What is a job architecture?
A job architecture is the organizational infrastructure of jobs in your company. It is called architecture because it’s made up of all the interdependent criteria you need to manage your workforce, such as the role’s value for your company, compensation, job level, title, grade, or career path.
The guiding idea is to adopt a consistent approach to identify all criteria and make them manageable. That’s how it becomes an essential driver for your overall business success. Much more than providing the foundation for efficient processes, it enables you to design flexibly successful policies which will benefit as much the employer as the employee.
In smaller organizations a job architecture can be managed in a simple table without losing oversight. In larger organizations meanwhile, the complexity and the amount of data demands a software which is able to act as a unifier for different realities, people and processes across the globe and provide a single, secure point of truth for all job-related master data.
This tool is not to be confused with traditional HR systems. Although they work with job-related data, they don’t offer functionalities to create organizational structures.
How do you benefit from a job architecture?
It might sound counterintuitive at first, but in larger organizations – especially with various international locations - standardizing structure gives you more flexibility and agility.
Today´s global, ever-changing business environment imposes constantly new requirements to organizational structures. This is why many innovative and agile HR management trends emerged, such as self-management or Holacracy. But these trends usually only treat the symptoms and do not enable effective development of the organization itself.
A job architecture provides the key. It creates transparency of workforces by using a consistent language and consistent criteria. This in turn provides detailed, up-to-date insights to design new, successful policies, i.e. to reduce costs, create a fair compensation system or improve employee engagement.
In short, a job architecture provides the underlying structure with the flexibility needed for transformation and growth, it won’t crack under the pressure of change.
When should you start building a job architecture?
Actually, any large organization should have one already. But there are some situations when the benefits immediately outstrip the investment.
Implementing an HR system
The effectiveness of any HR software – including major providers such as Workday or SAP SuccessFactors – depends on the quality of the data you put into their system. Poor data, such as multiple job descriptions or unclear job progressions, makes the investment in HR software considerably less efficient. A job architecture provides you with the high-quality data you need to get the maximum value out of your HR system. As the providers of HR systems do not offer the necessary functionalities, choose a job architecture software which adapts to your processes.
Improving efficiency of HR processes
Even though efficiency for many is not the main driver for success anymore, efficiency in all processes stays indispensable and people management is no exception. With a job architecture in place, HR can create a harmonized structure, detect efficiency potentials, gain control and enable long-term planning.
Improving employee experience
People have become the differentiating factor for businesses, future success relies heavily on their ingenuity and willingness to cross between disciplines. To find and retain the best talent, companies need to develop and communicate clear career pathways, offer internal mobility, establish pay equity and offer overall a seamless employee experience. The easiest way to get there is to start by levelling jobs & people as part of a job architecture.
Changes to organizational structure
Organizational shifts can be ongoing such as growth or technology implementation or one-off such as M&A activity. In any case, the structure of existing jobs changes together with hierarchies and people occupying these roles. A job architecture provides you with the transparency and data you need to manage change.
How do you get started?
There is no one-size fits all solution but building a job architecture does not have to be difficult or time consuming.
Create a complete, structured job catalogue in no time
The catalog should contain all data about the roles in your company. Start by gathering the data that already exist.
The most efficient approach to then complete your job descriptions depends on your organization´s needs.
Find your sweet spot between the two opposing extremes of (a) using publicly available standard catalogs such as ONet or (b) making an individual description of every role in your company. Find out how far a specific existing, standardized job description is a satisfactory illustration of a role’s contribution to your value creation and only write anew for the ones which are indispensable for the value creation in your company.
The more unique your business model, the higher the impact of talent management or the more the descriptions need to reflect your company culture, the more it should be individualized. But there will probably always be functions similar to other companies or industries. Copy their descriptions from a standard catalog and save the time to write them yourself.
Ideally, a hybrid approach is a good solution to benefit from standards and customize where needed. A software solution made for job architecture design is beneficial with both approaches.
Swiftly match positions and employees with skills, competencies and grading.
The mapping process enables oversight, grading of all employees and the possibility to design the right policies.
It’s a time-consuming and error-prone task but smaller organisations will master this in tables such as Excel or Sheets. Despite constant copy & paste and multiple document versions it might still be the most efficient way.
In larger corporations this process becomes highly inefficient, confusing, risky in terms of compliance and might expose employee data to unnecessary security issues. Find a tool which you can adapt to your processes, which allows for collaboration, bulk assignments, control and keeps the data safe.
Yes, that sounds surprisingly similar to our’s.