the job analyst may affect the worker causing them to alter their normal work behaviour. It is therefore important for the analysts to be unobtrusive while making their observations.

Some jobs in which the observation method is successful include that of a flight attendant, machine operator, skilled crafts worker and a bus driver.


The work sampling method allows the job analyst to determine the content and pace of a typical workday through a statistical sampling of certain actions rather than through continuous observation of all actions.

Work Sampling.   This is another type of observation which does not require continued attention during the entire course of the individual's work. This method allows the job analyst to determine the content and pace of a typical workday through a statistical sampling of certain actions rather than through continuous observation of all actions. This method is useful in analysing jobs which are repetitive in nature.


The employee diary/log requires employees to do self-observation by keeping a log or a diary of all job duties done during the course of specified time.

Employee Diary/Log.   This is yet another type of observation method which requires employees to do self observation by keeping a log or a diary of all job duties done during the course of a specified time period. This would capture all the tasks and duties the employee performs and also the frequency with which the tasks are performed.

HRM in Action

One of the most important requirements for developing a system of job analysis is to establish a clear and specific set of definitions for these job elements in behavioural terms. The American Institute for Research carried out a series of projects on this problem. The first of these was a study undertaken by Wagner which was to define the requirements of aircrew jobs in terms of specific job elements. As a part of the job analysis several thousand critical incidents were gathered from aircrew members. These were then classified into 24 job elements. These job elements were then grouped under the four area headings: (1) learning and thinking; (2) observation and visualization; (3) sensory-motor coordination and (4) motives, temperament and leadership.

Critical Incident Technique.   The CIT is an interview technique used to investigate actual incidences of on-the-job behaviour. A critical incident is an event that has actually happened, had an effect that is of crucial importance for being successful in the job, is not frequently occurring, is relatively short-lasting, has directly involved the respondents themselves and has happened not too long ago. The technique consists of a set of procedures for collecting direct observations of human behaviour which lead to either success or failure at a task. An example could be dealing with a serious complaint of a customer. The incidents are recorded as notes, stories or anecdotes about how a job holder handles certain situations and from these a composite picture of job behaviour is built up. The interview can be structured so that nothing is missed out. It can begin with an introduction by the interviewer in which they explain the goal and approach, the technique and the follow up after the interview. The interviewee can then be asked to describe globally several critical incidents. The incidents should be related to job objectives. Incidents with both positive as well as negative outcomes should be included. The interviewer can then probe the situation for role and the judgement of the person involved. The analysis of the behaviour will then lead to the personal attributes involved.


The CIT is an interview technique used to investigate actual incidences of on-the-job behaviour.


Interviewing is one of the most popular methods used in job analysis. The interview can be used to collect information from the job holder or the manager or at times from the subordinate too. These interviews can be structured or unstructured.


Structured or unstructured interviews can be used to collect information from the job holder or the manager or at times the subordinate too.


An example of how a critical incident (Cascio 1995) is recorded:

‘On January 14, Mr. Vin, the restaurant's wine steward was asked about an obscure bottle of wine. Without hesitation, he described the place of vintage and bottling, the meaning of the symbols on the label, and the characteristics of the grapes in the year of the vintage.’

Unstructured.   In an unstructured interview, the job analyst asks questions which appear free flowing but actually have the objective about what all information has to be collected clearly in mind. The job analyst probes the responses to develop clarity of the details of the job. They have to continuously keep taking notes without losing eye contact with the interviewee—this can be a major challenge. In order to not get distracted and keep the discipline in the line of the interview, the job analyst has to be very skilled at doing this.

Structured.   In a structured interview, the job analyst may follow a definite format involving charting a job-holder's sequence of activities in performance or have an inventory or questionnaire. While this may ensure that all important aspects are covered, a structured interview does not allow the job analyst to probe.

These interviews can be one-to-one, group interviews or panel interviews. The advantage of this method over the observation method is that it lets the job analyst collect information on aspects of the job which is not observable. However, the disadvantage is that it is very time consuming. Moreover, as a method it has to depend on the details obtained from others, hence, there are chances that the job may be overstated or understated by the interviewee. A lot depends on the skill of the interviewer too. The quality of the job analysis will be a function of his ability to develop a rapport with the interview, his ability to interpret, analyse and probe while taking the interview. Hence, it is not advisable to use it as the sole method to do job analysis.

Field Guide

Job Analysis Interview Checklist

The points which need to be essentially covered in a job analysis interview are:

  1. What is your job title?

  2. Whom do you report to?

  3. Who reports to you?

  4. Why does your job exist? What are you expected to do?

  5. What are your main areas of responsibility (this may also be referred to as key result area, principal accountability or main tasks)?

  6. Describe what you have to do, how you do it and how does your doing the job affect others?

  7. What are the dimensions of your job? How do you define the size of your job? (as in sales target, number of items produced, number of people managed etc.)

