Job Evaluation - Know What You Need

In understanding job evaluation, organizations are looking to fix significant problems they have with:

  • Job descriptions that are remarkably dated and written to inconsistent standards.
  • Employee engagement levels that are negatively impacted by misunderstanding of management expectations and inconsistent pay practices.
  • The time and expense to market price jobs in their organization.
  • The requirement to demonstrate pay equity compliance with government legislation already in place, and growing awareness they are not prepared.

In response, a growing number of job evaluation solutions are being newly marketed to address the growing need for job documentation, job evaluation, and pay equity compliance.

Understanding job documentation, job evaluation, and pay equity compliance

One group of traditional methodologies can generally be described as consultant intensive. These are typically marketed by the big consulting firms who sell time.

A growing number of newer methodologies coming on the market are software driven. The attraction of these models is they enable organizations to take a more automated approach to job evaluation that can significantly drive down overall implementation costs.

As one would expect, each model will typically appeal to a different audience based on what appears to best address each clients needs. One of the most significant factors influencing that decision will be their cost/benefit analysis of implementation cost.

Here’s the thing: that analysis will miss the most significant cost of their decision, and by a large margin.

Job evaluation is not something that’s done only once

The fact is, job evaluation is not something you do once and then call it a day. Jobs are always changing, and it is important to not only recognize that, but prepare for it.

Job Evaluation - Know What You Need by Encompassing VisionsWhether a consultant intensive methodology or a software driven one is the best fit to achieve an organizations job evaluation goal, they will be best positioned to ensure pay equity compliance if it’s a point factor approach that can evaluate jobs based on their relative and comparable Skill, Effort, Responsibility and Working Conditions.

Most job evaluation solutions, whether consultant intensive or software driven, will incorporate fewer than 15 factors into their model and suggest that number is more than adequate to evaluate every job in an organization. Most job evaluation methodologies use fewer than 10 factors, and some even suggest their 6-factor approach will do the job.

By limiting the criteria, it helps them achieve the objective of making their approach to job evaluation appear quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive to implement – or certainly worth the money invested for the advice and counsel they will receive.

The approach requires the client organization to take all the detailed information they have about a job and interpret what it means (translation – ‘dumb it down’) so it can be dropped into a limited number of generically defined ‘buckets’ that are used to establish the job’s relative value to the organization. As a result, while conversations about job detail may have influenced the evaluation result, they are unlikely to be documented and will soon be lost as the job evaluation process moves on.

That’s unfortunate because it is in the details that value can most clearly be recognized and appreciated. But, it's not just regrettable. That’s where the real cost begins for organizations focusing solely on implementation expense in their cost/benefit analysis.

What is the job’s value to the organization?

You see, when job details are lost in the job evaluation process, they became unavailable for later reference at the time when the job comes back for re-evaluation. When it does, odds are the job incumbent, and their manager, will not only be looking for results that increase job compensation but armed with all the details to support why they feel the increase is justified.  

While their request may be legitimate, job evaluation specialists will never really know whether it justifies a higher salary grade because all the job details enabling an apples-to-apples comparison of ‘what was’ with ‘what is now’ are unavailable. Over time and with the re-evaluation of jobs having multiple incumbents, increased salary costs to the organization based on debatable evaluation decisions will absolutely dwarf the initial cost considerations of the selected job evaluation solution.  

How to make educated decisions on job evaluation within your organization

Here is a quick way to check whether your organization has an issue with the methodology currently in place or will have with a solution under consideration for implementing:

  • Based on the information you have available today, how prepared would you be to prove that ‘No’ is the right answer to a senior, influential manager requesting a job grade increase for a role they have taken a personal interest in?
  • Ask job evaluation vendors on your short list to provide a detailed list of factors they use to evaluate the Pay Equity measures of Skill, Effort, Responsibility, and Working Conditions. You may be very surprised by what you discover.
  • Ask how many ways their methodology can help ensure each job evaluation result is yielding the correct job grade. (Hint: You should expect the number to be a minimum of 10.)
  • Ask how their methodology helps develop Job Descriptions and recruiting documents so your organization can establish a higher, consistent standard of communicating job requirements, and simultaneously start to link hiring decisions with fair compensation practices that positively impact incumbent understanding of management expectations.
  • Test the transparency of the methodology by asking vendors about incumbent involvement in the process. It is not enough that employees participate in the development of their job description or answer a ‘fill in the blank’ questionnaire. Its important to know how challenging it would be for you to effectively explain, and an incumbent to fully understand, how their compensation was determined.
  • Estimate the annual, incremental cost over 5 years to your organization if even a few inflated job evaluation results made it into your pay structure, with some jobs having multiple incumbents. Those are the costs you should really be thinking about.

It’s been said that information is power. Be sure you have all the information you need to help your organization make informed job evaluation decisions today, and in the future. Know what you need.

If you’re looking for solutions to job evaluation within your organization, we’d love to be of service. Our industry-leading job evaluation software at Encompassing Visions provides critical tools to help understand and engage the important process of job evaluation.

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