Saturday, June 4, 2016

OBHR - HR Systems designing a Job description [Job Analysis, Recruitment plan and comprehensive Training and development program designed for the Software Engineer position at Action World, a Game Development Company]

HR Systems:Job Analysis, Recruitment plan and comprehensive Training and development program designed for the Software Engineer position at Action World, a Game Development Co


Introduction & Context
Human Resource provides a company its competitive edge. A company’s Success or Failure is determined by the kind of people it attracts, develops and retains. By influencing who works for the organization and how they work, HR Management contributes to the company’s bottom line and customer satisfaction. It is the pulse of any industry
To understand the principles of HR management, we have done a project that involves a detailed Job Analysis conducted via questionnaire development, distribution and collection of data from subject matter experts and people with relevant skills and experience. We have built a comprehensive HR Planning and recruitment system and have also created a Training and development Program.
 The Job analysis, forecasting and training program were developed for a fictitious position in a made-up Game Development company called Action World. Though our company and the position are fictitious the analysis was conducted based on real inputs gathered from SME and real incumbents of the software job. We chose this industry because this is one of the fastest developing industries and has the power to influence many fields like Artificial Intelligence, Simulation and Virtual teaching and Learning. From our Analysis we discovered that this industry is in dire need of skilled software engineers and hence we have done our Job analysis project for this position.
We are a group of independent Human Resource Consultants for Action world and have created a report for perusal and consideration by its HR Head, Susan Doster. We have included the results of our Job analysis and the Recruitment plan and Training Program built based on the inputs from the job analysis. 



Organization overview
Action World is a company established by David Welch five years ago. This company is a game development company like Zynga and is one of Zynga’s major competitors. The company enjoys a 20% market share in spite of its small size because of the excellent products and services the company offers its customers. Action World’s core values are originality and innovation.
The organizational structure of Action World is as follows:


