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Job Analysis and Documentation: Federal

Author: Kenneth H. Pritchard, The Lighthouse Companies


  • Work analysis (also known as job analysis) is essential to legal and effective administration of employment, compensation, performance management, training and other HR programs or functional domains. See Job Analysis: What Is It and Why Do It?
  • HR managers responsible for establishing or administering HR programs must understand the purposes of job analysis; know when to rely on their own staff and when to use outside, expert consultants; and know why appropriate documentation of analysis is needed and how each type of job analysis should be documented (in form, depth and breadth). See Job Documentation (Class Specifications, Job Specifications, Job Descriptions and Position Descriptions).
  • Job analysis provides for the effective and legal establishment of valid selection criteria under the Uniform Guidelines for Employee Selection Procedures; application of the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); identification of exempt vs. nonexempt status under the overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); and implementation of a host of other HR programs and individual employment actions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act and other federal requirements and standards regulating conditions of employment, including equal pay for equal work and occupational safety and health, as well as state or local requirements that may apply. See Job Evaluation and Compensation; Job Documentation and the Law.
  • Job analysis also supports or facilitates a number of critical goals and best practices in HR management, including effective recruitment, selection and placement; successful retention; appropriate internal alignment of grades and pay levels; desired degree of market competitiveness in pay ranges (example: assessment of market pay requires content knowledge of the jobs to being priced in the marketplace to ensure a good match to the jobs reported in the market surveys being used); effective team building; beneficial performance management and much more. See Job Evaluation and Compensation.
  • Some purposes and forms of analysis require professional expertise in industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology. Most do not; however, they may require specialist-level competence in job analysis, typically on a content-validation basis.
  • A good understanding of jobs, job functions and the organization is critical to performing an effective job analysis. See Dos and Don'ts.
  • There are many different methods and forms of job analysis. All, however, use an underlying three-step process: (1) obtaining and sorting job information, (2) processing and analyzing data and (3) documenting facts and conclusions. Succinctly put, the formula for job analysis is:

Job Information > Job Analysis > Job Documentation