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Our spring 2020 UK Reward Management Survey highlighted how many organisations are undertaking long-term strategic planning during the pandemic. Companies are increasingly turning to reorganisations to save jobs and cut costs as uncertainty around the future of business operations persists in many sectors. Here we outline the role of job families in driving efficiencies throughout businesses.

A ‘job family’ is a group of job roles involving similar types of work, requiring comparable training, skills, knowledge and expertise. The concept can establish a robust framework within an organisation and is particularly useful when job titles for similar roles vary. We discuss the benefits to HR, and the ripple effects to the organisation as a whole, from the clarity that job families introduce.

We have identified the following five key benefits provided by job families:


Simplifies pay structures

The number of levels across an organisation’s structure can be reduced from top to bottom by introducing job families. This flatter structure reduces the number of grades in an organisation and results in a much more co-ordinated and objectively fair pay structure. The salary scales within each job family pay structure reflect the reduced number of organisational levels, promoting a streamlined structure and clear career progression opportunities.

The clear benefit to HR is that maintenance becomes much more straightforward and pay management is radically simplified. Whilst an organisation could have had, for example, 20 or more grades to be assessed in their pay reviews, job families group the roles so that six to eight levels can be considered instead.


Creates organisation-wide consistency

Job families can also ensure parity of pay between employees by grouping roles based on responsibilities and competencies. By clearly defining these areas of responsibility across an organisation, overlaps and inefficiencies are avoided. This also avoids the situation in which two people are paid differently just because they have different job titles, when in fact their experience, skills and performance are the same.

Grouping disparate roles together by purpose or function also furthers the organisational goal of delivering the brand through each individual. By rationalising the responsibilities encompassed within each role, every employee can understand their purpose within the business and learn how they can deliver the brand and its values through their work. This engages employees by giving them a strong sense of their individual contribution, ensuring all staff are aligned and focused on delivering the business strategy at all levels.


Defines career development opportunities for staff across the organisation

Understanding the relative organisational position of each role can help to identify both career and succession planning opportunities. By grouping comparable roles, a clear view of the career path for each employee can be defined and mapped out. This framework established by job families can support conversations about career planning and pinpoint specific training requirements.

Clearly delineated role types also allow for greater consistency in performance reviews across the business. This lessens the pressure on line managers to take the initiative and have the right conversations at the right time with their team members because there is an agreed talent management approach across the organisation. For the wider business, it also helps to identify overlaps and gaps in responsibilities between business functions, strengthening the organisation’s structure.

As an additional benefit, a clear progression plan and defined pay scales within the job families system provide confidence and security for employees. This understanding of the payment thresholds and career path promotes improved productivity and increased employee satisfaction, both of which can have a positive effect on business growth.


Reduces staff turnover

Placing a greater focus on consistent and comprehensive job evaluations can also provide each employee with a true sense of their value to the organisation. Not only is career development thrown into sharp relief, but the type and nature of each job family can support HR teams in developing a clearer picture of how to remain competitive through their pay and reward packages. Job families help to benchmark accurate market pricing for each role. Understanding each family’s job requirements assists with estimations of external competitiveness, ensuring employees are not under or over-paid.

Introducing levels based on similar role types can support the provision of adequate compensation that ensures this hurdle is satisfied. At Paydata, we believe that pay is an essential business health factor when talking about how reward impacts job satisfaction. Whilst it may not be an ultimate motivator to stay, if employees are not paid competitively, pay becomes a major factor in job dissatisfaction. Ultimately, job families help to ensure that staff turnover can be kept to a minimum by ensuring that employees are content with the remuneration and reward schemes they are offered.


Supports reporting requirements

An accurate job evaluation system, from which job families are reliably created, is vital for reliably reporting on data concerning employees. HR teams are increasingly asked for information about diversity and job applicant tracking, both of which require in-depth data analysis and keeping this information up to date. Being able to accurately record the different roles and their associated demographics across the organisation is important, particularly for maintaining growth.

Effective data analysis and reporting are vital for conducting a comprehensive equal pay audit, designed to ensure that comparable roles are accurately remunerated. It is critical that when reporting on equal pay gap, this analysis must only use truly comparable roles. Job families help to identify roles across the business that are on par with one another, correctly capturing the information required and making compliance much more straightforward. Job families are the most effective type of pay structure for achieving accurate and legally compliant reporting. 72 per cent of respondents to our UK Reward Management Survey already, or intend to, examine their ethnicity pay gap data and are already analysing the best way to provide an accurate analysis of this information.

Job families in action

Paydata has helped numerous organisations to reshape their organisational and pay structure, tailoring our advice and designs to each client’s industry. We understand that evidence is at the heart of decision-making in business, which is why we have prepared comprehensive case studies illustrating the work we have done.

Read more about how we helped ESP Utilities Group to rationalise the range of roles across their organisation, resulting in their salary and benefit resources being allocated fairly and consistently. Based on ESP Utilities Group’s vision and commitment to its employees, we created a defined system of job grades throughout the organisation. Our job grading skills, built up over decades of practical experience, focused on the key things that make a real difference to each role.

The structure meant that ESP Utilities Group could introduce clear career paths for their employees, which include gas and electrical engineers, as well as finance, HR and marketing personnel. By working in partnership with the team, we successfully implemented the project throughout the organisation.

Learn more about PayGrade job evaluation

Our team’s decades of job analysis and grading experience across organisations of all shapes and sizes informed the design of our PayGrade job evaluation system. Read more about the system here. If you would like to speak to our team about how PayGrade job evaluation can support your HR department, please get in touch and we will gladly answer any questions you may have.

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