  8. How does your job fit in with the jobs in your department and outside your department?

  9. How flexible are you required to be to deliver in your job?

  10. How is your work appraised and reviewed?

  11. How much of decision-making authority do you have?

  12. What are the contacts that you are required to make inside and outside your organization?

  13. Are there any difficulties in your work environment in terms of physical strain or unearthly hours of work?

  14. What are the major problems or difficulties you encounter in your job?

  15. What knowledge and skills do you need to do your job?


The questionnaire is a widely used method to collect data about jobs. A questionnaire is a survey instrument which is developed and given to employees and managers to complete. The major advantage of this method is the ease of administration and the short time in which a large body of data can be collected. However, the downside is that it assumes that the employees and the managers can correctly analyse and communicate information about the jobs. For this reason, it is a good idea to use this method in conjunction with another method like interviewing.

Some of the popular job analysis standard questionnaires are described below.


A questionnaire is a survey instrument which is developed and given to employees and managers to complete.

Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ). It can be applied to the behaviour and activities of all workers/employees irrespective of their specific jobs they perform. Created by Ernest J. McCormick (1972), it was based on two assumptions: (1) a relatively small set of behaviours is common to all jobs and (2) all jobs can be described in terms of how much they involve each of these behaviours. Keeping the above two assumptions in mind McCormick developed a structured questionnaire comprising 194 statements that describe the worker behaviours. Each statement is rated on skills such as the extent of use, importance of the job and the amount of time spent in doing the job. The items are organized into six divisions:

  1. Information input: where and how the worker gets information
  2. Mental processes: reasoning and other processes that workers use
  3. Work output: physical activities and tools used on the job
  4. Relationship with others
  5. Job context: physical and social environment
  6. Job characteristics: such as pace and structure

The PAQ (Position Analysis Questionnaire) can be applied to the behaviour and activities of all workers/employees irrespective of their specific jobs they perform.

Each job element is rated on six scales: extent of use, importance, time, possibility of occurrence, applicability and a special code for certain jobs. A part of the PAQ is given as an illustration.

Management Position Description Questionnaire (MPDQ). This is a standardized questionnaire designed to analyse managerial and executive jobs. It is very comprehensive consisting of 250 questions. The instrument has to be completed by managers themselves. There are six dimensions along which the questionnaire is designed. These are—decision-making, problem solving, organizational impact, human resource responsibility, know-how and contacts. The rating scales for the MPDQ are not precise and require the responses of several managers to describe a job reliably at the item level. MPDQ is one of the first computer-based job analysis system and is able to give wide ranging reports in a graphical manner for easy analysis.


The MPDQ (Management Position Description Questionnaire) is a standardized questionnaire designed to analyse managerial and executive jobs.

Illustration: PAQ

Information Input

Sources of job information—Visual Sources of job information

Rate each of the following items in terms of the extent to which it is used by the worker as a source of information in performing their job, where 1 = Nominal/Infrequent; 2 = Occasional; 3 = Moderate; 4 = Considerable and 5 = Very Substantial.


Written material (books, reports, office notes, articles, job instructions, signs etc.)


Quantitative materials (materials which deal with quantities or amounts, such as graphs, accounts, specifications, table of numbers etc.)


Pictorial materials (pictures or picture-like materials used as sources of information, e.g., drawings, blueprints, diagrams, maps, tracings, photographic films, X-ray, TV pictures etc.)


Patterns/related devices (templates, stencils, patterns etc., used as sources of information when observed during use; do not include here materials described in item 3 above)


Visual displays (dials, gauges, signal lights, radarscopes, speedometers, clocks etc.)


Measuring devices (rules, calipers, tire pressure gauges, scales, thickness gauges, pipettes, thermometers, protractors etc. used to obtain visual information about physical measurements, do not include here devices described in item 5 above)


Mechanical devices (tools, equipment, machinery and other mechanical devices which are sources of information when observed during use or operation)


Materials in process (parts, materials, objects etc., which are sources of information when being modified, worked on, or otherwise processed, such as bread dough being mixed, workpiece being turned in a lathe, fabric being cut, shoe being resoled etc.)


Materials not in process (parts, materials, objects etc., not in the process of being changed or modified, which are sources of information when being inspected, handled, packaged, distributed or selected etc., such as items or materials in inventory, storage or distribution channels, items being inspected etc.)


Features of nature (landscapes, fields, geological samples, vegetation, cloud formations and other features of nature which are observed or inspected to provide information)


Man-made features of environment (structures, buildings, dams, highways, bridges, docks, railroads and other ‘man-made’ or altered aspects of the indoor or outdoor environment which are observed or inspected to provide job information; do not consider equipment, machines etc., that an individual uses in his work, as covered by item 7)

Note: The 194 PAQ elements are grouped into six dimensions. This exhibits 11 of the ‘information input’ questions or elements. Other PAQ pages contain questions regarding mental process, work output, relationships with others, job context and other job characteristic.

Work Profiling System (WPS).   WPS contains a structured questionnaire which measures ability and personality attributes in areas such as hearing skills, sight, taste, smell, touch, body coordination, verbal skills, number skills, complex management skills, personality and team role. There are three versions of this questionnaire based on the type of occupations, i.e., managerial, service and technical occupations. The questionnaire is available in pencil and paper as well as electronic forms.