The growth of technology and the increasing popularity of smart phones have led to rapid growth of the game development industry. Recently, Action World developed and launched a highly successful game. This has helped the company gain higher recognition and reputation at both the game market and the labor market. These changes have brought more and more business to this company. The management has decided to launch a strategy to march into different market segmentations and to capture more market share by developing more new game applications. To cater to the increasing demand for new game products, Action World needs more talent that can initiate and develop new game software and applications. Software engineers are the main force to facilitate this innovation. However, for now, there are only 20 software engineers in the company. To address the expanding needs of the company and its customers it is quite necessary to spot and develop more talent. We estimate the need to be around 200 software engineers.
To attract and hire the right talent, a detailed job analysis of software engineers at Action world is required. The recruiting and training process is built based on the Job Analysis.
Software Engineer position:
A software engineer in Action World must develop, design and modify game software and applications. He/she works in a team-oriented environment, collaborating and communicating with other engineers on a constant basis. The Software engineer must work in lieu with the design team and customer service teams. The software engineer reports to the project team leader. Each project team is responsible for the development and validating of certain parts of game applications.
Job Analysis of Software Engineer Position:
To achieve high-quality performance, we have to understand and match job requirements and people. This understanding requires job analysis, the process of getting detailed information about jobs. Analyzing jobs and understanding what is required to carry out a job provide essential knowledge for staffing, training, performance appraisal, and many other HR activities.
We have conducted a job analysis in order to provide accurate information about the duties, tasks, required knowledge and skills of software engineers so that HR planners can tell what kinds of talent will be needed, recruiters can identify the most qualified applicants for this position, and the training program can be developed for this position.
We need to note here that this job is analyzed in the context of the organization’s structure and strategy. In addition, the workplace is constantly subject to change. Thus this job tends to change and evolve over time. For this reason, the job analysis must not only define this job when it is created, but also detect changes in this job as time passes.
Methods used for job analysis:
The Job Analysis methods were selected based on the need to get a comprehensive overview of this job and also to determine its feasibility and effectiveness. We also took into account the need to develop an effective HR planning, recruiting, and training program for the software engineer position. We used the following three methods:
1. Review of existing documents- O*NET, existing job descriptions.
2. Job analysis survey with SME.
3. Incumbent survey via Questionnaire
4. Critical incidents method.
Step 1: Review of existing documents- O*NET:
We began the job analysis with review of existing job descriptions. We searched for occupational information of software engineer on O*NET. O*NET is a governmental system for analyzing jobs, it provides job related information with regard to work characteristics, occupation requirements, KSAOs, and related occupations. We found the occupation in O*NET that has the highest relevance score with our job, software engineer, is software developers, systems software (Appendix 1).
O*NET is a good source to acquire general and professional information about all kinds of jobs. However, it does not provide information concerning the specific jobs or industries. Thus we had to further investigate and develop a broader analysis.
Step 2: Job analysis survey with SME and incumbents:
We carried out a job analysis survey with SME in order to get in-depth information about the job software engineer. This SME has 20 years of work experience in the field of gaming and has recently established his own company. The incumbents are software engineers with an average of 3-6 years of work experience. We conducted the survey via an online questionnaire, (Appendix 2).
The survey was designed to obtain job related information in game industry. The survey also acted as a tool to gather critical incident report. To enable collection of relevant information, we requested all participants to provide information based on the context that he/she was working as the software engineer at Zynga, the social game services provider. Then we asked them to rate a list of work activities, skills and abilities based on its importance. The scales we used helped us to conclude the most important work activities and KSAOs for this job. 21 engineers participated in our survey. 29 percent of the respondents are working professionals and 71 percent of the respondents are Graduate students at Krannert who have worked as software engineers prior to joining Krannert.
Subject-matter expert in this survey provided us with specific information related to software engineer position in the gaming industry. However, there’s chance to have received biased and exaggerated input from the incumbents. They might have exaggerated the importance of some work activities, resulting in a skewed report. Also, the questionnaire was built based on inputs from one software engineer and hence might not be comprehensive. In order to overcome this challenge, we have included a question regarding critical incident management. This question along with an open ended question asking for any information the incumbent considered relevant helped us create a thorough report.
Step 3: Critical incidents method:
The critical incident information enabled us gather more comprehensive information regarding the work activities, duties, and KSAOs.
We asked the respondent about the most difficult problem ever occurred during his/her work as a software engineer, and what skills or qualifications helped him/her to solve that problem. Through these questions we acquired the information about the most challenging parts of this job and the important skills/qualifications called for by these work related problems. The results also helped us create better HR selection and training programs.
The critical incidents method helped us collect data from the respondents’ perspectives and in their own words. The questions also identified rare events that might be missed by the survey which only focused on common and everyday events. However critical incident reporting often rely on memory, so the incident report may be imprecise.
Task Analysis and Duty Areas:
After collecting the task descriptions, we analyzed them and removed some that didn’t accurately describe and fit this job. We first analyzed and excluded the tasks related to supervising from the O*NET because according to the organizational structure of Action World and our survey, software engineers do not supervise. The strategy of Action World is to expand its market share by developing more new game applications. As a software engineer in Action World, he/she must be able design and develop applications. The engineer must also communicate and collaborate with his/her team and the customer service team to debug the software and applications. We kept the tasks relevant to these main aspects.
We then picked out the most important activities from the list in our survey, and then put them in the order of importance. The answers from critical incidents questions also provided important information about the required tasks and duties. To ensure that the organizational goals are met, we designed the duties and responsibilities based on their fit with the organizational structure and strategy. Please find a sample matrix we used to analyze the activities in the following page.
The most important duties of the software engineer are as follows:
1. Testing, modifying and debugging game applications. Software engineers must continuously modify and debug existing game applications to make them more and more advanced and perfect for customers.
2. Designing and developing new game applications. Software engineers must be able to design and develop new application systems through innovation to meet the changing needs of the market.
3. Performing daily analyzing, database maintenance, programming and coding. Software engineers are responsible for daily maintenance of computers, programs, and database.
4. Collaborating with other project team members. Since software engineers work in teams on certain projects, they must collaborate with each other so that the projects can be carried out successfully.
5. Collaborating with the customer service team. It is really important for software engineers to know and understand customers’ needs in order to improve the existing applications, which they can do by communicating with the customer service team.
A comprehensive list of the duties can be found in Appendix 3.

