Workflow analysis


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Workflow analysis

  1. 1. the effectiveness of each work unit. For the outputs identified, work flow analysisthen examines the work processes used to generate those outputs. Workprocesses are the activities that members of a work unit engage in to produce agiven output. Every process consists of operating procedures that specify howthings should be done at each stage of developing the output. These proceduresinclude all the tasks that must be performed in producing the output. Usually, theanalysis breaks down the tasks into those performed by each person in the workunit. This analysis helps with design of efficient work systems by clarifying whichtasks are necessary. Typically, when a unit�s work load increases, the unit addspeople, when the work load decreases, some members of the unit may busythemselves with unrelated tasks in an effort to appear busy. The final stage inwork flow analysis is to identify the inputs used in the development of the workunit�s product. These inputs can be broken down into the raw inputs,equipment, and human skills needed to perform the tasks. Makers of athleticshoes need nylon and leather, shoemaking machinery, and workers to operatethe machinery, among other inputs.Work Flow Design and Organization�s Structure: Besides looking at the workflow of each process, it is important to show the work fits within the context ofthe organization�s structure. Units in organizations must be able to cooperatewith each other and communicate with each other to accomplish the goals of theorganization or create an output. The organization�s structure will bring peopletogether to accomplish their desired goals. The structure can be centralized ordecentralized. Centralized order has a few individuals with a lot of authority whodirects the rest of the organization, decentralized structure has the authorityspread across the organization. The organization may group jobs according tofunctions, or it may set up divisions to focus on products or customer groups.Although there are an infinite number of ways to combine the elements of anorganization�s structure, we can make some general observations about thestructure and work design. If the structure is strongly based on function, workerstend to have low authority and to work alone at highly specialized jobs. Jobs thatinvolve teamwork or broad responsibility tend to require a structure based ondivision other than functions. When the goal is to empower employees,companies therefore need to set up structures and jobs that enable broadresponsibilities. The organization�s structure also affects manager�s jobs.
  2. 2. Managing a division responsible for a product or customer group tends to requiremore experience and cognitive ability than managing a department that handles aparticular function. Work design often emphasizes the analysis and design of jobs,as described in the remainder of this chapter. Although all of these approachescan succeed, each focuses on one isolated job at a time. Although all of theseapproaches can succeed, each focuses on one isolated job at a time. Theseapproaches do not necessarily consider how that single job fits into the overallwork flow or structure of the organization. Work flow design should consider thewhole organization in order to create an effective work flow design.Job Analysis: To achieve high-quality performance, organizations have tounderstand and match job requirements and people. This understanding requiresjob analysis, the process of getting detailed information about jobs. Analyzingjobs, and understanding what is require to carry out a job provide essentialknowledge for staffing, training, performance appraisal, and many other HRactivities.Job Descriptions: is a list of the tasks, duties and responsibilities (TDR) that a jobentails. TDRs are observable actions. When a manager is evaluating an employeeit is important to have a detailed TDR in order for the employee to effectivelyjudge the employees work performance. Job Description are usually documentsthat contain the following, job title, a brief description of your job tasks, jobduties, and job responsibility. All job descriptions in an organization should followthe same format for consistency. This helps the organization show that it makeshuman resource decisions fairly. Because making job description can be timelyorganizations usually use templates or forms with areas in which they can fill in,for each specific job. All organizations should hand out their job descriptionsbefore they begin work, however employees should understand that this isexpected and that employees should feel free to go above and beyond their duty.Inside the job description most forms usually add the clause that their job dutiesinclude anything that your supervisor directs you to do, because employees whoare assigned a task that is not apart of their job descriptions do not have theexcuse of �that�s not my job�.Job Specifications: Whereas the job description focuses on the activities involvedin carrying out a job, a job specification looks at the qualities of the personperforming the job. It is a list of the knowledge, skills, abilities, and othercharacteristics (KSAOs) that an individual must have to perform the job.Knowledge refers to the factual or procedural information that is necessary forsuccessfully performing a task. A skill is an individual�s level of proficiency at
