NRC: Job grades, job evaluation, and Jobscore.
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3.1b Conducting evaluations with Jobscore.

Job Evaluation Framework

Evaluation requires a good understanding of the job. A job should be evaluated within a framework of evaluations for other jobs in the organisation. Evaluations must also be in the context of similar jobs in the broader community.

To evaluate a job a good understanding of the job's role is required. This understanding is facilitated by a job description that details the level of general and specialist knowledge required to perform the job, the types and extent of problems that must be dealt with, and the responsibilities, or accountabilities of the job. The proportion of time spent on each activity should be stated to indicate the activity's relative level of importance in the job.

A detailed organisation chart showing where the job fits in the organisation hierarchy is a necessity. The chart should show as a minimum all jobs at the same level in the organisation as the position being evaluated, as well as major subordinate sub-functions to those positions. To properly assess a position it is frequently necessary, indeed desirable, to assess its superior positions and positions parallel to it in the organisation. This ensures that the evaluation is properly aligned within the framework of assessments that would apply to the organisation. Evaluating any job of significance independently of other jobs in the organisation can lead to a result that is 'out of sync' with the rest of the organisation.

If all jobs in an organisation are to be evaluated then one should start with the most senior job and work down the organisation, one organisation level at a time across the entire organisation. The most senior job's evaluation then stands as a standard relative to which other positions are assessed.

Evaluation should also take account of jobs in the broader community. Jobs and organisations do not exist in isolation and so it can be expected for example that an Accountant in one organisation should not be assessed markedly differently from one in another organisation, even considering differences in detail between the two.

Job Evaluation Committee

Job evaluation is best conducted by a small group. Members of the group or committee should have a broad to detailed understanding of all jobs in the organisation, and ideally be practised in job evaluation. Evaluations should be reached by consensus of the evaluators. Evaluations should be approved and signed off by the responsible individual or approval committee. Any job descriptions prepared by the job incumbent for use in the evaluation process should be reviewed and approved by the position's superiors. Job descriptions should include those aspects of a job that are measured in the evaluation process. It is important that the job description is a tangible description of the job, and not consist mainly of qualitative statements and desirable personal characteristics of an incumbent, or worse, a reflection of the current incumbent. Unspecific statements such as 'tertiary qualifications desirable' and 'good interpersonal skills required', which are open to wide interpretation, are near worthless for job evaluation purposes.

It is debatable whether a job's evaluation assessment should be shared with the jobholder. This decision must be made in the light of the organisation's culture. The decision must however be made very carefully. One view is that the assessments are purely a management tool that management rely on in formulating their decisions. Making assessments known generally can lead to dissatisfaction among employees who do not understand how the evaluations are arrived at, or at least not in detail. This is especially true if there are only small differences in the number of job points between certain jobs, which the incumbents see as equal. There is also a danger that job points can become 'badges of rank'. This is contentious issue but on balance we suggest consideration be given to treating job evaluation as a confidential management tool.

It is worthwhile keeping a record of the decisions made by the job evaluation committee as to the reasons it arrived at particular evaluations, especially in cases where the decision was open to debate. This will be useful when reviewing the job's evaluation in the future, and it helps ensure consistent thinking when assessing other jobs.

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Copyright 2004 National Remuneration Centre, Melbourne.