#
Question
1Not At All Important
2
3
4
5Extremely Important
Responses
Mean
1
Application design
0
0
0
9
12
21
4.57
2
Application development
0
0
0
10
11
21
4.52
3
Modify/change Application
0
0
4
12
5
21
4.05
4
Testing/Validation
0
0
2
7
12
21
4.48
5
Documentation
0
2
9
8
2
21
3.48
6
Analyze/understand/interpret software requirements
0
1
4
8
8
21
4.10
7
Data management
0
2
3
11
5
21
3.90
8
System Evaluation
0
1
5
9
6
21
3.95
9
Following coding standards
0
1
3
10
7
21
4.10
10
Programming/coding
0
0
2
12
7
21
4.24
11
Setting up, configuring, and maintaining servers
2
2
7
6
4
21
3.38

Job Specification
From the task list of the software engineer, we have summarized the qualities or requirements the person performing the job must possess. Job specification is a list of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) that an individual must have to perform the job. A software engineer must be proficient in programming knowledge to test and modify existing game applications or to design and develop new ones. This knowledge can be proved by the applicant’s former experience or relevant certification. Also, a software engineer must collaborate and influence people in their team. He/she should be team players and have communication skills. Furthermore, game industry is a new industry which calls for innovation in every aspect. As the main force of launching new game software and applications, software engineers must have strong interest in game development, be creative, and have this ability for continuous innovation. We designed the job specification based on the list of required knowledge, skills, abilities, and others from O*NET and the survey using similar methodology as for the task analysis. We subdivided these KSAOs according to what the duties and tasks call for and have detailed these in Appendix 4.
Job Description
We have designed a job description to better summarize the job analysis. The same can be used as a basis for recruiting as well. Please find the detailed Job Description in Appendix 5.
Evaluation of Job Analysis:
Our job analysis data was gathered from real software engineers and from a Subject Matter Expert who manages his own Game Development Company. Many of our incumbents have worked for some of the world’s largest IT companies, so they understand the requirements of a software job very well. Even though many don’t have any direct gaming development experience, their skills, experience and knowledge are transferrable. Hence, they can very well judge the requirements, duties and tasks involved in a software engineer role. We also used the information from professional inventory of O*NET so that the data is reliable. We also analyzed the job in the context of the organizational structure and strategy. Therefore, the sources and quality of our information are highly valid and relevant.
The data is job-related, we covered job relevant KSAOs according to the main tasks required by the job, so we can say that it sticks to legal guidelines. Also, some of our engineers are/were supervisors of similar software engineer job, so we could gain an objective perspective of what a software engineer’s daily duties are and what he/she needs to perform well.
Our Job Analysis is flexible and can be modified when required by just making minor changes. Though the industry itself evolves very quickly and products become obsolete in a short time, the skills and knowledge required are usually transferrable and hence the analysis is practical. However, we recommend periodic review and update of the document.
A concrete Job analysis is a requirement for proper HR Planning and recruitment. It is also required to develop an effective Training and Development program. Job analysis is required even to prove the company’s case in case an employee goes to court. So, the job analysis information is highly important. Please find the HR Forecasting done based on the job analysis in the next section.





HR Planning and Recruitment
Human potential provides a firm its competitive edge. In order to ensure Action World has qualified people available when necessary, we recommend that the company start the HR Management process with elaborate human resource planning based on the Job Analysis. The first step is personnel forecasting. Based on whether a surplus or a shortage is expected, the planner sets goals and creates a strategy for achieving those goals. Assume Action World company detects a great need for employees to fill the position of software engineers, HR team will choose the best recruitment methods to implement and evaluate the strategy.

HR Forecasting

The company needs to determine the demand for various types of human resources to predict labor shortage or surplus. Action World should forecast demand for specific job categories or skills areas to decide whether the need for people will increase or decrease. Here are some ways that the company can adopt to analyze the demand for labor.
Trend analysis should be conducted. HR team should construct and apply statistical models that predict labor demand for the next year, given relatively objective statistics---leading indicators from the previous year. The economy such as sales of the company, actions of competitors, and trends in the composition of the workforce, etc. should be analyzed.
Besides that, experts in various job positions should be involved in the measurement of demand. SMEs can help predict future labor demand best because they understand the tasks and duties of the jobs and they are extremely familiar with the labor force.
As for supply, not only strengths and weaknesses of existing internal labor force but also external candidates should be considered. The company needs the indication of current labor supply, which calls for a detailed analysis of how many people are currently in various job categories or have specific skills within the organization. And this analysis should be modified later to reflect changes expected in the near future because of retirements, promotions, transfers, voluntary turnover and terminations. Transitional matrix method or expert judgments of the company could be combined to analyze the supply of labor force.
At the same time, the labor trends of external labor market such as the size of labor market must be examined. The employment rate of software engineers in particular must be studied in depth. The general economy gradually recovers and grows after economic recession. But, even in the current economic condition, the Gaming Industry is growing rapidly and hence needs more and more developers. Therefore, the company should attract external candidates and bring new talent into the organization.

