Your Employees' Work is Changing: From a Job to Several Roles
We live and work in a very dynamic and competitive world. In order to survive, our organizations are forced to be flexible and high-performing too. This is increasingly influencing the way work
in organizations are set up: instead of 1 job, workers are expected to perform several roles in projects
Traditionally, the purpose and requirements for a job are described in a 'job description'
: a structured and factual statement of a job's functions and objectives. It defines the boundaries of the job-holder's authority and includes the job title, department, associated responsibilities, reporting lines, tasks, required experience, knowledge, skills, level and perhaps a clear career path.
A job description is static, and is reflected in an organization chart (organogram). Both get out of date quickly (although they can be revised).
Over the last decade, work is being organized in a more flexible way:
For managers and for management as a profession, what are the implications of this transition of workers from having a single job to performing multiple roles?
Adapted and translated from Wilco van Gelderen, 2013, "Ons werk verandert en daarmee ons denken over 'functies', innovatieforganiseren.nl
- Besides their main job/post, employees now perform several roles in projects.
- Due to internet, laptops, smart phones, etc., knowledge workers no longer have to work in 'the office'; they can work anywhere, anytime.
- We no longer judge employees on how good they were in their job, or against their formal job description (if any), but on the demand for their know-how and skills.
- Changed career paths, which are no longer linear and depend on permanent education and personal development
Job descriptions remain valuable
- Give an overall view of the job for job holder and immediate line manager
- Basis for HR department to match candidates versus the job requirements
- Basis for performance appraisals
- Basis for job grading
- Basis for organization improvements
- Permanent education and personal development have become crucial for knowledge workers.
- Employees are increasingly rewarded for results; not for "doing their job'.
- Breakdown of functional silos and increased working in roles, spanning various business functions.
- More horizontal mobility between organizations.
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Alan Kennedy, Canada
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