As a society, we often rail against the idea that we can be – metaphorically speaking – put in a box. The idea that someone might try to define us so neatly is irritating at best and offensive at worst.

On the other hand, a nuanced recognition of our individual characteristics, particularly in the workplace, can help us understand our strengths and weaknesses and how we fit into the organisation’s mission and purpose.

The same can be said of jobs, while uniting the two – job and person – involves a particular organisational alchemy that we would all love to know the secret of.

Fortunately, we can. A strong job architecture and career framework embedded in your HRIS system leads to great ROI across talent management processes. The ability to understand, calibrate, and align work with talent has never been more important as disruption and market turbulence change what work needs doing as well as the way it gets done.

Pressing fast forward on work trends

Even before the pandemic, there had been a rising tide of discussion about the world of work. Organisations were already considering the effect of megatrends on work, like the digitisation of jobs through the blockchain, AI and machine learning.

These trends were shaping not only the future of entry level roles, but also white collar jobs in finance, law, health and other ‘untouchable’ professions so far relatively unscathed by automation.

Building agility and resilience was at the top of every leader’s priority list. But still we weren’t prepared for the magnitude of change that swept over us last year. The pandemic forced our communal hand and we had to find ways to do these things – and quickly.

Organisations everywhere went remote, but some went further, redeploying teams of people to adapt to the change. One financial services organisation reassigned 80% of their HR staff (who were underutilised during COVID-19) to processing government financial packages.

These trends put further momentum behind the already shifting view of work. The line between talent and jobs is blurring as the focus moves away from a specific job towards capabilities. For instance, the analytical and communication skills that are needed in HR roles are the same as those needed in loan administration and other roles.

The line between talent and jobs is blurring as the focus moves away from a specific job towards capabilities. Click To Tweet

The scale of change over the past year has, perhaps unexpectedly, given organisations new confidence to take on some of these big issues. The pandemic has offered new perspectives of what can be achieved – and in what time frame.

The new importance of job architecture

With this new confidence, job architecture is now one of those issues that falls in the ‘do-able’ bucket. And while job architecture has always been important, the speed of change has brought new importance to having strong structures in place.

While traditionally viewed as a governance structure and pay tool, the collapsing distinction between jobs and talent means an organisation’s job architecture should now provide the underlying framework for an integrated approach to talent.

It should help managers and individuals define career pathways, both vertically and horizontally, while also being a touchstone for succession planning and a workforce planning tool that can help plot the from and to capability of the organisation.

Job architecture is now required to solve problems it’s never had to solve before, which means the framework itself needs to be capable of keeping up with the changing nature of work.

Job architecture is now required to solve problems it never had to solve before, which means the framework itself needs to be capable of keeping up with the changing nature of work. Click To Tweet

When it comes to developing or redeveloping a job architecture for your organisation, we’ve identified three key considerations necessary for designing a fit-for-future framework.

1. The fundamentals are still fundamental: A job architecture should still be built on job levels and job families in a way that works for your business. But they need to support the flexibility and agility of the organisation. Consider, for example, how job families might be designed to be cross-functional, rather than to reinforce siloed mentality.

2. Cost and talent optimisation through analytics: We have moved beyond job pricing and your talent architecture needs to support holistic conversations around objective capabilities and competencies that can be backed by data.

3. Integrate talent through universal language: Talent should no longer involve a series of isolated interventions. Your job architecture should be built on a universal talent language that articulates the intersection between jobs and talent and cements this approach in a shared framework for the organisation.

Systems alone can’t make this change. The real motor behind a valuable job architecture is a strategic HR mindset. HR must move beyond a transactional approach to being a strategic partner, leveraging the insights in the job architecture to truly integrate talent and work.

Download our whitepaper Job architecture, Job evaluation, and career frameworks in a changing world to learn more about the challenges and opportunities in implementing a job architecture.

The real motor behind a valuable job architecture is a strategic HR mindset. Click To Tweet

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About the contributor

Paul Wright is a Client Director 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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