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What are Job Families? 

A job family is a group of related jobs within an organisation that share similar skillsets, nature of work and career paths.

Job families are often grouped together within “job family groups” or “job functions” – these are higher level categories of jobs, which will include multiple job families. Examples of job functions would be Finance or General Administration.

Levels of responsibility, skills required and scope of role may differ

The concept of job families and job functions can help establish a robust framework within an organisation, which can be particularly useful when there is currently a lot of variation in job titles between different functions.

Each role within a job family should have a role profile. This is an outline or a high-level overview of a role.

Ideally, job families should be linked to levels or grades. The number of levels or grades will vary for each job family depending on the scope and range of responsibilities, but the same system should be used for all job families. If designed in this way, it is then possible to look across different job families and see how different roles relate to each other based on their level or grade.

Why Implement Job Families?

For many organisations, job data and job content is chaotic, inconsistent and unstructured with no governance or overall management.

Many organisations exist as a long list of job titles that have been added to organically as the organisation has grown, changed, merged or acquired. If an organisation does have a job structure in place, it is often the case that a streamlined structure was implemented but, over time, this has been difficult to govern and manage. 

In both scenarios, there is often a resulting state of chaos: 

  • Hundreds of job titles, many just slight variations of others
  • The same job being given different titles in different teams or locations 
  • The same title used for jobs that are fundamentally different 
  • Different formats being used for job descriptions 
  • Job levels all over the place 
  • Inconsistencies in salary ranges across roles, business areas and regions 
  • Surfacing Skills Requirements 

Introducing a job family structure can help consolidate, review, cleanse and streamline your job data and job content. Once a job family framework is in place, it provides a solid foundation for many key organisational processes. 

Benefits of a job family structure

1. Simplified pay structures

Introducing job families helps simplify pay structures by creating a more organised and streamlined approach to compensation.

In doing this, the number of distinct reward structures will be reduced, making it easier to manage and communicate pay information. Job families also simplify the process of determining appropriate pay ranges for different roles, as organisations can then use market data and industry benchmarks specific to each job family.

Job families simplify the process of determining appropriate pay ranges for different roles.

2. Clearer Career Paths

In our recent blog on career paths (also known as career ladders) we focus on mapping out how internal movement can happen within an organisation. They provide a roadmap for employees to identify potential opportunities for the next step in their career, based on their skills, interests and career objectives.

49% of employees are currently looking for a new role. 

A good job family framework will have skills mapped; mapping job titles and skills into a job family framework makes it much easier to look laterally and develop cross-functional career paths.

Given that 49% of employees are currently looking for a new role, career paths also help employees understand what steps there are for progression within the organisation, in turn helping you to retain key talent.

3. Pay Transparency

A job family structure can often facilitate better communication and transparency around pay. As legislation moves up the equality agenda it is gaining traction globally, particularly in the U.S. and parts of Europe.

Having a well-defined structure allows organisations to make more data-driven decisions regarding compensation, including setting salary ranges and making adjustments based on market trends.

60% of U.S. employees and 57% of U.K. employees would switch companies to one with more pay transparency.

4. Pay Equity

Simplifying pay structures through job families can contribute to greater perceived fairness among employees. When they understand how their roles are grouped and how compensation decisions are made within their family, it can lead to higher levels of trust and satisfaction.

Where roles are grouped into job families based on skills and responsibilities, overlaps and inefficiencies are avoided, and it is much easier to see if employees are being paid differently even though their experience and skills are the same.

Job families are the most effective type of pay structure for achieving accurate and legally compliant reporting.

5. More Accurate Reporting

Effective analysis of data and accurate reporting are vital components for conducting a comprehensive equal pay audit, designed to ensure that comparable roles are accurately renumerated. It is critical that when reporting on the various regulatory equity requirements, this analysis only uses truly comparable roles.

6. Skills

Josh Bersin has pioneered the concept of Capability Groups and Capability Academies, which aim to “deliver business capabilities at scale to ensure that employees can perform, innovate, and grow in the business areas important to the company.”

Job families categorised based on skills and capabilities allow organisations to understand the current levels of particular skills and capabilities and where there may be gaps.

A skills-based job family should also have a senior leader sponsor who will scan the market for changes in the skills and capability requirements for the job family, making sure these are built into job descriptions and learning content in the Capability Academy.

7. Workforce Flexibility

Description automatically generatedHaving a job family framework in place increases workforce agility. There may be times when there is a requirement to deploy employees across other areas of the organisation, due to factors such as sudden growth, a particular project or when there are resourcing issues.

How to create Job Families

There are 4 main methods of categorisation for job families:

1. By Function
The functional method for categorising roles into job families would involve creating job families based on existing organisational functions such as HR, Finance and IT.

2. By Occupation
In some organisations it may work to create job families based on certain occupations, such as Engineers and Research Scientists

3. By Business Unit
Job families can also be created based on business units, such as call centres or production units

4. By Skill or Capability
A key advantage of this approach is that it allows you to build learning solutions and Capability Academies that work for all the roles within the job family across the organisation.

Want to understand more?

Here’s an example of what job families could look like in your organisation.

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