Chapter Summary

4.1  Describe the process of workflow analysis, identifying why it is important to HRM.

We start our workflow analysis by determining the end result. Once we identify the result we expect, we can determine the steps or activities required to create the end result that we’ve identified. This is basically an analysis of the tasks that are going to have to be performed in order to create the output that we expect. Finally, we can identify the inputs that are going to be necessary to carry out the steps and perform the tasks. The inputs are known as the 4 Ms: machines (tools, equipment, and machines), material (physical resources used in production), manpower (the people needed in a particular production process), and money (the capital that must be spent to perform our processes).

4.2  Discuss the reason for job analysis, stating the expected outcomes of the process.

Job analysis provides the basis for every major HRM function, from selection and development to performance management and compensation. The two main outcomes are the job description and the job specification.

4.3  Identify the four major methods used for job analysis.

Questionnaires ask questions that help to identify the functions that are a part of a particular job, and then, in most cases, they assign a point value to each of those functions. In the job analysis interview, questions are asked verbally, usually of the incumbent, and the answers are compiled into a profile of the job. Diaries have the workers maintain a work log, or diary, in which they write down the tasks that they accomplish as they go about their job. This log becomes the document from which we build the description of the job. We can also use observation of the worker at work, where an observer shadows the worker and logs tasks that are performed over a period of time.

4.4  Discuss the four major approaches to job design.

Mechanistic job design focuses on designing jobs around the concepts of task specialization, skill simplification, and repetition. Biological job design focuses on minimizing the physical strain on the worker by structuring the physical work environment around the way the body works. Perceptual-motor job design attempts to make sure that workers remain within their normal mental capabilities and limitations. Motivational job design focuses on the job characteristics that affect psychological meaning and motivational potential, and it views attitudinal variables as the most important outcomes of job design.

4.5  Identify the components of the job characteristics model (JCM).

The five core job characteristics include skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. The first three lead collectively to the psychological state of experienced meaningfulness of work, in which workers believe their work has meaning. The fourth core characteristic of autonomy leads to the psychological state of experienced responsibility for outcomes. Finally, feedback leads to the psychological state of knowledge of results—the psychological feeling that we get from knowing the results and that in turn creates satisfaction with the results of our work.

All of the psychological states collectively lead to the outcomes: motivation, performance, job satisfaction/engagement, absenteeism, and turnover. These can go up or down depending on the design of the job.

4.6  Explain the three major tools for motivational job design.

Job simplification is the process of eliminating or combining tasks and/or changing the work sequence to improve performance. It makes jobs more specialized. However, we might make the job less motivational if we simplify the work to the point where the worker gets bored. Job expansion, on the other hand, makes jobs less specialized. Jobs can be expanded through rotation, enlargement, and enrichment. Flexibility in job design includes flextime, job sharing, telecommuting, and compressed workweeks, and allows the manager to use these tools to increase worker motivation.

4.7  Discuss two types of HR forecasting.

Forecasting is done through the use of two methods: quantitative and qualitative forecasting. Quantitative forecasting utilizes mathematics to forecast future events based on historical information while qualitative forecasting generally uses the knowledge base of a pool of experts in a subject or industry. These experts will adjust the quantitative forecast based on their expertise.

4.8  Explain the three most common quantitative HR forecasting methods.

The three quantitative methods are the following:

  • Trend analysis allows the company to look at historical trends—for instance, whether employment went up or down in a given year and how the number of employees related to revenue or productivity—and make judgments based on those trends.
  • Ratio analysis calculates specific values by comparing a business factor with the number of employees needed.
  • Regression analysis is a statistical technique in which we use a regression diagram made from historical data points to predict future needs presented with a y- and x-axis.

4.9  Name the seven major options for managing a labor surplus.

The major options for managing surplus are a layoff, terminating a group of employees; pay reduction, which lowers the rate of pay for groups of employees; work sharing, where we cut hours available to each worker; natural attrition, where we lower employee numbers by not refilling jobs when turnover occurs; a hiring freeze, where we allow natural attrition, but in addition, we don’t create any new jobs, even if they are needed; retraining and transferring workers from one job to another; and early retirement, where employees are given the choice of leaving the company before they would normally retire.

4.10  Identify the seven major options for overcoming a labor shortage.

Options for a shortage include overtime, our best option until we get to the point where we are starting to stress our people too much; or temporary workers of many different types who can be used for short periods. Other options include retraining workers, outsourcing, using technological innovation, reducing turnover, and hiring new employees.