WPS contains a structured questionnaire which measures ability and personality attributes in areas such as hearing skills, sight, taste, smell, touch, body coordination, verbal skills, number skills, complex management skills, personality and team role.

Multipurpose Occupational Systems Analysis Inventory-closed Ended (MOSAIC).   This is a questionnaire which contains 151 job tasks rated in terms of importance for the effective job performance and 22 competencies rated in terms of importance and required proficiency.

Common Metric Questionnaire (CMQ). The CMQ has five sections:

  1. Background: This section asks 41 general questions about work requirements such as travel, seasonality and licensure requirements.
  2. Contacts with people: This section ask 62 questions targeting level of supervision, degree of internal and external contacts and meeting requirements.
  3. Decision-making: This question asks 80 questions on managerial and business decision-making.
  4. Physical and mechanical activities: This section contains 53 items about physical activities and equipment, machinery and tools.
  5. Work setting: This section contains 47 items that focus on environmental conditions and other job characteristics.

The CMQ is a relatively new instrument. It has been field tested on 4,552 positions representing over 900 occupations in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), and yielded reasonably high reliabilities (Harvey 1993).

Fleishman Job Analysis Survey.   Another job analysis methodology—the Fleishman Job Analysis Survey (FJAS), contains a taxonomy of abilities that include 52 cognitive, physical, psychomotor and sensory abilities. The FJAS uses level of ability rating scales that specify level of functioning requirements for jobs.

Functional Job Analysis Scales.   The most recent version of FJA uses seven dimensions to describe what workers do in jobs. These seven dimensions are—(1) Things, (2) Data, (3) People, (4) Worker instructions, (5) Reasoning, (6) Math and (7) Language. Each scale has several levels that are anchored with specific behavioural statements and illustrative tasks.

O*Net Content Model.   To understand the O*Net Content model it is important to understand the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). DOT is a comprehensive list of all jobs prepared by the US Department of Labour. Their definition of each job had seven basic parts to it. The seven basic parts were:

  1. The occupational code number
  2. The occupational title
  3. The industry designation
  4. Alternate titles (if any)
  5. Body of the definition which was in three parts—lead statement, task element statement and ‘May’ items
  6. Undefined related titles (if any)
  7. Definition trailer

In 2003, they refined and updated this 60-year-old database and the result was the O*Content model. The O*Net database provides descriptors for more than 1,100 occupations. Each occupation has more than 300 descriptors. These descriptors are job-oriented descriptors or worker-oriented descriptors.

Worker-oriented Descriptors

  • Worker characteristics: Enduring characteristics that may influence both work performance and the capacity to acquire knowledge and skills required for effective work performance. These include the abilities, occupational interests, work values and work style that the worker need to adopt.
  • Worker requirement: Descriptors referring to work-related skills (basic as well as cross functional) acquired and/or developed through experience and education.
  • Experience requirement: Requirements related to previous work activities and explicitly linked to certain types of work activities. These capture training requirement on basic and cross functional skills and also the requirement of any license or diploma to prove that the job holder knows the job well.

Job-oriented Descriptors

  • Workforce characteristics: These are variables that define and describe the general characteristics of occupations that may influence occupational requirements. These would mean the characteristics of current as well as future labour force.
  • Occupational requirements: A comprehensive set of variables or detailed elements that describe what various occupations require.
  • Occupation specific information: Variables or other content model elements of selected or specific occupations. This defines the tasks and tools and technology requirements.

3.11.3 Choice of Method for Job Analysis

There is no best way for doing a job analysis (Ash 1988; Dunnette 1976; Levine et al. 1988). Every method has its own strengths and weaknesses. A way of overcoming specific shortcomings of separate methods is to combine different approaches in one procedure. An approach that leads to good results in practice is using interview techniques with more structured job analysis systems.

Field Guide

Questionnaire for Job Analysis

Job Analysis Information Sheet


    Job Title _____


    Job Code____

    Dept. _________

    Managers Title ____

    Hours worked ___

    Job Analyst's Name ___

    Date: _______

What is the job's overall purpose?


If the employee supervises others, list them by job title;


Check those activities that are part of the employee duties.

  • Training and Development
  • Performance Appraisal
  • Recruitment and Selection
  • HR Operations
  • On Boarding
  • Any other (please specify) ___________

Describe the type and extent of supervision received by the employee


Job duties: Describe briefly what the employee does and, if possible, how he/she does it. Include duties in the following categories

Regular / Daily duties _____________________________________________________________

Periodic duties _____________________________________________________________

Duties performed at irregular intervals___________________________________________________

Is the employee performing duties he/she considers unnecessary? If so, describe.________________________

Is the incumbent performing duties, not presently included in the job description? If so, describe.


Education—Tick mark the box that indicates the educational requirements for the job.

  • No formal education required
  • Undergraduate degree
  • Graduate work
  • MBA (area of specialization)
  • Postgraduate degree
  • Any other (please specify)

Experience—Check the amount of experience needed to perform the job.

