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Build Future-Oriented, Flexible Job Architectures

How to build Future-Oriented, Flexible Job Architectures

The following article is an excerpt from the workshop on How to Build Future-Oriented, Flexible Job Architectures by Vijay Swaminathan, CEO & Co-Founder of Draup. 

In the workshop, Vijay discussed workforce imperatives that will help talent leaders, such as:   

  • Developing future-proof job architectures    
  • Building robust taxonomies according to job functions, and  
  • Locking-in & nurturing emerging skill-sets & talent 

Structured job hierarchies with defined roles, responsibilities, reward systems, and career paths have been the mainstay of enterprise workforce strategies for a while now. However, with the emphasis on ‘employee experience increasing and the disruption in job architectures brought about by the pandemic has shown workforce planners that it is time to move on to more flexible job architectures 

The modern workforce demands greater mobility and flexibility in their careers, with more focus on team-based learning and a greater breadth of opportunity within the organization. 

Many enterprises are planning to design Future-Oriented Flexible Job Architectures in 2021.   

High-performing companies have addressed evolving employee demands by restructuring their job titles, reward programs, and career paths. Some have even gone so far as to introduce reskilling programs with courses selected as per the employees’ wishes.  

As a result of these measures, talent mobility has improvedemployee engagement has skyrocketed, and attrition rates have been cut down drastically.  

So how can workforce planners develop future-oriented, flexible job architectures? 

Building a Robust taxonomy by Functions 

In the age of converging job roles, defining and building robust role taxonomies are crucial to creating flexible job architectures. 

For example, in many software teams, QA Automation Engineers are also doubling up as Software Engineers due to the complexity of automation testing. Financial analysts, too, are slowly morphing into Data Engineers. 

So it is crucial that your job taxonomy captures this fluid nature of job roles and responsibilities.  

In turn, this taxonomy needs to be categorized correctly to finetune job roles and associated responsibilities further 

A few categories are: 

Digital capabilities: These are very specific digital products and processes associated with a particular jobFor example, Hadoop for Big Data or RPA for Automation Anywhere. 

Technical skills: These are the foundation skills that allow employees to perform the designated job role. Examples include Object-Oriented Programming and Inventory Supply-Chain Analysis.  

Functional skills: These are essential skills that broadly define how one works within the enterprise.  Ability to break down complex ideas, consensus-building in a product discussion, and other similar traits come under the umbrella of functional skills. 

Soft competencies: Growth mindset, ownership levels, team spirit and other crucial soft competencies need to be taken into account by workforce planners while building their new job taxonomy. 

Disruption begets flexible job architectures 

From contactless models to omnichannel presence, workforce planners need to be aware of new emerging trends within their industries. With the right foresight and planning, they can then ensure that the job architectures are flexible enough to make room for evolving skills and competencies. 

A consequence of the industry evolution is the rapid transformation or outright disruption of several job roles. Keeping track of roles that are in threat of disruption is crucial for workforce planners. However, keeping track by itself will not do. They need to go further and even map out reskilling strategies to ensure that vital talent just doesn’t fall by the wayside.  

Make space for contingent labor 

Perhaps, the greatest mistake that workforce planners fail to note is the emerging trends in the contingent labor force. During times of extreme talent duress, much like the pandemic, this labor force plays a critical role in restocking depleting talent reserves.  

For example, many companies are leveraging contract labor for Digital Marketing, but companies should ideally create this in-house and leverage contingent labor within that.  The pandemic has shown that Digital Marketing is a lifeline for many companies and cannot be contracted out across the full stack of roles. 

As a first step to building flexibility, workforce planners should identify roles that work behind the shadows and build a contingent workforce for them.  

Flexibility is key to survival 

Many companies are planning to design new job structures this year, with many potential benefits in mind: The wish list is very big – providing value over time, gaining edge over competitors, and making sure emerging skills are considered.  

As the modern workforce continuously evolves into a more global, digitally & ethnically diverse one, HR leaders need to re-think & re-strategize their entire talent pipeline. 

While technology is accelerating a rapid shift in job architectures, Draup’s meta-analysis reveals that HR practices have not kept pace with the changing times.  

For example, while roles like call center agents have transformed into inside sales representatives, the same level of shift is unseen in HR practices.  

So, enterprise workforce planners should be on their toes and be amenable to changing their job architectures with the changing market winds.