Job evaluation is an essential component of human resources efficiencies, yet its importance is often overlooked.
When a company is first formed, the owner knows exactly what tasks are performed in every job, what person is required to fill that post and how much to pay. If necessary, this pay policy can be justified to employees. In addition, the employee usually has a one-to-one relationship with the manager and negotiation around the remuneration issue is informal and frequent.
As the company grows, it becomes more structured to enable the owner, manager or management team to control it equitably and efficiently. Various sections are created. Sectional managers become responsible for the hiring, firing and remuneration levels of staff. With the change in decision-making authority can come discrepancies in pay rates between divisions and even between jobs with similar skills. This is where a robust remuneration structure can be helpful, the foundation of which is a robust job evaluation process.
Job evaluation assumes that:
- It is logical to expect higher grades for jobs that are more complex;
- People feel more fairly treated if remuneration is based on the relative worth of jobs; and
- The goals of the enterprise are furthered by maintaining a job structure based on relative worth.
During the process of job evaluation, one asks questions about the tasks and outputs required in a particular job, the relationship of jobs to each other, overlapping job content and responsibility. The content provided in the job descriptions can be effectively used for job design and job enrichment programmes, as well as for performance management. In this respect the Paterson method lends itself to extremely fruitful job enrichment exercises by analysing the composition of decision levels in particular jobs and then restructuring jobs to enable better decision making.
It is also important that everyone understands that it is the job itself that is to be evaluated and not the person in the job (in other words jobs are reviewed in the context of the business unit or department, and not individually, as it could be out of context).
Job evaluation is an impersonal process of determining systematically and as objectively as possible the level of responsibility of one job in relation to others ... with no regard to people factors, volume of work, job titles or reporting lines. It is only in the development of the salary, or remuneration structure, that one can take account of personal contribution, characteristics of the person in the job, performance, as examples.
Remember that there is no such thing as a bad job evaluation system. People just use different methodologies. It is like mathematics. People use different methods to get to the answer, but at the end the result is the same. Don’t underestimate the importance of this process as a solid foundation to building equitable practices in your organisation.
• Laurika Fourie is the job evaluation and systems manager at 21st Century