It is very important to understand the location of those groups being studied, within the entire organisation. Organisation charts fulfil this basic purpose admirably. If they do not exist, consider sitting down for an hour or so with a personnel manager or equivalent and sketch one out. From Annual Reports and organisation charts an overview of the organisation’s modus vivendi and internal structure can be gleaned very quickly.
Job Descriptions / Specifications (suggested guidelines are based upon the standard working policy and principles recommended by the Scottish Quality Management Centre)
Some organisations may have relevant and reasonably up to date job descriptions or specifications (hereafter we’ll use the term ‘job descriptions’ to cover both) for those groups under investigation.
They should spell out the main tasks or functions to be carried out by those under study. They may, on occasions, indicate the relative priority of tasks and detailed operational requirements. Such information will add a richness of detailed understanding to that provided by Annual reports and organisation charts. They may also indicate the role of personnel in key processes and the points at which interfaces with other personnel or external clients or bodies take place.
The overall framework ideally starts from the general and gradually move towards the more specific, as it should also be in your documentary search. We could picture it as another upside down triangle. This is similar to how quality documentation looks in the system.
These are likely to be the most useful and readily available types of documentation (although job descriptions may not be available as often as organisation charts it has be said. In such circumstances, discussions / interviews with relevant senior management to get the organisation’s view of the jobs under investigation will require to be undertaken).
Under special circumstances, it may prove valuable to spend time examining other documents such as:
- Absenteeism reports
- Accident Reports
- Succession plans
- Procedural Manuals
- Credit Notes