50 Years Ago

50 years ago today, July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. The new Act  prohibited segregation and discrimination in all public places including hotels, restaurants, theaters, sports arenas, and parks.  It also made it illegal for employers to make employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin and established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to enforce the law.  The Civil Rights Act was first proposed by President John F. Kennedy on June 11th, 1963.

President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964

To read more about the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

 

What are the Benefits of Performing a Job Analysis?

A job analysis consists of a thorough analysis of the job duties and knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics (KSAPCs) required for success in a certain position. However, a job analysis can sometimes take a substantial amount of time and effort. So why should an organization consider performing a job analysis?

The primary reason an organization will perform a job analysis is to ensure the selection procedures they use to choose between job applicants are valid and defensible. Practically speaking, a valid selection procedure is one that accurately measures the actual requirements of the job in a fair and reliable way. A valid selection procedure should measure only knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics that the job analysis has identified as being required to perform important and/or critical job duties. Essentially, a valid selection procedure should only measure the qualifications that are really needed for the job.

What are the Benefits of a Job Analysis?

In the legal realm, a selection procedure is valid if it can be proven by an employer in litigation that it is “… job related and consistent with business necessity” (see Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424,1971), to address the requirements of the  various federal Civil Rights Act. This standard is usually met (or not) by arguing how the selection procedure address, (1) the federal Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (1978); (2) professional testing standards, such as, but not limited to, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures (SIOP Principles, 2003) and the American Psychological Association’s Standards for Education and Psychological Testing (APA Standards, 1999); and three (3) court decisions that have examined the validity of employment testing in various settings.

Academically speaking, the SIOP Principles and APA Standards have adopted the same definition for validity: “The degree to which accumulated evidence and theory support specific interpretations of test scores entailed by proposed uses of a test.”

Beyond this overlying benefit, there are several more compelling benefits to performing a job analysis:

  • Workforce planning — An effective job analysis can work in tandem with an organization’s future-casting. By identifying the duties and KSAPCs for various job titles, HR professionals can match the needs of their organization with the talent of their current and future workforce.
  • Succession planning — A strategy of workforce planning, HR professionals can use job analysis results to help fill key roles within their organization, now and in the future.
  • Training — By basing training procedures on the findings of a job analysis, organizations are better equipped to identify the gaps or distances between the current workforce or a newly-hired workforce and the KSAPCs needed the first day of the job. HR professionals can consequently create job-specific or group/employee-specific training procedures.
  • Employee development — Using the results of a job analysis, organizations may identify any gaps on an individual level and assist employees with their career management.
  • Compensation — With an effective job analysis, organizations can ensure that job titles requiring similar duties and KSAPCs are being compensated similarly.
  • ADA compliance – Biddle Consulting Group’s patented GOJA job analysis (Guidelines-Oriented Job Analysis) process asks specific questions that are outlined by the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to determine whether or not a duty is considered

If you have questions about job analysis and how conducting one may benefit your organization, please contact us at (800)999-0438. We’re happy to help.

Is it a Good Idea to use SAT Scores for Making Employment Decisions?

Many recent news posts reveal that some employers are beginning to use SAT scores as “factors” in the hiring process. Examples include:

Using SAT Scores for Employment DecisionsWhile arguments abound regarding the benefits of using SAT scores as indicators of future job success (especially for jobs dealing with vast volumes of complex information), is this a safe practice for employers from a Title VII (test discrimination) perspective? Another important question is: “Do SAT scores provide more useful information on applicant quality than other measures?” Let’s take these questions one at a time…

First, the Title VII liability issue. When it comes to test discrimination liability, Title VII is quite straight forward: If an employer uses a “practice, procedure, or test” (or “PPT”) that results in success rates that are significantly different between groups, such PPT is actionable (by either plaintiff or federal regulatory groups) under Title VII. This means that the employer can be taken into court and required to “make a demonstration” that their challenged PPT is “job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity” (1991 Civil Rights Act, Section 703[k][1][A][i]). Because SAT scores might not directly map to concrete and observable skills and abilities that are needed for many jobs, making such a “job relatedness demonstration” would rely on either “construct” or “criterion-related” validity defense under the current federal testing regulations (the “Uniform Guidelines,” 29 CFR 1607).

Both of these techniques would require the employer to prove that SAT scores were statistically significantly correlated with meaningful aspects of job performance. In other words, SAT scores would have to directly translate to job performance in a statistically meaningful way. While conducting such a study might prove this out, the employer is still taking a substantial risk!

Note that such a case would also depend on just how the SAT scores were used—whether they were used in a fixed way or if they were only “soft considerations” combined with many other data points. Further, employers would be challenged to defend SAT scores if they were used by different hiring managers in different ways.

Second, do SAT scores provide more useful information regarding applicant quality than other measures? The short answer is “not likely.” This is because human performance is made up of a myriad of different factors, including smarts, personality traits, drive, experience, discipline, background, motivation, and the list goes on. Further, each of these performance ingredients is needed in different levels, and in some cases different ways, for various positions. That’s why the best selection process is always one that “wraps” various PPTs around the specific job by profiling the job using a thorough job analysis. Only then can the employer be sure that the most important success factors are being properly measured and weighted in a selection process.

Our firm has developed hundreds of custom PPTs for hundreds of employers. We’ve also defended several tests in litigation settings. If I had to choose between a quick and easy measure like SAT scores (perhaps coupled with an interview) and a robust selection system that considered several different competencies and weighted them according to the specific job needs, I would choose the latter every time.