Recruiting Methods:


The hiring needs assessed based on HR forecasting indicates a great need for software engineers for the company. The company should carry out certain recruitment methods in order to identify and attract potential employees. Personnel policies concerning how to fill job vacancies should be decided, including internal or external recruiting and lead the market pay strategies, image advertising. Recruitment sources should be analyzed to attract the best talent in the industry.
Action World can utilize its internal sources by recruiting existing employees through job postings, personnel records or by communicating information about the vacancy on company bulletin boards, employee publications, corporate intranet and emails. Employee recommendations or lateral moves that provide broader career experience and help people gain more experience can benefit the employee and the organization. Relying on internal sources has the following strengths: trusted talent pools of employees that are well-known to the company are generated; these employees also understand the job requirements, which minimize their unrealistic expectations about the job; it is usually cheaper and faster than recruiting externally. However, internal recruiting might lead to following weaknesses: it might place heavy burden on training and development; it might produce organizational inbreeding because current employee may have limited perspective; it might lead to political fighting for promotions and cause certain unpleasant competition inside the company. Thus, this method should be carried out carefully. Another drawback is the limited resource available for a startup company. But, we recommend this method to encourage Action World to strengthen its reputation as a company that focuses on Human Resources. This will help it attract some of the industry’s best talent.
The forecast suggest that most of the company’s requirements will be addresses by the external labor force. Recruitment via referrals, advertisements, employment agencies, schools, career fairs and websites, etc. are all possible ways to attract outside candidates. These methods enjoy many advantages: bringing outsiders’ means bringing new ideas, cross-industry insights and talent into organization, which could lead to innovation. However, recruiting externally has some disadvantages as well: it might increase recruitment costs; it might cause low morale among current employees; new employees might take a long time to adjust to the job and company.
Finally, we suggest that Action World consider the factors like diversity, cost per applicant, cost per offer, per hire and yield ratios before choosing the recruiting method that best fits its needs. Please find the suggested advertisements created for internal employees in Appendix 6 and external employees in the Appendix 7. Please find a flowchart describing the recommended HR Recruitment plan in the next page.

 HR Planning and Recruitment Flow Chart:


Documents:


Training & development
Training is an educational process that can help people learn new information, re-learn existing knowledge and skills and help them apply it effectively while performing their duties. We have developed a training program for Action World based on the job analysis.
Needs Assessment:
Organizational Analysis:
The organization’s goal is to ensure people’s happiness through entertainment. It strives to achieve this by building exceptional products and understands the importance of continuous learning.
Person Analysis:
Some of the current Action World employees have been with the organization since its inception and have gained a lot of subject related knowledge. Most of them are experts in their areas of focus. But they are all functional experts with little exposure to other subjects of interest. The company plans to recruit people with the necessary foundation and the ability to learn highly technical material. So, the new recruits would have a formal education or 3-4 years of software development knowledge. But, we expect most of them not to have any direct gaming knowledge.
Task Analysis:
The job analysis data shows that we need to focus both on Technical and Experiential training for Action World Employees.



