Job Classification - Meaning, its Need and Importance

Job classification is a scheme of classifying a job according to the current responsibilities and duties associated with the job. It is different than job design in that the person assigned to the job is not taken into consideration. Jobs are classified with the purpose of studying jobs in a holistic perspective.

Job classifications group’s jobs into various grades, each grade having a certain specific class description and many times a pay scale that is used for job comparisons. Often the title is also assigned on the basis of grade arrived at after the job classification.

Need for Job Classification

There are various methods available for classifying jobs and often these vary across organisations and the industries. The basic purposes of classifying jobs are:

  1. To help in recruitment and selection by defining significant qualification standards.

  2. To help in designing and developing standards for performance and appraisals.

  3. Allocating responsibilities aligned to the company mission and vision and those that help in the realisation of organisations business plans and strategies.

  4. Identification of career and growth paths in organisations.

  5. Establish standards for compensation.

When and Where is a Job Classification System Used

A job classification system cannot be used for positions which do not match in terms of their duties and responsibilities. Instead it is used to group positions that have similar duties and responsibilities, require same qualifications, experience and training interventions. As mentioned above it is beneficial in recruitment, selection and compensation in a standard way across the whole organization.

The most important aspect of job classification is that it is based upon the objective aspects of the job and does not take into consideration the person assigned, the skills and the performance levels for the job. Instead factors like scope and level of responsibilities and duties, decision making authority and its relationship to other jobs is taken into consideration.

Job classification as a system empowers the administration to handle a wide variety of job functions and rather than just one, at a single time. Different positions are named and assigned titles and grades, keeping the job characteristics into consideration.

Job classification is not a constant or one time process; it is an ever changing one. They change due to introduction of new policies and procedures, new management initiatives and in many cases due to introduction of new technologies. The flip side of this is that it may affect employee productivity or performance and their reporting relationships. People resources may be redeployed and employees may find it difficult to adjust with the new people environment, affecting the performance due to change in benchmark standards. Then again in certain cases the productivity may increase in case of certain employees and decline in case of others depending upon how these employees deal with the stressors.

Many organizations use the tools of job balance assessment and competency matrix assessment for dealing with the changes associated with job classification. These tools help in aligning the employees with changes in the external environment such that their productivity levels are enhanced and not otherwise.

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