  3. 3. performing a particular task � that is, the capability to perform it well. Withknowledge and experience, you could acquire skill in the task of preparing jobspecifications. Ability, in contrast to skill, refers to a more general enduringcapability that an individual posses. A person might have the ability to cooperatewith others or to write clearly and precisely. Finally, other characteristics might bepersonality traits such as someone�s persistence or motivation to achieve. Somejobs also have legal requirements, such as licensing or certification. Whendeveloping a job specification it is important to keep the KSAO in mind. As withwriting a job description, the information can come from a combination of peopleperforming the job, people supervising or planning for the job, and trained jobanalysts. KSAOs are characteristics of people and are not directly observable. Theyare observable only when individuals are carrying out the TDRs of the job � andafterward, if they can show the product of their labor. Accurate informationabout KSAOs is especially important for making decisions about who will fill a job.A manager attempting to fill a position needs information about thecharacteristics required, and about the characteristics of each applicant. Whenjob specifications call for nighttime work, a person�s ability to handle nocturnalwork life may be the most critical KSAO.Sources of Job Information: Information about an existing job usually come fromthe person currently or previously employed at that position. That is because theyhave previous experience with the job it is only logical that they be the definitesource about the job information. The only problem with information frompreviously holders at that position is that they may exaggerate their position andjob duties. Supervisors should supplement information with the incumbent�sinformation to have an accurate description of the job at hand. Dictionary ofOccupational Titles, created by the Department of Labor in the 1930s the DOTlisted over 12,000 jobs and requirements.Position Analysis Questionnaire: After gathering information the job analyst usesthe information to analyze the job. One of the broadest and best-researchedinstruments for analyzing jobs is the position analysis questionnaire. This is astandardized job analysis questionnaire containing 195 items that represent workbehaviors, work conditions and job characteristics that apply to a wide variety ofjobs. The questionnaire organizes these items into six sections concerningdifferent aspects of the job:
  4. 4. 1. Information input � where and how a worker gets information needed to perform the job. 2. Mental processes � the reasoning, decision making, planning, and information processing activities involved in performing the job. 3. Work output � the physical activities, tools, and devices, used by the worker to perform the job. 4. Relationships with other persons � the relationships with other people required in performing the job. 5. Job context � The physical and social context where the work is performed. 6. Other characteristics � the activities, conditions, and characteristics other than those previously described that are relevant to the job.Task Analysis Inventory: Another type of job analysis method, the task analysisinventory, focuses on the tasks performed in a particular job. This method hasseveral variations. In one, the task inventory � CODAP method, subject matterexperts such as job incumbents generate a list of the tasks performed in a job.Then they rate each task in terms of time spend on the task, frequency of taskperformance, relative importance, relative difficulty, and length of time requiredto learn the job. Because the tasks are measured in terms that are concrete andspecific to the job, the people rating the job tend to agree with one another.Importance of Job Analysis: Job analysis is important to HR manager that is hasbeen called the building block of everything that personnel does. Work redesign � often an organization seeks to redesign work to make it more efficient or to improve quality. The redesign requires detailed information about the existing jobs. In addition, preparing the redesign is similar to analyzing a job that does not yet exist. Human Resource Planning � as planners analyze human resource needs and how to meet those needs, they must have accurate information about the levels of skill required in various jobs, so that they can tell what kinds of human resources will be needed. Selection � To identify the most qualified applicants for various positions, decision makers need to know what tasks the individuals must perform, as well as the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  5. 