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Implementing a job evaluation scheme.

[check] This checklist offers guidance on implementing a job evaluation scheme. It does not explain the detail of the various approaches to job evaluation.

Job evaluation aims to:

* establish a fair and workable system of differentials between various jobs in the organisation

* sort out anomalies between similar jobs in different parts of the same organisation

* review the jobs in an organisation, which have changed over time

* assess the value of a job that is hard to fill.

Job evaluation is a specialised process usually handled by human resource specialists. Line managers, however, have a large role to play in helping to define jobs, and in implementing the results.


Job evaluation is concerned with the worth of a job, especially in relation to other jobs in the organisation. It is not about the individual jobholder, their competence or their potential; nor is it primarily about pay rates, although it may influence pay structures.

Simple approaches towards job evaluation tend to be non-analytical. For example, one method takes one job as the benchmark against which all others are assessed; certain factors in a job are examined in comparison with the benchmark. Another method is to define a grading structure first, then review job specifications within that framework and make any adjustments.

More analytical approaches tend to involve factor weighting and point scoring systems Each job will be assessed on a number of key factors, such as the size of the budget controlled, the number of staff reporting to the post, direct interface with customers, the level of technical expertise required and the potential impact on the organisation's success. Points are awarded for each factor from a predetermined set of specifications (for example, 5 points if there are 4 or fewer staff reporting, 12 points in the case of 5-15 staff, 20 points in the case of 16-50 and so on) and a total reached which provides the final level of importance. This is then reviewed to take into account any further points of detail that have additional impact on the job's value.

Advantages of job evaluation schemes

Such schemes:

* provide a relatively objective and unbiased view of the worth of jobs

* avoid favouritism or patronage as they take no account of individual jobholders

* iron out current discrepancies and help to prevent future anomalies, which can cause bad feeling, resentment and demands for parity from those who feel they are undervalued

* provide a transparent approach to valuing jobs once established.

Disadvantages of job evaluation schemes

* The process can be lengthy and costly to plan, introduce and implement, especially if an analytical approach is taken and an external consultancy is retained.

* There can be an emotional backlash if the scheme is not introduced with adequate consultation and communication.

* Schemes require adequate representation from all grades and specialisms--individuals should have no grounds for complaint that they feel misunderstood or remote.

Action checklist

1. Carry out some background research

Before starting, it is crucial to think through all the implications and make sure that job evaluation is the route you wish to follow and, if so, whether you are going to adopt an analytical or a non-analytical approach.

* Decide what you want a job evaluation scheme to achieve but keep an open mind, as it may bring other issues to light.

* Consider whether there is an easier and more direct way of tackling the issue, especially if you are facing a small problem of inconsistency, but make sure that your alternative solution will be adequate.

* Try to find one or more colleagues in other organisations with experience of the process.

* If you are planning to use a detailed and analytical approach, research it thoroughly; talk to consultants and read up about it--this is not a route to be followed lightly.

* Once you have all the information, carry out a detailed cost-benefit analysis to identify whether the costs of undertaking job evaluation are outweighed by the benefits. If the benefits are significantly greater than the costs, move on to the next part of the checklist. If not, go back and think through more appropriate ways of achieving your objectives.

2. Decide on the approach

Based on the cost-benefit analysis, decide whether to bring in a consultant with an analytical process, or to do what you can on your own on a less complex basis.

Having chosen the approach, plan the steps carefully and consider all the essential details, such as:

* whether job descriptions are all up-to-date or work is needed to amend them, as they form a major element of job evaluation

* who will be managing the process in-house, either as the prime mover or as the contact point for an external consultant

* how much time you have

* how much it will cost (even if it is controlled internally, because it takes time and resources) whether you can afford it now, or whether it is preferable to wait and build it in as a major project in the coming year.

3. Communicate and consult

Think carefully about what impression any announcement will give to staff. Damage control at the start is preferable to damage limitation later. Find out what others will read into the introduction of job evaluation.

Consult wherever it is appropriate; nothing gives more trouble than a false impression or a rumour, so if you will need to talk to unions at some stage, start now; sell the benefits and try to work towards an agreement, which both sides can at least live with.

Communicate so that all staff are clear about what is happening, why, when, and with what aim, and who is doing it.

4. Draw up a project plan

Remember that there are three basic elements to the process of job evaluation:

* scheme design

* data collection

* data analysis.

List and time all actions so you know what comes when, what must precede each action and what depends on it, and the key milestones along the way.

Draw up a separate plan for how you are going to manage change issues, as the scheme will constitute a fairly significant change. Consider its implications in terms of managing change:

* What sort of resistance are you likely to encounter?

* Which factors are helping you and which are going to block you?

* Whom can you pick as change agents or champions to help spread the word?

5. Implement the scheme

If you are using an experienced external consultant, they will be able to advise you on what has to be done and how to go about it. If you are paying for their expertise, make sure you use it.

If you are handling the scheme in-house, follow the project and change management plans; if they were well thought-out at the planning stage, they should work now.

6. Monitor the scheme

After a lengthy haul of design and implementation, be wary of the scheme taking on a life of its own and becoming rigid. Just as jobs will continue to evolve or change, so their content will impact on the scheme framework you have devised.

Ensure you maintain the scheme as jobs change and new ones are created. You may need a panel or team, trained in job evaluation techniques, to meet regularly to carry out reevaluations.

Dos and don'ts for implementing a job evaluation scheme


* Be aware that, under sex discrimination and equal pay legislation, jobs must be seen to be neutral. There should be absolutely no unfairness or discrimination based on whether men or women happen to be the main group of jobholders.

* Consider using an external consultant--it may seem costly but they can take a great deal of the strain and work off your shoulders and they contribute specialised knowledge and experience.

* Consult and communicate.


* Imagine that job evaluation will automatically save money; it is a process designed to sort out relativities and positions within an overall structure rather than limiting pay.

* Forget that even the most analytical system needs judgement and a human touch to refine scientific results and make them workable.

Useful reading

Job evaluation a guide to achieving equal pay, Michael Armstrong and others London: Kogan Page, 2003

Job evaluation: an introduction, rev ed, London: Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service, 1997

Job evaluation: managing best practice, Industrial Society London: Industrial Society, 1996

Thought starters

* Have there been changes in the nature, structure and design of the jobs in your organisation?

* Are there people in your organisation who apparently have the same levels of responsibility but are paid differently?

* Would you have the time and resources available to tackle job evaluation yourself? Updated July 2005
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Title Annotation:Checklist 114
Publication:Chartered Management Institute: Checklists: Human Resources, Training and Development
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 1, 2005
Previous Article:Evaluating training.
Next Article:Setting up a Performance-Related Pay scheme.

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