Article: The art and science of designing high-performing jobs

Strategic HR

The art and science of designing high-performing jobs

Job design strategically aligns job components with employee competencies and organisational objectives, enhancing productivity, minimising turnover, and fostering a positive work culture.
The art and science of designing high-performing jobs

Job design involves devising and aligning components of a job with employee competency and key result areas to enhance organisational effectiveness. It is imperative to design a job meticulously, as this impacts the productivity and performance of employees and teams while balancing the organisation's vision and mission.

The components of job design include the employee's daily responsibilities, key performance indicators (KPIs), quantifiable measures to assess the success of each KPI and feedback mechanisms. These concise, clear, and measurable components create engaging roles, foster a competent ecosystem, and promote a positive work culture. This approach also addresses the challenge of high employee turnover rates, as burnout in well-defined job roles is minimal.

While organisations consider job design optimisation tools to align roles with business strategy, human intervention is needed to balance the actual demand and supply of jobs. Although tools can strategise job design, humans are the ones who will implement and experience it in the workplace.

The art of job design lies in its creation, while the science involves understanding factors such as employee intrinsic motivation, business orientation, self-efficacy, cognitive ability, workplace environment, leadership and strategic planning, and feedback mechanisms.

Elements to consider when designing a job

Span of control: This represents the range of tangible and intangible resources a particular job is responsible for. It depicts the position of a job within the business hierarchy and the deliverables expected from it. In simpler terms, it involves managing people, profits, and administrative assets to deliver a project to the client. It also includes the level of strategy as a position responsible for generating value and creating business internally or externally. Examples include risk management, resource management, asset management, stakeholder management, and customer success management.

Span of accountability: This includes the financial and non-financial targets an employee is responsible for, such as market and brand value, customer satisfaction, adequate operating expenses, and maintaining cash flows. These strategic goals can be defined as key performance indicators. While tools can design these elements, there is always an element of trade-off agreed upon periodically. Examples include brand positioning index, sales targets, delivery targets, return on investment, attrition, and engagement management.

Span of support: With organisations shifting from a protocol-driven hierarchy to a matrix function, the type of support received from other enabling units significantly influences job outcomes. While collaborating with cross-functional teams can be cumbersome, the product or service is enhanced by the expertise of many individuals. Examples include presales activity, compliance documentation, facilitating audits, and achieving benchmark certifications like CMMi Level 5, GPTW, ISO, etc.

Span of influence: The reach and impact of jobs on teams make the goals more accountable for individuals and their teams, making them more meaningful. This is crucial for engaging high-performing individuals and teams. The wider the span of influence, the more engaging and resourceful the job becomes. Examples include policy making, revamping processes, legal legislation, CSR programmes, and DAI programmes.

All the above are impactful interventions when designing a high-performing job. They help simplify and align even the smallest tasks within the organisation to overall productivity and effectiveness. Quantifiable job roles help link human capital in a way that is enriching, diverse, and resourceful for the greater good.

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Topics: Strategic HR, #HRCommunity

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