5. Training � Almost every employee hired by an organization will require training. Any training program requires knowledge of the tasks performed in a job, so that the training is related to the necessary knowledge and skills. Performance appraisal � an accurate performance appraisal requires information about how well each employee is performing in order to reward employees who perform well and to improve their performance if it is below standard. Job analysis help in identifying the behaviors and the results associated with effective performance. Career planning � matching an individual�s skills and aspirations with career opportunities requires that those in charge of career planning know the skill requirements of the various jobs. This allows them to guide individuals into jobs in which they will succeed and be satisfied. Job evaluation � The process of job evaluation involves assessing the relative dollar value of each job to the organization in order to set up fair pay structures. If employees do not believe pay structures are fair, they will become dissatisfied and may quit, or they will not see much benefit in striving for promotions. To put dollar values on jobs, it is necessary to get information about different jobs and compare them.Trends in Job Analysis: Organizations beginning to appreciate the need to analyzejobs in the context of the organization�s structure and strategy. In addition,organizations are recognizing that today�s workplace must be adaptable and isconstantly subject to change. Thus, although we tend to think of �jobs� assomething stable, they actually tend to change and evolve over time. Job analysismust not only define jobs when they are created, but also detect changes in jobsas time passes. The idea of the �job� is increasingly becoming uncommon,because many business people believe that a person at work must perform tasks,or projects that need to be done. Legal requirements discourage businesses fromwriting flexible job descriptions.Job Design: although job analysis, as just described, is important for anunderstanding of existing jobs, organizations also must plan for new jobs andperiodically consider whether they should revise existing jobs. When anorganization is expanding, supervisors and human resource professionals musthelp plan for new or growing work units. When an organization is trying to
  6. 6. improve quality or efficiency, a review of work units and processes may require afresh look at how jobs are designed. These situations call for job design, theprocess of defining how work will be performed and what tasks will be required ina given job, or job redesign, a similar process that involves changing an existingjob design. To design jobs effectively, a person must thoroughly understand thejob itself and its place in the larger work unit�s work flow process. Having adetailed knowledge of the tasks performed in the work unit and in the job, amanager then has many alternative ways to design a job.Designing Efficient Jobs: If workers perform tasks as efficiently as possible, notonly does the organization benefit from lower costs and greater output perworker, but workers should be less fatigued. The point of view has for yearsformed the basis of classical industrial engineering, which looks for the simplestway to structure work in order to maximize efficiency. Typically, applyingindustrial engineering to a job reduces the complexity of the work, making it sosimple that almost anyone can be trained quickly and easily to perform the job.Such jobs tend to be highly specialized and repetitive. In practice, the scientificmethod traditionally seeks the �one best way� to perform a job by performingtime-and-motion studies to identify the most efficient movements for workers tomake.Designing Jobs that Motivate: Especially when organizations must compete foremployees, depend of skill knowledge workers, or need a workforce that caresabout customer satisfaction, a pure focus on efficiency will not achieve humanresource objectives. These organizations need jobs that employees findinteresting and satisfying, and job design should take into account factors thatmake jobs motivating to employees. 1. �Skill variety � The extent to which a job requires a variety of skills to carry out the tasks involved. 2. Task Identity � The degree to which a job requires completing a �whole� piece of work from beginning to end (for example, building an entire component or resolving a customer�s complaint). 3. Task significance � The extent to which the job has an important impact on the lives of other people. 4. Autonomy � The degree to which the job allows and individual to make decisions about the way the work will be carried out.
  7. 7. 5. Feedback � The extent to which a person receives clear information about performance effectiveness from the work itself. Job Enlargement: In a job design, job enlargement refers to the broadening the types of tasks performed. The objective of job enlargement is to make jobs less repetitive and more interesting. Methods of job enlargement include job extension and job rotation. Job extension is enlarging jobs by combining several relatively simple jobs to form a wider range of tasks. Job rotation does not actually redesign the jobs themselves, but moves employees among several different jobs. This approach to job enlargement is common among production teams. As we job extension, the enlarged job may still consist of repetitious activities, but with greater variation among those activities. Job Enrichment: The idea of job enrichment, or empowering workers by adding more decision-making authority to their jobs, comes from the work of Frederick Herzberg. According to Herzberg�s two-factory theory, individuals are motivated more by the intrinsic aspects of work than by extrinsic rewards such as pay. Herzberg identified five factors he associated with motivating jobs: achievement, recognition, growth, responsibility, and performance of the entire job. Self-Managing Work Teams: Instead of merely enriching individual jobs, some organizations empower employees by designing work to be done by self-managing work teams. Team members typically have authority to schedule work, hire team members, resolve problems related to the team�s performance, and perform other duties traditionally handled by management. Teamwork can give a job such motivating characteristics as autonomy, skill variety, and task identity. Because team members� responsibility is great, their jobs usually are defined broadly, and include sharing of work assignments. Teamwork can certainly make jobs more interesting, but teamwork�s effectiveness is not guaranteed. A study of work teams at a large financial services company found that the right job design was associated with effective teamwork. In particular, when teams are self-managed and team members are highly involved in decision making, teams are more productive, employees more satisfied, and managers more pleased with performance. Teams also tend to do better
