In our work with hundreds of organizations, many apply long-standing, well-accepted approaches for the management of human resources. The HR function is steeped in traditional methods and so-called best practices for everything from job evaluation and compensation management to performance management. At Birches Group, we believe for organizations to innovate and thrive, they must be willing to try new things. Our Community™ Jobs approach provides a fresh perspective on one of the most misunderstood areas of human resources – job design and evaluation. Good job design and clear job evaluation are critical to fully support all other programs in HR.
How Community™ Jobs is Different
Job evaluation is traditionally a highly technical area of HR, reserved for the “job evaluation high priests” to compile results and share with the organization. Usually, job evaluation systems are complex and hard to understand, using many different factors to determine results.
Birches Group built Community™ Jobs to be simple and transparent, and easily understood by HR, managers and yes, even staff. We also believe that job evaluation forms the fundamental underpinning of everything HR does – from compensation and recruitment to development and performance. Every area of HR is impacted by job evaluation and job levels.
Just Three Things
Community™ uses three factors to assess work: Purpose, Engagement, and Delivery, across fourteen job levels, as shown in the diagram below:
The primary factor is Purpose, which answers the most critical question: why does this job exist in the organization? Purpose enables us to examine each role within the organization and determine its primary objectives and how it supports the overall mission of the organization.
The second factor of Community™ Jobs is Engagement, identifying how each job interacts and collaborates with internal and external stakeholders to carry out its function.
Delivery, the third factor of Community™ Jobs, examines how each role plans, organizes and delivers work to fulfill the organization’s mission. It focuses on how a job manages tasks, transactions, services, projects, or programs under its purview.
The three Community™ factors taken together allow us to understand how an organization conducts business across all levels of work, starting with defining the purpose of its jobs, determining their level of engagement, and examining how each of its roles organizes and delivers service.
The Six Indicators
For each of the three job evaluation factors, we have identified two indicators to connect the job directly to the skills and knowledge required for success:
Each of these indicators is used in applying the Community™ Jobs evaluation methodology. But importantly, the same criteria are also used to develop standards in the other modules of Community™. Community™ Skills allows organizations to measure experience explicitly by evaluating an employee’s accumulation of skills and knowledge over time. Community™ Performance provides a standard for measuring achievement by considering how employees have performed against the standard established for their job level.
Job Evaluation in Action
What are some examples of how job evaluation results (job grades or levels) can be used in other areas of human resources? Here are just a few:
- Job descriptions. One of the most unstructured and tedious task managers face is writing job descriptions. And most of the time, they are just a listing of tasks and inputs. Birches Group believes job descriptions should be purpose-driven, output-focused and written from the perspective of what the job must deliver. Our approach for job description writing uses the job evaluation factors and indicators as a basis to describe duties and responsibilities. Best of all, no job description will ever exceed one page!
- Salary bench-marking. We use Community™ Jobs as the job evaluation methodology when conducting our salary surveys in over 150 countries. Every employer’s jobs are matched to a Birches Group level, enabling a consistent and fair comparison to jobs in the market with similar levels of contribution to the organization.
- Salary management. Organizations use job grades to build salary structures, which in turn provide managers with tools to optimize the organization’s competitive position and ensure high levels of employee engagement.
- Skills assessment. Managers will often say that employees with more experience should be paid more. But there is no standard for measuring experience other than time, until now. Using the Birches Group Community™ job levels, we have developed explicit measures for each job evaluation indicator, arrayed over five separate skill levels. This skills assessment tool can be used for multiple purposes, including pay management, learning and development planning, succession planning, promotion readiness, and ensuring unbiased application of starting salaries, to name a few.
- Performance management. The same three factors used for job evaluation – purpose, engagement, and delivery – can be used to measure achievement. For example:
Purpose – Does the employee have good ideas?
Engagement – Did they listen and adapt to customer feedback?
Delivery – Did they deliver on time with high levels of quality?
Community™ Performance has a structured approach to measuring achievement by linking back to the job evaluation factors.
By focusing on the Community™ Jobs factors — Purpose, Engagement, and Delivery — managing all areas of HR is now possible using a simple, consistent, and integrated approach.
Bianca manages our Marketing Team in Manila. She crafts messaging around Community™ concepts and develops promotional campaigns answering why Community™ should be each organization’s preferred solution, focusing on its simplicity and integrated approach. She has held various roles within Birches Group since 2009, starting as a Compensation Analyst and worked her way to Compensation Team Lead, and Training Program Services Manager. In addition to her current role in marketing and communications, she represents Birches Group in international HR conferences with private sector audiences.