We are living in an unusual time, marked by a great deal of uncertainty about the long-term impacts of the pandemic on our society, economy, and work. But it is fair to say that even before “COVID-19” was part of our vocabulary, some of the changes in the world of work were already starting to surface with the move to agile ways of working, adoption of flexible work arrangements, simple jobs becoming increasingly automated, and knowledge work becoming more complex.

These trends were changing the way organisations approached work—how they designed it, how they organised it in job architectures, how they measured it, and how they linked it to talent management processes such as career development. It is no wonder that job architecture, job evaluation and career frameworks were emerging as core priorities for achieving structural change in the workforce. 

The COVID crisis pushed many organisations to the limits of flexible job design. Now, after almost a year of pandemic disruption, many leaders are reconsidering their strategies for workforce transformation and thinking about how they might approach work in a more agile way moving forward.

The COVID crisis pushed many organisations to the limits of flexible job design. Now many leaders are considering a more agile way moving forward. Click To Tweet

A top initiative currently on the minds of many HR and rewards leaders is how they can transform the way their employees and their organisation gets work done. They need to quickly act to harness the energy for change brought about by the pandemic and to capitalise on new mindsets that have emerged in the crisis.

Here are six actions that forward-thinking organisations are taking to optimise their approach to work:

  1. THE INTERSECTION BETWEEN JOBS AND TALENT WILL BLUR.
    The ability to understand, calibrate, and align jobs and talent will enable organisations to clarify expectations as work—what it is and how it is done—is transformed. We expect to see organisations use more sophisticated talent architectures that combine both the leveling of jobs and the leveling of capabilities to accommodate the evolution of work and the development of their people simultaneously.
  2. JOB ARCHITECTURE WILL BE KEY FOR ALIGNING PEOPLE AND ROLES.
    As organisations seek to develop talent internally through reskilling and better mobility programs, job architecture will help people see relationships across jobs and reimagine non-linear career paths. With increased focus on career mobility and employee experience, career architectures that connect work, people, and pay to wider talent strategies are likely to replace traditional remuneration-driven grading structures.
  3. JOB EVALUATION WILL REMAIN THE CORNERSTONE OF EQUAL PAY FOR WORK OF EQUAL VALUE.
    Job evaluation will remain a key tool in enabling organisations to make sense of multiple competing pressures, distinguishing those related to sustained change in job demands from those caused by fluctuating pay markets and economic instability. This will help organisations continue to make fair pay decisions, build more inclusive work cultures and manage any emerging forces driving pay differentiation.
  4. COST OPTIMISATION WILL CONTINUE TO BE TOP OF MIND.
    Salary is typically an organisation’s biggest cost. From a cost optimisation perspective, to find out if organisations are paying their employees at the right level, they need to start using a fact-based approach, supported by data and insights. The competencies and skills that make a real difference on the job can be identified and measured through assessment; higher-range salaries would only be paid to individuals who excel in those areas.
  5. THERE WILL BE AN INCREASING RELIANCE ON WORKFORCE ANALYTICS.
    Workforce analytics offer organisations insights into workforce distribution, productivity, capabilities, engagement, and costs. New HRIS implementations are prompting organisations to clean up their existing job catalogues and skills libraries; or scrap them and start fresh. The value of work measurement as a calibration tool to align data about jobs, skills, capabilities, and talent will be high on the radar for organisations investing in strategic HR infrastructure.
  6. AS TRANSFORMATION UNFOLDS, ORGANISATIONS WILL ADOPT A MORE INTEGRATED APPROACH TO TALENT STRATEGY.
    Many are already seeking out flexible and efficient digital tools to support job design, analysis, documentation, and evaluation. The focus is not just on efficiency and automation of labour-intensive tasks, it’s also about having a common portal that links together various talent processes, including reward, development, succession, and talent acquisition, providing the organisation with a more integrated and strategic perspective on jobs and talent.

Transformational times call for new, forward-thinking approaches to how work is structured, mobilised and rewarded - approaches that help to engage and develop people across the organisation. It is time to drop outdated processes and mindsets around jobs and embrace a new world of work. To find out more, download the paper Job architecture, Job evaluation, and career frameworks in a changing world.

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About Contributor

Paul Wright is a Senior Client Relationship Manager for Korn Ferry Advisory, Australia. Paul is a business development specialist focusing on assisting clients with reward and employee engagement solutions. He has over 20 years of experience with reward solutions focused organisations.

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