Job Design and Competency Architecture

Smart industry robot arms for digital factory production technology

The workplace of the future is becoming fundamentally different from what most leaders are accustomed to, leading many to rethink their operating models for human capital. Key developments emerging from the Covid-19-era include hybrid working, more focus on agility in team setup and job roles, increased digitization of activities, and a more data-driven decision-making process.

During 2019, worker’s resignations across the Western countries were at record rates. Economists estimated that the turnover spike had been driven by a desire of workers to capitalize on the bullish job market and the potential for pay raises and promotions.

Then, the pandemic came in, and by the Q2 of 2020, the labor market in the US shed 20.5 million jobs. A year and a half later, almost 8 million fewer Americans are employed than in Q1 2020, while the labor force is down around 4 million (Prudential Financial’s Pulse of the American Worker survey).

As the global economy is inching toward recovery, multiple sources are estimating, 1 in 4 workers are planning to resign once the threat of the pandemic has subsided. Forbes calls this phenomenon a “Turnover Tsunami.”

Many turnover prevention interventions boil down to finding out what your people need. The relationship between employee satisfaction and organizational productivity has attracted considerable attention and research from scholars and organizations. This can be attributed to the fact that the current business organization is driven by dynamism and competitiveness in the labor market, requiring organizations to upgrade their employee value proposition to remain relevant. As a result, multiple organizations have realized the need to redesign their total rewards programs or align employee-related costs to the already established business strategy. However, organizations often neglect the most critical thing in determining employee productivity, which is job design. Therefore, job architecture plays a crucial role in determining organizational sustainability and thriving in the future.

Job design and architecture are the bedrock for a total rewards system and fully integrated talent management. Without this foundation, it will be hazardous to venture into complex talent management interventions as you are likely to do more damage than good. Therefore, for companies to implement a total rewards system, they must evaluate their job architecture to reflect on organizational goals and needs while defining employees’ specific roles and responsibilities (Isaac & Izuchukwu, 2020). Furthermore, job architecture is also essential for creating and revealing career pathways by creating career frameworks that play an undeniable role in unlocking human resource potentials while also increasing the skills and competencies of the employees towards increasing corporate productivity and sustainability.

With job architecture and job coding, to be more precise, the organization is ensuring that jobs align with the specific type of work performed in an organization, outlining job families, sub-families, job titles, nature of work, and career levels, among others. This step will ensure allocating value to jobs across the enterprise and basing employee rewards on the value of their jobs (Kulshrestha & Allen, 2009). In addition, this enables organizations to refine job codes while also comparing jobs with external and labor market factors, increasing organizational competence and dynamism, both in the long and short run.

Ultimately, job design and architecture, if done correctly, will be increasing organizational agility. Modern businesses are more often than not faced with the need to adopt significant changes. Such changes include mergers and acquisitions, entering a new global environment, or adopting new technology, among others. Moreover, organizational changes tend to affect the employees, impacting the corporate sense of direction and job structures (Griffin, & McMahan, 2013). Therefore, job design and competency architecture will lead to informed employees clarity of their roles and responsibilities during the change process, which increases adaptability and agility. Job infrastructure, therefore, ensures that the change process does not lead to resistance or affect organizational productivity.

Job design and competency architecture are also essential towards clarifying the distinctions between various levels, an imperative aspect that promotes career development. Clarifying the distinctions is essential towards enabling employees to understand and reinforce their specific roles and duties and the reporting criteria, which is vital towards ensuring that organizational goals and objectives are collaboratively met (Grant, 2007). Clarifying these distinctions is also necessary towards identifying employee efforts, and hence ensuring that employee rewards are matched or aligned to their efforts, as a crucial employee satisfaction aspect.

Finally, job design and competency architecture will increase employee mobility across the international labor market by creating a common language across international boundaries for the labor market (Lepak, Jiang, & Ployhart, 2017).

We strongly believe that organizations should embrace job design and competency architecture for various reasons discussed above, including aligning organizational jobs with work and functions, increasing global mobility, implementing a total rewards system, and increasing overall organizational productivity and sustainability.


Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey (2021)

Davis, G. F. (2010). Job design meets organizational sociology. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31(2/3), 302-308.

Grant, A. M. (2007). Relational job design and the motivation to make a prosocial difference. Academy of management review, 32(2), 393-417.

Griffin, R. W., & McMahan, G. C. (2013). Motivation through job design. In Organizational behavior (pp. 33-54). Routledge.

Isaac, E. U., & Izuchukwu, A. C. (2020). Development of a Model Architecture for Job Scheduling. Sci. J. Circuits Syst. Signal Process, 9, 16.

Kulshrestha, A., & Allen, G. (2009, December). Service-oriented architecture for job submission and management on grid computing resources. In 2009 International Conference on High-Performance Computing (HiPC) (pp. 13-19). IEEE.

Lepak, D., Jiang, K., & Ployhart, R. E. (2017). Hr strategy, structure, and architecture. In A research agenda for human resource management. Edward Elgar Publishing.


Paul Lalovich
Paul Lalovich
Organizational Effectiveness and Strategy Execution Practice

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