Applying Six Sigma principles for job analysis

Job Analysis applying a quality process such as Six Sigma to job analysis can have interesting and positive benefits to your organization. Job analysis is a process common to any HR department; job descriptions are developed and analyzed to determine similarities and differences in work so that the right people can be hired and their compensation can be calculated appropriately.

When jobs are analyzed, however, there is often variability in the results and an absence of consensus and consistency and the internal structure that is created. Applying Six Sigma techniques to improve steps in the job analysis process can make it a more consistent and reliable process and should help to generate a perceived sense of fairness. If Six Sigma techniques can improve quality in other part of the organization then why not in job analysis too?

The key steps of the Six Sigma methodology are spelt out in the acronym DMAIC which stands for:

  1. Define (D):This usually means defining the goal, which in this case is to identify and fix the lack of consistency in the job analysis process. This is usually observed when job descriptions are analyzed and rank ordered in a hierarchy from greatest to least importance, and there are inconsistencies.
  2. The measure (M):In this step, data are collected on the current process to establish a performance baseline. A process flowchart is developed to document the sequence of steps in the job analysis process. An examination of the steps involved in the process enables the HR professionals involved to pinpoint potential steps where, and how often, inconsistencies might occur.
  3. Analyze (A):During the Analyze phase, steps are taken to determine the root causes of the defects. Specific causes are pinpointed using a number of analytical tools, such as brainstorming, cause-and-effect diagrams, design of experiments, fishbone diagrams, root cause evaluation charts, ABC/BOC analysis, and cycle time reduction, among others.
  4. Improve (I):In this phase, the focus is to develop and implement solutions that address root causes of defects, as well as to validate the solutions by collecting and analyzing additional data. Through the tools applied in the Analyze stage, it is anticipated that possible solutions for the root causes of variance can be identified.
  5. Control (C):This final stage is to ensure that the new process put in place is maintained. More specifically, the process must be standardized and the changes and improvements successfully implemented for at least twelve months, and until future improvements build on the current work, to sustain the gains.

So, explore job analysis inconsistencies in your organization by critically reviewing how job descriptions relate to one another in the hierarchy. If you can, enlist the help of a Six Sigma expert in the organization to help you work through the DMAIC process outlined above, it may pay off big time in terms of organizational effectiveness.