02 May 2006

The Job is Key

I am now onto an exciting project with one of my long-time clients. Creating a compensation structure that justifies increments for employees. I started off with designing their compensation strategy according to the goals of the company, and always keep this in mind for ultimate deliverables. Although this strategy is considered the core purpose and frame of reference of the new resulting system, it may change depending upon the immediate core foundation of any HR system: the job of the employee.

Everything starts with what the employee is currently doing. A properly documented Job Analysis is the most essential starting point for any HR Management system, be it selection, training, performance appraisal, and compensation. When this compensation system of the company is finalized, it will undoubtedly change other systems in the company. So my current activity involves spending an intense amount of time, sitting with incumbents one-on-one and documenting daily tasks, their frequency, and importance level related to the effective performance of their job. There are indeed many tools to conduct Job Analyses. However, I would not skip the qualitative interview process which covers those little intracacies and competencies needed for employees to be the best at their work. An HR system can topple if jobs are not accurately documented in an objective, fair manner (hence the need for an external agent!).

Many additional benefits will come about, besides accumulating data for creating a new pay structure based on external market information. Talking with employees gives them a sense of motivation and being appreciated for their contributions. One employee was overwhelmed that he was finally asked about what he is doing after 9 years at the company. Besides, this process identifies critical gaps in expectations between management and employees, increases the chances of talent retention, and identifies issues before they blow up in management's faces. These critical issues are the reason why I always recommend individual interviews that are confidential and aspire to seek the whole truth.