Is job evaluation necessary?

When we think of ‘job evaluation’, a bureaucratic system, combined with complex job descriptions, a point system and factors come to mind.

In other words, it may be considered as a real ‘put off’. But, really and truly, job evaluations are simply answering a basic, yet important, question: ‘how and where do our jobs fit in our organisation?’.

Job evaluation is used to define internal relationships and equity. It helps support the culture of transparency and fairness within the organisation. The exercise provides the methodology that enables the organisation to appreciate the jobs relevance in an objective manner. It sees a job’s relative importance in tandem, and also, in comparison with other jobs within the organisation.

It is an important reward tool as it assists in valuing the roles within the organisation. That does not mean that it necessarily shows what they should be paid (that aspect may be considered another exercise).

When is it time to carry out a job evaluation exercise?

Equal pay has become the topic of the day, which leads to organisations to start thinking of undertaking a job evaluation exercise.

Below are a few questions organisations need to ask themselves before carrying such an exercise:

Does your organisation:

  1. have numerous job titles and different grades? How easy is it to justify their different salaries and rewards system?
  2. have a staff retention and employee disengagement issue?
  3. face regular conversations with its staff on compensation dissatisfaction?
  4. face instances in which managers and employees are confused or unclear about their tasks, responsibilities and accountabilities?
  5. have a policy in place to ensure that there is equal pay for equal work? If not, can you justify if and why certain individuals are paid differently when carrying out the same work as others?

Who should be involved?

Many a times, organisations engage external HR consultants to carry out a job evaluation.  This external element helps further ensure the objectivity of the exercise. A team should always be formed to oversee the exercise, irrespective of whether an external is engaged or not. ,The team must include persons who have necessary authority and skills to execute decisions reached by the team. More importantly, the team must not have any self-interest when executing such an exercise as this could be counter-productive and cause reputational embarrassments and possible legal/settlement costs to the organisation .

Managers and all employees need to be involved throughout the entire process – particularly when valuing their own work or that of their subordinates. I cannot not emphasise how important it is that they are not biased in any way.

Which method to use?

There are quite a few different methodologies in the market to choose from. Most of these methodologies are analytical and, as important, they are not be scientific. The various analytical methods evaluate jobs by looking at different individual factors of a job, such as the skills or expertise required to carry out that job. Each factor is then broken down into levels and these are then ‘weighted’ according to their importance to the organisation. This is a crucial part of the analytical method and particular attention should be provided here.

On the other end, the non-analytical method involves assessing a job as a whole (not breaking it down into factors). This is usually seen as quite a subjective method, being prone to bias due to its little objective basis and a more traditional value approach.

So, is job evaluation necessary?

If the organisation aspires to support a culture of fairness and transparency and have a solid, clear basis on which job levels, career paths and also, remuneration and reward are determined, then indeed job evaluation is a necessary tool.

The biggest challenge the organisation is faced with is to reduce the level of complexity of job evaluations. SurgeAdvisory is your ideal partner for this.  We have successfully worked with companies and introduced a simple method for job evaluation. This has provided the expected results for both the organisations and its employees. To find out more about our job evaluation approaches, please do contact us.

About the author

Maria Bartolo Zahra is Managing Director and HR Advisor at SurgeAdvisory. She has over fifteen years of human resources and business advisory experience.