  • None
  • One to six months
  • Six months to one year
  • One to three years
  • Three to five years
  • Five to ten years
  • More than ten years

Location: Check location of job.

  • Outdoor
  • Indoor
  • Constant travelling
  • Other (specify)

Have performance standards been established? If so, what are they?


Are there any personal attributes (special aptitudes, physical characteristics, personality traits etc.) required by the job?


Are there any exceptional problems the employee might be expected to encounter in performing the job under normal conditions? If so, describe.


Describe the successful completion and/or end results of the job.


To what job would an employee expect to be promoted?


Source: Adapted from Jackson et al. (2001).


Research by Levine et al. (1983) has pointed out 11 practical issues that need to be considered prior to using a particular method:

  1. Past record: Has the method been tested and refined sufficiently to be used as a method for the assignment at hand.
  2. Availability: Is it available off the shelf? Those job analysis methods such as questionnaires which are available off the shelf are inexpensive, easy to administer though not totally tailored to the requirement of the job analysis.
  3. Occupational versatility: There are instruments which are specific to an occupation and there are those which are generic. Depending on the requirement (versatility or specificity) the suitable method should be chosen.
  4. Standardization: Is it possible to compare your results with others that have been found elsewhere?
  5. User acceptability: Is the method acceptable to those who will participate in the job analysis exercise?
  6. Training requirement: There are methods which need a lot of training for those who are conducting and at times participating in it. Training always comes at a cost and also increase the time of administration of the method.
  7. Sample size: How many respondents does a method need for reliable results?
  8. Reliability: Will a method give results that are consistent?
  9. Cost: Job analysis costs and the cost matters. It is important to adopt a method which is cost efficient for the organization.
  10. Quality of outcome: The quality of the outcome should be such that it meets the objective of the job analysis exercise.
  11. Time to completion: Often job analysis exercises lose steam—they take so long! Time to completion is, therefore, important to be considered when choosing the method.

The job analysis captures a lot of information about the job. It collects information about the duties and tasks (basic unit of work) to be performed, its frequency, duration, effort, skill, complexity etc. It captures details of the environment in terms of the physical requirements of the job and the presence of adverse work conditions and the absence of basic comforts. It outlines the tools and equipments required to deliver on the job safely. It also articulates the relationships with people internal and external to the organization. Finally, it captures from various sources the knowledge skills and abilities to perform the job effectively. All this information which the job analysis collects can be succinctly presented in two documents. These are job description and job specification.


A job description is simply a clear concise depiction of a job's duties and responsibilities.

A job description is simply a clear concise depiction of a job's duties and responsibilities. It refers to a well-articulated document that describes the duties and responsibilities of the job. Hence, the information obtained through the job analysis exercise is important for the job description. A job description should emphasize what the employees are expected to do, how they are to do it and the circumstances under which the job is to be performed. They are written statements in most documents that govern the employment relationship.


A job specification is a statement of the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to do the job.

A job specification is a statement of the qualifications needed to do the job. The qualification is in terms of the knowledge, skills, abilities, education and previous experience and any other physical and mental requirements and/or the working conditions. Cutoff scores on tests, credentials, licenses, degrees, previous experience are all a part of job specifications.

In theory, job description and job specifications are two separate documents (as described in Table 3.4)—however, when they are prepared in organizations they are usually merged into one and called job description. Different organizations design it differently but usually a job description consists of the following sections:

  1. Identification: This is the title of the job which has to be described.
  2. Purpose: This is a short statement of why the job exists.
  3. Organization: This explains where the job fits into the organization.
  4. Principal accountabilities: These detail the main areas where results are to be achieved in the job.
  5. Job specification: This is a statement of the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to do the job.
  6. Dimensions: This describes the size and range of responsibilities of the job in terms of quantitative data (e.g., sales target, number of people reporting in, budgetary allocation).

Table 3.4 Differences between job description and job specification

Job Description Job Specification

■ It is a statement in which purpose, scope, duties, task and responsibilities of a job are summarized

■ It is a statement which indicates the qualifications and qualities required for an employee to be successful at their job

■ Analysis of tasks, activities working conditions and accountability of a particular job

■ Analysis of abilities, characteristics and qualifications of an employee

■ Job description is focused on the task

■ Job specification is focused on the qualities of the employee

Field Guide

Sample Format of Job Description for an NBFC

Job Description


Working Unit:


Job Title:

Reporting To:


Credit Officer:

Unit Manager/Regional Credit Manager:



Responsible for underwriting various types of loans (personal loans, mortgage, two-wheeler/auto, consumer durable etc.) for retail business as per company policy.

