The process of inclusive job design sits at the heart of your ability to attract, retain, reward and progress talent across your organisation.
There have been signiﬁcant shifts in the world of work that have driven creating inclusive jobs to the top of the priority list for leading organisations.
We are operating in ever-changing, volatile markets with increased legislation, particularly around pay equity and transparency. Combine this with a new generation who are expecting a more employee-centric, self-service model to help them navigate career paths up and around an organisation, and you have a clear business imperative to drive change - a key driver being inclusive job descriptions.
Creating inclusive job descriptions is more than just re-working the language and copy on a page. It is a sequence of key steps in a job design process that will enable you to create job descriptions that reﬂect, in an inclusive way, the work that your organisation needs done now and in the future . The outputs of this process will be debiased job descriptions that will truly make an impact at each stage of the employee lifecycle.
Inclusive job design is the process of designing a job in a way that is unbiased and reﬂects the actual job that needs to be done - rather than making assumptions about the job and/or job holder.
Complexity is a real barrier to inclusion. If a job description is simply a long list of tasks, people ﬁnd it hard to see how their experience and skills can transfer to fulﬁl a manager’s long wish-list of deliverables. If there are too many responsibilities, or if they are overly complex, research has shown that it will very likely put people off applying for the role.
There are three key areas to focus on to ensure your requirements are inclusive. First, which of the requirements are truly essential? Our own research found that, on average, 60% of the requirements listed on a job description aren’t actually essential to be successful in the role. Furthermore, research shows that women will not put themselves forward for a role if they don’t meet 80-100% of the criteria.
Make it a mandatory step in your job design process to assess which ﬂexible and hybrid working options will work for a role, and challenge yourself to consider options that have not been tried before. Make sure the ﬂexible working options available for the role are fully explained in the job description. If it is decided that a role is not suitable for some options, document the reasons why to ensure that they can be justiﬁed.
Usability expert Jakob Nielsen found that the average user reads at most 20% of what’s on a page. People tend to scan information that they see online, rather than read it. It’s therefore crucial that you convey the key information about the role in a way that is easy to understand. Long drawn-out job descriptions will put a lot of people off.
The ﬁnal step is something most organisations ﬁnd the hardest to do, and that is to systematically embed the principles of inclusive job design into the way that jobs are designed and the way in which job descriptions are written.
Create a process and guidance for anyone to use in your organisation who is involved in job design and writing job descriptions. Put governance in place to make sure that inclusive job design principles are being followed.
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