Sunday, March 11, 2007

Job Analysis: Metropolitan Motor Company

The first thing that strikes me as a potential organizational leader is the relatively limited amount of control the actual hiring company had over many aspects of this process. Initial staffing screenings were outplaced to the state employment office, the YMCA, and a consulting firm that scored initial tests. Yet despite the relative lack of control that the organization had, the process generated the need for each prospective employee to be interviewed by a single group of four people. There seems to be a significant inefficiency in interviewing applicants yourself but then having a consulting firm evaluate your interview results; would it not be better to simply have the staffing consultants conduct interviews as well, or at least to add flexibility to the interview component by assigning more employees of MMC to the potential pool of interviewers? Especially if interview results are being scored independently and employees aren't being directly identified for "fit" or very specific personal qualities, it seems like a four-member screening committee just is not going to get the job done as efficiently as possible.

I also wonder whether it might not have been helpful to ask for applicants to fill out their preferences for tasks, days, and shifts well in advance of when they filled out their preference sheets in MMC's process. A huge amount of effort has been invested in each employee by the time they finish their interview. I think it would make more sense to identify the number of applicants interested in different tasks by day and time before screening for eligibility, and certainly before entering the interview process. This way, there would probably be a higher rate of assignment acceptance because people would be contacted initially based on their preferences instead of screened and then assigned to shifts they don't want; often "don't want" means literally "can't work," because of other obligations like children. Obviously, the process as written here seems to lend itself to a large amount of assignment refusal at the end of the employment process.

Even with these reservations, I appreciated MMC's willingness to work with other institutions to provide opportunities, and their astute move to assert their community awareness by offering priority to people within the most directly affected area. This is an intelligent relations move, and one which unfortunately may be unique in some ways to blue-collar positions which require only a certain level of expertise to fill. I doubt the same procedures would work for a smaller organization, or for an organization that was hiring people to work in information technology or a comparable field.

I am impressed by MMC's use of incentives for strong job attendance, by allowing flexibility after a six-month period of strong (very strong, perhaps too strong!) attendance. This represents a certain commitment to providing choice to employees who hold up their end of the bargain, so to speak.

One thing I don't see here is an actual description of the job analysis that was done which led to these staffing procedures. While it's likely the case that similar abilities were required for many of these production-line jobs, I'd like to know more about what was identified as "essential" for various job functions. It's been my experience that many organizations hiring to fill labor positions that require little prior training often overstate the needs of the position in some areas while leaving other areas out; manual dexterity may be underprioritized while the ability to bend over or lift 80 pounds may be overprioritized. I'd like to see what skills/abilities were identified for each position with MMC.

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