Key Accountabilities

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

1. Enforcement and adherence of the company credit policy at the branch

1. Delinquencies of the underwritten portfolio

2. Review and approval of credit files as per policy

2. Losses of the underwritten portfolio

3. Personal discussion with customer for credit assessment

3. Turnaround time

4. Tele verification of references/customer

4. Approval/Reject Ratio

5. Approval of deviations as per policy.

5. Overall Branch Profitability

6. Review portfolio with respect to delinquency/losses/fraud of the portfolio underwritten.


Job Specification:

Educational Qualifications: Graduate (Minimum Qualification)

Professional Experience

  • A year or more relevant experience in credit approval/processing/underwriting in consumer finance (Personal loan/Mortgage/Auto/Two-wheeler/Consumer Durable in NBFC/Banks/CPA firm (working on behalf of a bank))

Competencies Expected

  • Good communication (English and local language)
  • Analytical and logical
  • Assertive
  • Initiative or high energy
  • Ability to build good relationship with customers

Job analysis generates a lot of information about a job. The information can be used as it is or interpreted in a relevant manner for designing and improving HR processes. Hence, job analysis is the foundation for many HR processes to be done well (Figure 3.6).


  • Planning

    Organization design


    Job design

    Career planning

  • Operations




    Developing processes

    Learning and development

  • Control

    Performance standard

    Legal requirement

    Employee relations

3.13.1 Planning

Organizational Design

Whenever an organization has to redesign itself into a new way, the first question which needs to be answered is who does what and how are people related to in the current organization and who can do what and how can people be related to one another in the new organization. This information is obtained from job analysis. Coupled with departmental objectives and organizational charts organizational design can be achieved.

Broadbanding.   When many jobs are grouped into smaller set, it is known as broadbanding, it involves clustering of jobs or job families into a smaller set. Companies do this to simplify the organizational structure, eliminating the number of job titles and keep a wider basket for the company's compensation. It helps in collapsing multiple pay grades, with narrowly defined pay ranges into fewer salary grades with more pay potential. Flatter and broader pay scales are more appropriate to flatter organizational structure.

Human Resource Planning

A review of the job description information can be useful in concluding redundant positions in the organizational chart and thus help in planning for resources required in the future.


Figure 3.6 Job analysis: A basic HRP tool

Job Design

Job design deals with the allocation and arrangement of organizational work activities and tasks into sets where a singular set of activities constitutes a job and is performed by the job incumbent. Job design receives a lot of attention for three reasons: (1) it affects the performance, (2) it affects the job satisfaction and (3) it affects the physical and mental health of the person. Job analysis information contains feedback on all these three dimensions. Therefore, job analysis can be used to redesign jobs and how jobs relate to one another.

Career Planning

The information obtained from the job analysis can be collated into job families which help in career planning.

Job Family.   This refers to a group of jobs that can be treated as similar or are clubbed together for administrative purpose. At times, it could also refer to higher-level jobs categorized by knowledge skills and competencies and they also help in enlarging the scope of work and aid in providing promotional opportunities in the long run.

The term ‘job family’ refers to a grouping of jobs that handle similar types of work and require similar types of training, skills, knowledge and expertise. Some job families have more jobs in them than others, and those with many jobs may have specialty areas. In all cases, a job can only reside in one job family. Jobs in the same job family may reside in the same department or in different departments.

Definition of Some Important Terms

Job classification is the arrangement of jobs into classes, groups or families according to some systematic schema. Traditional classification schemes have been based on organizational lines of authority, technology-based job/task content and human behaviour-based job content.

Job evaluation is a procedure for classifying jobs in terms of their relative worth both within an organization and within the related labour market. It is used to determine compensation.

Job enlargement refers to the increase in number and variety of tasks in a job. It is also referred to as horizontal job loading. With job enlargement a worker might find themselves juggling between multiple priorities.

Job enrichment is referred to as vertical job loading because the job holder takes on a higher level of responsibility.

Job involvement is the degree to which individuals identify psychologically with their work. It also refers to the importance of work to a person's self image.

Job rotation is the temporary switch of assignments. Its intention is to train the worker in doing a variety of tasks.

Job shadowing is a work experience option where students or trainees learn about a job by walking through the work day as a shadow to a competent employee. The job shadowing work experience is a temporary, unpaid exposure to the workplace in an occupational area of interest to the student.


Figure 3.7 An illustration of a job family


An Illustration.   The example in Figure 3.7 shows the ‘financial’ job family—a large job family with a number of work or specialty areas. Each area of specialty then has jobs.

The organization requires many diverse resources to ensure that its financial operations are planned, managed and carried out effectively. In the above illustration, the staff accountant, the project accountant and the manager accounting are all jobs within the accounting specialty, but each may report to a different department. The staff accountant may be a part of the accounts department. The project accountant may be allocated to a project being implemented for a client somewhere. The manager accounting may be a part of the corporate planning department.

What these jobs have in common is that they all handle work that relates to accounting for the organization's funds, including analysing, monitoring, preparing and reconciling financial information in their area of responsibility. Each incumbent requires skill, knowledge and expertise in accounting theory, principles and practices.

Career planning is an attempt by an employee to become more aware of their skills, values, interests, choices and opportunities.

Career path is the sequence of work positions or roles that a person holds over the span of a lifetime. Career paths can take many different paths as there are people. They can include upward as well as lateral movement.

