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What is a Job Description in the New World of Human Capital Management?

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The “new world” of Human Capital Management can no longer tolerate the “quick fix” Job Descriptions of the past that were defined either around an incumbent, or for a specific hiring decision, and then put in a file and never seen again.  Human Capital Management requires Job Descriptions that:

  • Are part of the Organisation Design process,
  • Define the role that needs to be performed,
  • Are part of a lattice of career paths in the organization,
  • Enable the Business Processes of an organisation,
  • Are living mechanisms of the workplace
  • Lead to Organisational Performance.

A “business process” is an activity or set of activities that will accomplish a specific organizational goal.  Business Processes generally focus on meeting the needs of the “customer” and delivering a good or service that will fulfil that need.  In most cases, the business processes are actually a collection of interrelated processes that function in a logical sequence to achieve the ultimate goal.

Job Descriptions define the requirements for people performance at specific “nodes” of a Business Process.   Job Descriptions define and describe the activities to be performed at a specific time in the Business Process to ensure that the process is complete, or can be completed in accordance with organisational goals and objectives.

Job Descriptions today need both process and governance to manage the integrity, consistency, and coherence of information that is critical to the success of the organisation – the sets of activities that need to be done to achieve organisational goals.

Process of Job Descriptions

The organization needs to be structured in such a way that it is able to achieve its goals within budget and quality requirements.  So the first step in the Job Description process is to evaluate the organisational structure and ensure that each defined job plays a role in a business process that leads to the achievement of organizational goals.

The next step is to ensure that the structure also provides a clearly defined Career Development Roadmap<sup>TM</sup> of careers in the organisation.  This should be defined to show coherent and logical growth from one level to another.  This will avoid the bad practice of defining a Job Description around an “individual”.

Once the Career Development Roadmap<sup>TM</sup> is defined, the Competency Matrix can be created that shows the level of competence for competencies relevant to each job, for all jobs across the organisation.  This becomes the Competency “blue print” of the organisation against which individual development can be mapped, but also can be used to identify areas of the business “at risk” of not have the competencies needed to achieve the required goals.

Finally we can start drafting the Job Descriptions as we now have all the fundamental information needed to define job “outcomes” (or deliverables), job responsibilities and job performance indications, job competencies, as well as other ancillary information generally found on a Job Description.

Governance of Job Descriptions

Governance is needed for Job Descriptions to ensure:

  1. That new Job Descriptions are created only in line with the strategy and business processes of the organisation,
  2. That there is a managed “Change Management” process in place to manage and control changes to Job Descriptions to ensure that they remain in line with the strategy and processes of the organisation.  The Career Development Roadmap<sup>TM</sup> is the foundation document used for Governance purposes.  Any new or changed Job needs to be mapped into the Career Development Roadmap<sup>TM</sup> and approved before the Job Description can be drafted.

Having a proper process and governance in place for the definition of Jobs in the organisation has a number of direct and indirect benefits:

  • It ensures that the Jobs defined are those that are needed to deliver the strategy of the organisation,
  • It reduces job redundancy, overlapping of tasks, and inconsistent job levels in the organisation,
  • It makes it easier to align with remuneration practices,
  • It facilitates both Succession Planning and Sourcing requirements,
  • It facilitates the management of performance, both employee and organisational,
  • It provides the logic that enables HRIS and HCMS systems to be implemented more quickly and easily and provides for the management of data input to these systems over the longer term.

As anyone in leadership knows, good planning at the beginning leads to better results and reduced costs over the longer term.  Job planning and Job Descriptions are no different.

If you would like our assistance with putting both process and governance around your job environment, contact us.