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Managing a Business Analyst Position

In: Business and Management

Submitted By aartipatel
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This manual will help guide any human resource manager how to adminster the dynamics of a business analyst position. This manual will also enable the HR professional in the four functions of job analysis, selection process, orientation and training, in order to help the organization meet it’s goals for the business analyst position.

Executive Summary

As a human resource manager it is important to identify the organization’s goals and requirements. A successful HR manager will use this information to effectively manage the aptitude of the personnel to achieve the company’s target. The key factor in doing so is to properly staff the company for the jobs that must be completed. Staffing can be extremely intense because the company depends on the HR manager to find the best qualified person to match each job within the organization. This guide focuses on the necessary steps to hire someone for a business analyst position. There are four functions that are crucial in the hiring process: Job Analysis, Selection, Orientation & Training.
The first method is the job analysis. “Job analysis is sometimes called the cornerstone of HRM because the information it collects serves so many HRM functions. Job analysis is the process of obtaining information about jobs by determining the duties, task, or activities of those jobs,” is stated by Bohlander and Snell the authors of Managing Human Resources. (Bohlander and Snell, 2007 p. 144)
The second method is the selection process which is usually split between recruiting and narrowing down the applicants. This method enables the HR manager to have perspective to the time needed to fill the position.
The third and fourth processes can be combined if the same position is being filled by multiple employees. Generally this is done in customer service orientated jobs to be cost effective for the anticipated high turnovers. However, the business analyst position is more specific and generally an organization would only have one or two of these positions within the entire company. Benefits, pay rates, and flexibility would vary, based on the individual’s experience. The training aspect would also vary from one organization to the next.

Job Analysis

** Please see power point presentation titled Business Analyst for additional information regarding job analysis. **
Business analysis helps an organization to improve how it conducts its functions and activities in order to reduce overall costs, provide more efficient use of scarce resources, and better support customers. It introduces the notion of process orientation, of concentrating on and rethinking end-to-end activities that create value for customers, while removing unnecessary, non-value added work. (wikepedia.org, 2007)
According to an article published by the Corporate Education Center of the Boston University, the business analyst job can fall under different titles and categories such as:
• Business systems analyst
• Computer systems analyst
• Information systems analyst
• System analyst
No matter what organization or title owns the function, the business analyst's primary responsibilities are gathering requirements for designing business information systems, modifying systems to improve production or workflow, deploying new applications or expanding systems to serve new purposes. The bottom line for business analysts is to help make their companies more efficient, effective and profitable (http://www.butrain.com, 2007).

Now that we have a better understanding of the primary functions of a business analyst from an information technology standpoint, we can articulate an enhanced method for a successful selection process. Because this position requires a high level of qualifications and skills the hiring program should be very well structured.

Selection Process
The first method would be to use and online application form. This would open up local and national markets for recruitment. It would also demonstrate basic internet and computer skills, to complete online forms and submit a resume via internet. It would allow the candidate to research the company, and truly decide whether this company would suit their needs. Using online applications also enables the company to narrow applicants, through key word searches.
The next method would be to submit work samples. This would differ from company to company based on their field. For a technical business analyst position the organization should ask to see algorithms of business structures. For a finance company would expect the business analyst to have some knowledge of financial institutions and how they work. This process would narrow the search by knowledge base. The third method would taper the search all the more, through a structured interview. Bohlander and Snell of Managing Human Resources state “…a structured interview has a set of standardized questions (based on job analysis) and an established set of answers against which application responses can be rated…” provides a more consistent basis for evaluating candidates. For this position the following questions maybe relevant:
1. This position involved transforming business requirements into functional requirements. How would you do so?
2. How will you determine the requirements necessary to assist programmers in order to create the right product?
3. All products must be tested before implemented, if requirements are constantly changing and being updates, what method would you use to complete testing?
4. What are you strengths & weaknesses?
5. Why should we hire you, as opposed to someone else?
The final methods would include conducting reference checks and background checks. It would allow the company personnel to determine if candidate has the proper work ethic and morality to fit in with their company.
So as you can see, regardless of the position on hand, the selection process must be completed with caution in order not to violate EEO regulations, but also carefully select a best match for the company and for the individual.