When jobs are clubbed together in job families—an exercise like this helps organizations to show a logical progression that careers might take if they continue to stay in the organization for a good number of years. Using job analysis, employees can identify a logical progression of jobs that they could move to if they wanted to climb the corporate ladder.

3.13.2 Operations

The documents which get prepared after the job analysis are useful documents for individuals who have responsibilities in the day-to-day operations of the organization. These activities include recruitment and selection, orientation of the new employee, learning and development and for developing different kinds of processes and procedures.


Recruitment requires HR to attract the right candidates from the talent pool available for a certain job. A clearly defined job specification would enable the recruiters to decide the source of their recruitment. Clearly articulated requirement in terms of qualification, length and nature of experience is helpful in all recruitment activities such as designing a recruitment advertisement, giving information about the open position to executive search firms and also on career web sites as well as social networking sites. The quality and the clarity of the information would be reflected in the quality of the talent that the organization is able to attract. The information in the job description would also enable the recruiter to give a clear picture of the job and what it entails to an interested candidate.


The selection process intends to select the best person for a job. The design of the selection tools have to, therefore, keep the contents of the job specification in mind so that each specification gets tested.


The job description is the first interface that a new employee has with an organization. In order that the new employees succeed it is important that they understand what is expected from them and how their job fits in with the rest of the organization.

Developing Processes

Many jobs need to have a specific procedure to be followed to be done well. These procedures need to outline step-by-step actions that the employee needs to take. The duties within a job description provide a starting point for the development of procedures.

Learning and Development

Once the applicant has the requisite KSAs and qualification, they get hired, but, in case the company feels they need to enhance their skill set or increase their responsibility or there is some new learning initiative or new technology involved, they would need to get trained accordingly. Hence, this should assess the employee in bridging the gap, also enhancing the necessary skills to a superior level of responsibility.

3.13.3 Control

Performance Standard

Employees in organizations should be evaluated in terms of how well they perform their duties and whether they have achieved all that has been indicated in the job descriptions, i.e., goals and achievements. A good job description outlines the performance standards of the job too. This can prove to be a starting point for a conversation around performance.

Legal Requirement

Job analysis outlines all details of a job. For any statutory compliance that gets to a court the basic document to defend it is the job description which outlines the content, working condition etc. A quality job description also provides a sound base for determining the comparable worth of jobs and for establishing employment and performance standards. In countries like the USA where Fair Labour Standard Act (FLSA) and American Disabilities Act (ADA) have to be complied with, the job analysis documents form the basis for many decisions.

Employee Relations

A key labour principle is ‘equal pay equal work’. Job descriptions and then job evaluations provide a sound basis for the pay decision.

Views in the News

Decline in Job Analysis

Do organizations actually follow job analysis, nowadays? In fact, most HR professionals find it a waste of time, effort and energy, in fact the latest generation of human resources professionals, do not even know what ‘job analysis is all about’. In some organizations such as TCS, Reliance Communications and Vodafone changes occur so frequently that traditional job analysis is close to impossible. Job requirements are also hard to specify because companies expect employees to do ‘whatever the customer wants’. In such a scenario, job analysis will have to be dynamic and fluid. Nevertheless job analysis will not completely disappear, but procedures used are likely to evolve to meet the change in current work demands. The traditional use of job analysis will hold relevance only if:

  • organizations consist of jobs that are structured around specific tasks and are relatively stable and
  • organizations are collecting data for the purpose of legal compliance and defensibility.

Other organizations will have to use modified approaches to job analysis to capture new forms of work, and use it for a variety of purposes.

Changing Purpose of Job Analysis

The basic purpose of the job analysis exercise is the collection of all relevant information about the job. That primary purpose still stays the same. However, the use that this information is put to has changed. In his work on job analysis for the future, Sanchez (1994) suggests a shift in name from job analysis to work analysis. This indicates the trend that the focus is moving from a ‘job’ to ‘work’ which has been distributed between multiple positions. This information collected about the work would be useful in designing skill-based pay programmes to facilitate organizational readiness for the future and to identify task interdependencies and workflows.

Changing Job Analysis Methods

While the tools to collect information largely stay the same the audience from whom information is collected is broadening. Earlier it was only the job holder, the supervisor and the subordinate who gave inputs to the process of job analysis—now others who are getting included into this ambit are customers, technical experts and the people designing the work of the future in their analytical process. The focus of the analysis is also shifting from just the job to work and also to broad attributes which ensure success in an organization. A lot of analysis is also being done of jobs which would be the result of a planned change exercise to facilitate change management.

Flowcharting is getting utilized in the collection of work information (Sanchez 1994). Flowcharting enables analysts to connect the work performed by multiple people, rather than limiting their scope to within the boundaries of a single job.

Job analysis or work analysis as it is increasingly turning too will continue to generate enough information to modify the designs of organizations and work processes to make their management easier and more effective.


Source: Adapted from May (2011).

HRM in Action

JC Penny

The retailer JC Penny implemented a job content based philosophy to move away from a culture that encouraged internal promotions driven by longevity rather than real changes in job content. JC Penny took the following steps to implement the approach.

