We recently undertook a survey to appreciate the most commonly used job evaluation systems in Zimbabwe. 82 Zimbabwean organisations employing a total of 54 964 employees participated in the survey. The smallest participating organisation employed 12 people and the largest employed 16 000 people.
In basic terms, job evaluation is a process of comparing jobs with one another. It deals with the relationships between jobs within an organisation. The aim of job evaluation is to provide a systematic and consistent approach to defining relative worth of jobs within an organisation. As such, job evaluation is aimed at providing a defensible and equitable basis for determining and managing internal pay relativity between jobs. It also provides a framework within which decisions on salaries and grading can be made.
The most widely used job evaluation system for grading managerial jobs is the Paterson system (46.84%) followed by the Castellion system (13.92%). Other system currently being used in Zimbabwe include the Hay system (8.86%), In-house systems (15.19%) and Peromnes (3.80%). 6.33% of the participating organisations do not use any job evaluation system.
The most popular system for grading non-managerial positions is the Paterson (31.3%) together with NEC specific grading systems (31.3%).
Over 70% of the organisations have some grading related queries. Only 17.50% of the participating organisations indicated that they do not have grading queries at all.
Only 29.11% of the participating organisations feel their job evaluation system is very effective. 57% feel it’s somehow effective with 13.92% saying it’s not effective.
The top three factors organisations consider when choosing a job evaluation system are objectivity (90%) followed by ease of use (66%) and cost effectiveness (62%).
When grading jobs the majority of organisations use the Committee approach (69.2%), 17.95% use experts while 7.69% use computerised systems.
Newly created jobs (31%), significant change in job content (29%) and requests by aggrieved employees (12%) are the events that can always trigger grading of jobs.
All job evaluation systems tend to come up with relatively the same kind of job ranking. Our observation is that the choice of a system nowdays is a matter of fashion rather than utility.
In deciding whether or not to introduce or revise job evaluation systems, organisations should consider what practical benefits they expect from the system. False starts with job evaluation schemes can be expensive and damaging to industrial relations. Organisations should therefore consider a number of factors when deciding to introduce or revise a job evaluation system. A good start is to seek expert advice beforehand and organisations without the necessary expertise can get advice from good external consultants.
What job evaluation system will be ideal for your organisation? Simple techniques can produce basic grading structures, acceptable to both sides. It does not follow that complex schemes are better or necessary. What is important is that the system should suit the needs of the organisation and have credibility with the workforce.
It is important to get workforce understanding and acceptance of the system before it is introduced. If the scheme is not developed in a participative way, this could lead to greater level of employee suspicion and less employee commitment to results. It is also important to ensure that a senior person within the organisation is involved with the project so that an understanding of the underlying philosophy does not come from the consultant. Should understanding of the system fade when the consultant leaves, resultant problems will be difficult to resolve. Job evaluation is most effective as a participative exercise and this, in itself, can improve relations between management and staff. It is therefore recommended that job evaluation is introduced or revised jointly by allowing management and employees or their representatives to discuss relevant issues initially in a non-negotiating forum. A joint approach is more likely to commit both parties to the outcome of the exercise. A jointly agreed job evaluation scheme can remove emotion from grading queries by allowing reasoning, rather than confrontation, to prevail.
Memory Nguwi is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant – Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com