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HR teams introducing job families

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 across the industry.

Job families are not a new type of pay structure – occupational classifications have existed for as long as job evaluation, in which similar types of roles are defined and often grouped together. However, many companies are increasingly drawn to the benefits that job families can bring to the workings of HR and the ripple effects that clarity around each family’s responsibilities brings to the organisation as a whole. 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 pay scales within the job family pay structure reflect this reduced number of organisational levels, promoting a streamlined structure and clear career progression opportunities.

This has a clear HR benefit, meaning 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, clearly defining them and avoiding overlaps in responsibility. This 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. This engages employees across the organisation who are given a strong sense of their individual goals, 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 concerning 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 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 is vital for reliably reporting on data concerning employees. Increasingly, HR teams are being asked for information about diversity and job applicant tracking, both of which require in-depth data analysis and keeping up to date with this information. 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 also vital for doing comprehensive equal pay audits, designed to ensure that comparable roles are accurately considered. Gender pay gap reporting is also a hugely topical requirement given that it is compulsory for companies with over 250 employees. Similarly, it is critical that when reporting on the gender pay gap, this calculation 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.

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 the Orders of St John Care Trust to rationalise the range of roles across their organisation, resulting in their limited salary and benefit resources being allocated fairly and appropriately. The Trust’s organic growth from one to four counties had resulted in numerous job roles, descriptions and employee terms and conditions being adopted across the not-for-profit charity. This variation created confusion and a lack of clarity for both employees and HR staff.

Creating job families allowed a ‘One Trust’ approach, simplifying job evaluations across the organisation and improving employee satisfaction. The overwhelming majority of employees felt that the assessment of where their role fits within the organisational structure accurately reflected what they did on a day-to-day basis. The introduction of job families across the Trust has harmonised the HR approach throughout the charity.

Our efforts directly impacted the ease of operation and workforce morale, creating a new, streamlined system through the job families pay structure.

Learn more about PAYgrade job evaluation

Our PAYgrade job evaluation system has been designed by a team with decades of job analysis and grading experience across organisations of all shapes and sizes. 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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