  • It partnered with a consulting firm and carefully planned each step of the project.
  • The consultants met with senior managers to understand the key issues.
  • The consultants worked with line managers and HR to understand the nitty gritty of the job.
  • The consultants also reviewed published survey to equip themselves better with the assignment.
  • Matched up with jobs from established sources to get a better hang of the job title and job content.
  • Verified the data with the concerned authorities, i.e., managers and HR teams.
  • Implemented and communicated the programme.

JC Penny found that it:

  • facilitated a more thorough analysis of the content of the job and how the job design affected the employees and
  • provided the employees one common platform for review and a common language to describe work.

The Compensation Director Donna G. credited this system with moving its culture from being a pay and tenure based to one based on accountability and results.


Source: Adapted from Jensen et al. (2007).

Trail Blazers

Workforce Analytics

According to recent studies by McKinsey, the biggest focus for management in the next decade is vying for top talent in an intensively competitive global marketplace. It will become increasingly important that organizations use the data that they have about their employees to stay on top of the situation and not be met by any unpleasant surprises. Technology is now being leveraged in a big way to analyse and optimize the workforce through a category of software known as Workforce Analytics. Workforce analytics is actually predictive analytics which can help in anticipating the result of an HR strategy well in advance. It can test various scenarios and thus anticipate the result of a strategy well in advance and also select the best possible course. These are the some things that it can do for you:

Data mining: It can delve into huge volumes of data to detect patterns and indicators. It helps in answering questions like—What is the time after which a management trainee tends to resign and go away? Who is likely to leave in the next six months? Did a change in the benefits package reduce attrition? What impact would it have if I start hiring from small towns and give the big cities a miss?

Operations research (OR) systems: It uses sophisticated mathematical programming capabilities to gauge the interdependence of a multitude of factors/variables within the organization. The purpose is to identify the combinations of variables that will produce the best results, within resource limitations and other restrictions. For example: ‘How should we decide on salary increments so that we achieve the best combination of internal and external pay equity?’

Forecasting capabilities enable managers to do accurate HRP which would mean both headcount as well as the profile of skills which might be required in the future.

Descriptive and predictive modelling enables managers to analyse the past and look forward to spot trends in absenteeism, attrition or performance.

Text mining enables you to investigate large volumes of free-form documents. You could scourge e-mails, appraisal reviews, employee profiles and use that knowledge to do any of the processes described above.

Discrete event simulation modelling helps in putting different events together to derive a pattern out of them. Thus this enables you to measure and assess potential employee behaviours and outcomes under various different scenarios, before you take action.


Source: Adapted from Guthridge et al. (2008).

Global Perspective

The James Company is a large, decentralized multinational with divisions and subsidiaries throughout the world. Each operating company does its own planning, while the CEO has the job of conceptualizing corporate strategy. A small staff with expertise in various functions turns these concepts to plans.

The company's HRP is likewise decentralized and informal, discussions and minimal reporting constitute the HRP process. An international skills group works with the company to coordinate skills inventories. HR planners and planners from other related functions meet all over the world through the company's personnel network to discuss human resource issues.

HRP at the corporate level focuses on policy development in key areas: (1) the identification and appointment of senior managers to implement business strategies, (2) the incorporation of people-related information into strategic, operational and succession planning and (3) the design and review of personnel polices to support strategy implementation.

Human resources building blocks used at the corporate level and by the individual companies include headcount planning and development programmes. These are not formally related to the strategic planning process, which focuses on management-succession planning and the skill inventory too.

Managers receive profit and loss responsibilities early in their careers and their potential for future growth is measured by how well each of the units perform.


Source: Adapted from Mills (1985a).

Application Case


The banking industry in India underwent a major transformation due to the changes in economic conditions and continuous deregulation. These multiple changes happening one after other has a ripple effect on banks trying to graduate from completely regulated seller market to completed deregulated customers market. The challenges in the people space were also many. Some of them were

  • Right sizing and matching of skills
  • Manpower modelling for branch and back office at various volume scenarios
  • Productivity improvement for sales and service functions
  • Creating a high performing organization
  • Define new roles and responsibilities, KRA
  • Designing and implementing a new PMS for restructured organization
  • Change management and creating a new mind set
  • Developing critical mass of champions and drive ‘change’ across the organization to move from conventional banking to new age banking

A top consulting company was commissioned by a public sector Indian bank to identify the knowledge, skills, abilities and other personal characteristics or competencies for job performance for their executives and managers. The consulting organization after a preliminary study of the organization identified a set of objective which if achieved would take the bank forward.

The identified objectives were:

  • To develop competencies for more than 350 positions. These competencies were then to be integrated with the recruitment and selection performance management and training process to align these strategies with the companies mission, vision and overall business goals objectives.
  • Defining a ‘best practice’ competency development methodology which was responsive to organization's demands.
  • Training human resource team, i.e., job analysts on the methodology.
  • Incorporating job analysis in other processes—selection, performance management and learning and development initiatives.

