Job architecture | Effective Career Path Mapping with Job Families

Effective Career Path Mapping with Job Families

When defining career paths, a critical first step is to establish a comprehensive job family framework. But how are organisations able to achieve this when dealing with complex structures? We take a closer look.

Many organisations are making fundamental shifts in the way they hire and retain employees, namely a more focused approach to becoming a skills-based organisation. Mercer’s 2024 Global Talent Trends Report states that 51% of organisations are focusing on employee up/re-skilling, which is driven by a need to increase productivity, retention and employee wellbeing.

As part of this drive, 37% of organisations in Mercer’s survey felt that a simplified organisational structure was also a priority, which is where the challenge ultimately lies. By their very nature, large organisations have complex frameworks that are proving a real challenge in the shift to skills or to simplify job structures, architecture or job families.

The Burning Glass Institute’s report on skills-based hiring highlighted that focusing on skills was a positive step in theory but in practice something quite different. For those organisations that dropped requirements from jobs, 18% fell back to hiring patterns after an initial burst of progress.

Becoming a skills-based organisation needs more than intent, it needs structure and planning.
As Burning Glass states, "Without rethinking underlying systems and practices, changes don’t stick."

Mapping out clear career paths is one key element to retaining employees, it ensures people can more easily identify potential next steps up and around the organisation. Employees who are clear about the opportunities that are available to them are more likely to stay with your organisation rather than explore opportunities elsewhere.

From the work we have done helping organisations define career paths, we’ve found that a critical first step is to establish a comprehensive job family framework. Having this in place will help map out career paths for employees more clearly and in a way that is simple and accessible.

What is a job family framework?

A job family is a group of related jobs within an organisation that share similar skill sets and nature of work. The essential nature of the activities, and the basic skills used, will be similar for all roles within a job family. Although, the level of responsibility the skills required to do the work, and the scope of the role, may be different.

The job titles for each role within a job family should be chosen to reflect these differences in scope and responsibility, whilst still utilising a common job titling language to make clear which job family a job sits within.

Job families are often grouped within “job family groups” or “job functions” – these are higher-level categories of jobs, which will include multiple job families. Examples of job functions would be Finance or General Administration.

The overall structure of job families in an organisation makes up a job family framework.

Introducing job families can help consolidate, review, cleanse and streamline your job data and job content. Once a job family framework is in place, it provides a solid foundation for many key organisational processes including establishing career paths.

How do job families help with career pathing?

A job family framework helps simplify career paths within a job family

One of the primary advantages of implementing a job family framework is to simplify career path mapping for employees. A well-designed job family will have responsibilities and requirements for each role outlined in a role profile. Employees will be able to easily see how the responsibilities and requirements for other roles in their job family differ from those of the role that they are currently in. They can use this information to plan their own development and work towards the skills requirements for any roles they are aiming for.

A job family framework helps simplify career paths across different job families

A job family framework should be underpinned by a consistent levelling structure. If this is the case, then potential career paths can be mapped out laterally and vertically across job families - where similar skillsets make lateral moves a possibility.

Instead of navigating a large organisational-wide web of different job titles and responsibilities, employees can use a job family framework to understand potential career paths involving other job families. Mapping out these potential lateral moves can help employees take control of their own career development.

Download RoleMapper’s Guide to Job Families

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