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human resource management function has evolved in recent years from the traditional "personnel department" to become a strategic partner in achieving organizational success in companies of all sizes and types. Part of this evolution has been the introduction of innovative methods and questionnaires that can help human resource managers design jobs for efficiency and evaluate employee performance. To gain some fresh insights in this area, this paper provides a review of the relevant literature to describe three elements of job analysis and its significance for the organization and employee development, the importance of the position analysis questionnaire and how it can be used by human resource managers for work redesign of a customer service job to make it more efficient and to improve quality, two strategies for using the Fleishman Job Analysis System in the selection of qualified applicants and a discussion concerning the challenges facing the job of customer service representative. Finally, a discussion concerning three ways the human resource manager can use the information obtained from a job analysis to measure the performance of the customer service representatives is followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion.
Review and Analysis
Three elements of a job analysis and significance of employee development
There are significant legal reasons for conducting job analyses, but there are also important implications for management (Clifford, 2009). For instance, studies have shown that employees can identify anywhere from 100 to 300 tasks for each job (Clifford, 2009).
Some of the key elements of a job analysis include an analysis of the employee's work behavior(s) and their associated tasks (Clifford, 2009). Another key element is identifying and analyzing those aspects of the position that are observable and the associated work product (Clifford, 2009).
A final key element in the job analysis process is to "describe and define the dimensions of the work activity being evaluated" (Fine & Crenshaw, 1999). According to Fine and Crenshaw (1999), "The behaviors can be evaluated in terms of functional skill levels, orientation to knowledge resources, the performance standards workers seek to fulfill (their own and management's), and the adaptations workers make to achieve those standards and overcome obstacles" (p. 27). Job analyses can promote employee development by identifying areas of performance that require improvement (Fine & Crenshaw, 1999). In addition, Clifford emphasizes that, "Quality job analysis data can and should contribute greatly to; selection and hire, performance evaluation, training and development, compensation, job design, workforce projections, and workforce reduction or expansion decisions" (p. 323).
The importance of the position analysis questionnaire and how it can be used by human resource managers for work redesign of a customer service job to make it more efficient and to improve quality
The Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ) developed by McCormick, Jeanneret, & Mecham (1969) contains 187 behaviorally related job activities that are based on two separate studies of job elements by the authors (Baehr, 1992). In this regard, Baehr reports that, "Both studies consisted first of an overall analysis of the job elements, then of an analysis of the job elements within each of the six divisions of the PAQ" (1992, p. 20). Each of the 187 job-related activities (termed "job elements") is evaluated using one of six different rating scales: (a) extent of use, (b) importance to the job, (c) amount of time, (d) possibility of occurrence, (e) applicability, and (f) a special code that is only used for rare specific job elements (Tziner, 1990).
The six divisions developed by the authors were as follows:
1. Division 1: Information Input: Where and how does the worker receive the information he or she uses in performing the job?
2. Division 2: Mental Process: What reasoning, decision making, planning, and information processing activities are involved in performing the job?
3. Division 3: Work Output: What physical activities does the worker perform, and what tools or devices does he or she use?
4. Division 4: Relationships with Other Persons: What relationships with other people are required in performing the job?
5. Division 5: Job Context: In what physical or social contexts is the work performed?
6. Division 6: Other Job Characteristics: What activities, conditions, or characteristics other than those described above are relevant to the job? (Tziner, 1990, p. 19).
In addition, although not included in the overall analysis, the PAQ also contains a General Division (Baehr, 1992). According to Baehr, "The job elements of the PAQ provide a standardized system for describing a wide variety of jobs" (1992, p. 20).
Two strategies for the use of the Fleishman Job Analysis System in the selection of qualified applicants
The Fleishman Job Analysis Survey System is (FJAS) is a popular and widely recognized multi-rater approach (up to 25 raters) to job analysis that provides reviewers with the information that is required to formulate an informed decision concerning optimal job applicants (Fleishman Job Analysis Survey, 2014). According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the FJAS "brings together a broad range of job abilities that have been identified through extensive research on human performance capabilities and cover the cognitive, psychomotor, physical, sensory-perceptual, and social-interpersonal requirements of work" (2014, para 2). The FJAS is comprised of a series of Likert scales that are completed by raters who are expert in its use (Fleishman Job Analysis Survey, 2014). The Society for Human Resource Management adds that, "The special features of these rating scales include the precise nature of the ability definitions and examples of job tasks that require different levels of that ability" (Fleishman Job Analysis Survey, 2014, para. 3).
Two strategies that could be used in the selection of qualified applicants for a customer service position based on the Fleishman Job Analysis System include using the FJAS to evaluate salient cognitive skills that would be especially valuable for this type of position. For instance, the FJAS assesses on 73 different scales involving cognitive abilities, including:
Idea Generation & Reasoning Abilities
Attentiveness (Fleishman Job Analysis Survey, 2014)
A second strategy for using the FJAS would be to compare applicant scores on their physical scores which would also be valuable for this position and include:
Physical Strength Abilities
Flexibility, Balance, and Coordination
Auditory and Speech Abilities (Fleishman Job Analysis Survey, 2014)
Challenges facing the job of customer service representative
The primary challenge involved in this type of job is the two main sources of product information that are needed, the Internet and catalogs. It is probable that many customer service representatives responding to consumer inquiries will receive inquiries from catalogs that will be dated compared to the information and prices featured on the Internet and there may even be different products listed in each media. This means that customer service representatives must search through two different databases to identify the product involved, thereby introducing delays to the process. By combining all product data from catalogs and online sales in a single database, this extra step could be eliminated and customer service representatives would be able to provide faster, more reliable information.
Another step that could be taken to improve the efficiency of this job would be to separate the customer service representatives into two groups, one responsible for catalog sale calls and the other responsible for online products. These two groups could specialize in their specific area of sales and would become expert in their specialty area.
Three ways the human resource manager can use the information obtained from a job analysis to measure the performance of the customer service representatives
According to Anderson (2002), not all job elements are useful indicators of employee performance, but some provide a useful measure. For example, skill variety, task identity, task significance, and autonomy have all been correlated with job performance of customer service representatives working…[continue]
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