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Job Evaluation and why every organisation needs it

Editorial Team
Last Updated: 11-08-2021 1:43 PM

Job evaluation is a systematic way of determining the relative worth of a job within a particular organisation and categorise them into grades.  The purpose of embarking on a job evaluation systems is to ensure that there is both internal and external equity in the administration of salaries and benefits.  If you have many employees and you do not have a job evaluation system, you will get to a stage where complaints related to salaries and feelings of inequity are too much. Avoid such a scenario by ensuring that you have a job evaluation system that is properly implemented and maintained. It is not good enough to install a job evaluation system if you do not have the means for maintaining the system.

There are so many job evaluation systems on the market; some are free and some are franchised. The most popular job evaluation system in Zimbabwe is the Paterson system followed by the Castellion system. There are many other systems, some in-house designed and some open market.

One important point to note is that job evaluation systems, regardless of their level of sophistication, all lead to the same result. The choice on which one to use comes down to “fashion” and trends. I would not recommend that an organisation spend a fortune on an expensive system when all job evaluation systems lead to the same credible outcome. What matters most is the process of implementing the system.  This is where most companies fail.

One of the myths in job evaluation is that the grades for particular positions are transferable from one company to the other.  Take for example, an Accountant in Paterson D3 in company A may not be comparable to another Accountant in company B. The scope of the work for each of the two Accountants could be significantly different. Employers and employees should not use grades from other companies as titles are misleading. You need job grades that relate to your company. Even in cases where you use a similar grading system with your competitors you still need to have an intergrading process specific to your business.

The process of implementing a grading system requires thorough planning, including a change management process. Job evaluation projects raise emotions of employees because they ultimately lead to decisions about salary. However when carried out properly, once in place, it can last for years with very few changes happening.

The first process in job evaluation is to agree on the need for a job evaluation. Why do you want to do job grading? There must be a valid business reason for you to embark on a job evaluation project. The major one is there has never been one and the organisation in now experiencing too many cases of internal equity raised by employees. It could be that you had a grading system but overtime, it was poorly maintained and this resulted in employees being placed in grades arbitrarily; causing internal inequity issues. Look at the extent of the internal equity issues. Do they warrant a grading or regarding process? The third reason is that the organisation may have gone through major changes that would have affected the job content of a significant number of your jobs in your company. All the above reasons lead to internal equity complaints that will negatively impact staff morale and engagement.

In the process of starting your project you should take note of the following:

Involve your staff all the way. Hold roadshows at the beginning of the project to explain to your staff what this whole process means, what will they be expected to do and what will be the impact on them when the results are out. In between the project milestones, periodically communicate the project progress to your staff. Alternatively, you can develop a project specific newsletter.

Ensure that job descriptions are done properly as this can make the whole process fail. In the process of compiling job descriptions, most incumbents put what they have in the job descriptions instead of putting the minimum requirements (qualifications and experience).  They can also inflate what they do in order to land in a higher grade. Have a mechanism for monitoring these issues. In a normal situation, the immediate manager must be able to monitor these, but managers in most cases do not pay attention during this stage. They are supposed to check for quality issues in the job description but they do not. Instead they complain when a job grade result returns in a higher grade than they expected. Only then will they say the job description has been inflated. Such behaviour takes the project backward.

Selecting the job evaluation committee is another tricky issue. Let your employees know that it is not a bargaining process. They do not necessarily have to elect workers committee members to the committee. The committee must be a multi- disciplinary team that cuts across functions and levels.

It is important to ensure that the potential problems in a job evaluation process highlighted above are addressed if you are to achieve the goals of job evaluation.

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: mnguwi@ipcconsultants.com  or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

Editorial Team

This article was written by one of the consultants at IPC

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