Job Analysis: Evaluation of positions is the basis for many HRM policies and procedures, and is a typical activity for entry-level employees. As a job analyst, you would produce job descriptions and job specifications by defining positions in terms of tasks and behavior and specifying the relevant personal characteristics (in education, experience, and training) needed for the job.
There are many techniques available-such as factor comparison, Hay's Eight-Point System and the Critical Incident Approach-to assist in preparation of job descriptions and specifications. Since these techniques vary substantially in complexity and applicability, you must be aware of the methods available, as well as the sources of potential error involved, and become thoroughly familiar with the particular method used by the organization. These methods require that you possess the ability to do a detailed analysis and interviewing skills. Typically, you might interview several people about their job responsibilities and skills required (or administer a questionnaire) and then use a computer to analyze the results.
Staff Selection and Assignment: Here, you would be responsible for the hiring and placement of employees, including recruiting, interviewing, testing, selection, placement, promotion, transfer, and termination. Typical entry-level titles include employment representative, employment specialist, personnel interviewer, and recruiter. Depending on the industry and the size of the firm, the responsibilities of a recruiter range from hiring to career counseling regarding relocation. Since the criteria for staffing decisions are related to job evaluation and performance appraisal, recruiters must often have extensive knowledge of all the job functions within the organization.
As a recruiter, you would meet with managers who have job vacancies to determine the job requirements, and then decide which type of method is best to attract applicants. Usually the choices are college recruiting, newspaper advertisements, employment agencies, and internal job posting, as well as responding to unsolicited resumes and "walk-ins."
College recruiting often involves travel to undergraduate, technical, and graduate schools. It is an important method of finding job candidates because it is relatively inexpensive and allows organizations to review a large number of diverse applicants in a short time. Recruiters often hold ten to fifteen interviews per day when visiting a campus.
Screening resumes is another important responsibility. This can be a time-consuming task, since some organizations receive more than a thousand resumes per week. When a job opening occurs, to select potential job candidates for interviews you review resumes and completed job applications. You may also test relevant skills and abilities, intelligence, or psychological characteristics of applicants, and check references and background information.
After you select the most qualified applicants, you refer them to the managers who placed the "job order." If the manager and other supervisors agree that an individual is qualified, an offer is made, and you confirm that the applicant is aware of the general job duties and responsibilities, pay and benefits, hours and working conditions, company and union policies, promotion opportunities, and other job-related information. In addition, you may maintain files for future reference of records of other applicants, and conduct an exit interview.
Other events that you would process are internal transfers, promotions, and terminations. In some organizations, the responsibilities of a recruiter are extended to include other activities such as career and succession planning; determining which skills, training, and education are needed to fill positions; and finding internal successors and backup replacements. A recruiter may also hold new-employee orientation sessions and develop informational programs to familiarize employees with key human-resource policies and procedures.
Performance appraisal Performance appraisal is used to assess employees' performance on the job. A reliable, valid, job-relevant, and standardized performance appraisal system is an integral part of HRM and should serve the needs of the entire organization. It provides top management with a means of identifying good and poor performers, and provides criteria by which promotion, training, and firing decisions can be made. It provides managers and personnel with accurate and complete information for decisions on salary increases, transfers, and other career issues; and provides subordinates with information regarding their performance strengths and weaknesses that can be used as a motivation tool. As a performance appraisal specialist, you might provide guidelines for supervisors to follow when conducting appraisals. An example is working with training and development staff to create a workshop to train supervisors in administering the appraisal system and conducting an appraisal interview.
In many organizations the establishment of a performance appraisal system is necessary to facilitate other human-resource planning and development activities. Development of an effective appraisal system is a complex task which must be regularly reviewed, updated, and integrated with areas of HRP, such as career-management and succession planning, compensation, and training and development. Since the performance appraisal system is a core HRM function, many organizations offer entry-level positions in this area as a comprehensive introduction to the organization's HRM philosophy and needs.
Personnel Research: Advance warning of changes in human resources is as important to the effectiveness of an organization as is forecasting financial and economic changes. Early identification of potential change allows time to study and understand the problem and then plan and act to mitigate it if it does occur. An effective HRM system should include environmental scanning and personnel research to forecast these developments.
Personnel research and scanning are best done by a team to ensure thoroughness and analysis from a variety of perspectives. Research on the current status of the labor force, on recent legislation regarding EEO and employee rights, on new benefits packages, and on methods of forecasting the supply and demand of human resources can have a significant impact on HRM policies and procedures. Research teams also monitor competitors' actions and evaluate internal programs relative to comparable external programs to determine present and future vulnerability. Journals, seminars, and trade newspapers are common sources of information on recent developments. For example, researchers will often collaborate with other HR managers in developing a new training program or implementing an additional benefits package.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
Compensation and benefits are staff-servicing areas of HRM that can function either together or separately. The compensation analyst is responsible for coordinating the organization's wage and salary program. The benefits analyst administers and provides information about the range of employee benefits available, including health insurance, retirement and pension programs, unemployment compensation, and social security.
Typical titles for entry-level compensation positions are job analyst or compensation analyst. In this area, job analysis is a primary responsibility. As an analyst, you would develop and apply job analysis techniques, sometimes working with analysts from other departments. As a compensation analyst you would gather data through checklists, position-analysis and other questionnaires, observation, and interviews, and then investigate the job's relative position; the technical, managerial and human relations skills required; and the nature of the problems solved. From this information you would write a description of the position. Using the job evaluations, you would grade and price jobs. You may also use survey data to compute wage and salary structures designed for economic feasibility and competitiveness.
Your other duties as compensation analyst would include establishing and maintaining manuals and controls to facilitate wage and salary administration. You would examine company policies regarding payment of minimum wage and overtime agreements with labor unions, and consult with labor relations staff on contract negotiations. In addition, you would review pay policies regularly for compliance with state and federal regulations. You would also conduct wage and salary surveys, and gather data on the competition's wage and salary levels and structures. These activities require that you thoroughly understand the pay system in all its elements, which can include seniority, merit, incentives, and so forth.
Benefits is a service-oriented HRM function. As a benefits analyst, you are primarily concerned with the daily administration of such benefits as group insurance plans and disability insurance. You process medical claims and ensure accurate and prompt payment of claims. You must be aware of local, state, federal, and even foreign laws to ensure that all benefit programs comply with relevant legislation and regulations.
An additional responsibility is explaining benefit options to new employees. You may also have to coordinate other employee services, such as the cafeteria, snack bar, health room, recreational facility, newsletter and other media, and counseling for work-related problems. In addition, you may assist management in decision making on possible benefits and improvements, and participate in establishing objectives by informing management of current trends and developments in employee benefits.