Five ways in which job families can create HR harmony

UK Reward Management Survey – Autumn 2017We are increasingly seeing HR teams introduce job families to help create a consistent approach to similar jobs across their organisations.

A ‘job family’ is a group of jobs involving similar types of work, requiring comparable training, skills, knowledge and expertise. The concept can establish a robust framework within an organisation and is useful when job titles vary across the industry for similar roles. 

The concept is not new – occupational classifications have existed for as long as job evaluation, in which similar types of roles are defined. 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 whole organisation. We have identified the following five key benefits provided by job families:

1. 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 ranges reflect the reduced number of organisational levels and simplified banding structure. 

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. 

2. Creates organisation-wide consistency 

Job families can also ensure parity of pay between employees. Grouping roles by responsibilities and competencies clearly defines them. This avoids the situation in which two people are paid differently just because they have different 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 all roles, every employee can understand their role within the business and 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 employees are aligned and focused on delivering the business strategy at all levels. 

3. 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 mapped out and defined. This framework established by job families can support conversations concerning career planning and pinpoint specific training requirements. 

Clearly delineated role-types 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.

4. Reduces staff turnover

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 informs 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. We believe that pay is an essential hygiene factor within a number of elements which come into play when talking about how reward impacts job satisfaction. Whilst it may not be an ultimate motivator to stay, if employees are not paid competitively, this is a major factor in job dissatisfaction. 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. 

5. 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, job applicant tracking and data analysis. Being able to accurately reflect the different roles and the associated demographics across the organisation is important.

It is also vital for doing a comprehensive equal pay audit to ensure that comparable roles are accurately considered. Gender pay gap reporting is also a hugely topical requirement given that for companies with over 250 employees it will be compulsory from April 2018. 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 a par with one another, which correctly captures the information required and makes compliance much more straightforward.

Job families in action

Read more about how we helped the Orders of St John Care Trust to rationalise the range of roles across the Trust that resulted in their limited salary and benefit resources being allocated fairly. Their 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. Creating job families introduced a ‘One Trust’ approach, simplifying job evaluations across the organisation. 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 and has harmonised the HR approach throughout the charity.

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 one of our team about how PAYgrade job evaluation can support your HR team, please contact Tim Kellett [insert link to profile].