If you are an HR professional, you probably know how important it is to clearly and consistently understand the different roles in your organization. You need to know how they contribute to the overall business strategy, how they are aligned to the hierarchy, function, and discipline, and what skills and capabilities are required. This is what a job architecture is all about, an organizational framework for defining and managing jobs.
What is a Job Architecture and Why is it Important for SuccessFactors?
A job architecture is not just a nice-to-have feature, but a critical component of any successful HR strategy. Having a well-designed and consistent job architecture will benefit any organization in many ways.
Improving role clarity: A job architecture helps you to identify and communicate the key responsibilities, expectations, and outcomes for each role. This helps to reduce confusion, ambiguity, and conflict among employees and managers and increases accountability and performance.
Identifying talent gaps: It helps you identify gaps or surpluses in your talent pool and plan accordingly for recruitment, development, or redeployment. It is the basis for assessing the current and future skills and capabilities that your organization needs.
Strengthening compensation strategies: A job architecture supports you in establishing a fair and transparent pay structure that reflects the value and complexity of each role. You will be able to better attract, retain, and motivate your employees, and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
Enhancing employee experience: It helps you to create meaningful career paths and opportunities for your employees. You will foster employee engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty, and reduce turnover and absenteeism.
Improving HR functions: A job architecture also supports you in streamlining and standardizing your HR processes and systems. This will help you to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and quality of your HR services, and reduce costs and risks.
If you are using SuccessFactors as your human capital management software, a job architecture is even more important for you. SuccessFactors is a cloud-based solution that offers various modules and features to help you manage your talent lifecycle, including recruiting, onboarding, learning, performance, compensation, succession, etc. However, to make the most out of these features, you need to have a solid foundation. Just like in a puzzle, where every piece has its individual specific position, all roles in an organization need to be clear, consistent, and complement each other.
The Structure of a Job Architecture in SuccessFactors
A job architecture in SuccessFactors is not just a one-time project, but an ongoing process that requires monitoring and updating. After all, what and how the workforce pursues the company strategy should reflect the occasional or ongoing changes in your organization’s structure, workforce composition, market conditions, etc. You therefore also need to ensure that your job architecture stays consistent across the different modules and features in SuccessFactors. These are the most important features which need alignment:
Job Profile Builder: This is a feature that allows you to create and manage job profiles that contain all the elements of a job, such as competencies, skills, education, experience, etc. You can use these job profiles to share information about jobs with employees, managers, candidates, etc.
Families & Roles: They allow you to group jobs into families (based on function) and roles (based on level). You can use these families and roles to define career paths, succession plans, compensation ranges, etc.
Job Classification: This is a type of job code that is based on the MDF Job Classification object. You can use this feature if you have Employee Central implemented in your instance. It allows you to create job codes that are linked to job profiles, families & roles, positions, pay grades, etc.
Job Code: This is another type of job code that is based on the legacy Job Code object. You can use this feature if you don’t have Employee Central implemented in your instance. It allows you to create job codes that are linked to job profiles only.
Position Management: It allows you to create and manage positions that are linked to job codes or classifications. This feature is also part of Employee Central only. You can track the headcount, budget, reporting relationships, etc., of each position.
As you can see, a job architecture in SuccessFactors is a dynamic topic that requires careful planning because it crosses various dimensions. The design can become challenging and time-consuming because there are common problems that regularly show up.
The Challenges of Building Job Architectures for SuccessFactors
If you have ever tried to build or update your job architecture for SuccessFactors – or any other human capital management software – you know how challenging it can be. You may have encountered some of these situations:
Lack of clarity and alignment on the business needs and objectives: Sometimes, it is hard to define and communicate what your organization wants to achieve and how your job architecture supports that vision. You may have conflicting or unclear expectations from different stakeholders, such as senior leaders, managers, employees, customers, etc., or different expectations in different departments. This means that there can be gaps or misalignments between your business strategy and your job architecture, which will affect your performance and competitiveness.
Complexity and diversity of the job elements and their relationships: It is not easy to capture and manage all the aspects and dimensions of a job, such as competencies, skills, education, experience, etc. You may have too many or too few job elements, or they may not be relevant or consistent with each other. You may also have difficulty in defining and maintaining the relationships between different job elements, such as families, roles, profiles, classifications, codes, positions, etc.