Benefits
Benefits are important to employees, but also equally important to the organization. By offering benefits the company builds a good relationship with the people who make the organization successful and run at a profit. Benefits also help employees feel valued, therefore lowers turnover rates. This helps the company to grow from within and reduces the costs of high level training.
Benefits for this position should include the following:
• Medical, dental and eye care insurance
• Retirement plans
• Vacation Plans
• Additional benefits could include professional services such as legal services, financial planning, and accounting services plus executive perks.
A recent study from the United States Department of Labor revealed the following facts:
Employer costs for insurance benefits - life, health, and disability - averaged $2.22 per hour (8.1 percent of total compensation). Legally required benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation, averaged $2.19 per hour (8.0 percent of total compensation); paid leave benefits (vacations, holidays, sick leave, and other leave) averaged $1.91 (7.0 percent); and retirement and savings benefits averaged $1.18 (4.3 percent) per hour worked. (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm, 2006)

Orientation Process
“Orientation is concerned with introducing the new employee to the organization and the job. Orientation is not a one-time obligation, but an ongoing process,” says Rue and Byars the authors of Supervision: Key Link to Productivity. (Rue, L.W. and Byars, L.L, p. 177)
The diagram on the following page reflects information that should be covered by the HR manager.

Derived from Supervision: Key Link to Productivity.
A generic script to begin the orientation process can look something like the following:
“We, in HR, feel that it is important to address some sensitive issues during your early employment with our company. But first it is important for you to understand our organization, the company’s mission, goals and products. We understand it takes time to take on this challenge, therefore we recognize the virtue of patience, keeping this in mind, and we strongly encourage you to make the most of this process.
This orientation consists of a thorough introduction to the organization, benefits, pay progressions followed by reviewing company policies and procedures. This is important for you as the employee to take advantage of the benefits the company has to offer, and also to omit any important company violations.”
Once the HR manager has introduced the company, and went over compensation and benefits package, policies and procedures should be next on the agenda. Often company’s have their new employees sign a document stating they have read the company handbook and understand policies and procedures. This should include sensitive materials such as privacy, sexual harrassment, and immigration.
Because the business analyst position is in an office environment, I would strongly suggest to address the topic of sexual harrassment in a work environment. Depending on your organization’s policies, dating within departments should not be allowed. This will eliminate any possible violations.
“Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” stated on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-sex.html, 2007)
It is helpful for the victim to directly inform the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. The victim should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.
When investigating allegations of sexual harassment, EEOC looks at the whole record: the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination on the allegations is made from the facts on a case-by-case basis.
Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. They can do so by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains (http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-sex.html, 2007).

Training Proposal
** Please see power point presentation titled Business Analyst for the succession chart. ** A person in the business analyst position can become the chief informations officer of the company within a four year time span. It is necessary the employee works as a business analyst for a minimum of one year before advancing to the next level. The same will be for any position in advancement. Ideally, a person working as a business analyst would reach the CIO position in a time span of ten to twelve years, but it is possible to obtain this goal in a matter of four. The best method of training would be apprenticeship training among all the departments within the organization. This would allow the employee to obtain the necessary information to produce an algorithm. If there are multiple branches across the country, then videoconferencing with the branch managers, or meetings with the managers would be necessary. Although, the training is self-paced the project manager should give the analyst a time frame to complete an algorithm.

Identifying and learning how to control the points listed above will enable you to succeed at the managerial level. Each of points listed have to be implemented by the human resource manager completely in order for the success of the company and the talent within.

References
Bohlander, G. W., & Snell, S.A., (2007) Managing Human Resources
(14th ed.). Florence, KY: Thomson Learning Higher Education.

Business Analysis. (2007) Retrieved
February 27, 2007, From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_analysis

Business Analyst Knowledge Base. (2007) Retrieved
January 21,2007 From http://www.butrain.com/BusinessAnalyst/knowledgebase.asp

Byars, Lloyd L. & Rue, Leslie W. (2000). Supervision: Key Link to Productivity. (8th ed.) McGraw-Hill Co.

Employer Cost for Employee Compensation Summary. (December 13,
2006) Retrieved February 27, 2007 From http://www.butrain.com/BusinessAnalyst/knowledgebase.asp

Facts About Sexual Harassment. (June 27, 2002) Retrieved
February 27, 2007 From
http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-sex.html

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