Why you should get up to speed on Job Evaluation and Sizing

The recent rapid shift to work from home has challenged leaders at most large organisations. But ramping up use of video conferencing, bolstering cloud based IT systems, and reconfiguring office space were just the opening act of a far larger story.

The success of work from home has demonstrated that many organisations can run their operations efficiently, using significantly different workforce configurations. While remote work is already delivering financial benefits to many organisations, it opens up many further possibilities for improvement.

From a workforce perspective, different skills and capabilities start to shine in virtual team environments, where team members rarely if ever physically meet. Leadership and management styles that worked in the past, may not match the situation at hand.

More importantly, many organisations now need to heavily redesign key workflows, to properly optimise for work from home and hybrid workforce scenarios, and deliver zero contact customer service.

Similarly, work from home is the operational imperative that is now driving organisations to redesign job roles, and adjust job sizing. Given the scale of the issue, every leader now needs to ensure they are up to speed on the basics of job evaluation methods and job sizing.

What is Job Evaluation and Sizing?

Job evaluation and sizing has been around for many years, and is relied upon by most large organisations across the public and private sector. It is used to establish internal and external parity, relating to how positions within the organisation are designed and compensated.

In a nutshell, a job evaluation methodology acts as a set of guardrails to support and facilitate key business decisions relating to the composition and structure of positions within the organisation. It should not be viewed as a “one size fits all rulebook”, used to resolve every workforce and remuneration decision.

Job sizing relies on several critical elements to be an effective resource for finance, workforce, and remuneration management. It provides a robust yardstick for measuring and comparing the size and value of positions within and across the organisation or agency.

Job evaluation methodologies should not be seen as a panacea to workforce and remuneration challenges. These tools are intended to provide a series of useful signposts, which leaders can choose to use when making informed business decisions.

Some key factors for leaders to consider when relying upon a job evaluation methodology.

  • Art and Science

Often perceived as a highly empirical and formulaic in its application, the process of job evaluation and sizing is actually a combination of art and science. While job evaluation methodologies can be underpinned by a robust system that assigns credits or points based on the characteristics of the position, it is sometimes necessary to consider a broader range of factors unique to an organisation’s circumstances.

In other words, the job evaluation outcomes should be viewed as a set of guidelines that help inform decision making, rather than a proscriptive doctrine that determines rigid outcomes.

  • Mindset shift

Job evaluation and sizing is completely removed from the individual undertaking that role. This requires a fundamentally different mindset and approach to how positions are designed.

Rather than focusing on aspects such as tasks and duties, the job evaluation process relies on factors such as accountability, value of the role to the organisation, and knowhow. This can sometimes be difficult for frontline managers and staff to understand, as their perspective of value may differ significantly from the people carrying out the evaluation.

  • Leadership Buy-in

In order for job evaluation to be fully effective, leaders from across the organisation need a strong understanding of how job evaluation can be leveraged to improve overall outcomes. Leaders across the entire organisation need to be fully supportive and implement the job evaluation process, so that a universal approach is used, and outcomes such as equity and parity of roles can be delivered for every part of the organisation.

  • Gaming the system

Like any business system, a job evaluation system is only as effective as the governance supporting the system. When governance is inadequate, the job evaluation system might be subject to leaders and hiring managers gaming the system, in order to generate a more favourable outcome from the process.

In order to avoid this, leaders need to consider a range of options such as the establishment of job review and evaluation panels, responsible for ratifying and confirming the outcomes of key priorities.