The Subject Matter Expert’s response to our critical incident question is as below:
“Actually creating high quality applications that work well and are easily extensible was the first thing that I focused on. In the end it turned out the hardest thing is creating a product that can grab customers strongly enough to grow its own user base. From a software design perspective it’s discouraging to admit it, but all the great code, flexibility and quality are for naught until you create an application that scratches that itch. It took my company 4 tries to get it right”
Based on this input and the input from the sample set of 17 software engineers, the following areas were identified as the most important focus areas:
Technical:
Though Application design and Development are considered the most important requirements, we expect the potential engineers to be experts in this area as most of them are formally trained or have the necessary knowledge through experience. So, we recommend that focus is provided to developing Gaming related programming knowledge and building the Data Management Skills. Flash Knowledge and User Experience and User Interface Design have been identified as the areas of immediate focus.
Experiential:
Majority of the sample set of engineers have agreed that Creative Thinking, attention to detail, Team work and Interpersonal and communication skills are the most important skills required for a software engineer in the gaming industry.
Readiness for Training:
The company’s work culture fosters innovation and development. The employees of Action World understand the importance of learning in a highly evolving industry like Gaming Development. The employees who have been with the organization for more than two years are highly experienced in game development. They are eager and willing to teach their peers and the new recruits.
The new recruits have been chosen based on their ability to learn. They are all eager to learn and grow.
Training Plan:
Objective:
The objective is to train both new and old employees to ensure synergy and thereby build better work environment. If the knowledge level is at the same level, the transfer between people and teams is much easier and hence necessary for all. But, the training is going to be structured differently for different groups.
We recommend providing technical training for all the new recruits and experiential training for all the employees of Action World
Trainers:
The technical training must be designed and delivered by the older employees. This will act as a refresher for the old employees and will also indirectly showcase the experience and knowledge levels of the older employees. This will help them gain the respect of the newer employees and be better leaders. Also, using internal talent pool to provide training will considerably reduce the cost.
We recommend that the experiential training be provided for all employees. We suggest that the company use external training and development firms to deliver this training.
Method:
The Technical training must be delivered to small groups of people divided based on their experience and knowledge. This will allow the remaining employees to continue the daily activities. Also, this is more efficient because the training can be structured differently for different sets of people.
The Experiential training provided by external trainers should be conducted in two phases.
Phase 1: Business games and case studies: People work for Action World because of its fun environment. In spite of the job being highly tasking, people compete for game development positions because of the creative element involved. This can be enhanced via business games and case studies structured for Action World. The business case studies can include the selling element as one of the exercises. This will improve people’s influencing skills as selling involves convincing others. These exercises will also teach employees the importance of attention to detail.
Phase 2: Team Training: This training is to enhance employee’s team working ability and also to build a sense of “one company” which can motivate employees to work hard and deliver better results. This training will aim at improving the interpersonal and communication skills. This will also teach employees to collaborate and develop leadership skills essential for any organization.
Implementation:
Total buy-in is important for the success of any training program. The entire program must be implemented with involvement of all employees. This can be achieved by conveying the objective of the program very clearly to the managers and the participants. Before training advance letters must be sent explaining the objective of the training.
 During training the problems that may arise must be anticipated ad contingency measures must be designed as well. For example, some trainers might be called to take on some urgent work. One way to address this is to involve two people in the design and provision of each training segment. Mirroring real scenarios that can actually occur on the job would also enhance the learning. This can be done through “Action Learning”, which is allowing people to work on an actual project and learn through it. This will also allow for continuous learning even after the end of formal training and hence can be very effective.
Next, to ensure continuous learning, which is essential in the highly evolving industry, we recommend a computer based test be conducted every 3 months. The related study material describing the latest trends can be provided ahead. This will also eliminate the need for a formal technical training and hence reduce costs. But, we still recommend that Action World conduct a Formal Training Session at this stage to help all employees gain the same knowledge. From there on, the company can choose whether a classroom based the technical training is required or the computer based test is sufficient.
Finally, after the training ends, it should be evaluated through one the methods detailed in the next section. Based on the evaluation constructive feedback and refresher courses should be provided.
Evaluation of Training:
Transfer of training is the most important element in the training process. Understanding the areas where there’s a knowledge gap can help the company create a better training program. A good evaluation system is necessary to address this. Evaluation is also necessary to provide feedback for continuous improvement.
We recommend a Pre-test/post-test method. This is the most cost effective method and would help us understand how much of the knowledge has been transferred. The differential between the initial knowledge level and the current level after the completion of the training will provide an insight into the future requirements.
Conducting a Pre-test before the training begins will help the company address any issues that aren’t included in the current design. Post-test will help Action World determine how much of the knowledge has been successfully consumed by the trainees. This will help the company determine the effectiveness of the training.
To bridge the knowledge gap, the company should start with providing feedback that is constructive. A feedback system based on the “Appreciate Inquiry” method can help boost the employee confidence and will help them attain self-efficacy.
Please find in the following page a flow chart created to showcase the training and development program recommended for Action World.






Conclusion:
We have conducted a detailed job analysis and have created a HR Planning and Recruitment program and also a comprehensive Training and Development Program. We have conducted the analysis and have designed the programs for a Software Engineer Position at action World, a fictitious company. We conducted this via survey and based on inputs from subject matter experts. In order to ensure Action World has qualified people available when necessary, we have built an elaborate human resource forecasting system based on the Job Analysis. Training is an organization’s planned effort to help employees acquire job-related knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors and with a goal of applying it in the job. Hence, a training program is essential for the growth of the organization. We have designed the Training and development Program for Action World based on the Job Analysis.
In summary, the system we have designed can be applied to any real company because we have collected data from real software engineers and subject matter experts. One of our most important learning from the project is that job analysis is truly the basis of any HR proce

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