Job Evaluations: Tips and Pitfalls

What is job evaluation?

A job evaluation is a systematic method of rationally assessing the relative sizes of jobs within an organisation. Size is measured by comparing jobs based on common criteria, called ‘factors’. These include knowledge and experience, thinking complexity and interpersonal skills. 

Job evaluations give both employees and managers confidence that there is a robust structure underpinning decisions about job size and remuneration. The job evaluation outcome can also be used to determine internal and external relativities, and in many cases, this is linked to market data.

How job evaluations can promote employee satisfaction

Job evaluations are part of a strategic HR framework through which well-designed jobs aim to fulfil the objectives of an organisation. The process can identify issues with job design and help ensure that each role, along with the overall organisational design, is fit for its purpose. This can help determine career paths, or where they are lacking, and lead to the creation of individual development plans.

In the past, job evaluations may have seemed a mysterious HR process taking part behind doors. With increased transparency, particularly through the inclusion of employees in the job evaluation process, this should no longer be the case. Job evaluation can generate greater buy-in to the organisation and improve their feelings of fairness. On the flipside, without an openly communicated system, employee perception of favouritism in pay decisions may increase, potentially resulting in a lack of engagement.

5 tips for performing a successful job evaluation

Job evaluations can be undertaken by external providers, or internally by trained evaluators. To conduct an effective in-house job evaluation, follow these ‘top five’ rules of thumb:

  1. Ensure you are trained and aware of the potential for bias. Modern job evaluation systems meet New Zealand Standards for gender-inclusive practice. Complying with these standards will help ensure your job evaluation is comprehensive and valid across all job families.
  2. Use up-to-date, full and accurate information about your organisation. This includes data regarding the operating environment and the role itself such as budgets and people management. This is also a great opportunity to ensure that position descriptions are accurate!
  3. Always ask clarification questions. In New Zealand, because of the small size of many organisations, there are many ‘hybrid’ roles where a job title may not capture the full range of its accountabilities. Always ask, never assume, to ensure your information is correct for the purposes of a relevant, accurate evaluation.
  4. Involve staff and managers. Including members of the wider organisation in the information gathering and evaluation processes will help you obtain the most precise and current information. This will also help to demystify the job evaluation process for employees.
  5. Ensure you have a peer review process in place. In addition to being fully trained as a job evaluator, a peer review process of evaluations will help avoid mistakes and identify any bias. This may include regular audits from the external provider of your evaluation system.

Job evaluation mistakes employers make

One common error employers make when performing a job evaluation is looking at a role in isolation. It is critical to understand the context of the organisation, and the nature of the role it reports to. Without this, roles may be given credit for decisions that are made elsewhere in the organisation.

Another pitfall is inflating specialist roles or jobs outside your area of knowledge. This could lead to giving a role more emphasis on criteria than it may require, leading to inequities with other roles.

Skills shortages for particular roles can also create the tendency to raise the experience or qualifications factor of an evaluation. Skills shortages doesn’t impact on the factors used to measure a role, and should be addressed in other ways. Creating an evaluation higher than can be justified will simply create problems when the skill shortage ends.

If you are interested in developing your internal job sizing expertise for your organisation, Strategic Pay can help. We offer public and in-house job evaluation training. We have multiple dates available! Find out more and register now HERE.

If we’re not running a course near you – please CONTACT US >

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