Job Evaluation, Not People Evaluation

istock_000002093248xsmallJob evaluation is about weighing the general importance or relative worth of jobs in comparison to other jobs in an organization.

There are four basic job evaluation methods: Whole Job Ranking, Job Classification, Point Method and the Factor Comparison method. At Guardian, we have adopted the Hay Job Evaluation method which is based on a combination of the point and factor comparison methods. It is based on input (knowledge/know-how), throughput (problem solving) and output (accountability).

Our job evaluation committee comprises employees from a variety of functional areas across the organization. This makes for hearty dialogue and on some rare occasions it may even be entertaining considering that job evaluation is not the most exciting task. I thought I would share some experiences on common misconceptions on the topic.

More often than not, our committee receives job content questionnaires completed with the incumbent in mind, and it is often tailored to suit the incumbent.

Job evaluation focuses on the job not on people. The job evaluation does not determine the worth of the incumbent doing the job.

We also think if someone is doing more work, their job needs to re-evaluated.  When they are just doing more of the same type or level of work, a re-evaluation is not the answer. Maybe the department needs to review the processes, streamline, improve efficiencies, or increase manpower.

Job evaluation does not produce pay rates.  It may be a contributing factor to the process of determining pay grades, but it does not directly determine pay. Job evaluation determines the relative worth of jobs, which are then plotted to create job grades. We go to the market for compensation data on the benchmarked jobs. We decide on our pay philosophy which must be aligned to our business and then this informs our pay bands linked to our job grades.

Job evaluation does not account for scarcity of labour or skills, since demand and supply of labour shifts with the tide. Y2K was a great time for IT professionals.  Our oil boom days were great times for Geologists.

These professionals earned top dollar when compared to the earning potential for other professionals in jobs with similar hay points. As soon as the demand for a skill is satisfied with the supply, any excess supply starts diluting the earning potential. A job ideally should not be evaluated on the high end to overcome supply and demand pay challenges in the labour market.

We should not conduct job evaluations to justify the status quo, never start an evaluation, thinking we know the result before we start. We should not concentrate on the reporting relationship. For example, the executive assistant to the CEO may have the same hay points as the executive assistant to the VP of marketing, not because one may report to the CEO makes the job more important.

Another common error is evaluating the tools of the job. Secretaries in the past used typewriters, now they use computers, is the job worth more or less now?  I know, for example, that typewriters have no spell check function.

The Hay methodology is intended to benchmark jobs internationally using the same criteria; however it is the application of this methodology that poses challenges when it is fraught with some common blunders as discussed above.  What have been your experiences?

Denise Ali

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