Time-consuming and costly manual processes and tools: Creating or updating a job architecture should be quick and efficient. That will be difficult if you rely on outdated or inadequate tools, such as spreadsheets, text documents, or emails, that are prone to errors and inconsistencies. You should also not underestimate the time and resources necessary for collecting, analyzing, validating, and reporting data and information related to your job architecture.
Inconsistency and duplication of data and information: You need to ensure that your job architecture is accurate and up-to-date across different modules and features in SuccessFactors. But there may be multiple sources and versions of data and information that are not synchronized or integrated with each other. You may also have to deal with redundant or conflicting data and information that can cause confusion and inefficiency.
Compliance and governance issues: Sometimes, it is hard to ensure that your job architecture meets the legal and regulatory requirements in the different regions your organization is operating in. You have to comply with various rules and standards related to pay equity, diversity and inclusion, labor laws, tax laws, etc. You also must follow certain policies and procedures related to data security, privacy, quality, and auditability.
These issues pose a challenge to building a job architecture that is responsive and flexible enough to meet the needs of your dynamic workforce and market. A job architecture should never be too rigid. But even more important for the topic at hand, is that they will not only affect the quality and speed of your SuccessFactors implementation process but also the effectiveness of the future usage of the software itself. The quality of the HR decisions and HR processes based on SuccessFactors will not surpass the quality of the foundation it is built upon.
How a Job Architecture Software Solves These Challenges
We have built software to overcome these challenges because we are convinced that every larger organization should work with HCM software to improve their human capital management and SuccessFactors is certainly one of the top options. But with every upside comes a downside: All HCM software focuses on individual records to provide benefits for individual persons and allow for individual decisions. Therefore, they don’t allow for zooming out to take a bird’s eye view and observe the structural elements such as consistencies and interdependencies among many roles.
Creating, managing, and optimizing your job architectures for SuccessFactors should be done ideally before the implementation and with a tool that solves the above-mentioned challenges.
Fast and easy creation of job catalogs, profiles, classifications, mappings, etc.: Your tool should allow you to create and update all your job elements in a fast and easy way. This will be achieved through an intuitive and user-friendly interface that makes it easy to define and edit job elements, such as competencies, skills, education, experience, etc. It should offer standard industry job catalogs to have templates in line with market requirements. Ideally, it will offer AI-based wizards to support you with writing individual content. And it should greatly accelerate the mapping process because this is where time and costs can accumulate and jeopardize the go-live date and the budget.
Intelligent analysis and optimization of job architectures: You need expertise and experience with best practices and benchmarks to build a high-quality job architecture. But even the most experienced specialist will rely at least partially on analytics. Any tool to build job architectures should offer at least basic functions to assess the quality and effectiveness of your job architecture. For example, the distribution of different job levels across regions, or a before/after mapping comparison to make sure that your compensation strategy remains fair, consistent, and efficient.
Seamless integration with SuccessFactors and other HCM systems: In this article, we chose the example of SuccessFactors to show the typical issues with building a job architecture for the implementation of HCM or HRIS software. But the same is basically valid for all other vendors. A software tool that helps you to build a job architecture should therefore integrate seamlessly with any vendor. Also, a valuable tool will not only serve to design your job architecture once but will simultaneously serve as a data repository for future updates and solve the issue of data silos.
High quality and accuracy of data and information: Good job architecture software allows you to ensure the high quality and accuracy of your data and information related to your job architecture. You will be able to detect and correct any errors or inconsistencies in your data and information. There should also be data security and privacy features to protect your data and information from unauthorized access or misuse.
Cost-effective and scalable solution: Designing a job architecture is many times neglected during the definition of the time frame for the HCM implementation and the respective budget. But it quickly comes to the foreground when a manual design is being discussed. It can take large teams many months or more than a year. It is therefore important to choose a tool that adapts to your demands and requirements to keep the investment low.
How to Learn More?
First, for learning more about how the COLMEIA Software Suite can help you build better job architectures for SuccessFactors, we have prepared a white paper that provides more details. You can download it here.
But don’t just take our word for it. KION Group, one of our customers, confirms: “We were looking for an easy and globally applicable leveling structure for our jobs. And for a service which helps us in the process of mapping over 35 K people, in a short time frame.”
To see COLMEIA in action and discuss how it supports your individual plans and processes simply schedule a demo with one of our experts.