  8. 8. when each team member performs a variety of tasks and when teammembers view their effort as significant.Flexible Work Schedules: One way in which an organization can giveemployees some say in how their work is structured is to offer flexible workschedules. Depending on the requirements of the organization and theindividual jobs, organizations, may be able to flexible in terms of whenemployees work. Flextime is a scheduling policy in which full-timeemployees may choose starting and ending times within guidelinesspecified by the organization. The flextime policy may require thatemployees be at work between certain hours, say 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM.Employees work additional hours before or after this period in order towork the full day. A work schedule that allows time for community andfamily interests can be extremely motivating for some employees. Jobsharing is a work option in which two part-time employees carry out thetasks associated with a single job. Such arrangements can enable anorganization to attract or retain valued employees who want more time toattend school or to care for family members. The job requirements in suchan arrangement include the ability to work cooperatively and coordinatethe details of one�s job with another person. �Although not strictly aform of flexibility on the level of individual employees, another schedulingalternative is the compressed workweek. A compressed workweek is aschedule in which full-time workers complete their weekly hours in fewerthan five days. Employees may appreciate the extra days available forleisure, family, or volunteer activities. There are many drawbacks to thistype of scheduling, because of the longer days, employees may becomemore exhausted after such a long day, and federal regulations require thatemployers pay employees overtime if they work over a certain amount ofhours.Telework: Flexibility can extend to work locations as well as workschedules. Before the Industrial Revolution, most people worked eitherclose to or inside their own homes. Mass production technologies changedall this, separating work life from home life, as people began to travel tocentrally located factories and offices. Today, however, skyrocketing pricesfor office space, combined with drastically reduced prices for portablecommunication and computing devices, seem ready to reverse this trend.For employers, advantages of telework include less need for office space
  9. 9. and the ability to offer greater flexibility to employees who are disabled or need to be available for children or elderly relatives.Designing Ergonomic Jobs: The way people use their bodies when they work �whether toting heavy furniture onto a moving van or sitting quietly before acomputer screen � affects their physical well-being and may affect how well andhow long they can work. The study of the interface between individuals�physiology and the characteristics of the physical work is called ergonomics. Thegoal of ergonomics is to minimize physical strain on the worker by structuring thephysical work environment around the way the human body works. Ergonomicstherefore focuses on outcomes such as reducing physical fatigue, aches, andpains, and health complaints. Ergonomic job design has been applied inredesigning equipment used in jobs that are physically demanding. Such redesignis often aimed at reducing the physical demands of certain jobs so that anyonecan perform them. Often, redesigning work to make it more worker-friendly alsoleads to increased efficiencies. Employers are to avoid these specific high riskwork practices: 1. Using a keyboard for four hours straight without a break. 2. Lifting more than 75 pounds. 3. Kneeling or squatting for more than two hours a day. 4. Working with the back, neck, or wrists bent more than two hours a day. 5. Using large vibrating equipment such as chainsaws or jackhammers more than 30 minutes a day. Designing Jobs that Meet Mental Capabilities and Limitations: Just as the human body has capabilities and limitations, addressed by ergonomics, the mind, too, have capabilities and limitations. Besides hiring people with certain mental skills, organizations can design jobs so that they can be accurately and safely performed given the way the brain processes information. Generally, this meansreducing the information � processing requirements of a job. Research hasfound that challenging jobs tend to fatigue and dissatisfy workers when they feellittle control over their situations, lack social support, and feel motivated mainlyto avoid errors. In contrast, they may enjoy the challenges of a difficult job wherethey have some control and social support, especially if they enjoy learning andare unafraid of making mistakes.