Analyzing Your Employee Needs
Most of what job analysis means, if you're hiring for the first time, is
figuring out how your life is going to change by having someone else working
with you. Questions to ask yourself that can lead to an adequate job analysis
- What work do I have that I'm willing to let someone else do? Many
business owners have a hard time bringing in someone — especially a
stranger — to help them do work. It means a shift in the way they operate
and, harder yet, it means letting go of some control. That's why it's
imperative that you trust whomever you bring in.
- Which decisions will I be comfortable leaving to someone else to make?
You may want to start out small and work your way up, depending on how you
feel your employee handles decision-making on a small scale. Are you going
to let the employee sign for deliveries? Are you going to give the employee
the password to the computers? Will you let the employee handle cash? Will
you give the employee a key to the office to work on weekends?
- What level of authority do I want this other person to have in
performing these jobs? This issue is also tied to trust. Will you let
the employee bind you to contracts? How about giving your employee signing
privileges on your bank account? There are levels of authority. Decide which
one you're comfortable with.
Where can you turn for help? There are plenty of resources that can
help you out if you need a little direction in analyzing jobs and duties:
- If you're in a hurry. The best source for information is to ask
around. Call your colleagues; call people who do the job that you're
thinking of creating. You may also be able to get some direction from the
Small Business Administration or your local chamber of commerce.
If you have more time to do in-depth research, the government offers some
publications that you can buy. You can also find copies of most of these in the
- The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor
Statistics (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Washington, DC 20212), describes the employment outlook of nearly 1,000
different jobs. It also includes information such as the education and
training necessary for the listed jobs and the tasks involved in each job. A
similar, more in-depth publication, Occupational Outlook Quarterly,
can also provide this type of information on selected jobs and titles.
- The Dictionary of Occupational Titles, prepared by the U.S.
Department of Labor, contains comprehensive descriptions of job duties for
nearly 20,000 jobs and occupations. While the descriptions may not match
exactly with your job, the book gives a general idea of tasks included in
jobs that are probably similar to yours.
- The BLS also provides employment-related surveys that contain job
description information useful in job analysis.
If you can't get locate these publications, contact the Bureau
of Labor Statistics.
What's next? Thinking about these questions should give you an idea of
the types of jobs that you want the employee to do. If you think that you need
more analysis, try employee observation or job analysis interviews if you have current
employees who can help you. Otherwise, take the information and ideas that
you have and try your hand at a writing
a job description.