The practice of managing job architectures and job catalogs has, until recently, taken a bit of a back seat in the world of talent management, acting primarily as a tool for compensation teams to manage and govern pay and grading.
However, a combination of significant shifts in future of work strategies towards skills-based organizations, the move towards employee-centric self-serve models, the digitization of HR and increased equality legislation has catapulted the need for a simple, dynamic, skills-based job architecture and job catalog management into the epicentre of strategic workforce management.
A job architecture forms the building blocks of an organization, it sits at the heart of how you operationalize people strategies and powers your end-to-end talent management processes and systems.
Your job architecture and job catalog powers your talent management processes and systems.
Your job architecture provides a framework for mapping and cataloging the jobs into groups of job families that exist across your organization and how these are organized around levels of seniority and pay grades.
Underneath this job architecture sits your job catalog, a dynamic library of, what some organizations call job profiles, that describe the work outcomes and skills required to deliver the organizational, business area and team objectives.
In the past, organizations have put a lot of effort into creating and launching job architectures and job catalogs. But more often than not, this is a list of titles that sit in an HR system or on a spreadsheet with content describing roles that quickly go out-of-date.
Updating and governing the job catalog is a cumbersome, manual process, that slips to the bottom of the to-do list. The result is that job catalogs rarely reflect the actual work and skills that are required on the ground now or in the future. The result: organizations with traditional job architectures and job catalog content that is rigid and out-of-date and risk liability in today’s ever-changing, agile and increasingly compliance driven business environment.
Without good governance and dynamic management, old-fashioned job architectures can result in a chaotic proliferation of different job titles, many just slight variations of others. Josh Bersin uses BNY Mellon as an example. They found over 3,000 positions in their IT and Operations teams doing essentially the same roles, that, after a rigorous clean up, could be simply consolidated into 7-15 job families.
But why is this important?
Having an accurate, dynamic, job architecture and job catalog is more than just cleaning up an administrative headache, increasingly it’s become one of the most important strategic imperatives in the talent management ecosystem.
With the need to balance talent shortages with rapidly evolving skills requirements, identifying and building critical skills and competencies is at the top of the list of priorities for HR Leaders. There is an increasing focus on skills - re-skilling, upskilling, talent mobility and skills-based hiring.
Gartner predicts that over 30% of the skills that were present in an average job posting three years ago will soon be obsolete. There is also a wealth of research showing how the, conscious and unconscious, biases of Hiring Managers impact the accuracy of skills requirements included in job descriptions - we cover this subject in our guide Breaking Bias.
All these factors lead to a critical need for an accurate picture of your organization's skills landscape. A simple, dynamic job catalog will help you understand the current picture and will also help you dynamically plan for future skill requirements.
A job architecture and job catalog help you map out possible career paths and communicate these to employees, so they are clear about any training and development opportunities and possible routes around and up the organization.
A simple job architecture and job catalog enables employees to have clear visibility of roles and skills across the organization for possible roles in different teams and departments rather than simply focussing on movement within their current team. If you are investing in internal mobility or talent marketplace technologies, it's the job catalog content that feeds these technologies and powers the skills matching and career path mapping.
BNY Mellon found over 3,000 positions in their IT and Operations teams doing essentially the same roles, that, after a rigorous clean up, could be simply consolidated into 7-15 job families.
In most Human Capital Management (HCM) platforms, the job architecture powers the recruitment workflow. Job catalog content flows through to recruitment and provides the basis for shaping the external job posting. Without an accurate, up-to-date job catalog, HR, Hiring Managers and Recruiters can waste a significant amount of time updating job descriptions, or even worse post old, out-of-date job content that does not accurately reflect the role.
The ramifications of this are significant. In our guide, 6 steps to inclusive job descriptions, we describe the impact on diversity and inclusion. But the direct impact on the bottom line is also tangible. Research has shown a direct link between accurate job descriptions and attrition, with 43% of employees who leave within 90 days stating that their reason for leaving is that their day-to-day role wasn’t what they expected.
For organizations with an employee base of over 5000 and an attrition rate of 10%, the cost of inaccurate, out-of-date job descriptions can equate to an attrition cost of over $15m per year.
In summary, a simple, dynamic accurate job catalog will help you speed up recruitment, reduce attrition and increase diversity and inclusion.
Pay transparency legislation is being introduced around the world, requiring organizations to be open about the compensation they provide for current and prospective employees. Chaotic and inconsistent job architectures can make complying with this legislation difficult. For example, would you be able to easily assess whether two Project Managers, who are essentially doing the same job, but in two different departments, are being compensated at the same level?
Out-of-date job architectures can also cause other compensation issues. Josh Bersin brings this pain to life in a Tech organization that had 65 different job levels. As a result, nobody would take a new position unless they got promoted to the next job level, causing enormous headaches.
The challenge for most organizations is not only how to keep up with these changes to the legislation, but how to put in mechanisms and processes to ensure compliance globally, as well as manage increasing changes and nuances of regional variations.
A simple, dynamic, future-proofed job architecture and job catalog enables you to have an up-to-date picture of the reality in your company to reach fair pay.
Cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) systems require that a job architecture and job catalog are in place before implementation. The mistake many companies make is simply loading in their existing job architecture and catalog which, as we've explained, are likely to be out-dated, rigid, and not fit for purpose.
The structure of your job architecture and the content of your job catalog powers various workflows from payroll to recruitment to skills matching.
Out-of-date or inaccurate job architecture and job catalog content will hinder the value you can get from your technology investment. Deloitte summarise the benefits of cleaning up your catalog prior to an HCM investment, citing: shorter overall implementation time, enhanced functionality, a higher level of system performance for processes such as workforce and succession planning and a stronger foundation.
In summary, updating your job architecture and job catalog is essential to get full value and maximum return on investment from your HCM system. Savvy organizations leverage the business change process with an HCM implementation to drive through job architecture and catalog updates, which will not only support the digitization of the organization, but will have all the wider benefits that we outline in this article.
A simple, dynamic accurate job catalog will help you speed up recruitment, reduce attrition and increase diversity and inclusion.
When two companies merge there is likely to be a mismatch in the way they describe jobs, how these jobs are organized in a hierarchy, the job levels and grades that they have in place and also their compensation and reward processes. What often happens is that everything is allowed to stay the same during the merger or acquisition process then this state of mismatch continues afterwards as no-one wants to take on the task of sorting it out.
Aligning two different job architectures through a manual process, involving multiple spreadsheets, can be laborious and time consuming, taking up to 18 months in some cases. However, if the old structures are kept, it can have many negative impacts, one being disgruntled employees. Why am I getting paid less than someone who has only recently been brought into the organization and is at a different job grade even though our job roles are essentially the same?
Having a simple, dynamic job architecture and job catalog in place enables you to rapidly map the roles in the acquired or merged organization to bring everything in line. It is even possible to do this during the deal process in order to map out the cost of transitioning employees over, as well as identify possible synergies and the potential benefits of the merger or acquisition.
What we often see in organizations is inconsistency between different parts of the organization – some with good job structures in place, others with nothing.This is particularly likely following high growth, lots of organizational change, multiple mergers or acquisitions. One consequence of this is that there is no governance over how new job share created – managers can create new roles with new job titles with no consequence or consistency.
An up-to-date, accurate and dynamic job architectures and job catalog content allows organizations to apply consistency and governance to their job creation process. Managers can use the job catalog to build their new roles within the agreed parameters of the process, helping to manage job scope creep and pay disparities. And ultimately ensuring you are not going back to the chaos and are dynamically building your jobs in a structured and consistent way.
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