The methodology they followed:

  • Compiled positions based on similarity of work-related patterns and conducted workshop session to hasten the competency development process.
  • Integrated the companies mission, vision and overall business goals objectives.
  • Defined a list of competencies for the 350 positions. They were then supplemented with job-specific competencies—knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics.
  • Equipped a team-internal HR, i.e., job analysts with the knowledge and skills to facilitate the competency framework. They used multiple methods—observations, PAQ, unstructured questionnaires and interviews.
  • Pilot test run of the competency framework to ensure its success.
  • Reviewed and provided feedback after achievement of specific milestones to ensure the assignment objectives were met.

Results they achieved:

  • Laundry list of the competencies (around 950) for the 350 positions based on the various job analysis methods deployed.
  • Trained the job analysts to use the methodology for later use.
  • Finally, integrated approach with few other HR-related functions—recruitment and selection, performance management and learning initiatives to align the employees with its overall mission vision and goals.


  1. Critically analyse the methodology the consulting firm followed.

  2. Is there any other approach they could have used to achieve the mandate given by the company?


  • HRP determines the human resources requirement by the organization to achieve its strategic goal.
  • HRP involves environment scanning, forecasting demand of manpower, forecasting supply of manpower, RAG analysis (required, available and gap analysis), plan of action and control assessment.
  • Demand forecasting can be quantitative as well as judgemental. Quantitative methods include using ratios, benchmarking/thumb run on rule, scatter plot, trend analysis, work study, computerized forecasts and simulation. Judgemental methods include managerial judgement (bottom work study to be included in quantitative methods up approach and top-down approach), Delphi technique, work study technique, human resource allocation approach and zero-based forecasting.
  • Supply forecasting of manpower can be done using Markov analysis, replacement charts, skill inventories, staffing tables, wastage analysis and succession planning.
  • Job analysis is a systematic process of determining the knowledge, skills and abilities required for performing jobs in an organization. The two basic documents which come out of job analysis are job description and job specification. Job description is a simple clear concise depiction of a job's duties and responsibilities. Job specification is a statement of the qualifications needed to do the job.
  • There are many methods of collecting job analysis information. These are observation (work sampling, employee diary/log, critical incident technique), interviewing and using standard or customized. Some of the popular standard questionnaires are Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ), Management Position Description Questionnaire (MPDQ), Work Profiling Systems, Multipurpose Occupational Systems Analysis Inventory-closed Ended (MOSAIC), Fleishman Job Analysis Survey, Functional Job Analysis Scales and O* Net Content Model.
  • Job analysis is used in every aspect of human resource management. For the planning function it is used in organizational design, HRP, job design and career planning. In operations it is used in recruitment, selection, socialization, developing processes, learning and development. For control functions it is used in setting performance standard, complying to legal requirement and in employee relations.

Drill Down

  1. Job and work analysis: methods, research and applications for human resource management by Michael T. Brannick, Edward L. Levine, Frederick P. Morgeson, SAGE Publications, 2007. Throughout, they provide practical tips on how to conduct a job analysis, often offering anecdotes from their own experiences which is why it make it an interesting reading.
  2. HRP by M.S. Reddy: This is a compilation of all papers submitted by the participants at the ‘Technical Manpower Planning in India—Issues and Concerns'. The articles address different perspectives of manpower planning in India.
  3. The Web site http://www.sas.com/solutions/hrmanagement/index.html will give you a very good idea how analytics can be leveraged in good quality workforce planning.

Review Questions

  1. Explain the HRP process.
  2. What are the stages involved in the HRP process?
  3. What can an organization do when there is a shortage or surplus of manpower?
  4. What are the various human resource forecasting techniques?
  5. Distinguish between forecasting human resource supply and demand.
  6. What is job analysis? Describe the necessity for job analysis in organizations.
  7. What is the process which should be followed for job analysis? Whose responsibility is job analysis in an organization?
  8. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of using interviews, observations and questionnaires for collecting job analysis.
  9. What is a job description and job specification? What are the differences between the two?
  10. In what all areas of human resource management does job analysis contribute? Explain.
  11. What challenges do you foresee when Indian companies decide to conduct a job analysis exercise?


  1. Group exercise: Divide the class into equal groups and request them to contact one company each that follows HRP. Request them to find out the various stages involved and the techniques used for forecasting.
  2. Group exercise: Trace back the five year forecast of five occupations in different industries.
  3. Individual exercise: Explain how would you conduct a job analysis for the role of a ‘credit officer’ at an NBFC.
  4. Group exercise: Divide the class into groups. Consider five different industries and request the students to randomly obtain five job descriptions of varied positions. Request them to discuss the same in class.
  5. Individual exercise: Prepare a brief report on emerging trends of job analysis in the Indian context.
  6. Individual exercise: Your CEO has mandated you to conduct a job analysis exercise for a human resource function. How would you go about it?
  7. Group exercise: Do a role play on job analysis. One person does the role of an HR head of an organization and the other that of a CEO. Convince your CEO of the importance of conducting a job analysis exercise.



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